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Portables Graphics Software Entertainment Games Hardware

Ion Platform For Atom Tested With Games, HD Video 115

J. Dzhugashvili writes "Nvidia has already pulled the curtain off its Ion platform, which couples GeForce 9400 integrated graphics with Intel's Atom processor. But how does it perform? The Tech Report has taken the tiny Ion reference system for a spin in games and video decoding to see if the GeForce GPU really helps. The verdict? 1080p playback is actually smooth, and the whole system only draws 25W during playback. Fast-paced action games are another story—Half-Life 2, Quake Wars, and Call of Duty 4 are all choppy with a single Atom core and single-channel RAM, although they do run. TR concludes that Ion is nevertheless a clear improvement over Intel's 945G chipset, especially since Nvidia doesn't expect Ion-based Atom systems to cost significantly more than all-Intel ones." Update: 02/04 09:14 GMT by T : HotHardware is one of the several other sites offering some performance benchmark numbers on the new chipset.
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Ion Platform For Atom Tested With Games, HD Video

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  • by hattig ( 47930 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @01:50PM (#26713259) Journal

    How does the ION chipset compare in power consumption with the mobile 945 used in netbooks (the 6W TDP one, not the 20W+ TDP desktop variant that's a total joke).

    25W for CPU, Chipset, HD, Memory, motherboard doesn't seem as low as it could be.

    Still, if they can get 8 hours out of a 6 cell battery in a netbook with it, great. It's a far far far more advanced chipset than the Intel crud.

  • A reasonable start (Score:5, Insightful)

    by abigsmurf ( 919188 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @01:59PM (#26713427)

    Games performance isn't really the issue for these. These things aren't designed for games.

    What these are best used for are Media Centre setups. However it doesn't play all 1080p content smoothly which is a major issue. There are plenty of options for this kind of thing, the Popcorn hour, the WD HDTV box. Those are good to a point but fall down on format support, especially mkv which doesn't have full subtitle and codec support on either.

    The current best option is an energy efficient Athlon based setup. These cost about $75-$100 more than an atom system and use a bit more power but they'll play back any video you throw at them without dropping any frames.

    Maybe with a dual core atom and using dual core optimised codecs this will reach the goal of never having to notice a dropped frame, regardless of format and bit rate but this atom solution still isn't the Media center beast it could be.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @02:11PM (#26713681)

    nVidia is in no way hurting and nor will it in the forseeable future. consumer entertainment graphics cards are a big slice of their pie, no doubt, but even if that slice were to go away nVidia is where professionals turn for high end data modeling etc.

    we're talkin TFLOPS of GPU power in a 1U rackmount.

  • Re:Damn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @02:14PM (#26713743) Homepage Journal

    Looks like I didn't wait long enough to get the netbook.

    You can never wait too long to get the ultimate configuration, but there is only so long you can wait to have something to use.

  • Re:25 Watts? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <> on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @02:45PM (#26714357) Homepage Journal

    But Intel graphics can't do 1080p

    Perhaps because there isn't optimized MPEG playback code for that chipset?

    Part of the problem here is that on the desktop, Intel's vendors don't want great Intel graphics, they want to be able to sell up to an external display card. So, it's only the laptop platform that could drive an improvement in Intel graphics.

  • by AllynM ( 600515 ) * on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @02:53PM (#26714505) Journal

    A review of the ION platform with a dual core Atom 330 is here: []

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @03:00PM (#26714659) Journal
    I agree that Nvidia has a good slice of life left; but do remember: Nvidia(as well as ATI) got into high-performance workstation stuff, and undercut the super esoteric stuff, in large part because they could amortize much of the R&D cost over huge numbers of consumer parts. There are niches were totally custom esoteric high end stuff can survive, even prosper; but trying to survive exclusively on high end stuff is an ugly business.

    The history of computing is littered with the corpses of high end outfits who were devoured by their cheap junk competitor's gradually improving parts, and rapidly improving price/performance ratio.
  • by Joe U ( 443617 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @03:36PM (#26715327) Homepage Journal

    nVidia/ATI will end up going the way of Creative. It used to be that to get any sort of decent sound you were required to buy a PCI sound card. I'm out of the hard-core gaming scene, but I don't know anyone that uses anything but integrated sound. When I can get 7.1 sound from my motherboard, why would I consider buying something else?

    Creative seriously fucked up the sound card market to try and corner it and wound up destroying audio on the PC. Most of the serious competition got bought up or put out of business by Creative's 'win by any means necessary' plan.

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein