Netbook makers hoping to offer Nvidia's ION platform will have to open their wallets a little wider than what they might be accustomed to. Straight from the horse's mouth, Intel charges more for the Atom processor as a standalone product than it does when combined with its own chipset.
"We have historically offered better pricing to people who buy more product," Intel CEO Paul Otellini said during a conference call to discuss Intel's $1.45 billion fine from the European Commission.
In January, Nvidia was asked how much the ION would add to the cost of a netbook.
"It's hard to guesstimate, but our GPUs have a price range from $30 to $40," responded Jen-Hsun Huang, Nvidia CEO. "It replaces two other chips, the Northbridge and Southbridge, and will certainly be less than that."
Or more, depending on the price premium Intel puts on ordering a bare Atom chip. Given the record setting fine Intel just received for alleged anti-competitive practices and the existing bad blood between Intel and Nvidia, this could get very interesting.
Nvidia has just released a new WHQL-certified driver, version 185.85, for GeForce videocard and ION platform owners. The new driver adds official support for the recently released GTX 275 videocard, as well as support for CUDA 2.2, which Nvidia says will result in improved performance in GPU computing applications. Other performance claims include:
Up to 25 percent in The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
Up to 22 perent in Crysis: Warhead with antialiasing enabled
Up to 11 percent in Fallout 3 with antialiasing enabled
Up to 14 percent in Far Cry 2
Up to 30 percent in Half-Life 2 engine games with 3-way and 4-way SLI
Up to 45 percent in Mirror's Edge with antialiasing enabled
You read that right - that's up to a 45 percent boost in Mirror's Edge, according to Nvidia. In addition, 185.85 updates the PhysX software to 9.09.0408 and offers "numerous bug fixes." Barrage of links below.
Two new nettops based on Nvidia's Ion platform have been unveiled in Taipei this week, one by ASRock and the other by Pegatron Technology. ASRock's Ion 330 trades in the oft-used single-core Atom processor for a dual-core variant, the Atom 330 CPU (1.6GHz, 1MB L2 cache, 533MHz frontside bus). Not much else is known about the PC, other than it comes with an integrated DVD optical drive.
Taking up a slimmer form factor, Pegatron's Cape 7 comes encased in white plastic and has four USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port, HDMI port, 3.5mm audio jack, and a power connector for an external power brick. It doesn't come with an optical drive, nor are there any details regarding the processor.
While these are some of the first dual-core Atom 330 based nettops to be spotted in the wild, they won't be the last. According to web rumblings, Nvidia expects around 40 Ion platforms to show up on the markt by the end of the year, some of which are bound to come with dual-core Atoms.
We first learned of Acer's plans to release an Ion-based nettop back in February of this year when leaked slides hit the web, and now another leak reveals what the specs might look like.
As it stands, Acer's Hornet nettop will come in three SKUs, each one outfitted with Intel's Atom N230 processor. Other specs, depending on the model, include up to 2GB of RAM, up 160GB of storage, optional WiFi, optional wireless keyboard and mouse, and other odds and ends.
The upcoming Hornet also looks to take a page from Nintendo with a Wii-style remote that can be used for both gaming and media controls.
No word yet on availability, although news and rumor site DigiTimes says it will debut in Beijing on April 8. Pricing is expected to be in the $150 to $300 range.
For some time Nvidia has been telling us that we’d be looking at an Ion based desktop sometime this Spring, but we hadn’t had any reason to believe this given that it has yet to show up in any consumer hardware. That is until recently, when some leaked slides displaying an Acer nettop, were released.
The slides tell us very little about the machine, but what we will know is that it’ll be based off of Intel’s Ion, have HDMI output, will have a wireless controller/mouse, and will supposedly be able to hang from the back of a LCD TV. As for substantial information goes, there wasn’t anything to be found.
Now, none of this has been confirmed by any sources, but there are plenty of convincing slides. So, if you want to take a gander at them and be the judge, check them out here.
Once Intel turned its spat personal with Nvidia by slamming the GPU maker's Ion platform, which came after Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang charged Intel with attempting to "stifle innovation to protect a decaying CPU business," which came after Intel sued Nvidia over a Nehalem license, which came after what looked to be a truce between the two companies when Nvidia finally loosened its license on SLI technology for use on Intel's X58 chipset...where were we again? Ah yes, it was Nvidia's turn to publicly respond to Intel's Ion bashing in "Oh no he didn't!" fashion, and so the GPU maker has fired back with a 13-page document in defense of Ion.
While Intel's document pleads with vendors to not buy the hype surrounding Ion, Nvidia's document, titled "Nvidia Response to Intel Claims on Ion," says that the Ion gives a "faster, more feature rich, better experience." The company also dedicates three pages to quotes from Microsoft, software and game developers, and technical publications in an attempt to refute Intel's claim about a lack of support for Ion.
It's not quite the 'go-for-the-throat' verbiage we've recently come to expect from these two companies, though Nvidia did take a few jabs at Intel's Atom platform. Nvidia referred to its MCP79M/MCP7A-based Ion as a "modern 2 chip solution" compared to Intel's "4-year-old 3 chip design." Nvidia also contends that Intel's upcoming Pineview, an Atom chip with an on-die IGP, will just force consumers to use Intel graphics rather than improve performance and expand CPU support like the second-gen Ion will do.
Oh, and Nvidia did include a giant VIA Nano logo next to four smaller Intel CPU logos, which in geekville is the equivalent of flipping someone the bird. Atta boy, Nvidia.
Forget about a woman scorned - Hell hath no fury like Intel and Nvidia going at each other, both in and out of the courtroom. After being sued by Intel last week over a Nehalem chipset license, Nvidia president and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang responded by saying the suit was "clearly an attempt to stifle innovation to protect a decaying CPU business." And in a related press release, Huang pointed out how much better Nvidia's Ion platform is compared to Intel's current three chip design.
Now a week later, the latest episode of "As the Chipset World Turns" has Intel reportedly slamming Nvidia's Ion platform. According to news and review site Bit-Tech, Intel is sending out a document titled "Nvidia Ion Competitive Positioning Guide," which includes everything Intel sees wrong with the platform.
Nvidia showcased its bantam Ion platform during CES 2009. The Ion platform basically combines Intel’s Atom CPU with the GeForce 9400M GPU. Ion-toting netbooks are expected to be head and shoulders above today’s netbooks - that make a meal of even the simplest graphical tasks - in terms of graphics.
Is the Atom CPU stunting PC growth by lowering the minimum spec or is it the perfect processor for people who just want an internet gateway? That's the big topic of debate on this week's edition of the No BS Podcast. The gang tackles the usefulness of kitchen-based PCs, Intel's 32nm chip announcement, and field criticisms from readers who call in about our anti-deer remarks. We also discuss our predictions for the future of graphics technology and when we expect game visuals to reach photorealism. All that and Gordon's rant of the week in this week's episode!
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are standing by.
According to Nvidia’s General Manager of MCP business, Drew Henry, the first Ion-based PC will be a nettop that will sell for around $299.
The Ion platform, which has passed Microsoft Windows Vista WHQL certification, will be able to support high-definition multimedia graphics processing.
Mr. Henry did mention that Nvidia was considering a possible partnership with VIA Technologies to create a low-cost PC platform, but other than that there’s no word yet availability. It’s expected that the nettop will be shipping June of this year.