May 14 2010

ASUS Eee PC 1201PN Ion Netbook Available for Pre-order on Amazon

The ultraportable ASUS Eee PC 1201PN netbook is now available for pre-order on Amazon Germany.  The 12″ ultraportable is currently available in three colors – black, silver, and red, and packs a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N450 processor, 2 GB of RAM, a 250 GB hard drive, and a NVIDIA Ion graphics chipset. Other tech specs include Wi-Fi, gigabit ethernet, Bluetooth 2.1, three USB ports, and HDMI and VGA outputs.

The ASUS Eee PC 1201PN is priced at €479, or roughly $600 US.  No information is yet available on the shipping date, but ASUS is planning on introducing the Eee PC 1215N netbook in July, which is essentially a hyped up version of the 1201PN with Optimus support and a new, dual-core Intel Atom processor.  We’ll be sure to keep you updated on any future releases.

Via SlashGear.

Mar 27 2010

NVIDIA Behemoths Released To The Wild: The GeForce GTX 470 & 480

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.

Via DailyTech

Mar 11 2010

JooJoo Tablet Packing A First-Gen ION Under The Hood

So the JooJoo, still proof that tablet makers need to think of better names, hit the FCC today, and we finally learned what exactly it is packing.  And if I dare say so – as a guy who has had little faith in the whole CrunchPad endeavor – it isn’t half bad, if a bit dated.  It carries an Intel Atom 270 with a first-generation Nvidia ION, explaining its 1080p and HD Flash playback.  3G support will be coming later this year, but details are still a little sketchy.

The news of an Nvidia ION means performance will likely not be an issue for an internet tablet, but battery life could easily be a problem.  This does after all have a massive 12.1” touchscreen with a fairly inefficient  processor.  Still, things have become interesting for a tablet that I had mostly written off as non-extraordinary and the $499 price-tag seems somewhat justified now.

Two more things: yes, that is indeed the JooJoo running Windows Vista in a test device, and the video format support list is very impressive compared to many other tablets.  It includes AVI, MPEG-4, MOV, WMV and WMA, FLV (Flash Video), VOB, OGG, OGM and OGV, MKV (Mastroska), DiVX and XViD.  We’ll see how well it actually fares once it starts shipping in a few weeks.

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Mar 3 2010

Netbook Gaming to be Supercharged With New Nvidia ION

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.

Via EWeek.

Mar 3 2010

AMD and NVIDIA Begin HTPC/Netbook Platform War of 2010

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.

Via DailyTech

Feb 26 2010

The Time Has Come for the Atom N470 Netbook Processor

Netbook buyers and enthusiasts should be happy to know that this coming Monday Intel will be releasing the Atom N470 Processor, which will be Intel’s most powerful chip yet for netbooks. The processor will enhance both the performance speed of the machine and longevity of the battery.

The chip will run at a speed of 1.83GHz and integrate a graphics processor and memory controller. These features will give netbooks superior graphics and processing performance compared to their predecessors. The fact that the new chips are also more efficient could result in an increase for some netbooks’ battery life performance. The chip’s integration also results in a decrease of size, which could allow smaller and lighter netbooks to be made.

Though this new chip is a great step, there are still strides to be made in the effort to increase efficiency and utility. For example, Nvidia graphics processors and Atom CPU will be coupled together to bring better high-definition video to some netbooks in early March, and it’s this kind of innovation that will drive the industry forward.

Via PCWorld.

Feb 22 2010

Apple A4 Chip Could be a $1 Billion Investment

A report in The New York Times has estimated that Apple’s new A4 chip was a $1 billion investment for the company. The report was profiling the rise of competitors to Intel such as Apple, Nvidia, and Qualcomm.

Intel has been trying to get companies to use its Atom processor for mobile devices, but Atom chips cost more and use more power than competing ARM chips, like Apple’s A4. The upcoming iPad will contain a 1 GHz Apple A4 processor. New laptops from HP and Lenovo will also contain ARM chips.

Apple first invested in chip-making when it bought P.A. Semi for $278 million. Of course, if the A4 really did cost $1 billion to build, then Apple’s investment went beyond the buying of P.A. Semi.

Apple has claimed that its chip is extremely power-efficient and will give users 10 hours of battery life on the iPad and up to a month on standby. Apple’s claims about battery life are always exaggerated, in my experience, so I would not expect the iPad to have that kind of battery life.

Via AppleInsider, image via AppleInsider.

Dec 24 2009

Intel Says The Nvidia Ion Is Too Expensive For Netbooks

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.

Dec 22 2009

New Broadcom Chip Boosts Netbook HD Video

Broadcom chip will enable HD playback on Netbooks. But will Nebtook suppliers use it?

Special chips from Nvidia and Broadcom will soon become available for netbook lovers and will enable them to get faster HD video on their new machines. This is a relief, considering that the Pineview line of Intel Atom processors is not yet beefy enough to run the best HD.

Intel Netbook Merketing director Anil Nanduri explained that Intel chips will work in conjunction with the new Broadcom MCM70015 Crystal HD chip, a component offering support for Windows Media Player 12 and Adobe Flash Player 10.1.

