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The Next-Generation NVIDIA ION Tech Report
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10 + 10 For 2010?

In an effort to topple the Intel juggernaut, NVIDIA is promising that netbooks based on the Next-Generation NVIDIA ION will deliver 10X better graphics performance than netbooks based on the Intel Pine Trail platform, with up to 10 hours of battery life to boot.

On top of better graphics performance, the Next-Generation NVIDIA ION will come with the newer VP4 video processor, which supports hardware decoding of MPEG-4 video streams. It will, of course, be able to playback 1080p high-definition videos (which the original ION was already capable of doing). However, this capability is only useful if you are looking to output to a HDTV or external LCD monitor (each sold separately!).

Finally, NVIDIA is looking to piggyback on the fact that ION-based netbooks will ship with Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium. Although this will no doubt allow ION-based netbooks to realize their full potential, we have to point out that this decision will also come with a price premium.


The New NVIDIA ION Architecture

In the first-generation NVIDIA ION platform, NVIDIA attempted to replace the Intel 945 chipset with their own ION chipset with an integrated GeForce 9400M GPU. They have decided to leave the chipset alone in the Next-Generation NVIDIA ION. Instead of a chipset replacement, NVIDIA decided to stick to what they know best - a GPU replacement.

The Next-Generation NVIDIA ION will essentially be a GPU upgrade of the Intel Pine Trail platform. In fact, the display output to the external LCD monitor will still be handled by Atom N450 processor's built-in graphics controller. The new ION GPU will only handle HDMI output. The GPU will communicate with the Intel NM10 chipset via the PCI Express interface, and will come with a dedicated DDR3 or DDR2 framebuffer of 512 MB in size.


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