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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Video can be choppy on older netbooks, especially if you’re bold enough to try for full-screen HD Flash video. However, Adobe’s new Flash Player 10.1 with GPU acceleration, now in beta, has been proven to crank video quality on machines with slimmed down processors.
Flash Player 10.1 even draws upon the power of Nvidia or ATI graphics cards in order to decode video from YouTube or Hulu, so if you dropped cash on more powerful graphics your money won’t go to waste.
PCWorld set up an interesting side-by-side comparison of Flash 10.1 video quality using both IE and Firefox. You should check it out.
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.
The rumors are coming from a product listing on the website of one Asian retailer. The listing shows some pretty standard specs, such as an Intel Atom N270, 2 GB of RAM, Windows 7 and a higher-resolution screen.
ASUS isn’t likely to chime in about the legitimacy of these rumors, but October’s not far away at all. Once Windows 7 gets out the door, it should be an exciting time for netbooks, and ASUS would be foolish to have no new models ready for the upcoming holiday season.
More details as they arise.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A blogger over at I4U has mentioned a serious concern for the upcoming NVIDIA Ion platform for netbooks. While it has confidently promised to dominate the market, it may also weigh so heavily on netbook price that it won’t be worth it anymore.
ASUS made come comments back during CES, hinting that it would shy away from the platform. Why? The NVIDIA Ion sounds great on paper, but unfortunately it’s expected to add $150 to the price of the machines. It is pretty evident that other manufacturers are thinking similarly, simply because we haven’t seen any concept netbooks using it yet.
To many consumers, 1080p video and better GPU won’t be worth the $150. It’s likely that the quality will be far more noticeable on larger screens, but on 10-inch mobile PCs the benefit will be limited.
Netbook manufacturers have made forays into luxury PC arena with the Vaio P and Viliv 7, but for the most part the massive successes of the industry are credited to netbooks’ great value. We’ll be following developments on the graphics chip closely, but for now it seems like its successes will be limited.
Two major chip manufacturers – Qualcomm and NVIDIA – have officially begun to support Windows 7 for when it comes to netbooks in the near future. Their goals are better graphics and continuous 3G, both of which should hopefully become standard for netbooks in the near future.
Take note: as we reported earlier, there will be no netbook-specific version of Windows 7. Netbooks will be using Windows 7 Ultimate, which is expected to be painfully expensive.
That hasn’t fazed Qualcomm though. They announced yesterday that they would be sampling chips in order to boost Windows 7 3G. NVIDIA made an announcement too, mentioning new beta drivers for netbooks that will deliver full HD video for netbooks with the new Microsoft OS.
The chip Qualcomm mentioned wasn’t Snapdragon but rather the Gobi2000 3G embedded chip, which should “let netbooks and laptops access multiple 3G networks like HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) or EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized).”
Gary Greenbaum of Microsoft spoke for Windows in reference to the Qualcomm announcement:
“We believe Gobi notebook and netbook customers will experience the long-sought desire for ubiquitous connectivity.”
NVIDIA’s new beta drivers will make the Ion platform compatiable with Windows 7. What does that mean? Full 1080p HD for netbooks, photo editing, and possibly gaming for netbooks. “We have released beta drivers for Windows 7 to our customers for them to begin design/development of Ion-based systems now,” said Ken Brown of NVIDIA.
Microsoft and NVIDIA demonstrated the Windows 7/Ion combo in a Taiwan event recently. They managed to run 1080p HD video while “simultaneously transcoding another HD video clip.”
The new boosts to netbook technology are going to close the gap between netbooks and notebooks. If consumers can get devices for as cheap as $250 or $300 that offer HD video and cheap 3G connectivity, laptops are going to look a whole lot less appealing.