Finding a dual-core netbook is a lot like looking for the Loch Ness Monster - you keeping hearing it exists, but no one's been able to prove it. According to a Japanese technology website, not only does it exist (a dual-core netbook, that is), but Shenzhen Weibu Electronics will "soon" have one for sale.
The upcoming netbook ditches the familiar single-core Atom N2xx processor for Intel's 1.6GHz Atom N330 chip with 1MB of cache. And the N330 supports hyper-threading as well. If that weren't enough, the new netbook will be built around Nvidia's Ion platform with integrated Nvidia 9400M graphics, just like those fancy MacBooks boast.
Other specs include 1GB of memory, a 150GB hard drive, webcam, and 802.11 g/b WiFi. And as one would expect, the N10A, as the netbook's being dubbed, will hit the wallet harder than existing netbooks to the tune of 49,800 yen, or about $530 USD. That starts encroaching on traditional 15-inch notebook pricing, but if other vendors follow suit with similarly spec'd machines, the next generation of netbooks could get awfully exciting.
According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, Asus plans to keep busy this fall launching a number of new products. Among them are an Nvidia Ion-based Eee Box, Eee Top all-in-one PC, and two ultra-thin notebooks under its U/UX series.
The 20-inch Eee Top will come with an Intel dual-core Atom 330 processor and cost around $670. Details on the Ion-based rig remain sparse, though it will reportedly sell for a little over $300. Both of these -- along with the ultra-thin notebooks -- will launch in September.
A month later, Asus plans to launch the Eee Keyboard for somewhere between $400 and $500. The Eee Keyboard will work as a fully-functional PC and sport a wireless connection hub.
According to recent reports, Samsung is planning to launch an 11.6-inch netbook based off of Nvidia’s Ion in July.
The reports haven’t said much, but what is known is that the netbook will be run off of an Intel Atom N-series CPU, and that it’ll break Intel’s previously listed 10.2-inch size limit for netbooks. Intel has since cancelled preferential pricing for Samsung.
No official word yet on exactly what the netbook will be called, or what regions can expect it.
Nvidia isn't saying much about its next Ion platform, but if recent rumors turn out to be true, the followup platform looks to be a doozie. According to news and rumor site Fudzilla, Nvidia will double up the number of shaders on the second generation of Ion.
That means Ion 2, as it will likely be called, would ship with at least 32 shaders, providing a big boost to gaming performance on netbooks and nettops built around the platform. And best of all, thermals aren't expected to rise very much, if at all, on the upcoming shrunken version of Ion.
Nvidia's first Ion has yet to really penetrate the market and cut into Intel's Atom platform marketshare, but that could change as more major manufacturers jump on board. Samsung recently announced plans to launch an Ion netbook this month, and Lenovo's Ion-based IdeaPad S12 is due out in August.
Nevertheless, Fudzilla says Ion 2 should launch by the end of this year.
It looks as though all those early jitters notebook vendors had surrounding Nvidia's Ion platform have started to subside, as yet another vendor confirmed plans to build a netbook based around Nvidia's Ion chipset.
This time it's Samsung who's jumping on board, following the announcement of Lenovo's IdeaPad S12 due out in August, the first Ion-based netbook announced from a major PC maker. But while Samsung wasn't the first to announce a netbook with Nvidia graphics, Netbook Choice reports Samsung's N510 is due this month.
A full spec sheet hasn't yet been made available, but in addition to the Ion platform, look for the 11.6-inch N510 to sport an Intel N280 Atom processor (1.66GHz), a 160GB hard drive, 1GB of memory, WiFi, and a webcam.
ASRock, a subsidiary of Asus which made a name for itself offering hybrid AGP/PCI-E motherboards in the socket 939 days without a performance penalty, plans to release a netbook built around Nvidia's Ion platform. Or as ASRock wants to call it, a Multibook.
The 12.1-inch Multibook G22 will come with Intel's dual-core Atom 330 processor (1.60GHz), 2GB of DDR2-667 memory, Nvidia Ion graphics, 320GB hard drive (with support for up to 500GB), a 10-in-1 card reader, 1.3MP webcam, DVD burner, 3 USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, and a bunch of other connections.
At 3.3 pounds sans battery and over an inch thick, it might be tough to classify the G22 as a netbook, which seems to be just fine with ASRock.
Maingear this week announced the Pulse gaming PC, the first Ion-based rig to sport upgradeable Nvidia graphics. The company also claims its Pulse is the "world's greenest gaming PC."
Built around Nvidia's Ion platform, the Pulse comes standard with an Intel 65W Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Quad processor, integrated GeForce 9300 graphics upgradeable to a discrete 9800 GT ECO card which the company says consumes 40 percent less power than a standard 9800 GT, up to 8GB of DDR2-800 memory, up to a 500GB hard drive or 160GB SSD, and an 80+ certified 300W power supply.
"The Maingear Puls with Nvidia graphics perfect for anyone who wants a small, energy efficient, and stylish PC," Maingear stated in a press release. "With its Nvidia Ion-based motherboard, the Pulse delivers the best graphics solution available for low-power, small form factor designs.
Loud bellows can be heard at the ongoing Computex tradeshow in the Taiwanese capital. Nvidia is the one making all the noise with a bagful of Ion-based small form factor products. There are 21 Ion-based products being showcased at the event, including the Acer Desktop AspireRevo, Asus All-in-one eeeTop ET2002 and MSI All-in-one Windtop AE2201. Many of these products had not been heard of prior to Computex. The Ion platform has been at the receiving end of Intel’s contempt. But even Intel must be keenly observing the first wave of Ion-based products at Computex.
Not only is Packard Bell still around (there's a name we don't hear too often), but the former major U.S. player who now spends its time in Europe (kind of like Hasselhoff) is jumping aboard the Ion train with a nettop dubbed the iMax Mini.
Essentially a rebadged Acer AspireRevo, the iMax Mini comes configured with an Intel Atom N230 processor (1.6GHz, 512KB L2 cache, 533MHz frontside bus), 2GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, six USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, and VGA. Underscoring the Ion platform, the iMax Mini will also come with a gamepad.
Other specs remain scarce, however Packard Bell did say it plans to price the new nettop at £249, or about $400USD.
It's official. Now that Lenovo has announced its Ion-based IdeaPad S12, Intel's Atom platform finally has some competition in the netbook arena.
"We've heard from consumers loud and clear about the need for affordable and extremely portable computing devices, and we've responded by introducing our third netbook with a completely new form factor, making mini-computing more usable and redefining value in today's market," said Dion Weisler, vice president, Business Operations, Idea Product Group, Lenovo. "We are pioneering new territory in the developing netbook arena by being the first vendor to give customers high quality video and entertainment capabilities in a netbook with optional Nvidia Ion graphics."
The new 12-inch netbook comes equipped with an Intel Atom N270 processor (1.6GHz, 533MHz frontside bus, 512KB L2 cache), up to 1GB of DDR2-533 memory, up to a 320GB hard drive, and of course integrated Nvidia Ion graphics, the main selling point of the S12.
GottaBeMobile.com has posted videos of the new ultraportable in action, noting that it's "fully capable of being a primary computer for those with basic needs." And we have to admit, the prospect of HD video and serviceable Call of Duty 4 framerates on a sub-$500 portable is mighty appealing.
Lenovo says the S12 will be available in June through business partners starting at $450, with Nvidia Ion-based units "available later this summer."