After a very long development process, plagued with manufacturing problems and hassles, NVIDIA finally managed to finish its first DirectX 11 capable graphics cards. And there is one thing certain: if he was alive today and understood computer hardware, nuclear physicist Enrico Fermi would be proud to have the platform named after him. The infamously long-in-development Graphics Fermi 100 (GF100) chips that started production in January this year have finally made their way onto the GeForce GTX 470 & 480 cards.
The results are incredible. They soundly destroy their closest AMD/ATI competitor, the Radeon HD 5870, and elevate the bar to an insanely high standard. The most impressive component of this card is the Tessellation Engine, and its near-linear scaling bodies allow for a practically flawless SLI setup. The 480 has 480 CUDA cores with 1536 MB of GDDR5 RAM, while the 470 has 448 cores and 1280 MB.
While this is all very impressive, one wonders if it is actually worth buying. The power consumption on the GTX 480 is an absolute disaster, after all, requiring a 600W PSU for a single card, and a minimum of a 1000W for SLI. Power users might need to consider something on the order of a 1200W PSU. And there is still no word on OpenGL 4.0 support. All this is coupled with the fact the 480 costs $500 and the 470 costs $350, meaning the HD 5870 is far from dead. The Fermi line might need some work before it becomes practical for many people to use. This card is more like the Intel Core i7 980X of graphics than anything else.
It will be out on April 12 for those who want to play Crysis while running up their energy bill.
Netbooks offer great utility, but with their small, portable builds that utility comes at the cost of capability. However, Nvidia has a plan to supercharge netbooks to a new level. Their new Nvidia Ion graphics processor is said to give 10 times the graphics performance of average netbooks, while still allowing a 10 hour battery life to be maintained.
Nvidia claims that the processor will allow for streaming of HD videos, and even smooth playing of graphically intense games such as World of Warcraft. Drew Henry, Nvidia’s general manager of GeForce and Ion GPUs, boldly proclaimed that “If you want a netbook with the horsepower to play HD video and PC games, your only choice is Ion.”
The processor will make its first debut in the Acer Aspire One 532G netbook, and then will begin to appear in desktops, motherboards, and add-in cards.
This could be a revolutionary change for netbooks. Their low-cost and portability are part of their allure, but if coupled with such a powerful processor they could easily meet or exceed the performance of other notebooks or desktops, giving the product even more of a competitive edge.
March 2, 2010 – This day marks the dawn of the coming generation of hardware platforms. Both AMD and NVIDIA unveiled their new platforms today, meaning some exciting GPU integration for future products.
First off is AMD’s 890GX chipset. This platform is for general motherboard usage across a variety of products. However, it is poised towards the HTPC market, providing high-quality HD viewing with a not so expensive price. The 890GX delivers this using the HD 4920 GPU for integrated graphic, which is DirectX 10.1 compliant and rendering 1080p video through MPEG2, VC-1, and H.264. Also look for USB 3.0 on certain motherboards.
On NVIDIA’s side comes the long awaited Next-Generation ION with Optimus technology, formerly known as the ION 2. The next-gen ION is boasting major gains over the original ION, and NVIDIA claims it will be 10x as powerful as the integrated GPUs supplied by Intel. It will be able to provide 1080p and 3D gaming to your tiny 10.1” screen.
The ION architecture will vary between 10.1” netbooks and larger 12-inch models, with each respectively getting 8 and 16 CUDA cores. There are already 30 products lined up for release with the next-gen ION, with the first being the Acer Aspire One 532G. Look forward to summer where these products should enter the market.
There’s no question that the Nvidia ION is a powerhouse – this little chip can get a netbook running a 1.6 GHz Intel chip to run HD video and allow for modestly intensive gaming. But is it worth the cost?
Intel netbook marketing director Anil Nanduri says no:
“To run multimedia you don’t need a huge graphics chip. And that’s what those third-party decoder solutions will show in the marketplace… We believe (Ion) adds unnecessary additional cost and the other trade-offs make it less desirable. Our customers have the option to design netbooks how they want to but ultimately the market is going to decide.”
