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Intel tears apart Nvidia Ion in document

Intel tears apart Nvidia Ion in document

Intel claims that the window of opportunity for Nvidia's Ion platform is 'very short'.

Now that the competitive scrap between Nvidia and Intel is officially out in the open, Intel has decided to unashamedly dish the dirt on Nvidia’s Ion platform. bit-tech has seen a document that Intel is sending out called "Nvidia Ion Competitive Positioning Guide," which details what Intel sees as the shortcomings of Nvidia’s pint sized PC platform.

The first point that Intel makes about Ion is that the chipset is nothing new, saying that it’s "rather a SKU of the existing MCP79M/MCP7A chipset family (branded in part as GeForce 9400M, GeForce 9400, GeForce 9300, GeForce 9100M G or GeForce 8200M G." Intel points out that "despite Nvidia’s continued execution and power problems with this chipset, Nvidia is partnering the same chipset with an Intel Atom processor and creating hype around what it calls the 'Ion Platform'."

A major problem here, according to Intel, is that Nvidia is "attempting to re-use an integrated graphics chipset designed for the notebook and desktop system price points into the netbook and nettop system price points. This in turn leads to higher costs as well as high power consumption," says the company.

Intel also claims that Nvidia has overstated the amount of interest in Ion from PC builders, saying that "Nvidia claims that many OEMs are exploring the Ion, but as of this writing, no customer has publicly disclosed plans to design Ion-based products." The document also quotes a number of tech sites who have detailed Nvidia’s chipset manufacturing issues, as well as those who have criticised the Ion’s power consumption and performance.

As well as this, Intel has also taken Nvidia’s claims about the Ion’s benefits over Intel’s own Atom platforms. In response to Nvidia’s claims about HD video decoding, Intel says that "Intel offers full Hi-Def video decode with HW acceleration with the off-roadmap Mobile Intel GN40 Express Chipset." The company also refers to an article on the Tech Report, saying that "Preliminary press reviews indicate Nvidia’s Ion HD playback may not be as good as Nvidia claims."

Intel also claims that its own Atom platform will have longer battery life than an Ion-based system, quoting a comparative TDP of 8W against Ion’s 15.5W. Finally, to combat Nvidia’s claims that the Ion has superior video transcoding and gaming abilities, Intel simply says that "neither gaming nor video transcoding are relevant to netbook and nettop users."

In closing, Intel says: "Don’t buy the hype around Nvidia Ion—it offers no advantages that an Intel platform cannot provide relevant to the Netbook and Nettop market segments." The company also claims that the forthcoming introduction of its new netbook and nettop platforms at the end of this year will mean that "the window of opportunity for Ion is very short."

Of course, you could also argue that Intel’s current Atom chipset is derived from its ageing 945 chipset, which makes the first argument a little redundant. However, Intel is clearly feeling threatened by Nvidia’s Ion platform if it feels the need to produce propaganda such as this. Is there a need for HD transcoding and gaming features on netbooks and nettops, or is Intel right to dismiss these features? Let us know your thoughts about Intel’s claims in the forum.

14 Comments

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[USRF]Obiwan 24th February 2009, 10:58 Quote
If i was a manufacturer, i would also wait until Intel and Nvidia stop fighting. I think this as reason why OEMS not getting out a product yet, not what Intel claims it is. And then Intel is pushing the GN40 chipset between the lines and comparing their own atom platform to Nvidia's Ion. It is like taking over Nividia presentation of Ion and turn it into "atom"
WilHarris 24th February 2009, 11:00 Quote
This is nothing new, Intel / AMD / ATI / NV have been sending out docs like this for years. They always make for fascinating and hilarious reading, since these things are mainly made up of marketing messaging rather than actual reality. As Ben points out, the claim about aging technology is insane given the 945 link. TechPowerUp used to post these things on a regular basis for all to see: come on Bit, how about giving us the whole caboodle rather than one teasing screenshot? :)
steveo_mcg 24th February 2009, 11:19 Quote
Video transcoding might be less than useful on a netbook/top but if we can get ITX scale bluray then i think intel may have missed the point
lp1988 24th February 2009, 14:03 Quote
is it just me or are they mostly sounding like two teenage girls that has gotten into a fight about a boy.
DarkLord7854 24th February 2009, 15:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by lp1988
is it just me or are they mostly sounding like two teenage girls that has gotten into a fight about a boy.

+1

This is ridiculous.
n3mo 24th February 2009, 15:59 Quote
Yeah, Intel sounds like a five-year-old, screaming "But I don waaaant to!". Ion is better than anything Intel can show now and for a long time, they just want to get rid of the old 945M crap.
"neither gaming nor video transcoding are relevant to netbook and nettop users." - read: We fail miserably.
Timmy_the_tortoise 24th February 2009, 18:37 Quote
I think intel is losing its grip on the market.

This scares Intel.
wuyanxu 24th February 2009, 18:41 Quote
Intel is scared, simple as that.

probably because their update platform for Atom can't handle 1080p smoothly :)
ZERO <ibis> 24th February 2009, 18:46 Quote
I think they are more afraid of that small Nvidia chip that does 720P in a cell phone size case and uses very little power. As for games on a netbook, I would love a small resonable priced portable system that can at least run games like CS:S so that I can check on my servers when I am on a trip.
HourBeforeDawn 24th February 2009, 19:52 Quote
I have to agree in that having an nVidia chipset such as that in a Netbook is pointless and goes away from the main point of a netboox now what I would agree in would be not using the ION in netbooks but in Mini HTPC boxes, that would better suit what the ION can do but for Netbooks no not at all.
Primoz 25th February 2009, 00:14 Quote
Why not have fullHD capabilities in a 'nettop'? You can use it as a daily PC (for the net, youtube and the occasional movie/series) if you have a powerfull gaming rig. That way you save on power in a dramatical way (if otherwise the gaming rig is turned on for the whole day). Or you could use it as a HTPC, especially in the 'digital era' and with a NAS somewhere on the net. Even G wireless is more than enough to stream a 1080p flick.
HourBeforeDawn 25th February 2009, 01:59 Quote
for the love of might people its a 10 inch and some cases smaller screen and you want HD capabilities LOL..... now for a netop with the use of being a HTPC mini system again as I said sure makes sense but the argument is more aimed towards netbooks which again I stand by it being pointless.
Quaymachine 25th February 2009, 02:46 Quote
Ion is just stage one. Technology moves quickly these days and personally I would love a hand held PC that could double as a PSP/Movie Player, and I'v never liked java games, they look terrible.
If I'm going to play a game, watch a movie or do anything I like it to look as good as possible. Now I'v played games on Intel graphic's chips and on Nvidia's and I know which one I prefer. In my opinion no matter what graphics solution Intel comes up with Nvidia's one will always look better.
Tim S 25th February 2009, 07:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HourBeforeDawn
for the love of might people its a 10 inch and some cases smaller screen and you want HD capabilities LOL..... now for a netop with the use of being a HTPC mini system again as I said sure makes sense but the argument is more aimed towards netbooks which again I stand by it being pointless.

But you can plug your HD-capable netbook into your TV via HDMI and you've got something that can play 720/1080p content back on a big screen. It's like the 720p decoding capabilities of the Tegra chip for mobile phones - it's so you can plug the thing into a bigger screen, not because you want to watch 720p movies on your handheld.
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