Nvidia Unleashes Discrete Graphics Chip for Netbooks

Nvidia Launches Ion 2 as Discrete Graphics Product

by Anton Shilov
03/02/2010 | 01:52 PM

Nvidia Corp. on Tuesday formally unveiled its new graphics solution for netbooks and nettops. Although the new chip is known as the Ion 2, a brand that Nvidia used to utilize to mark a chipset, it is a discrete graphics chip that supports DirectX 10.1 along with general purpose processing on graphics processing units (GPGPU).


Nvidia Ion 2 resembles the GeForce 210M chip that supports 16 stream processing units, 64-bit memory controller along with DirectX 10.1, GPGPU capabilities as well as Optimus technology so to trim power consumption and enable up to 10 hours battery life, according to Nvidia. The discrete graphics processor, which is compatible with Intel’s new generation Atom “Pintrail” processor and platform, is only turned on when it is actually needed for a video game, Blu-ray disc playback, Adobe Flash 10.1 acceleration and so on. The new GPU is made using 40nm fabrication process.

It is rather natural that the GeForce 210M cannot provide decent level of performance when it comes to video games, nevertheless, considering the fact that Atom-based systems are not meant to perform, the Ion 2 may be just what the doctor ordered for netbooks or nettops.

“If you want a netbook with the horsepower to play HD video and PC games, your only choice is Ion. The new Ion netbooks deliver an unbeatable combination of performance and battery life. We continue to raise the standard for what a netbook should be,” said Drew Henry, general manager of GeForce and Ion GPUs at Nvidia.

Thanks to its discrete nature, the Ion 2 will be more popular compared to its predecessors thanks to the lack of necessity to compete against Intel onto the latter’s own field. More than 30 products featuring the new Ion 2 solution are expected to launch by this summer including netbooks, small form-factor desktops, barebone systems, motherboards, and discrete add-in cards. The Acer Aspire One 532G (10”) and Asustek Computer EeePC 1201PN (12”) are expected to be the first new Ion netbooks to be introduced. New all-in-one PCs powered by next-generation Ion will include the Asus EeeTop 2010PNT and Lenovo C200. Channel partners including AOpen, AsRock, Asus, Foxconn, Giada, J&W, Jetway, Pegatron, POV, Shuttle and Zotac also plan to introduce new Ion-based products soon.