Nanduri says there are better ways to crank multimedia power while saving energy on a smaller computer, because “netbooks are not meant for gaming.” Still, if you can game on a netbook, why not?
And gaming’s not the only thing an ION can do – even YouTube has HD options now, and netbook users are going to want in. At the end of the day, Nanduri’s comments may have some accuracy but seem to be motivated by competition rather than genuine concern.
Via TechSpot, image via Nvidia.
Video quality is a touchy subject for people with older netbooks, especially when it comes to HD. However, some serious advances have been made since the days of yore, with the Nvidia ION platform leading the way.
ASUS says it’s going to try to harness the power of the ION chip in new netbooks and nettops, including the Eee PC 1201N, EeeTop ET2002T, EeeBox EB1012, EeeBox 1501, and the AT3N7A-I mini-ITX mainboard. CEO Jerry Shen thinks this will make all the difference:
“Our new ION-powered Eee PCs will redefine netbook and nettop performance. They deliver an outstanding HD experience that isn’t possible with today’s basic integrated graphics.”
ION brings graphics support to XP, Vista, and Window 7 in up to 1080p resolution. It can also stream Flash Player 10.1 video, connect to external monitors, and accelerate a host of other apps using CUDA capability and more.
Q3 of fiscal year 2009, which ended on October 25, resulted in a 74% increase in profits for NVIDIA. Posted revenues amounted to $903.2 million and net income amounted to $107.6 million.
According to NVIDIA president and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, the company “continued to make progress in the third quarter with healthy market demand across the board.” In the fourth quarter, NVIDIA expects revenues to increase by 2% from the third quarter and to have a gross margin fo 40-42%.
The ION 2 is designed for more platforms than the original ION processor, meaning notebooks and desktops – not just netbooks – are in the headlights this time around.
Nvidia execs confirmed that our good friend the Atom will be joined by other processors, including the Celeron, Core 2, and Pentium families in support by the Nvidia chipset. HD video improvement will be the first likely result of the release.
The ION 2 could also be much faster than the Nvidia ION, afford more shading effects, use less power, and smaller in general. Sounds pretty good so far – if the price tag is reasonable, Nvidia could be looking forward to an enjoyable holiday season.
Nvidia and Adobe had announced a committment to bring rich web experiences to netbooks through their all-new Open Screen Project. The project is designed to boost the capabilities of Flash Player 10.1 using Nvidia GPUs. Development of Flash through Nvidia could have a beneficial impact on netbooks, especially considering the extent to which Nvidia chipsets have already appeared in netbooks.
Dan Vivoli, senior VP of Nvidia, explained that “Consumers want the best Internet experience – whether it’s a mobile device in their pocket or a netbook at the coffee shop,” and “[Nvidia’s] engineers have worked closely with Adobe to make this a reality.” This will most likely mean smoother viewing experiences of flash platforms using SD and HD video via Nvidia GeForce, Ion, and Tegra GPUs.
The netbook unfortunately runs a somewhat inefficient nettop processor – the Intel Atom 230. Most netbooks use an N or sometimes Z-series processor.
Some industry insiders are telling us to expect the Weibu N10A in Japan by next week at the latest. Preliminary specs include a 1024 x 600 display, 2 GB of RAM, a 150 GB HDD, HDMI out. The netbook should sell at around ¥49,800, or about $400, without an operating system.
Nvidia says its chipset will offer “a big visual experience with HD video, accelerated video editing, and support for casual gaming in a small, sleek package”. Further features include an HDMI port, USB ports, Ethernet, a multi-card reader and Wi-Fi.
HP is also packaging in Nvidia’s ArcSoft SimHD, a GPU accelerator meant to boost ordinary video into high definition.
The netbook should be available for $400 in the US and will be branded the Compaq Mini 311 in the UK for £349.
Nvidia has a new netbook prototype in the works – the Mobinnova N910. The new netbook could see price points as low as $200.
It rocks a Tegra processor, more powerful than the Intel Atom we’re so used to. You can be confident that streamed HD video won’t be a slideshow with this setup, though the screen is a mere 8.9 inches.
