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  • First wave of Ion 2 ASUS Eee PC 1201PNs lack NVIDIA Optimus

    by 
    Joanna Stern
    Joanna Stern
    04.23.2010

    Well, this is sad. While we told you earlier this week that the Ion 2-powered ASUS Eee PC 1201PN wouldn't be arriving until late May, a number of European sites have gotten early review samples of the 12-inch "netbook" -- if you choose to call it that -- and have discovered that it doesn't use NVIDIA's Optimus automatic graphics switching technology. That's right, instead we're told by NVIDIA that the discrete GeForce 201M GPU runs continuously and Intel's integrated chip is never used -- a configuration which sounds like it'll absolutely kill the battery life on this machine. According to Hardware Zone, ASUS made this choice aiming to be the first to market with the next generation of Ion, but an Optimus version of the ASUS Eee PC 1201PN will be ready later this quarter. It also appears that an Eee PC 1215N with both Ion 2 and Optimus is floating around, but we haven't confirmed what's going on with that. We're sorry if we confused you even more, but we'll be keeping our eyes out for the early reviews of the 1201PN to see if our predicted two hours of battery life is on the mark. Update: The 1201PN cannot be updated with firmware to enable Optimus -- the hardware isn't there for the automatic switching.

  • NVIDIA Ion 2 Acer and ASUS netbooks won't ship until late May

    by 
    Joanna Stern
    Joanna Stern
    04.21.2010

    NVIDIA's next generation Ion platform was announced back in early March, so naturally we've been wondering where all the souped-up netbooks based on the tech have been hiding. We wish we had better news, but it looks like the wait will have to go on a little while longer. While NVIDIA claims no delay on its end, ASUS and Acer have confirmed that their respective Ion 2 netbooks will not arrive until the end of May or even as late as the beginning of June in the US. The 12-inch ASUS 1201PN, which packs a dual-core Atom processor and a 16-core Ion chip, is set to hit Europe and Asia in mid to late May and will make its US debut in June. Similarly, Acer's 10-inch Aspire One 532G is planned to be released around Computex in early June. We just have a feeling there will be some more joining the Ion 2 netbook brigade in the interim, but it's looking like we'll just have to kick off the summer with another Ion showdown.

  • Lenovo C200 brings NVIDIA Ion 2 stateside for $499

    by 
    Joanna Stern
    Joanna Stern
    04.07.2010

    If you've been patiently waiting on a low-cost NVIDIA Ion 2 system it looks like today is your lucky day since it looks like Lenovo has scored an early lead in unleashing the wrath of the new Atom / GeForce combo. Available sometime this month, the 18.5-inch C200 all-in-one isn't going to replace that Core i7 rig for ripping through Command & Conquer 4, but its Intel dual-core Atom D510 CPU can handle the light productivity while its GeForce G210 GPU will automatically turn on -- thanks to Optimus -- to deal with some Spore or 1080p video. Unfortunately the C200 only has a single touch, 1366x768-resolution display and a standard integrated DVD drive rather than Blu-ray, but we guess we can't expect much more for its appealing $499 price tag. Lenovo will also offer a sans Ion and touch version of the C200 for $399. We told you today was going to be your lucky day! PR and press pics for your viewing pleasure below. %Gallery-89877%

  • JooJoo hits the FCC, reveals NVIDIA Ion, 3G card

    by 
    Nilay Patel
    Nilay Patel
    03.11.2010

    Well well. We'd always suspected that the JooJoo tablet was hiding something extra to run HD video and Flash, and it's just hit the FCC with full documentation and a teardown confirming that there's an NVIDIA Ion GPU paired with an Atom N270 packed inside. We're also seeing a 3G card in there, although it's unclear whether it'll be active or installed at launch -- we've been told the 3G version won't be ready until sometime later this year, but things have been changing fast, so that may be in flux as well. There's also a picture showing it running Windows, but we're assuming that's just for testing purposes -- we'd also bet it'd be an easy little hack. But back to Ion for a second: our experience with first-gen Ion netbooks has been one of decreased performance and drastically reduced battery life, so we're very curious to see how the JooJoo holds up compared to modern netbooks running Intel's Pine Trail chips and NVIDIA's Optimus-based Ion 2. We'll see -- it's supposed to ship in just a few weeks. Two more pics after the break. P.S.- Oh, and Fusion Garage got back to us yesterday with a list of supported local video formats, and it's pretty decent: AVI, MPEG-4, MOV, WMV and WMA, FLV (Flash Video), VOB, OGG, OGM and OGV, MKV (Mastroska), DiVX and XViD. We'll see how the battery holds up, though -- our very own Joanna Stern predicts a best case of 3.5 hours with WiFi on and a video playback time of two hours.

