Preview: VIA VN1000 And Nano DC Platform: An IGP With Game?

Media Playback And Performance Scaling

In spite of recent performance improvements, none of the low-energy platforms appears to be suitable to any task greater than light office work and perhaps media playback. Many users view media playback as the exclusive purpose of this platform type, so we cued up Chapter 2 of our “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” Blu-ray and “A Man Apart” DVD to make sure the performance was available.

H.264 hardware acceleration looked a little weak on all three low-energy platforms, and we found that disabling it had little impact on overall performance. The Nano DC significantly outpaces its rivals in DVD acceleration…if that still maters to anyone.

VIA mentioned gaming…and the ION 2 actually prevailed. To be fair, we wouldn't recommend gaming on any of these onboard graphics solutions, though. Intel's Core i3 integrated GPU appears a total embarrassment here, though it actually won in Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and tied in DiRT 2.  The two games that decimated Intel's percentages, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of Pripyat and Crysis, weren't even playable on the so-called winning hardware.

Encoding is where the Nano DC shines, relative to other low-energy solutions. We have yet to see how much energy is required for the desktop CPU however.

If a 1.8 GHz Atom is just a hair too slow for your office needs, the Nano DC addresses that slight performance difference.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • damasvara
    At last, VIA! Let the triple threat flame war begins! :lol:
  • dEAne
    VIA shouldn't stop it should move right away.
  • Ramar
    I'm interested, but I guarantee that I won't be by the time this is actually released.

    Technology seems to be the one thing in which the underdog third-party can't seem to do better. =
  • luke904
    im glad they are making a good try. I believe they will be on par (or maybe even better than an intel and ion platform) by the time the chip is manufactured at 40nm and drivers are finalized.
    D525 and ION2 is expensive combination. If VIA can deliver at price level of D400 series with ION2 or cheaper it would put good pressure on Intel.

    nVidia was late to market with GTX460, but given it's price point a lot of pressure was put on ATI.
  • firebee1991
    Very interesting. While they should take their time and not try and get into the market too quickly, I would be happy to have a third competitor to Intel and AMD. The more competition the better.
  • super_tycoon
    Oh good, Tom's did examine the performance of a d525/ion2 platform. For this, I am pleased, even if they chose relatively intense dx10 games, not oldish dx9 ones.... point being I still love my 1215n. The i3 efficiency is damning though, too bad all the optimus ultraportables are (imho) way overpriced.

    However, when the new shrunken processor arrives, I think Tom's should also include netbook-like tests. These low-energy platforms aren't meant to encode videos or apply 100 photoshop filters to a terabyte tiff. The atom was specifically built to reduce cpu overhead (it doesn't even have out-of-order execution). Maybe toss in a ulv i3 if you can scrounge one up. So ya, I'll be waiting.
  • Jarmo
    Doesn't this remind me of previous S3 GPU offerings?
    Pretty decent low end performance... if the drivers were up to the task. But they're not.
    The shipping product needs to be rock solid if Via wants to overcome the suspicion.
    5 bucks cheaper but doesn't work... is not the way.
  • sudeshc
    At least they are trying and seems like a good one. They should speed up things a bit.
  • lashton
    correct me if im wrong but i thought no intel CPU had OOO execution