Benchmarks: 3DMark And PCMark
Below are the overall scores for the 3DMark 01, 03, 06 and PCMark 05 benchmarks, run at their default settings.
The various 3DMark tests clearly show the GeForce 9400M’s superior graphics power. With 3DMark03, the Ion platform tested over 4.6 times as fast as the basic Intel platform, and with 3DMark 06, the gain was an astounding 774%. The higher the graphics calculation load, the better the GeForce did. And our initial fears were put to rest—even the Atom’s low power let the GeForce show its stuff.
PCMark tests a platform in a much more global way; in this benchmark, the performance of the hard disk and memory contribute to the equation more effectively. Here again, despite an identical hard disk, the Ion walked all over the 945. When you look at the details of PCMark 05’s individual tests, however, you see that the Ion owes its victory only to the 3D tests—the rest of the applications were just as fast on the Intel platform. The Ion’s margin in the overall score was also much lower than it was with 3DMark (35%).
And, yes, it's powerful enough (thanks to the 9400M) to smoothly playback a BD like Casino Royale (including the HDCP decryption). CPU utilization rose to around 67 % during that test.
And even though the Ion ref platform is kind of a nettop (and we tested it with that in mind, comparing it to Intel's nettop platform), it could also fit in a netbook since 9400M TDP is very close to that of Intel 945GSE chipset that is found in most netbooks today : 12 W compared to 9,3 W. Nvidia and its partners would just need to drop 9400M's frequency a bit.
If CoD4 requires sound (some games are funny this way) and no hardware is plugged in, then the sound card may report a status CoD4 wasn't expecting, and refuse to run.
Good review its about time Atom got a little help.