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Nvidia to support Atom and Nano with Ion 2

Nvidia to support Atom and Nano with Ion 2

Nvidia's president, Jen-Hsun Huang, says that the Ion 2 will support both Intel's Atom and VIA's Nano processors, and will be available later this year.

Jen-Hsun Huang, Nvidia President and CEO, has revealed that the company’s next-generation Ion platform will support VIA’s Nano CPU, as well as the Intel Atom family of processors.

Huang revealed the news in a sit down discussion with Taiwanese tech site Digitimes, in which he reportedly said that the Ion 2 platform is already in development and will arrive later this year.

Announced in December last year, the first-generation Ion boards are targeted at both the netbook and small form factor PC markets, and are built on a tiny motherboard that incorporates an Intel Atom CPU, as well as an Nvidia chip that contains a Northbridge, Southbridge and GeForce 9400M GPU on a single die.

However, Nvidia has been rumoured to have had a Nano-supporting chipset in the works since the middle of 2008. The move to supporting VIA’s Nano CPU on the next Ion platform would enable Nvidia to deliver a complete PC system without any involvement with its immediate competitors – Intel or AMD.

Huang hasn’t been afraid to give his opinion about Intel after the company initiated legal proceedings against Nvidia at the beginning of this week. The claims revolve around Nvidia’s claims that it has a license to make chipsets for Intel’s CPUs that have an integrated memory controller, and Intel says that Nvidia has no such license. Speaking frankly in an official statement, Huang claimed that "at the heart of this issue is that the CPU has run its course and the soul of the PC is shifting quickly to the GPU. This is clearly an attempt to stifle innovation to protect a decaying CPU business."

The statement also implied that the reason for the legal dispute was Intel’s fear that the Ion platform would threaten its stronghold, saying that "innovations like Ion, SLI, Hybrid Power, and CUDA threaten Intel’s ability to control the PC platform." Unafraid to put the boot in, the statement also pointed out that "when combined with a CPU, Ion enables a two-chip PC architecture for Intel processors two years ahead of Intel’s own solution. In addition, the Ion platform offers 10x the performance of Intel’s current three chip design."

Nvidia spokesperson Ben Berraondo responded to this story, with the following statement: "Nvidia's goal is to give the consumer choice to pair an Ion GPU with their preferred CPU. In this vein, Ion will support multiple CPUs including Intel Atom and VIA Nano." Derek Perez, Director of PR at Nvidia, has also informed us that the company plans to support both Intel Atom and VIA Nano CPUs with the next-generation Ion platform.

Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

21 Comments

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p3n 20th February 2009, 16:01 Quote
Is the nano better than the atom at 'x'? If the CPU is so useless why do nvidia need to keep swapping? :p
Denis_iii 20th February 2009, 16:02 Quote
now that is awesome news, Via Nano has the power to play HD whereas the Atom doesn't. I'll be first to purchase when its avialable.
Tim S 20th February 2009, 16:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denis_iii
now that is awesome news, Via Nano has the power to play HD whereas the Atom doesn't. I'll be first to purchase when its avialable.

Atom will have the power when combined with a 9400M. I was watching a 30Mbps 1080p stream being played on an Ion-based machine at CES.
Cobalt 20th February 2009, 16:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by p3n
Is the nano better than the atom at 'x'? If the CPU is so useless why do nvidia need to keep swapping? :p
You still need a CPU, but I think the point is that many intensive functions are moving off the CPU onto the highly parallel GPU leaving current CPUs with tasks that aren't very stressful. Hence why netbooks can get away with low powered processors: they aren't being used for high end media functions and you don't need much power to write a word document or browse the internet.

With the ion platform nV can give you the media functions thanks to a decent GPU which Intel doesn't have.
Tyinsar 20th February 2009, 16:26 Quote
I've been waiting for this partnership to form. ;)

Though I am a little sad that it wasn't an AMD+Nvidia thing. :(

Now where is AMD/ATI's answer?
E.E.L. Ambiense 20th February 2009, 16:28 Quote
Didn't see that one coming! ;)
perplekks45 20th February 2009, 17:10 Quote
Both Intel and nVidia seem to feel they're in a very strong position. Let's see what AMD/ATI has on offer. Maybe they'll outfox them both.
pimlicosound 20th February 2009, 17:15 Quote
It does mean, though, that Ion 2 won't be the best platform for low-energy netbooks. Probably fine for budget laptops and HTPCs, though.
Goty 20th February 2009, 18:31 Quote
It depends on what you define as the "best" platform, I guess. If you're looking for the best combination of performance and power consumption in a small form factor, Nano has always been the better choice.
TreeDude 20th February 2009, 18:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyinsar
I've been waiting for this partnership to form. ;)

Though I am a little sad that it wasn't an AMD+Nvidia thing. :(

Now where is AMD/ATI's answer?