Along with the smaller screen comes, unfortunately, a small keyboard – perhaps around 75% of full size. The touchpad is a little strange as well, with left and right clicks underneath the pad.
However, the Mobinnova N910 will include USB and HDMI ports, a hinged battery, Wi-Fi and 3G support.
Word over at Shanzai has it that Chinese PC manufacturer CASZH has created a netbook prototype featuring the Nvidia ION graphics chip. It should feature otherwise innocuous staples like the 1.6 GHz Intel Atom CPU, a 10.1-inch display, 1024 x 600 pixels, 1 GB of RAM, and a 160 GB hard drive.
The netbook can handle Blu-Ray decoding and HD video, but the low-res screen definitely won’t do them justice. However, with a convenient HDMI port you can hook the computer up to an HDTV and take in all of that glorious video quality.
Other features include 2 USB ports, a microphone, flash card reader, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and a 3-cell battery.
Chinese consumers could get the netbook for as low as $300, but that kind of pricing seems unlikely for US markets.
These netbooks are equipped with the Nvidia Ion chipset, which make them ideal for individuals who love to play 3D video games and watch high definition movies, but the overall price of the machines is also higher. There is no doubt though, that the Nvidia chipset gives Intel Atom-based netbooks a boost in performance.
The news that these new Samsung netbooks will cost $599 has quite a few people thinking twice about buying one. The price tag’s a bit on the high end. Don’t get me wrong though, these are indeed attractive netbooks. But are their price tags really that attractive, especially in this economy?
Even though Windows 7 is on its way, NVIDIA is focusing on the vast number netbook users still on XP by bringing the Ion graphics platform to that operating system.
The ION LE is identical to the existing NVIDIA 9400M mobile graphics Ion technology, but supports only up to DirectX 9 graphics rather than Vista’s DirectX 10 or Windows 7’s DirectX 11. Hopefully, this will augment the platform for better performance with XP.
Microsoft will only allow OEMs to install XP on lower-end netbooks for a year after the October release of Windows 7.
However, a vast majority of games and HD content still run on DirectX 9, at least according to NVIDIA senior product manager of GPUs Mat Wuebbling:
“For a $400 netbook, does [having] DirectX 11 really matter?”
Ion LE should provide the same performance and 1080p HD video as the Ion.
The Point of View Mobii ION 230 might be an eyesore, but it’s not all for show. The new netbook pushes the competition just a bit by running the NVIDIA Ion platform with an Atom N230 CPU, which is usually reserved for nettops.
It comes with an upgradeable 1 GB of RAM and a 160 GB hard drive. One major flaw is a smaller battery, but Point of View claims the netbook can handle 1080p video, DirectX 10, and support for Shader Model 4.0. Unfortunately, its 10.2-inch 1024 x 600 pixel screen is unlikely to exploit that capability to its fullest.
The machine will likely still lag in graphics-intensive games, but this is surely a step up. Point of View reminds us that an affordable gaming netbook isn’t impossible after all – we just need to put a little energy in it.
The Mobii ION 230 will soon be available in Europe in three colors – red, green, and black – for €349 ($495). US release dates, if they exist at all, are thus far unknown.
Quite recently, there were rumors that NVIDIA would be selling netbooks under its own brands. Sorry NVIDIA fans, but it turns out that these rumors are not coming to reality anytime soon. The company says that it has no imminent plans to sell any netbooks.
Early in June, NVIDIA launched its Tegra “system-on-a-chip” package, which is supposed to improve audio and video performance in small tech devices. The Tegra package includes an 800 MHz ARM processor, audio processor, high-def video processor, imaging processor, and ultralow-power GeForce GPU.
While Nvidia has no plans to sell its own netbooks, Mobinnova is rumored to be releasing a Tegra-powered netbook in the future. This netbook, called élan, will weigh less than two pounds and offer between five and ten hours of high-def video playback.
