Netbooks with Nvidia's Ion wait on Windows 7

Netbooks with Nvidia's Ion wait on Windows 7

Summary: Nvidia's Ion platform may be off to a slow start, but that could change once Windows 7 arrives in late October. To date Ion has been used only in nettops--including two new ones from Asus and Lenovo--but the first netbooks should finally arrive around the time Microsoft releases its new operating system.


Nvidia's Ion platform may be off to a slow start, but that could change once Windows 7 arrives in late October. To date Ion has been used only in nettops--including two new ones from Asus and Lenovo--but the first netbooks should finally arrive around the time Microsoft releases its new operating system.

Ion is supposed to be a performance-enhancing drug for netbooks. Nearly all netbooks and nettops currently use an Intel Atom processor and basic integrated graphics--a combination that is easy on the battery but lacks the performance to, for example, play high-quality video. The Ion chipset, which includes an Nvidia GeForce 9400M GPU, promises to significantly boost performance.

Lenovo, which was the first to announce a netbook with Ion back in May, has confirmed that it will now ship this version of the IdeaPad S12 sometime after October 22 when Windows 7 arrives. The netbook was originally slated for late summer. The Ionized IdeaPad S12 will be priced at $549--$50 more than the current configuration. Similarly, Samsung will wait for Win7 to launch its N510, an 11.6-inch netbook with Ion, according to It is expected to sell for around $599. Digitimes reported today that HP would also release an Ion-based netbook in September, and that Asustek planned to release both an all-in-one and a nettop using Nvidia's chipset around the same time.

Earlier this week Lenovo announced a nettop that will be available with or without Nvidia's Ion. The IdeaCentre Q110 will have a 1.60GHz Intel Atom 230 single-core processor, 2GB of memory, 250GB hard drive, Nvidia Ion chipset and either Windows XP or Vista Home Premium. The configuration without Ion, the Q100, will have 1GB of memory and a 160GB hard drive. Lenovo hasn't announced pricing, but the Q1-00 series will be available in mid-September. The Acer AspireRevo, which has the same configuration as the Q110, sells for $299. (Lenovo also announced a new home theater PC, the IdeaCentre Q700, and a home server, the IdeaCentre D400.)

Asus has started selling--at least in some markets--the Ion-based all-in-one it announced at Computex back in June. The Eee Top ET2002T has a 20-inch touchscreen, 1.60GHz Intel Atom 330 dual-core processor, 2GB of memory, Nvidia Ion chipset, 250GB hard drive and DVD drive.

Timing the release of Ion netbooks to Windows 7 make some sense. It's hard to make the case for the added cost of Ion in a netbook running Windows XP, but with Windows 7 the GeForce GPU it should make a bigger difference. Some questions remain though. First, it's not clear what Ion will do to battery life--one of the strengths of netbooks. Second, Intel isn't standing still. Its upcoming netbook platform, Pine Trail-M will be out shortly after Windows 7--most likely January 2010--and it should offer better performance, including HD video playback. I'm also expecting to see more netbooks and ultraportables using AMD's Athlon Neo processors and either Radeon X1250 integrated graphics or Radeon HD 3410 discrete graphics. All of which means Ion has an increasingly short window in which to prove its value in netbooks.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Lenovo, Microsoft, Windows

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  • $549 - $599 for a netbook?

    HA!! What would be the point to buy one and not a notebook? I bought mine, the 8.9" Acer Aspire One, for $300.00. I thought they were supposed to get less expensive over time? I guess I'll wait for the XO-2. ;-)
    Arm A. Geddon
    • Try carrying a notebook in your jacket`s pocket.

      The main advantage of netbooks is portability.
      • Re: Portability

        Exactly!! That's why I have a 8.9" netbook and it's lightweight too. Now, they're getting bigger, heavier and more costly. IMO companies are going to screw up this market and that's being nice. :-)
        Arm A. Geddon
        • Cheap, small, light, LONG battery life...

          Absolutely - a netbook is CHEAP, small, and light with LONG battery life. For the companies going the OTHER direction with netbooks, STOP. Anything which doesn't have these 4 attributes is just a severely underpowered smallish laptop. Why bother?
          • severly underpowered?

            My full sized 5yo laptop is "powered" by a pentium processor, an Atom dual core 1.6 is equivalent to an early c2d processor and easily outperforms it, also the onboard gf9400 graphics has always been more than capable of HD and BD playback while using less power.
            I Hate Malware
  • I wanna see you put an 11.6 inch netbook in your pocket Neo.. (NT)

  • I have never been impressed with Intel's GPUs.

    I have never, ever been impressed with Intel's "GPU"s.

    Intel's GPUs have always been the low-end, "we just do movies" kind. Often without dedicated memory and often without hardware T&L. Just horrible things.

    I say "baloney" and "I'll believe it when I see it" about the new "Pine Trail" processors offering "better performance" than an nVidia GPU.

    . . . and even if they somehow are, I'm certain that nVidia isn't standing still. They've proven that they're agile enough to be competitive.
    • . . . and OH - the Ion offers HD as well. 1080p, in fact.

      . . . and guess what? nVidia's Ion [b]has[/b] HD - 1080p, in fact.
      • ION beats down anything from Intel...

        A dual core Atom 330 with ION should be a great netbook, IF companies stop making them HUGE and expensive. I don't want an underpowered small laptop. I want a netbook. Companies need to learn the difference.

        When I see a 330/ION combo netbook with a 9 or 10 inch screen, 5+ hour battery life, and a decent keyboard, for under $500, I'll upgrade from my old Asus 900 Celeron netbook. Until then, there is no point since I get over 6 hours.
  • RE: Netbooks with Nvidia's Ion wait on Windows 7

    Perhaps Mr Morris should keep up to date with his reading, the 9400 chipset doesn't just "promise to perform" it walks the walk and is more than capable of Bluray and HD playback. DFI now has in development a motherboard platform that utilises the ION platform alongside P45 on the one board. This will be ready for release late October early November. Search Youtube if interested.
    I Hate Malware