Nvidia Ion, Beefing Up The Atom

by Rafael Hernandez on February 3, 2009 · 0 comments

Intel’s Atom processor is a great choice for all of those low-power computing situations, such as that whole new netbook market that just so happens to lean on the chip quite heavily. Unfortunately the supporting chipset Intel offers isn’t very adept at handling all manner of high-def multimedia content. In comes the Nvidia Ion platform which pairs the low power CPU and a feature rich chipset. The Tech Report has a look:

As far as motherboard GPUs go, the GeForce 9400 is Nvidia’s newest
and its best. On the desktop, where it runs with Core 2 processors, the
9400 easily trounces Intel’s latest G45 Express integrated graphics
chipset. With an Atom onboard, however, the GeForce only has to compete
with the lowly 945G chipset series–designs whose roots are four years
old. In the world of over-used tech site car metaphors, that’s like
lining up the latest BMW 1-series against a four-year-old Toyota Echo.
Not that we’d stoop to such lazy and repetitive clichés.

As its name implies, the GeForce’s integrated graphics core really
is the star of the chipset. This is an honest-to-goodness GeForce
9-series GPU, complete with full support for DirectX 10, Shader Model
4.0, and of course, the slow trickle of CUDA-aware applications that
leverage GPU power for general-purpose processing. The GeForce 9400 has
16 shader CUDA processors running at 1.1GHz, and
they’re paired with four ROPs and a 450MHz graphics core. Those clock
speeds are comparable to those of the GeForce 9300 for LGA775
processors, which also runs its core at 450MHz but clocks its shaders
at 1.2GHz. Don’t ask me why a lower shader clock earns the Ion
platform’s GeForce an extra hundred points.

A great future option for computing power in tight spaces and low-power HTPC usage.

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