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.
While everyone's attention is focused on Fermi -- Nvidia's next-gen architecture slated to ship on March 26th -- the graphics chip maker has quietly slipped a handful of entry-level GeForce 300 series videocards into its OEM lineup.
News and rumor site Fudzilla reckons these will likely be rebranded parts based on the company's GT21x 40nm family, starting with the GeForce GT 320. This card will come equipped with 72 processing cores with the GPU, Shaders, and 1GB of memory clocked at 540MHz, 1302MHz, and 790MHz, respectively.
Sitting one step up on the totem pole is the GeForce 330. According to Nvidia's product page, you can expect this one to ship with 96 or 112 processing cores. Nvidia also specs this one with a 128-bit, 192-bit, or 256-bit memory bus interface.
Finally there's the GT 340 with 96 processing cores. The GPU will come clocked at 550MHz, Shaders at 1340MHz, and either 512MB or 1GB of GDDR3 memory at 1700MHz. Look for this one to also come with an HDMI port.
When you think of Onkyo, you probably picture surround sound receivers and other home theater accessories, but as it turns out, the company also dabbles in home PCs. Once of those includes the just-announced DE411 all-in-one desktop.
A pretty impressive PC on paper, the DE411 boasts a 21.5-inch 1080p Full HD display. Inside the sleek looking AIO sits a dual-core Intel Atom 330 processor clocked at 1.6GHz, Nvidia's GeForce 9400M Ion graphics, 2GB of RAM, and a 320GB hard drive. You'll also find a DVD burner, digital TV tuner, 5W speakers, Wi-Fi, multiformat memory card reader, and a handful of USB 2.0 ports.
Looking short term, Onkyo plans to release the DE411 in Japan for about $985. At that price, we'd like to see a touchscreen included, and so far, there isn't any mention of there being one. There's also no mention of whether or not Onkyo plans on shipping this one to the U.S. market.
VIA this week was spotted at the Las Vegas Convention Center showing off its upcoming S3 Graphics Chrome 5400E x2, a dual-GPU add-in board "aimed at advanced, multi-display digital signage applications."
The 5400E x2 comes ready to support up to 8 simultaneous displays with up to 4 independent video streams at resolutions of up to 1080p. A wide variety of display modes are supported, including Span, Extended, and Clone view configurations. Other marketing bullets include H.264, VC-1, and WMV-HD hardware acceleration, and built-in Genlock support for synchronized source timing.
"VIA is delighted to work with S3 Graphics to bring unique digital signage embedded products to market, highlighting our prowess in delivering the very best in power-efficient, hi-def digital display technologies," said Daniel Wu, VP, VIA Embedded Platform Division, VIA Technologies.
VIA says it will have samples of the Chrome 5400E x2 available to ODM customers starting in Q2 2010.
Good news for ATI videocard owners who have been struggling with gray lines, vertical corruption, and other unpleasantries. AMD has released its Catalyst 10.2 package, and if the company follows through on its promise, these look to take things a little more seriously.
The latest release resolves a number of issues for a variety of Windows operating systems, just a handful of which include:
System will no longer freeze while accessing the UVD Decoder (all Windows OSes)
System no longer fails and screen distortion no longer visible during Blu-ray content playback with 1680x1050 (Windows 7)
Resume playback after sleep or hibernation no longer causes green block corruption on video (Windows Vista)
Changes to the AVIVO gamma settings during Blu-ray HD playback are not retained after closing and restarting player (Windows XP)
Performance improvements include up to 8 percent in Dirt 2 on ATI HD 5970, 5800, and 5700 series cards, 6 percent in Battleforce for HD 5870 CrossFire, and 4 percent in Chronicles of Riddick.
Some ATI videocard owners have had a rough go lately, with complaints of gray screens and vertical line corruption running rampant. The issue prompted AMD to release a hotfix (see here), and going forward, the company promises to do a better job.
Catalyst 10.2, which is due later this month, is supposed to usher in better game performance courtesy of game profiles that AMD says it's going to focus on. These will consist of separate executable files on AMD's site, giving ATi owners quicker access to improved performance rather than waiting for the next full-blown Catalyst release, Fudzilla reports. The upcoming driver will also bring better "panoramic gaming" with CrossFireX.
Later on down the line, Catalyst 10.3 will put a bit of focus on improving ATI's Eyefinity technology. Reports suggest this driver package will implement an easy-to-use wizard to help adjust the layout and compensate for monitor bezels.
Catalyst 10.3 will also cater to Mobility graphics owners, and AMD is said to be working with most of the major notebook manufacturers to make sure everything works as it should.
In case you missed our previous coverage, Nvidia's Optimus technology gives mobile warriors the best of both worlds: battery life and discrete graphics. It's a sort of hybrid solution in which Optimus determines how much GPU power is needed for a particular task and then routes the process either to Nvidia's discrete GPU or Intel's integrated graphics. And no special drivers are needed, just an Intel chipset.
Optimus supports Windows 7, Intel Core i3, i5, and i7 (Arrandale), Atom N450 and N4570, and Core 2 Duo (Penryn) chips, as well as Nvidia's GeForce 200M and 300M series and Ion 2. The first of the 50 upcoming models to sport Optimus technology will include a handful of units from Asus, including the UL50Vf, N61Jv, N71Jv, N82Jv, and U30Jc.
Asus appears to be going all out on its upcoming custom Radeon HD 5870 videocard. It will be the newest addition to Asus' Republic of Gamers (ROG) Matrix series, and unlike any other HD 5870 on the market.
Not only will it look different, but there are some standout features underneath the hood. Asus put a little TLC into tweaking the PCB, resulting in higher quality voltage regulators, an aggressive factory overclock (900MHz core and 1225MHz memory clockspeeds), better overclocking potential, and twice the amount of RAM as any other HD 5870 (2GB versus 1GB).
Should things get a little too hairy, there's a "safe mode" button on the back that drops the clocks and voltage back to stable levels.
It seems that AMD intends to have a DirectX 11 part for every price range. As such, the existence of the ATI Radeon HD 5570 isn’t much of a surprise. The low-profile GPU is geared towards gamer types on a budget, or just those concerned with power consumption but are weary of completely sacrificing performance.
The HD 5570 has more than its share of features for a low-profile card. It will deliver full 1080p video playback, and includes ATI Stream technology to improve overall video quality. There’s even support for Eyefinity. Customers will also find an HDMI port and support for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. Not bad for a low end part.
AMD claims that customers pairing this card with a new AMD Phenom II X4 905e CPU and AMD 7-Series motherboard can expect a 60% improvement in power efficiency compared to competing products from Intel and Nvidia. If you have a small form factor PC in need of a new GPU, this could be it. Exact price isn’t being announced, but we suspect it will be under $80.
While the world waits for Fermi, AMD continues to target the entry-level with sub-$100 DirectX 11-capable videocards. The newest entrant to this market segment is the just-announced ATI Radeon HD 5570 low-profile graphics card.
"AMD recognizes that small form factor PCs are becoming more popular and low profile graphics upgrade options have been limited to date," said Matt Skynner, vice president and general manager, AMD Graphics Division. "Customers purchasing small form factor PCs are looking for improved performance while gaming, watching HD video, or working with the latest productivity applications. The ATI Radeon HD 5570 graphics card delivers all of this at a price that won't break the bank."
Specs include a 40nm GPU clocked at 650MHz, 1GB of GDDR3 memory clocked at 900MHz, a 128-bit memory bus, and 400 stream processors. And in addition to DX11, the HD 5570 supports Eyefinity and full 1080p HD playback. Finally, AMD rates the TDP at 45W.
Look for this one to sell somewhere between $75 to $80.