A big gripe with netbooks you often hear is that they're too sluggish, especially when you're trying to do anything remotely taxing to the GPU — anything from playing a simple game to working with more advanced elements. Even with a fast processor, a good netbook will often bottleneck as the portable laptops simply can't handle a more robust GPU and still keep their batteries going for so long (not to mention their prices down).
Not any longer, says Nvidia, as the chip-maker has announced a graphics card tailored specifically with netbooks in mind. The Ion 2 is something a little different in the world of netbooks, as it actually isn't a built-in GPU, but rather works in addition to whatever Intel solution you've got going on in your 'book. Nvidia's Optimus technology will automatically switch between what's built-in and the Ion 2 as needed, helping keep your battery life long, but keeping things moving fast when the computer needs a boost.
One important warning, however, according to Gizmodo:
One thing to keep in mind: there are two Ions coming to the market, and the performance being quoted only applies to the 16-core iteration that'll appear in 12-inch netbooks and desktop all-in-ones. The new 8-core Ion, which will show up in 10-inch netbooks like the Acer Aspire One 532G, was actually outperformed by the first-generation Ion in a benchmark test from late February.
Check out the full press release down below.
New NVIDIA ION Netbooks Deliver 10x Faster Graphics And Up To 10 Hours of Battery Life Thanks to Acclaimed NVIDIA Optimus Technology
Acer, ASUS and Lenovo Among Leading Vendors to Introduce Next-generation ION PCs
CEBIT-HANOVER, Germany-March 2, 2010-NVIDIA introduced the Next-generation NVIDIA® ION™ graphics processor today, which will supercharge netbooks with 10 times the graphics performance of standard netbooks1 and enable up to 10 hours of battery life2 thanks to NVIDIA® Optimus™ technology.
The new ION graphics processing unit (GPU) vastly outperforms basic netbook graphics by delivering rich HD media in games, movies, and Internet-based video. Unlike netbooks with Intel integrated graphics, ION netbooks have the power to play amazing HD video smoothly from sites like YouTube and support popular PC games like World of Warcraft.
The new ION netbooks also feature NVIDIA's highly acclaimed Optimus technology, which automatically selects the best graphics processor for running any given application - seamlessly routing the workload to either an NVIDIA discrete GPU or Intel integrated graphics. The result is great battery life and superior performance when you need it.
More than 30 products featuring the new ION GPU are expected to launch by this summer including netbooks, small form factor desktops, "barebones" systems, motherboards, and discrete add-in cards. The Acer Aspire One 532G (10-inch) and ASUS 1201PN (12-inch) are expected to be the first new ION netbooks to be introduced. New all-in-one PCs powered by next-generation ION will include the ASUS EeeTop 2010PNT and Lenovo C200. Channel partners including AOpen, AsRock, Asus, Foxconn, Giada, J&W, Jetway, Pegatron, POV, Shuttle, and Zotac also plan to introduce new ION-based products soon.
Facts about Next-generation NVIDIA ION graphics:
· It's a discrete GPU (graphics processing unit) with dedicated memory that attaches to an Intel Atom Pine Trail CPU via PCI Express.
· It supports streaming HD video on sites like YouTube HD, and smooth gaming performance on titles like World of Warcraft and Spore.
· ION netbooks feature NVIDIA Optimus technology, which automatically assigns processing chores to the NVIDIA ION GPU or integrated graphics. Optimus powers down the GPU for basic tasks like web surfing, further extending battery life. When more graphics horsepower is needed for playing 3D games, running videos, or using GPU compute applications, Optimus automatically enables the ION GPU.
· It will be available starting in April with the Acer Aspire One 532G netbook.
· It accelerates a growing list of media-rich applications including Muvee Reveal for making home movies, Badaboom for media conversion, Total Media Theater and PowerDVD 9 for watching HD video or instantly upscaling standard definition video to near-HD quality.