Nvidia's first Ion offering targeted those machines with a swap-out integrated chipsets. Lose Intel's feeble graphics and gain a rather more powerful Nvidia one, the GeForce 9300M. For netbook makers, it was a largely straightforward exchange.
Acer's Aspire One 532G: eight-core Ion 2 on board
Intel's counter was to move the graphics off the chipset and into the CPU, more a bid to reduce its own platform's power consumption than an attempt to fend off a rival. But many observers thought that Intel's move would have that effect nonetheless. Nvidia can't, after all, cut such a GPU out of the loop.
Well, Ion 2, which makes extensive use of the company's Optimus technology, doesn't seek to. Quite the contrary, it relies on the GMA 3150 to act as a graphics co-ordinator and to ensure power isn't wasted.
Ion 2 is essentially a discrete GPU that ties into the Atom 2.0 platform's NM10 chipset - the other part of Intel's 'Pine Trail' platform - over the PCI Express bus. At all times, the image you see on the screen is managed by the GMA 3150, but Optimus detects when some extra graphical welly is required, and kicks in the GPU to handle the rendering and, if necessary video decoding.
Ion 2 has its own, directly connected bank of up to 512MB of DDR 3 memory in which to render video and 3D, and it then pipes the complete picture through the PCI Express pipe and into the GMA 3150's frame buffer, which has been grabbed from the netbook's main DDR 2 memory bank.
Tying it all in: Ion 2 in a netbook
The Ion 2 GPU remains completely powered down until - if it ever is - needed, and powers right down again when the HD video player app or 3D game has been quit. So no battery power is wasted by keeping a second graphics core ticking over.
yes it will run a home theatre
the outgoing ion1 platform plays blu ray discs flawlessly in the ION330HT boxes.
plug in a tv tuner at the back and windows 7 gives you sky+ style pvr,
awesome, been using one for a month :)
can't wait for ION2 it will be even faster
managed to play race driver grid on ion1 btw :)
I'd say yes
Have an Atom 330 Ion platform at the moment (for another purpose) that I've put Windows on to see how it performs. Windows experience scores were http://i47.tinypic.com/ap7a6t.png
That was with 512MB ram in it as it was all I could find lying around at the time, explaining the low score for that (and also 2D graphics). Should be more than enough for an HTPC, and the new one even more so.
The day Nvidia, MSFT and Intel killed the Netbook
For the time being there is no Optimus support in Xorg. There isn't one in sight either. It will require nvidia releasing specs (which it has not) and probably rearchitecting some major portions of the xorg infra to allow multiple drivers to be loaded at the same time and graphic primitives dispatched to the correct driver as needed.
These are netbooks that is not making my purchasing budget any time soon. In fact with Windows 7 full edition mandatory inclusion these are not likely to make any purchasing budget any time soon. It will be around 400£. Neither cheap, nor small any more.
Time to buy some more hinges for my old faithful HP NC4000. It looks like it will outlast its 5 years expected lifetime by at least a few more years.
The GeForce 9300M supports VDPAU, so a decent Linux distro should be one mean beast on these platforms. And provide a big saving on the cost of upgrading from Win7 Starter to Win7 HP (circa £85 it seems).
I just hope the manufacturer's ship with a well done Linux install or are swift to refund the Microsoft Tax. And ditching that Win7 baggage would allow them to get much closer the the desired price point.
Cue the MS shills.
I have a Lenovo R61 laptop with Intel GM965 integrated graphics, considering the drivers seem to be the same for most Intel graphics chips and that I have a spare PCI-Express Mini slot inside (currently running a new Broadcom Crystal HD card) could I get an NVidia Ion2 in there and will Windows 7 work with it?
A question for NVidia that burns I think! I would love to retrofit real performance graphics to this three year old laptop! It would very much still rock if I could do that.