NVIDIA's Ion Small Form-Factor PC Platform, Live From CES

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http://www.hothardware.com/newsimages/Item7257/nvidia_news.jpgAt the Consumer Electronics Show this past week, NVIDIA was demonstrating a new reference platform for an ultra small form-factor multimedia PC and we should underscore the word "ultra".  To say this new product concept is tiny would be an understatement.  Consider if you will, an entire PC, capable of decoding and playing full 1080p HD video content, in a box that fits in the palm of your hand with a 3" x 4" motherboard.  Based on Intel's 1.6GHz Atom 330 processor with the hearty support of NVIDIA's GeForce 9400M core logic MCP with 16 integrated GeForce graphics cores, NVIDIA's Ion has to be one of the most capable Atom-based small form-factor solutions we've seen thus far.

From what we've seen of Ion's capabilities and the capabilities of products like the Asus N10Jc Netbook (built on Intel's 945 chipset with discrete GeForce 9300M graphics), Ion should take the Netbook and Small Form-Factor Desktop game up a notch or three.  When you consider how products like the Dell Studio Hybrid could benefit from this new technology, Ion appears to be a home run in the making.

We met with Drew Henry, NVIDIA's General Manager of MCP products, at CES and he gave us a tour of Ion, as well as a demonstration of its capabilities.  We've got Ion in today's HotHardware Video Spotlight, so we'll let Drew do the talkin'.



NVIDIA-Provided Benchmarks For The Ion Platform:

CPU

Atom 330, 1.6GHz, FSB 533MHz

Memory

Single Channel DDR3-1066, 2GB

GPU

GeForce 9400M, 16 graphics cores, full HD decode

SATA

3Gbps

Networking

10/100/1000 Ethernet

Audio

7.1 HD Azalia

Max Res.

2560x1600 dual link DVI, 1080p HDMI

 Benchmark Test

 Score

 3DMark 06 Score (default)

 1510

 3DMark 06 SM2

 537

 3DMark 06 SM3

 614

 PCMark Vantage Total

 1727

 PCMark Vantage Memories

 1416

 PCMark Vantage Communications

 1333

 PCMark Vantage Gaming

 1685

 PCMark Vantage Productivity

 1588

 Call of Duty 4: Crew Expendable 1024x768, No AA, (FPS)

 27.21


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Comments

Comments
ice91785 5 years ago

I decided that mITX and SFF are my favorite types of PCs..... this definitely makes me smile

Dave_HH 5 years ago

The thing is sweet for sure. I could see it nestled in with the rest of my TV and Stereo equipment, running off that HDMI output.

Der Meister 5 years ago

Very cool PC, I Liked the video you had of it at CES as well. It should almost take the place of a HTPC, if you used the ESATA ports for a few 1TB stand alone hard drives.

Dave_HH 5 years ago

[quote user="Der Meister"]

Very cool PC, I Liked the video you had of it at CES as well. It sould almst take the place of a HTPC, if you used the ESATA ports for a few 1TB stand alone hard drives.

 

[/quote]

 

 

Exactly, Der... It's got the expansion but also has a 2.5" notebook drive built in and you can get up to even 500G now in that form factor.

ice91785 5 years ago

Your only limiter would be that it looks like it only holds one 2.5" drive -- at the moment this means no more than 500GB of storage -- unless you put all kinds of ext hdds with the unit i guess but what'd be the point of having a sleek computer with dongles and drives all over hanging off of it?

3vi1 5 years ago

I want one in my car!

nelsoncp21 5 years ago

sweet little peice of gear. I am sure you could hook it up to a NAS or something for more storage.

peti1212 5 years ago

40Mbps 1080p video? It's hard to believe but if it is really that fast, then I am very impressed. I want one, lol. I could see some day in my life for my children (if I will have some) to have something like this for school. As technology gets better, I bet it will get incorporated into everyday school life.

tanka12345 5 years ago

Like Pete too, I find it hard to believe. Although, is an Atom fast enough to decode HD video? I would of thought they would use a low power Core 2 Duo instead, as the two cores would help alot. I wonder how much these would cost.

Dave_HH 5 years ago

[quote user="tanka12345"]

Like Pete too, I find it hard to believe. Although, is an Atom fast enough to decode HD video? I would of thought they would use a low power Core 2 Duo instead, as the two cores would help alot. I wonder how much these would cost.

[/quote]
 

It's the IGP in the GeForce 9400M doing the decode and it nearly offloads the host processor completely.

tanka12345 5 years ago

[quote user="Dave_HH"]

[quote user="tanka12345"]

Like Pete too, I find it hard to believe. Although, is an Atom fast enough to decode HD video? I would of thought they would use a low power Core 2 Duo instead, as the two cores would help alot. I wonder how much these would cost.

[/quote]

It's the IGP in the GeForce 9400M doing the decode and it nearly offloads the host processor completely.

[/quote]

If that is so Dave, it looks like a very appealing platform. The only issue I have with it now is the fact that AMD is not associated with this great technology. A key question: Where does AMD fit into all of this? Think about it. AMD could suddenly pop up with a platform likely to be better because they won't have any issues about different parties making different components. AMD and ATI could work in harmony using possibly a mobile 4000 series GPU and one of their dual core processors. I hope they do try and do something, as Intel and Nvidia will benefit from that platform. (Although it could provide greater rewards to focus more on desktop processors and even faster GPUs) Wink)

bob_on_the_cob 5 years ago

My netbook drops frames even at 720p. If that tells you about the Atoms HD ability. The 9400m would do the job I'm sure though. I really like this little guy a lot. I also saw a ITX board from CES with wifi, socket 775, and a PCIe slot. That thing looked nice.

ice91785 5 years ago

[quote user="bob_on_the_cob"]My netbook drops frames even at 720p.[/quote]

 

The question is...why are you watching HD media on a 7" screen???!!??! Stick out tongue

bob_on_the_cob 5 years ago

Output to my TV. Failed experiment.

Der Meister 5 years ago

^lol

Thunder Chunks 5 years ago

I thought that the main stumbling block with Ion and netbook/ small form factor was Intel itself not wanting to work with the Ion platform and remain with its own chipset? Imagine a netbook factor/ windows 7 and Ion it would be all but perfect for the daily commute!

jaynoon 5 years ago

There was nothing in the story about when we might to see actual products based on Atom/Ion..  Any clues?

Dave_HH 5 years ago

[quote user="jaynoon"]

There was nothing in the story about when we might to see actual products based on Atom/Ion..  Any clues?

[/quote]

 

No unfortunately....

BassKozz 5 years ago

MythTV .22, When will you be released so that we can take advantage of VDPAU (out of trunk)?

This will make a great front-end for MythTV to play HD h.264 1080p videos w/ VDPAU on.

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