Nvidia Could Move Ahead With Ion 2 This Year

It's only now that Nvidia Ion-based netbooks are hitting the scene, which finally means that the Intel Atom chip is paired with some decent graphical muscle. Given the growing utility of the GPU for more than just 3D, the Ion is a blessing to the modest Atom.

With Intel's next generation Atom, codenamed Pineview, on the Pine Trail platform, having on-chip graphics, the Nvidia Ion might be in no-man's land. (The mainstream notebook parts built on the Westmere platform, codenamed Arrandale, will also have integrated graphics, but Nvidia doesn't have the license to design chipsets for Nehalem-based CPUs.)

Rather than just let the Ion die out, Nvidia is poised to release a follow-up as soon as later this year, according to various reports. While it's still unknown if the Ion will be paired with Pineview, the next-generation Ion will support a broader range of CPUs.

Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said earlier this year that the next iteration of the Nvidia Ion will support the VIA Nano, which is regarded as being much more powerful than the Atom. The next Ion is also believed to work with Intel's CULV offerings, meaning support for Celerons, Pentiums and Core 2 chips.

If Ion-based netbooks and nettops are a hit, hopefully we'll get to see the next-generation Ion expand to other CPUs before the end of 2009.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • HansVonOhain
    great to see some progress

    I am hoping to buy a VIA netbook in the future...
  • rjkucia
    We barely have any Ion laptops yet, let's see how those work out before jumping ahead to Ion 2. That said, I hope that the next version has DirectX 11 support.
  • HansVonOhain
    rjkucia, you brought an important point of Directx11 support.
    This is actually a great idea!
  • kansur0
    it's too bad that nVidia doesn't push back on making thier own CPU...that way they could make two different types of chip logic on one die. CPU and GPU. That's the way it seems to be going anyways. Just imagine if you could have an 800 core die that could handle either CPU or GPU instructions? That would be awesome!!!

    I wonder if Google Chrome could make an OS that just ran on the GPU...maybe more like a RISC based OS like the Mac used to be with OS 9 in the power PC days?

    That would put some serious pressure on Microshaft and Intel!!!
  • Soul_keeper
    This is good news.
    I think if nvidia and via can pair together, the via cpu's will only get better.
    Once they start getting some revenue they can afford to do things like a die shrink or new design.
    This could open other avenues also, since both companies are paying intel royalties for the bus ... they could work together and move away from that situation.

  • I personally see no benefit in DX11 support for Atom powered devices!
    Their CPU's are only good enough to run DX9 games.
    Also the Via chips are not better than the Atom for office tasks, because they are (at the moment) single core/single thread cpu's.
    They always will give a certain lag on the desktop experience compared to a multi core/thread CPU, even if they are faster on more advanced tasks like compression or other benchmarks.

    That's probably the reason why the Atom is the only chip found to today that has survived the netbook war! Via has an x86 instruction set, and thus could run Windows, but I guess their performance/watt ratio might be low.
  • I simply dont understand the point of ion.(dont mark me down just yet)
    Hi def playback? On those tiny screens with no optical drive and 80gb of memory? Tv output should be okay but at the price of ion laptops a standalone blu ray player with media storage might be better ( perhaps even a ps3!). Of course the increased responsiveness is good but do 50 year old grandmothers need that? Do kids playing spore need that?(no hard feelings i play it myself)If i was after portable gaming (cod,old nfs) i could buy a bigger laptop for slightly more.
    just my 2 cents.Im surprised nvidias not aiming this at larger laptops or desktops where lots of people try to get things done with integrated graphics.
  • Kelavarus
    As a netbook user I can completely understand Ion.

    After having a netbook, I don't *want* a notebook. Pure and simple. It's too big now! The portability of my netbook is insane! I can't even imagine how I lugged around my previous laptop.

    But having a chipset that's decent enough to run some games on low is nice. And Intel... Well, it just doesn't do it. Ion gives it a chance.

    That being said, if/when I replace my netbook, I'm going AMD.
  • megamanx00
    I don't know about that VIA nano being more powerful bit, but nVidia has to do something. Understandably they don't want to pair ION with AMD and compete with AMDs own netbook platform, so the nano would be the next best thing. With flash being accelerated on nVidia GPUs this could end up a good thing for nVidia and VIA.
  • suryasans
    VIA has own solutions for GPU's like S3 Chrome 440GT