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.
Thanks to fierce competition between two GPU juggernauts and a worldwide economic recession, never has there been a better time for gamers to trade in their scratch for the latest videocard technology from either AMD/ATI or Nvidia. The price to performance ratio is at an all time high, but before we get too spoiled on falling prices for increasingly powerful GPUs, AMD has made it clear that it has no intention of duking it out with Nvidia in a price slashing war.
"Are we interested in winning share by losing money on every GPU we ship? No," said Rick Bergman, AMD's senior vice president. "We're not going to engage in that and we haven't had to."
Bergman's comments came in response to questions about what the chip maker was doing to compete with Nvidia at the low end. But according to Bergman, AMD has been able to entice OEMs with better stability and performance per dollar versus Nvidia's aggressive pricing strategy.
"If you go and look at Dell, HP, or Acer's website, you'll actually see a lot of ATI graphics at the entry level," Bergman added.
Bergman also played off any concerns AMD might have with Intel's upcoming Larrabee, while also adding that in a year from now, AMD will "have something new and exciting," but did not elaborate on what that might be.
Lenovo’s IdeaPad S12 is the soul of a netbook trapped in the anatomy of a notebook. It has now become clear that Lenovo plans to release three variants of this 12-inch netbook, which it had announced as the world’s first Ion-based netbook last month – the Ion-based SKU will be available later in the summer. Lenovo has begun accepting pre-orders for a Nano-based variant of this netbook. Of course, an Atom-powered SKU is also available.
The Via Nano powered IdeaPad S12 features a VIA Nano ULV 2250 processor and VIA Chrome9 HC3 graphics. The combination is expected to outperform the Atom-based S12 variant, featuring the Atom N270 processor along with Intel 945GSE chipset. The Nano-powered S12 can be ordered for $449, whereas its Atom-toting counterpart is priced $499.
Just in case you missed our review of the new GTX 295 reference board last month, we’ll revisit the high points. To make a GeForce GTX 295, Nvidia sandwiched a fairly large heatsink between a pair of boards—that’s one kick-ass sandwich!
The GTX 295’s GPUs are basically modified GTX 280 GPUs. They’ve got the same shader core configuration as the GTX 280, but Nvidia shrunk the chip’s die from 65nm to 55nm, and lowered the core clock speed to 576MHz (the same as the GTX 260). These two adjustments help keep power requirements and heat generation under control, while the full complement of 240 shader cores keeps the frame rate up in shader-limited benchmarks, such as Crysis and Far Cry 2.
At long last, Nvidia may finally adding DirectX 10.1 support to its videocards, assuming Fudzilla is right on the money. According to the news and rumor site, Nvidia's GT200 will be refreshed to a 40nm manufacturing process and the new chips will sport DX10.1.
To date, ATI has been the only one to offer DX10.1 support on some of its videocards (yes, we're completely ignoring S3's Chrome series), a minor extension to DX10 that thus far hasn't meant much for gamers. To to fuel the conspiracy flames, that could change with Nvidia jumping on board. Remember that DX10.1 instructions did at one point show a performance boost on ATI cards in Assassin's Creed, but after a patch removed support for the instruction set, some accused Ubisoft of bowing to pressure from Nvidia after the GPU maker sponsored the title with its The Way It's Meant To Be Played program.
In any event, it looks like refresh will come on the tail end of summer or early fall.
Zotac, a relative newcomer to the videocard market, has doubled up the amount of GDDR3 memory found on most GTX 275 videocards to 1792MB. Sparkle and EVGA are the only other two GPU partners to pack the same amount of memory on the GTX 275.
"We try to deliver the best performance value for gamers. With the new Zotac GeForce GTX 275 1792MB, we've managed to achieve a balance of performance and value for those that demand more video memory for gaming at extreme HD resolutions," said Carsten Berger, marketing director, Zotac International.
Additional memory aside, Zotac's GTX 275 follows closely Nvidia's reference specification, with core, shader, and memory clockspeeds checking in at a 633MHz, 1404MHz, and 2268MHz, respectively, 240 stream processors, and a 448-bit memory interface.
Finally, here’s a 3D gaming solution that doesn’t send us headfirst into a vomit bag. GeForce 3D Vision is Nvidia’s attempt to revive stereoscopic 3D, a century-old technology that has never been implemented successfully in PC gaming (despite many headache-inducing efforts in the late ’90s). Along with wireless shutter glasses and an IR emitter, this $200 kit comes with the promise that you’ll be able to enhance your existing library of DirectX games by turning them into true 3D experiences—if you’re running a GeForce 8800 GT or better videocard. And for the most part, the promise is delivered —but not without some serious issues.
According to Rick Bergman, AMD’s Senior Vice President for Platforms, he and his crew are looking to beat Nvidia to the world of DX11.
According to Bergman, “We want to supply hardware to Microsoft and software developers so they can make DX11 games on our hardware first.” This would put AMD ahead of Nvidia, something that hasn’t happened for several years, thanks to Nvidia’s dominance in the DX10 market. “We were kind of fighting from behind, but with DX11 it feels like we’re ahead this round.”
Despite reports that very few game titles would take advantage of DX11, Bergman is keeping up his enthusiasm. Reportedly, he knows of a handful of independent software vendors that are working “eagerly” to release games.