New NVIDIA ION Chip Gives Netbooks 10x Faster Graphics
Netbooks have never been noted for their graphics power, which is why they are seldom used for gaming or media-intensive tasks. But a new chip from NVIDIA aims to change that by giving netbooks a graphics processing unit (GPU) that is ten times faster than previous chips without draining the netbooks battery.
Announced at CeBIT, a computer technology expo in Germany, the new NVIDIA ION claims to boost graphics performance ten-fold while still giving up to 10 hours of battery life, thanks to a new technology called Optimus.
Optimus simply allows the ION chip to decide which GPU the netbook uses for each task. If it is a relatively light workload, such as Web surfing, it will be routed through the on-board GPU in the Intel processor because it takes less power. If the workload requires more power, such as gaming and watching videos, the NVIDIA ION chip, separate from the Intel processor , will kick in and assist in graphics processing.
"With Adobe Flash Player 10.1 support for GPU acceleration of video, consumers with NVIDIA ION netbooks can enjoy smooth, high definition video from sites like YouTube, Hulu and millions of other web sites," David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president of Platform Business at Adobe, said in a statement. "It's amazing to see flawless 1080p video streaming live from the web on ION PCs."
Netbook manufacturers Acer, ASUS and Lenovo have already committed to making netbooks with the new ION GPU inside. Over 30 netbooks and desktops with the ION chip are scheduled to be available by this summer.