Zotac NVIDIA Ion Motherboard: SFF Goodness

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Gaming: Left 4 Dead and ET: Quake Wars

With a low-power processor and integrated graphics solution, we didn't really expect the Zotac Ion motherboard to churn through today's hot gaming titles, but with a DX10-class NVIDIA Ion GPU at its heart along with a dual core CPU, the Zotac board should be able to provide some level of game play, whereas a competing Intel-based solution may not even be able to launch the game, let alone render it properly.

Left 4 Dead
DirectX Gaming Performance


Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead is a co-operative, survival horror, first-person shooter that was developed by Turtle Rock Studios, which was purchased by Valve part-way into development. Like Half Life 2, the game uses the Source engine, however, the visuals in L4D are far superior to anything seen in the Half Life universe to date. The game pits four Survivors of an apocalyptic pandemic against hordes of aggressive zombies. We tested the game at resolutions of 1280x720 and 800x600 with gaming quality settings set to medium or high, depending on the feature.

 The Zotac Ion board blew well past the Aspire Revo here, and hung right alongside NVIDIA's reference platform. This just goes to show that Ion is held back considerably by the Atom CPU.

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
OpenGL Gaming Performance


Enemy Territory:
Quake Wars

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is Based on an enhanced version of id's Doom 3 engine and viewed by many as Battlefield 2 meets the Strogg, and then some.  In fact, we'd venture to say that id took EA's team-based warfare genre up a notch or two.  ET: Quake Wars also marks the introduction of John Carmack's "Megatexture" technology that employs large environment and terrain textures that cover vast areas of maps without the need to repeat and tile many smaller textures.  The beauty of megatexture technology is that each unit only takes up a maximum of 8MB of frame buffer memory.  Add to that HDR-like bloom lighting and leading edge shadowing effects and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars looks great, plays well and works high end graphics cards vigorously. 

Although the framerates are lower, Enemy Territory follows the same performance trend as Left 4 Dead. The Zotac Ion board finishes just behind the NVIDIA Ion reference platform, but ahead of the others. And the addition of a dual core CPU, give the Zotac board a significant advantage over the singe core equipped Aspire Revo.


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