The new generation of NVIDIA ION

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    Today, the embargo on the publication of information on the NVIDIA ION2 platform is officially lifted, so I cannot but share the news with the habrasociety. In fact, the official name of the platform is not ION2 at all, but Next Gen ION. Apparently, marketers decided not to undermine the authority of the platform of the previous generation, adding serial numbers. If the previous platform was a combination of the Intel Atom processor and the NVIDIA ION chipset, the approach has changed significantly in the new platform.

    Under the cut, the technical details of the platform and descriptions of the first interesting products based on it ...


    Next Gen ION



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    The new generation ION platform is a bundle of NVIDIA GPUs and the Intel PineTrail platform, consisting of the latest Intel Atom processors with an integrated graphics core, as well as the Intel NM10 Express Chipset chipset . In fact, ION itself is a separate GPU that turns on at the right time and helps the integrated graphics core in the processor at a difficult time. Mutual assistance is via the PCI-E bus.

    Then I immediately remembered the price conflict between Intel and NVIDIA that arose due to the high shipping prices for Intel Atom processors. The processors were shipped almost 2 times more expensive, relative to the prices of the same processors, but complete with the ICH7 chipset. The thing then, if my memory serves me, ended with an ultimatum from Intel - "Do not like it - do not buy." It’s nice to see that NVIDIA has nicely gotten out of position.

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    Of course, to increase the platform’s efficiency, the recently announced NVIDIA Optimus technology is used, which allows you to quickly switch between IGP (integrated graphics) and GPU. In this case, the IGP has the role of controlling the display, and in the absence of proper load, the discrete graphics core will simply be turned off to save energy.

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    In the case of launching demanding applications, the graphics core is quickly included in the work, without requiring any action from the user. In case the monitor is connected to the IGP graphic ports, the GPU only deals with processing, and transmits the IGP image for output. In the event that the monitor is connected to the HDMI port on the GPU - both processing and output rests on its shoulders.

    To identify these most demanding applications, three main triggers are used:
    • DirectX Calls
    • CUDA Challenges
    • Hardware HD video decoding

    For triggering these triggers, the NVIDIA graphics driver is responsible, which works even when the video card itself is turned off. In addition, you can create your own rules for binding applications to the graphics adapter. As a result, Optimus technology will allow mobile devices to live longer and work even better.

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    A beautiful marketing scheme that demonstrates the capabilities of the next-generation ION platform relative to the standard Intel PineTrail platform. It is stated that for the same 10 hours of continuous operation, users will be able to afford more. True, based on worldly logic, the announced 10 hours netbook on a fresh ION will work only with a disabled discrete graphics card, since the processor and chipset are unlikely to eat less.

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    Surface specifications are visible in the image, I’ll tell you a little more about the chips themselves. Indeed, for different types of devices, within the same platform, different GPUs will be used, which will have 8 and 16 CUDA cores, respectively. The first will go to the low-end segment of netbooks with a diagonal of less than 10 ", and the second to all other devices.

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    The solution with 16 cores, according to NVIDIA representatives, is about 70% more powerful than its smaller brother. In my opinion, this is a very significant difference, which allows you to think about positioning the LE chip on the market, both chips have the same size 23x23mmand manufactured at TSMC plants using 40nm technology (previous generation - 65nm and 35x35mm). There is also information on TDP: for the younger chip it is 6W , and for the older chip - 13W . The chips will not have a special name, and will be sold under the ION logo.

    Products Based on Fresh ION



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    Monoblock Lenovo C200

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    Monoblock ASUS EEETop PC ET2010PNT

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    Nettop ASUS EeeBox 1501P

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    Nettop Zotac Zbox

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    Netbook ASUS EEE PC 1201PN

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    Media player Box-Box from D-link. Works with the convenient boxee htpc shell. I plan to buy myself this ...
    I took it for granted, and in fact Boxee Box works on Tegra2. Support for the ION platform is announced for the Boxee shell itself.

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    Well, the most interesting thing is desktop low-profile discrete cards based on ION chips. As a basis, an older, more powerful chip is used, on the basis of which a discrete card with a PCI-E x1 interface is assembled.

    Device manufacturers, if they want, will be able to implement NVIDIA Optimus technology even using these desktop cards, however, this will require additional components. So at home, Optimus will not work, but it's a pity. Although why save the extra 10W on a stationary PC?

    I'd like to see what products the company Sony will offer to the market, which has long cooperated with NVIDIA and used switches between discrete and integrated graphics in VAIO Z-series models. There would be an analogue of the VPC-X11S1R on the ION-e ...

    Now I would still feel it, this new ION ...

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