Second Generation NVIDIA ION GPU Preview

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NVIDIA ION Architecture Change

NVIDIA has just officially announced their next generation of the NVIDIA ION architecture that will now be found in low-power Intel Atom ‘Pine Trail’ systems. With the NVIDIA ION GPU now having its own dedicated memory, the next generation of ION promises better performance without sacrificing battery life by leveraging the recently announced NVIDIA Optimus technology to dynamically switch between the integrated Intel GMA 3150 graphics and the NVIDIA ION GPU.

NVIDIA ION Chip Shot

The next generation of the NVIDIA ION architecture brings some much needed changes in order to bring forth the performance desired by low-power, low-performance mobile users. While we have heard the ION 2 name bounced around leading up to the launch, it seems NVIDIA is just referring to the platform changes as the next generation of NVIDIA ION. So for those researching which netbook to purchase, keep in mind that NVIDIA ION netbooks and nettops featuring an Intel Atom N2xx or N3xx processor have the previous generation of ION with shared graphics and system memory. NVIDIA ION systems with an Intel Atom N4xx, D4xx or D5xx processor would have the new generation of NVIDIA ION with dedicated graphics memory instead of sharing with the system memory.

NVIDIA ION 2

We have a number of second generation NVIDIA ION marketing release slides to show everyone and we wanted to start with this one. 10x [the graphics] performance and 10 hours of battery life! This seems like a reasonable claim given that this new generation of NVIDIA ION utilizes NVIDIA’s Optimus technology to dynamically utilize the integrated Intel GMA 3150 graphics processor and the NVIDIA ION GPU depending on the user’s usage. It seems NVIDIA is indicating the Acer Aspire One 532g pictured is at least one of the new netbooks that will have 10 hours of battery life!

NVIDIA ION Architecture

Here we have a visual of the architecture changes brought to us by the next generation of NVIDIA ION. The key things to note are that NVIDIA is no longer using their own chipset, but instead just adding on a PCI Express GPU. The GPU will likely be permanently attached to the motherboard, but the manufacturers will have the option to use dedicated DDR3 or DDR2 memory for the GPU. Since NVIDIA is just adding a GPU, the will now utilize the Intel GMA 3150 graphics integrated in the NM10 Chipset in order to utilize their NVIDIA Optimus technology to only use the ION GPU when the user needs it. We have seen the demonstrations of NVIDIA Optimus really able to seamlessly and dynamically switch between the integrated graphics and NVIDIA graphics on the fly! We look forward to getting our hands on Optimus in the near future!

NVIDIA ION Specifications

Here we see that 12″ netbooks will have a slightly better GPU than the traditional 10″ netbooks. We also see that manufacturers who use NVIDIA ION in their products will be able to use HDMI, DVI-D, VGA and DP external display options.

NVIDIA ION Market

We found this slide interesting as it just comments on the netbook market compared to the whole notebook market. While the market has about 40 million units today, it looks like NVIDIA and Gartner expect the netbook market to grow nearly 10 million units in each of the next two years.

Now let’s take a quick look at what new or soon to be released products will feature the new generation of NVIDIA ION!

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