The ION platform introduced by Nvidia almost two years ago and intended to be used together with Intel Atom processors became a pretty demanded solution in the netbook and nettop market. The secret of success of this Nvidia initiative is fairly simple: ION platform helps to significantly increase the functionality of Intel Atom based systems in a very popular direction. It allows these systems to play high-definition video content. As a result, it is not an all-Intel platform but nettops and netbooks built around Intel Atom processor and Nvidia ION core logic set that can become not only Internet terminals but also fully-functional multimedia centers. Of course, it is also very important to keep in mind that the price of ION based systems is totally comparable with that of all-Intel ones.
However, Nvidia ION platform has already become pretty obsolete. While it was designed to work with Intel Atom processors from the Diamondville family it is incompatible with the newer Intel Atom CPUs from the Pineview generation. And although the old Atom processors do not suffer from any serious issues in terms of performance compared with their successors, it becomes ever more complicated to build systems around them, because Intel has discontinued their processors and stopped taking orders for them since May.
As for the new Pine Trail platform that Intel is currently promoting for the new generation Atom CPUs, unfortunately, they have completely ignored Nvidia’s success at the development stage. Netbooks and nettops built on Intel chips cannot cope with HD video playback, which limits their possible application significantly. Of course, since this feature is in high demand these days Intel came up with a solution – adding external hardware decoders into the system. However, for a number of reasons this solution doesn’t get broad acceptance among netbook and nettop makers.
Therefore, the market is in great need for an alternative platform for Atom Pineview processors that will take over the features and functionality of the retiring Nvidia ION. Of course, Nvidia couldn’t leave these market needs unnoticed and announced Pineview-compatible next generation ION platform back in February 2010. Today this new platform has found its way into actual products and we would like to introduce to you one of them based on a Pineview processor and the notorious Nvidia ION2.