How's that netbook working out for online 1080p HD content? Probably not so well, which gives VIA reason to tout its new VX900 chipset. According to VIA, this full featured single chip solution takes the jitters out of HD videos when coupled with the latest VIA Nano-3000 series processors.
"VIA's trail-blazing VX900 will bring welcome relief to those pining for the best view of HD video online," said Richard Brown, Vice President of Marketing, VIA Technologies. "The VIA VX900 represents the most complete solution for HD digital content consumption on the market today."
At the heart of the VX900 is VIA's ChromotionHD 2.0 video engine, which features hardware acceleration for H.264. VIA promises smooth playback of 1080p video "without incurring a heavy CPU load."
Other features include support for DDR3 memory up to 1066MHz, a Chrome9 HCM 3D integrated graphics core, DX 9.0 support, and a 128-bit 2D engine with hardware rotation capability.
Michael Concannon, Qualcomm CDMA Technologies' senior vice president of connectivity and wireless modules, told Cnet that most of the leading PC makers have chosen its Gobi modem chipsets for their laptops, with around 100 laptop models currently on the market boasting Gobi 3G modems.
We've been talking about it for quite some time now, and at long last, Nvidia today officially announced its next generation Ion graphics processor. According to Nvidia, Ion 2 "will supercharge netbooks" in a big way, offering 10 times the performance of standard netbooks and enabling up to 10 hours of battery life courtesy of Nvidia's Optimus technology.
What exactly is Optimus? Put simply, this is Nvidia's intelligent hybrid graphics technology. Without any user intervention, Optimus-equipped netbooks will select the appropriate graphics engine for the task at hand, switching between the integrated Intel chipset and discrete Nvidia GPU.
Nvidia says there are more than 30 products equipped with Ion 2 expected to launch by this summer. This will not only include netbooks, but small form factor desktops, barebones setups, motherboards, and discrete add-in cards.
The first Ion 2-based system will be Acer's Aspire One 532G netbook, which will be available in April.
There's been a few question marks raised by Nvidia's next-gen ION chipset, such as why the performance seems to lag behind the original ION. This was indicated by tests run on the Acer Aspire One 532G -- the first officially announced ION 2 netbook -- during the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona.
The answer, says news and rumor site Fudzilla, is that Nvidia plans to release two versions of its ION 2 chipset. It's unclear how Nvidia will differentiate the two in terms of marketing and product names, but the slower version will have less shaders than the original -- hence the poorer performance -- while the faster version will sport "a lot more shaders," Fudzilla reports.
As for the above mentioned Acer? That one apparently sports Nvidia's slower ION 2, which certainly explains the puzzling benchmarks. Exactly why Nvidia is planning to release two new IONs, one of which will be gimped, is another mystery altogether.
To achieve this new throughput NEC did some monkeying with the feedback signal linked to the data rate. By delaying the signal NEC says it can overcome the interference that plagues very high speed data transfers. This frees up headroom that allows for more data to be pushed through the same physical space.
We won’t be seeing this type of throughput soon, as NEC still needs to obtain approval from the standards powers that be, like the USB Implementers Forum. Until then you’ll have to make due with Intel’s Light Peak, which is expected to be in production by the end of this year, and will allow speeds up to 10Gbps.
Qualcomm's ARM-based Snapdragon chipset is ideal for a lot of different types of devices and form factors. Don't be surprised if you come across smartphones, smartbooks, slate PCs and netbooks all powered by the Snapdragon. We already know that the Google Nexus One is driven by a powerful 1GHz Snapdragon processor. But Qualcomm plans to up the ante with the addition of even more powerful processors to its Snapdragon line. Luis Pineda, SVP of product management for Qualcomm, told tech website Hexus that his company will unveil two new processors this year.
As per the Snapdragon roadmap, a 45nm Snapdragon clocked at 1.3GHz will reach manufacturers later this month, with products based on it debuting around the end of the year. A yet more powerful variant will be unveiled before Christmas in the form of the 8X72, a dual-core 1.5 GHz chip, which will let smartphones and smartbooks keep people entertained with 1080p video playback.
It looks like the elves in Intel's workshop have been working overtime this holiday season, enough so that the chip maker today officially announced its next generation Atom platform, which includes the first Intel chips to integrate graphics and a memory controller in the CPU.
On the netbook side of things, the new Atom platform consists of an Atom N450 processor. It's a single-core part clocked at 1.66GHz with 512KB of L2 cache and a 7-watt total TDP. For entry-level desktops, there's the single-core D410 (1.66GHz, 512KB L2 cache, 12-watt TDP) and dual-core D510 (1.66GHz, 1MB L2 cache, 15-watt TDP). Intel says both processors were designed from the ground up for small devices and low power usage, and both come built on the company's 45nm high-k metal gate manufacturing process. These chips will run in Intel's NM10 Express Chipset.
An industry first on x86 processors, the new Atom chips integrate both the memory controller and graphics into the CPU. By going this route, Intel reduces the number of chips from three (CPU, chipset, I/O controller hub) to two (CPU, chipset), which the company claims results in a lower TDP, and "substantial reductions in cost, overall footprint, and power."
Intel said it will announce pricing information when the platform ships in the first week of January.
Not everyone needs a rocking socket 1366 platform crammed with high-end parts and prepped for Intel's upcoming 6-core Gulftown chips, and even the more affordable (and mainstream) socket 1156 might be too much. Budget conscious shoppers not looking to push the envelope instead turn to IGP solutions, but if you're planning a build based on Intel's G41 chipset, you may want to hop off the fence and make it happen.
Wait too long and you may find that mobo of choice is out of stock. That's because supplies of Intel's G41 chipsets are falling short, a situation sources from motherboard makers say is due to insufficient capacity at the company's 8-inch Fab and a turnaround in orders by mobo makers.
In somewhat of an attempt to play hardball, motherboard manufacturers tried to push demand for Intel's G31 chipset, a part that costs about $4-5 less than G41. The idea was to force Intel to maintain its output of the older chipset, but Intel has held firm on transitioning to G41, causing mobo makers to place orders for the newer part.
The sudden turnaround, sources say, has resulted in a surge in demand that Intel's maximum supply volume simply can't keep up with.
Much ado about nothing? Perhaps. Intel says the situation is typical of a product transition and that it is working closely with customers to satisfy demand.
Yesterday we posted a blurb referencing comments Nvidia made to news and rumor site Fudzilla, in which the graphics chip maker talked up its upcoming Ion 2 platform as being a faster solution than an Atom platform built around Intel's upcoming Pine Trail architecture. So does that mean you should hold off on buying a netbook?
Not at all, Nivida's Ken Brown says, who got in touch with us to clarify a few points. Regarding the performance benefits of Ion 2 over Pine Trail, Brown said all of that is correct, but that "is also true for current generation Ion-based PCs. Pine Trail will not deliver a significantly better experience than current-generation Atom-based PCs (link). Ion based systems which are available today will provide a much better experience than Pine Trail for HD video, games, media conversion, and other applications that people want to run."
In addition, Brown stated that first-generation Ion parts will also deliver anywhere from 5-10x faster graphics performance than Pine Trail, so for anyone who needs a graphically-charged netbook today, waiting isn't necessary.