Feeds

Nvidia drives in second-gen Ion

Revamped HD graphics for netbooks

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

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.

Nvidia Ion 2

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.

Nvidia Ion 2

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.

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
One step closer to ROBOT BUTLERS: Dyson flashes vid of VACUUM SUCKER bot
Latest cleaner available for world+dog in September
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?