NVIDIA Ion Reference PC Platform Deep Dive

PCMark Vantage vs Atom and Nano

NVIDIA Accelerates the Search For a Cure

We then ran the NVIDIA Ion platform through Futuremark’s latest system performance metric built specifically for Windows Vista, PCMark Vantage. PCMark Vantage sets up a host of different usage scenarios to simulate different types of workloads including High Definition TV and movie playback and manipulation, gaming, image editing and manipulation, music compression, communications, and productivity.  Most of the tests are multi-threaded as well, so the tests can exploit the additional resources offered by a dual or quad-core CPU.  Here we're comparing the Ion platform to both an Intel Atom reference platform on an Intel D945GCLF motherboard and the VIA Nano reference platform as well.

Futuremark PCMark Vantage
Simulated Application Performance

Unfortunately, when we set the Ion platform to run both cores of the Atom 330 processor for four threads of total processing resources, the system eventually crash out of the test.  We're still digging into the reason for this and in fact it may well be software related.  Regardless, as a result, we only have performance with the Ion platform using an Atom 230 setup, which offers two processing threads via Intel's HyperThreading technology on a single physical core.

Here the Ion platform shows itself to be a bit more balanced in terms of performance, but it does fall short in a couple of tests that are more heavily weighted by hard disk throughput.  Recall from our test system specs that the Intel Atom and VIA Nano refernce platforms were setup with a standard desktop hard drive, versus the 2.5" notebook drive in the Ion box.  Where Ion excels is pretty obvious however, that being the gaming test and overall PCMark score which is a combination of a number of tests from the Vantage suite.  NVIDIA's GeForce 9400 GPU core in the chipset offers significantly more multimedia punch versus either of the two competitive products, roughly 2X the performance in the gaming test.

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