The ASUS Eee PC 1015PN is part of the second wave of netbooks. So what exactly does a netbook require to be branded as a second-generation netbook? A dual-core processor at the very least. The 10.1-inch Eee PC 1015PN makes the cut as it not only boasts a dual-core 1.5GHz Atom N550 but also NVIDIA’s Ion 2 graphics chip.
Although currently unavailable stateside, the 1015PN has made its Amazon.com debut. It’s currently listed as “temporarily out of stock,” but interested parties can go ahead and order it now for $429.99, with Amazon promising to deliver the netbook when it becomes available.
Asus has gone and shipped off its new Eee PC 1015PN netbook to Europe, the company's first to be built around Nvidia's Ion 2 platform.
Ion 2 gives the 1015PN some pixel pushing punch by way of a GeForce GT218 GPU, and to keep the 6-cell battery from prematurely crapping out when all you're trying to do is surf the Web, the 1015PN also comes with Nvidia's Optimus graphics switching technology.
Other spec include an Intel Atom N475 processor clocked at 1.83GHz, 1GB of DDR3 memory, a 250GB hard drive, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Windows 7 Starter.
Most European vendors have the 1015PN listed at around $500.
Nvidia's long awaited Ion 2 platform is gaining steam in the nettop world. In addition to Asus' upcoming Eee Box EB1501P that's slated for release in a few weeks, Jetway has already started shipping its Mini Top HBJC600C99-52W-BW (we'll just call it the Mini Top, mmkay?).
Jetway's Mini Top sports an Intel dual-core Atom D525 processor clocked at 1.8GHz and an Nvidia Ion 2 graphics chip. Between the two, the Mini Top should be able to handle all those high-definition movies with little trouble, and while it won't run Crysis (so please don't ask), we expect this rig to be able to handle some lightweight gaming chores.
The Mini Top comes with two SO-DIMM slots with support for up to 4GB of DDR2 (the Eee Box supports DDR3), 7.1 channel onboard audio, a single serial ATA 3Gbps connector, eSATA/USB combo port, five embedded USB 2.0 ports, two front-mounted USB 2.0 ports, 3-in-1 memory card reader, HDMI 1.3, DVI-I, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and an optional VESA bracket.
Jetway says you can pick in the Mini Top in white or black, and we spotted the latter selling on Newegg for $270.
Here we are several months after the official launch of Nvidia's Ion 2 platform and still no Ion 2 netbook in sight. We thought that was going to change with Acer's Aspire One 532G-22s, but according to French website blogee.net, Acer has gone and canceled the netbook, both overseas and in the U.S.
Other than the Nvida Ion 2 graphics, the 532G-22s had all the makings of a modern day netbook, including an Atom N450 processor clocked at 1.66Ghz, 2GB of DDR2 RAM, a 160GB hard drive, 1.3MP webcam, three USB 2.0 ports, Wi-Fi, Windows 7 Home Premium, and other odds and ends. So what happened?
That part's less than clear, though the Google-translated site makes mention of technical problems and/or driver issues that, at the end of the day, prevented the netbook from offering enough of a performance punch over non-Ion 2 SKUs. Bummer.
Nvidia this morning officially launched its next-generation Ion platform, and with it, we expect a deluge of product announcements. One of those comes from Zotac, who today announced what it claims is the world's first Ion 2 powered mini-PC.
"The ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 mini-PC is perfect for home theater PC use as well daily usage. Watching high-definition movies with premium audio tracks is a rewarding experience with the ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ID11 mini-PC." Mr. Berger said. "The amount of clarity high-resolution 7.1-channel digital surround sound audio brings to the experience is phenomenal and can’t be put into words."
Boasting easy customization with a tool-less case design, Zotac says users can cram their own memory and 2.5-inch SATA hard drive into the ZBox HD-ID11. Otherwise, the rig comes built around Nvidia's next-gen Ion platform and includes an Intel Atom D510 dual-core processor clocked at 1.66GHz, 802.11n Wi-Fi, HDMI and DVI outputs, VESA monitor mount, OpenCL compliance, Gigabit Ethernet, and Windows 7. It also includes six USB 2.0 ports, a single eSATA port, and a 6-in-1 memory card reader.
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.
Intel's Pine Trail platform has already hit the netbook scene, so where's the next-gen Nvidia Ion graphics? Glad you asked, says Acer, the first company to show off a netbook outfitted with Nvidia's Ion 2 chipset.
Looking to set a "netbook trend in the digital world," Acer's just-announced Aspire One 532G sports all kind of higher-end goodies, at least in the realm of netbooks. The 10.1-inch unit comes with an Intel Atom N450 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, and Nvidia's Ion 2 with 512MB of dedicated memory to give the integrated GMA3150 graphics a boost when needed.
"Enjoy smoooth and flawless 3D computing, mainstream PC gaming, boost the performance of editing and converting videos, face-tagging photos, and hi-def video playback up to 1080p via HDMI-output to HDTV," Acer explains.
Acer also wants to put to rest any concerns of sub-par battery life, claiming you can expect up to 10 hours of run time.
The Aspire one 532G will start shipping at the end of the quarter and come in Sapphire Blue, Ruby Red, and Pearl Silver.
Netbooks might never become full-blown notebook replacements, but they do keep inching towards powerful companions capable of more than just basic Web surfing and emailing. Nvidia's Ion platform is largely to thank, and come April, Asus said it will have an Eee PC ready built around Nvidia's second-gen Ion platform, Ion 2.
The upcoming Eee PC will probably sport an Intel Atom N450 processor, currently the newest Atom on the block. And so will most other netbooks, as Intel's Atom N270 and N280 chips start to disappear from the limelight, with models built around those two chips starting to be phased out of the market place.
Asus will also tap into AMD's Congo platform with 12-inch Eee PCs. These should start shipping next month, though it's unclear if that includes the U.S. market.
News and rumor site Fudzilla claims to have had an "interesting chat with key people involved in Nvidia's Ion project," all of which sounded pretty confident about the company's next generation Ion, or Ion 2.
As previously reported, the new Ion chip will act like a discrete GPU, a necessary transition because of how Intel has designed Pinetrail. It will also support Windows 7, boast over 5 hours of battery life, and according to Nvidia, has the potential to run 5 to 10 times faster than Atom with Pine Trail graphics. And while Pinetrail will only be able to play Flash content in SD, Ion 2 will support both SD and HD playback, according to Fudzilla's chit-chat. On top of it all, Ion 2 will support Blu-ray and 1080p, as well as mainstream gaming.
So what's the caveat? Put simply, Ion 2 will cost more than an Atom platform built around Pine Trail. That doesn't seem to bother Nvidia a whole lot, who says that its customers will put a higher value on HD, Blu-ray, transcoding, video editing, and casual gaming capabilities.
According to some chatty sources in the PC industry, Acer has placed orders with Nvidia for the company's upcoming Ion 2 chips, which are being designed to support Intel's Pineview parts (Atom N450, N470, D510, and D410 processors).
This is a somewhat different scenario than with the original Ion platform, which was a chipset with IGP. But Intel's Pine Trail-M (netbooks) and Pine Trail-D (nettop) chips have changed things around by moving the northbridge duties -- memory controller and IGP -- onto the CPU. So this time around, Nvidia's Ion 2 part will be more like a discrete GPU, the sources say.
It's a win-win combo for both sides. Acer's Ion-based AspireRevo nettops have been well received by consumers, and Acer expects the same to be true with its Ion 2-based builds.