Acer Aspire Revo SFF NVIDIA Ion PC

Introduction and Specifications

We have been talking about NVIDIA's Ion since late last year when news first broke of the ultra small form factor platform. At the time, NVIDIA's tiny Atom-powered prototype system wasn't even called Ion yet, but images of the miniscule motherboard that would eventually be used in the reference platform had already surfaced and the community was buzzing with interest. One of the major concerns with most netbooks and nettops was their relatively weak integrated graphics solutions, and Ion would potentially address that concern.

Around the time when Ion was first announced, there was some scuttlebutt that Intel "disapproved" of the platform and that the company wouldn't sell OEMs Atom processors separately, without pairing them to an accompanying Intel chipset. Those rumors were soon squashed, however, because Intel does in fact sell Atom processors independent of a chipset. Although, we think it's still pretty safe to say Intel isn't exactly thrilled with Ion's existence.

Regardless of what anyone thinks of Ion though, the platform is moving closer to public availability. We took a look at NVIDIA's Ion reference system a couple of months back and in our conclusion stated that "we want one - preferably sooner than later". Well, the wait is almost over as the first publicly announced Ion design win has landed in the HotHardware labs, Acer's slick Aspire Revo...

Acer Aspire Revo

Acer Aspire Revo NVIDIA Ion SFF PC System
Specifications and Features
  • Acer Aspire Revo
    • Motherboard - NVIDIA ION
    • Northbridge - NVIDIA ION
    • Southbridge - NVIDIA ION
  • GPU
    • NVIDIA GeForce 9400
  • Processor
    • Intel Atom 230
    • Speed - 1.6 GHz
    • L2 Cache per core - 512KB
    • # of Cores - 1 (Single)
  • Memory
    • Size / Config - 2 x 1024 (2GB)
    • Speed (MHz) - 800 MHz
    • Command Rate 1T/2T - 2T
  • Drivers
    • GPU - NVIDIA GeForce v185.38
    • Chipset - NVIDIA nForce v20.10
  • Hard Drive
    • Seagate Momentus 5400.5
    • Speed / Size - 5400 RPM / 160GB
  • OS
    • Windows Vista Premium x32 with SP1
  • Ultra-slim design
  • Windows Vista Home Premium experience
    10x Faster Graphics than competitive graphics solutions
  • DirectX 10 graphics with advanced digital display connectivity
  • HDMI and eSATA ports
  • Premium 1080p HD video with true-fidelity 7.1 channel audio
  • Full support for 24-bit 8-channel LPCM uncompressed audio through HDMI
  • Great mainstream gaming experience on popular games like Spore, LEGO Batman, and Wall-E
  • Accelerated video enhancement and transcoding using NVIDIA CUDA technology
  • CUDA technology unlocks the processing power of the GPU to accelerate video transcoding and run the most compute-intensive applications 

We have already discussed Ion in a previous article here at HotHardware, so we'll paraphrase a bit for an explanation as to what you're seeing in the block diagram above. With the exception of things like I/O port connectors, power and passive components on the PCB, and physical layer chips for network and video connectivity, NVIDIA's Ion is essentially a one chip solution. Supporting Intel's processor families from Core 2 to low power Atom solutions, NVIDIA's Ion MCP offers a multitude of various subsystem functionality. The chipset supports both DDR2 and DDR3 system memory and offers a single x16 PCI Express 2.0 link, as well as 4 x1 links and up to five standard PCI slots. In addition, support for dual link DVI, HDMI, Display Port and analog RGB video output is built in, along with up to 12 USB 2.0 ports, 6 SATA ports and a single Gigabit Ethernet port.

Finally, the integrated Ion graphics core with its 16 shaders, offers full DX10 compatibility and full HD video hardware offload, in addition to other features like Hybrid SLI and NVIDIA's CUDA technology. If you'd like a full refresh on NVIDIA's family of GeForce 9300 and 9400 chipsets which are identical to Ion, we've covered them in depth here previously. After you're done checking out that refresher, continue on and check out the Acer Aspire Revo...

Tags:  SFF, Atom, Acer, HTPC, Revo

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