Furthermore, more netbooks packing the Nvidia ION should become available in the near future, according to Nvidia product line manager David Ragones:

“With Ion you’ll be able watch Hulu HD or YouTube HD at either 720 or 1080. With standard Intel components without Ion you won’t be able to do that… Another category is Blu-ray video. If you want to watch the latest Blu-ray movie that just came out, you can absolutely do that on an Ion Netbook.”

Gaming is another category that will become available on Nvidia ION netbooks.

Via CNet, image via Broadcom.

Dec 9 2009

Will Apple Abandon Intel’s Core i5 and i7 Processors?

After experiencing some problems with Intel’s Core i5 and i7 processors, which Apple currently uses in iMac desktops, the company may drop the processors altogether. Rumors are circulating that Apple will choose to stop purchasing the Intel Core i5 and i7 due to crashes and DOAs that have occurred while in use.

So what will happen next? Apple could switch over to Arrandale processors, but cannot do this until the chips are customized to their liking. If this occurs,  Nvidia and ATI would be given a momentous opportunity to work with Apple. It is also possible that Intel will scramble to serve Apple with customized i5 and i7’s in order to prevent losing one of their largest customers. After all, isn’t the customer always right?

Via Notebooks.

Nov 27 2009

Samsung N510 Netbook Finally Available in the U.S.

Samsung’s Nvidia ION-powered N510 netbook is now shipping in the U.S. Only available in black so far, this netbook’s listed on Newegg for $599.99 and the offer includes free shipping.

It’s a bit on the pricey side for a netbook we agree, but you’re also getting some improvements over the European version, including 2 GB of RAM, a 250 GB hard drive, and Windows 7. (The European version of the netbook comes with 1 GB of RAM, a 160 GB hard drive, and Windows XP.) The Newegg listing also claims that the netbook comes with the Nvidia ION LE chipset rather than the originally proposed ION chipset, but this may or may not be a typo.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Samsung N510 netbook, check out one of our previous articles before heading over to Newegg.

Nov 6 2009

Netbook Graphic Chips Maker NVIDIA Has 74% Profit Increase in Q3

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%.

Via TechSpot.

Nov 5 2009

Acer Launches Massive Desktop Replacement Laptop

In time for the holidays, Acer has created a monster laptop, four times the weight of a run-of-the-mill netbook.  The weight is worth it when you consider the potential to play World of Warcraft at mind-numbing resolutions anywhere you go.  And the weight is literally worth it when you consider the price – starting at $1350 on Newegg, the AS8940G-6865 falls neatly into line with Acer’s usual highly competitive pricing.

For your $1350 and willingness to haul a 10-pound laptop with you, you will receive in turn the new Intel® Core™ i7 Quad-Core 720QM processor, 4 GB of RAM, a 500 GB hard drive, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250M, all manifesting themselves across a glorious 18.4 inch HD screen.  Also features Windows 7 and Blu-ray capabilities.  Spinal support not included.

Via CrunchGear and Newegg.

Oct 9 2009

Nvidia ION 2 Moves Beyond Netbook CPUs

Despite the Nvidia ION‘s relatively recent implementation in netbooks and CULV laptops , it looks like Nvidia thinks we’re ready for a sequel: the Nvidia ION 2.

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.

Via I4U.

Oct 5 2009

Nvidia And Adobe Team Up For Better Netbook Performance

Credit: Nvidia

Credit: Nvidia

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.

HP, Lenovo, Samsung, and Acer are all customers of Nvidia that would benefit through the implementation of better GPU and graphics acceleration on their netbooks and other gadgets.

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.

Via I4U.

Sep 18 2009

$200 Netbook Prototype Runs Nvidia Tegra

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.

Via PCWorld.

Aug 28 2009

Chinese CAZSH Netbook Features Nvidia ION Graphics

CASZH NVIDIA ION Netbook

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.

Aug 21 2009

Lenovo and Samsung Delay Netbooks Until Windows 7

Lenovo Logo

The Lenovo Ideapad S12, featuring the Nvidia ION platform, has been announced since May but is as of yet nowhere to be seen on the netbook market. It’s supposed to be one of the first netbooks capable of displaying HD video with the all-new graphics chip. Unfortunately, it’s looking like we may need to wait until Windows 7 is released before we can get our hands on the new Ideapad netbook.

Featuring a 12-inch 1280 x 800 display, the netbook has a 1.6 GHz CPU and Intel integrated GMA 950 graphics to complement the Nvidia ION.

Believe it or not, Samsung is also rumored to be delaying the N510 netbook in order to put the ION inside it as well. This could be a reaction to Lenovo‘s announcement, and the two machines may be quite competitive when the time comes for their release.

However, the Samsung N510 is more of a powerhouse when it comes to graphics. It uses an Nvidia GeForce 9400M chip – the same one found in the Unibody MacBook Pro.

With that, all there is to do is wait until October and see how Windows 7 and the ION change netbooks.

Via TechTree.

Aug 18 2009

Nvidia Ion Chipset Pushes Up Samsung Netbook Prices

With notebook prices falling to under $350 for some 17″ machines, a few netbook manufacturers may be in a bit of a crunch. Take, for example, Samsung’s new Ion-based netbooks.

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?

Via TomsHardware.

Aug 5 2009

NVIDIA Ion LE Brings Netbook Gaming To XP

Nvidia Ion GEForce

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.

Via ComputerWorld, image via SlashGear.

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