NVIDIA Ion – Intel Atom Done Right?

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The Test System

The NVIDIA Ion reference PC uses the Intel Atom 230 processor, a single 2GB DDR3 1066MHz SO-DIMM memory module, and the GeForce 9400M 256MB graphics processing unit. It is basically what one will find in many netbooks, just with better graphics. Let’s take a closer look at the test system.

NVIDIA Ion Test Platform

The NVIDIA Ion reference platform has both Intel Atom 330 and Atom 230 processors in them, but the one that Legit Reviews was sent had the Intel Atom 230 processor inside. Both processors share the same feature set and clockspeed, but Atom 330 is a HyperThreading-enabled dual-core part. It’s safe to assume that Atom 330 will generally outperform Atom 230 since it is a dual-core part. The 1.6-GHz Intel Atom 230 processor, which is a nettop (desktop) version of the familiar Atom N270 processor, is found in many of the netbooks on the market today. Both the Atom 230 and N270 have the same 512K cache and 533-MHz frontside bus, but the 230 uses 4 Watts more power since it is for the nettop and not a netbook.

NVIDIA Ion Test Platform

CPU-Z 1.50 correctly shows that the NVIDIA Ion test system was running an Intel Atom 230 CPU at 1.60GHz with 2GB of DDR3 memory with a clock frequency of 1066MHz with CL8 timings.

NVIDIA Ion Test Platform

GPU-Z 0.3.2 shows the details on the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M GPU. The NVIDIA Ion test system was running NVIDIA ForceWare 181.22 drivers, which was the most recent available. It should be pointed out that the idle temperature on the GeForce 9400M GPU was 48C. There is a desktop and a mobile version of the GeForce 9400M GPU and this is the faster desktop version.

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