May 2, 2009 at 3:16 pm
Nvidia’s ION platform is already making its way into a number of nettops and its inclusion in netbooks shouldn’t be that far off. ION takes an Intel Atom processor and partners it with a GeForce 9400M in place of the ageing 945 chipset. To show you how much of an improvement the ION platform is over current solutions, X-bit Labs have taken an engineering sample and given it a thorough testing.
They compare the ION platform to Intel’s 945 chipset across a number of different benchmarks including Windows Experience, PC Mark Vantage, 3DMark06, games, internet, power consumption and HD video playback. It’s interesting to see that whilst ION performs significantly better than the 945 chipset in 3D benchmarks, it’s still some way off the ability to play the latest games. X-bit’s view is that it cannot “be regarded even as an entry level gaming system”. The main issue is that the slow CPU acts as a bottleneck to the GPU (9400M).
Despite this, ION does help the HD video playback side of things. The 9400M can accelerate HD video which means that ION can play movies in H.264, VC-1 and MPEG-2 formats even in 1080p resolution without any problems. Of course, for this to be of any real use in netbooks, we need to start seeing higher-resolution displays become more commonplace. For those interested in Nvidia Ion platform, we suggest having a read of the X-bit report here. It covers a lot of background information on ION as well as some extensive benchmarking.