Battery Life and the threat of CULV?
To further improve battery power, Nvidia's recently launched Optimus Technology
will also be included on every mobile Ion, but it's at the manufacturers discretion whether it makes it into desktop machines - obviously mains-powered devices don't require it and including it in adds to design and manufacture time.
The biggest limitation for system builders and enthusiasts are the loss of extra MCP features. We're completely limited to what Intel provides from its NM10: that's three x1 PCI-E (fourth is used by the Ion GPU), two (underperforming
) SATA 3Gbps ports, eight USB 2, HD audio and PHY 100M Ethernet.
Price is where Next Gen Ion netbooks will come a cropper, because Acer has told us its 10in netbook range will be available from around £399-£429 in May
, which puts it firmly in basic CULV territory. For example, you can buy an 11in Dell Inspiron 11z today with a 1.3GHz single core CPU and GS45 IGP (that also includes h.264 acceleration and HDMI output) from just £379 inc VAT. The vast majority of general computing applications are still powered by the CPU, and CULV is a leap ahead of Intel's Atom in terms of performance.
Nvidia's advantage will be in the fact the Atom brand is very successful and will win customers, and its Ion brand has latched onto this well. Intel's CULV notebook sales have been much lower than expected as customers snub the often higher-than-netbook prices and confusing brand in favour of cheaper and almost 'disposable' Atom netbooks.
From our perspective though, perhaps the most interesting aspect of Next Gen Ion is to see what role it plays in set-top boxes, media streamers and mini-ITX boards destined for ultra low power HTPCs.