Japan is the first country ever to get a netbook that is powered by the Intel Atom 330 processor and a NVIDIA Ion GPU (graphics processing unit). This netbook is from DosPara and is called the Prime Note Cresion NA.
The Cresion has a 12.1″ screen with a resolution of 1366×768, 2 GB of RAM, and a 320 GB hard drive. Other tech specs for this netbook include an integrated optical drive, a memory card reader, Bluetooth 2.1, Wi-Fi, and HDMI out.
The relatively larger screen size may be nonstandard, but is likely intended to make good use of the high performance graphics unit. The Atom processor in this netbook is paired with a NVIDIA Ion platform, which adds a 9400M GPU for high-definition video playback.
This high-performing netbook doesn’t come at a cheap price. It boasts a price tag of $AU771 (or roughly $630 US dollars), not including the price of the operating system.
People are starting to accept that netbooks aren’t DVD players (with a few exceptions), but it would still be nice if netbooks didn’t struggle with YouTube or Hulu. Nvidia has heard the market’s complaints and come out with a new system-on-a-chip named Tegra, set to boost netbook video immensely.
Mike Rayfield of Nvidia’s GPU described the new Tegra chip as “basically a full motherboard on a PCB (printed circuit board) the size of a pack of gum.”
At Computex 2009, Nvidia said that Foxconn, Wistron, Pegatron and Mobinnova are all planning Tegra netbooks by the end of this year. The new chip will need to compete with Intel’s Atom, the Qualcomm Snapdragon, and the VIA Nano if it hopes to get a chunk of the 21 million netbook sales expected this year.
Tegra is basically an 800 MHz ARM CPU, an HD video processor, an imaging processor, GeForce GPU and an audio processor. Nvidia says they can be used independently or in sync, while keeping battery life long. Power efficiency is going to be a strong focus with the Tegra, so much so that Rayfield says that “with Tegra you can get 120 times longer battery life while listening to music than with the Atom processor and about 10 times more than Snapdragon.”
While comparisons may be tempting, the Tegra family is quite different from the Ion, according to Dean McCarron of Mercury Research.
“Ion is a chipset that pairs graphics capabilities with an Intel Atom CPU… Tegra takes the graphics core and combines it with a CPU that is not an x-86 class.”
Regardless of all the hype surrounding the Tegra, it’s possible that manufacturers won’t bite. “In the netbook market, their chances with Tegra are not great,” said McCarron. “So it is possible that we could see them emphasizing Tegra-based devices in geographies such as China that are more receptive to non x-86 architecture.”
Chinese PC manufacturer Lenovo is offering a netbook (the IdeaPad S12) that will operate on the Nvidia Ion chip. Essentially, this computer chip is a combination of the Intel Atom chip and a Nvidia 9400m graphics unit. Examples of this the S12’s performance capabilities include 1080p video and accelerated h.264 and Blu-ray playback.
Other tech specs of the Lenovo S12 netbook include 1 GB of RAM, a 160 GB hard drive, a 4-in-1 card reader, and an ExpressCard slot for 3G expandability. The S12 also comes with a 3-cell battery, which can be upgraded to a 6-cell battery.
The Lenovo S12 will have a 12″ screen and have a price tag of roughly $450-$500. The unit is rumored to start selling in July 2009.
Nvidia’s CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang, has complained that Intel has an unfair pricing structure for its computer chips. Nvidia complains that Acer, Asus, HP, and Dell netbooks all ship with an Intel Atom processor and 945GSE chipset, but larger-sized netbooks that are powered by a combination of Intel computer chips wouldn’t be as good at supporting high-quality media content.
Nvidia believes that the Intel Atom is a solid computer chip, but isn’t as fond of the Intel graphics chips. Nvidia thus plans on producing graphics chips that are compatible with the Intel Atom.
While Huang believes that the pricing structure of Intel is “unfair,” Intel spokesman Bill Clader states that netbook makers are able to purchase chips from whatever manufacturers they want and that the Intel Atom chip can be bought either separately or with other chips. (Purchasing the set of chips would be cheaper though.) As of now, Huang has no legal action planned.
Image from ExtremeGaming.