Good question. They are leaving an entire market on the table for no good reason. Not to mention that they could make a kick ass platform.
wuyanxu 20th February 2009, 19:34 Quote
wow, the wait continues, even before Ion1 comes out, Ion2 already looks really attractive.
steveo_mcg 20th February 2009, 19:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by pimlicosound
It does mean, though, that Ion 2 won't be the best platform for low-energy netbooks. Probably fine for budget laptops and HTPCs, though.

How so? my understanding is the via (nano) doesn't use an appreciable amount more energy than the intel (atom) cpu. The total platform would consume be vastly more energy than either CPU so i doubt it'll make a huge difference.

Besides that the nano has OoOE which should make it seem snappier in real use.
Xtrafresh 20th February 2009, 19:56 Quote
I gotta hand it to nVidia, this has all been a really cunning marketing trick!

1: hitch a ride on the Atom bandwagon
2: show how much room for improvement there is on the Atom platform
3: get the buzz on Ion going on all tech sites
4: replace Atom with Nano, call it Ion 2, implying it's even better
5: ...
6: Profit!
Joeymac 20th February 2009, 20:04 Quote
Good news. Actually I think if Nvidia and Via merged properly it would be great for the PC business. Let Intel and AMD do their thing.. with the two little guys joining forces and resources; that would create a realistic third player.
What would a bunch of nvidia stream processors hooked up with a couple of via's general PC cores be like? Or is that crazy talk?
pimlicosound 20th February 2009, 21:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveo_mcg
Quote:
Originally Posted by pimlicosound
It does mean, though, that Ion 2 won't be the best platform for low-energy netbooks. Probably fine for budget laptops and HTPCs, though.

How so? my understanding is the via (nano) doesn't use an appreciable amount more energy than the intel (atom) cpu. The total platform would consume be vastly more energy than either CPU so i doubt it'll make a huge difference.

Besides that the nano has OoOE which should make it seem snappier in real use.

Nano uses more power than Atom and 9400M uses more power than Intel 950. Nano and 9400M together would mean substantially higher power consumption, making it a less-than-ideal solution for those who want the longest battery life they can get in a netbook.

But don't get me wrong, I think it's a good idea. I've been wanting a more multi-media capable luxury netbook from the beginning, so I see this as something I could want, if it's packaged nicely.
Jojii 20th February 2009, 21:23 Quote
If they merged i bet that intel would revoke via's x86 licence, but if via bought out nvidia.. maybe.. but nvidia seems to be the kind of company that likes to be "on top" in the relationship.
Horizon 20th February 2009, 22:44 Quote
amd said has made it clear that this isn't a market they aren't going to enter, and cemented their position by retiring geode with no successor
Panos 20th February 2009, 23:35 Quote
I believe ION 2 will be a winner. Why?
Because by the time Nvidia has ready the platform, VIA will have on the market the Dual Core Nano (End 2009).
I will put Linux, and done :D
Timmy_the_tortoise 22nd February 2009, 18:14 Quote
Good news.

From what I've seen Nano easily outperforms Atom at lower power ratings, plus it's cheaper.

And it's always good to give the big guys like Intel some serious competition.
[USRF]Obiwan 23rd February 2009, 07:25 Quote
I had hoped to see ION2 to be Nvidia GPU + AMD CPU, just to put the finger up to Intel. That would be golden. Even better when it sells like hot oven baked cake :D
MSHunter 7th June 2009, 21:26 Quote
Sadly Nvidia and AMD will never ever bring out a joint product. There is one very simple reason..... AMD bought ATI remember. So for AMD to go joint with Nvidia ATI would have to OK it. Oh and the other small issue that AMD has not put any money into developing a ULV CPU. Hence AMD would have to start R&D 2 whole production cycles behind Intel. It would be possible if AMD had money, which they do not. (Though it would be cool, guess I will just wait for Tegra to be "on the shelves)."
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