Nvidia ION Platform



  • I just read a review on Nvidia's ION platform and I cant wait for it to come out this summer if Intel lets it be released. The review really shows how much potential the Atom processor really has. The ION Platform is essentially an Intel Atom processor paired with the GeForce 9400M chipset that integrates graphics, memory controller and south bridge features into a single chip. It has features like DX10 gaming support, HD video decode acceleration, 7.1 channel HD audio support, Vista Premium support, 2560x1600 resolution support and of course NVIDIA-exclusive technologies like CUDA and PhysX are thrown in the mix as well. The benefits the GeForce 9400M chipset offers over the 945G chipset are enormous: MUCH better gaming performance and support, GPU off-loaded HD video decode acceleration, GPU-based encoding support, single chip design, faster DDR3 memory support and more.  There is always a trade-off of sorts though and in this case it comes in the form of power consumption - though NVIDIA's numbers are GOOD the 945G chipset still uses quite a bit less power overall.

    Most of that stuff doesn't mean much to embedded *nix except the ability to harness the power of the integrated GPU and the extra performance of the chipset. Not to mention, the chipset supports both DDR2 and DDR3 system memory in Dual Channel Mode and offers a single x16 PCI Express 2.0 link, as well as 4 x1 links and up to five standard PCI slots.  In addition, support for both dual link DVI, HDMI, Display Port and analog RGB video output is built in, along with up to 12 USB 2.0 ports, 6 SATA ports and a single Gigabit Ethernet port.

    So this little sucker can do a lot of stuff now. Kinda like a *nix swiss army knife. The great part is the ability to harness the processing power of the GPU using PhysiX and CUDA technology. Offloading processor intensive tasking such as encryption would be huge. The ION platform will allow a Atom based appliance to be a powerful little box while only consuming around 30watts at max load! Too bad we wont see it until around Q3 of 09  :(


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