  • ASUS' EeeBox EB1501U packs ION and USB 3.0, need we say more?

    by 
    Ross Miller
    Ross Miller
    03.05.2010

    Sure NVIDIA's Ion 2 is all the rage right now, but ASUS still has a few tricks left in store for the progenitor nettop GPU. The EeeBox EB1501U sports a typical nettop processor -- in this case, the older Diamondville Intel Atom 330 dual core -- with Ion One, and as an added bonus, there's USB 3.0 support. Also under the hood? A 2.5-inch, 320GB HDD, DVD drive, and 802.11b/g/n WiFi. As for the other home theater PC box, the EeeMedia EM0501 isn't quite as exciting -- just a 800MHz Samsung ARM processor, a variety of codec supports, and HDMI out. Still, given history, it's a pretty solid addition. Pricing and availability? Your guess is as good as ours for now. Enjoy the pictures for the time being. %Gallery-87500% %Gallery-87502%

  • Acer Aspire One 532G with ION 2 priced at an aggressive 379 euros

    by 
    Ross Miller
    Ross Miller
    03.03.2010

    Now that's how to get our attention. While the English-speaking portion of the Acer press conference left much to be desired, the second half, decidedly more German in vernacular, had a couple great tidbits. Most notable is a price of Acer's AspireOne 532G, the ION 2-equipped netbook initially espied at Mobile World Congress. The slide says it all, sort of: 379 euros -- mighty aggressive, and if history tells us anything, there's a good chance it'll be about $379 when it comes stateside, too. No word on release date as far as we can tell, but you'll definitely want to keep an eye out for this one.

  • Zotac's ZBOX HD-ID11 has NVIDIA Ion 2 and Atom D510 to thank for excellent media playback (updated)

    by 
    Vlad Savov
    Vlad Savov
    03.03.2010

    Like gaming? Move right along to the iBuyPower booth, please. Want an unobtrusive PC that will feed your Hulu and YouTube HD streaming addiction? Say hello to the ZBOX HD-ID11. It's basically a desktop version of the same Ion 2 setups you saw announced on the mobile front yesterday, and as such should provide flawless Flash 10.1 playback while occupying an extremely lean footprint on your desktop. Zotac has matched MSI's Wind Box DE220 with its inclusion of a dual-core 1.66GHz Atom D510 CPU, though it obviously differs with its NVIDIA Ion 2 graphics subsystem that includes 512MB of dedicated DDR3 memory. HDMI 1.3a and standard VESA wall-mounting are expected extras, with six USB ports, integrated 802.11n WiFi, dual-link DVI, and a 6-in-1 media card reader covering the rest of your bases. Check out some 1080p playback on a similarly specced system right here while you wait for pricing and availability to be revealed. Update: We've heard directly from Zotac on the matter of pricing and we're told that the American MSRP will be $209.99 ($239) for the barebones edition, which will require you to add your own hard drive, memory and OS. Update 2: Zotac seem to have been a little too ambitious with the initial price they quoted and have asked us to correct that number upwards by 30 bucks -- MSRP is now expected to land at $239.

  • NVIDIA's Optimus technology shows its graphics switching adroitness on video

    by 
    Vlad Savov
    Vlad Savov
    03.03.2010

    Explaining automatic graphics switching and the benefits thereof can be a somewhat dry affair. You have to tell people about usability improvements and battery life savings and whatnot... it's much more fun if you just take a nice big engineering board, strap the discrete GPU on its own card and insert an LED light for the viewer to follow. NVIDIA has done just that with its Optimus technology -- coming to a laptop or Ion 2-equipped netbook near you -- and topped it off by actually pulling out the GPU card when it wasn't active, then reinserting it and carrying on with its use as if nothing had happened. This was done to illustrate the fact that Optimus shuts down the GPU electrically, which is that little bit more energy efficient than dropping it into an idle state. Shimmy past the break to see the video.

  • NVIDIA Ion 2 now official; Acer, ASUS and Lenovo at the ready

    by 
    Joanna Stern
    Joanna Stern
    03.02.2010

    NVIDIA's Ion 2 chipset -- or "the next generation of Ion" as the company clunkily calls it -- hasn't exactly been a secret, but NVIDIA is finally signing on the dotted line and giving up the deets on the new Intel Atom-compatible graphics chipset. It hasn't been a secret that Ion 2 uses NVIDIA's new Optimus GPU switching tech to automatically toggle between the Pineview chipset's integrated GMA 3150 and a discrete NVIDIA Ion GPU, but we can now confirm that both the 16-core Ion chip for desktops and eight-core unit for netbooks are based on the GeForce G210 GPU. That means Ion 2 should support HDMI out, 1080p Blu-ray and Flash playback, Windows 7 Home Premium, and mainstream gaming out of the box. (Take that, Broadcom Crystal HD.) And unlike Ion numero uno, NVIDIA's also promising up to 10 hours of battery life on netbooks -- thanks to Optimus the system knows when to shut off the discrete GPU when not in use to save power. How about some actual systems? While the Acer Aspire 532G netbook already popped up at MWC, NVIDIA is promising 30 more Ion netbooks, nettops and all-in-ones before the summer. To kick it off, NVIDIA confirmed that ASUS will update its Eee PC 1201PN netbook, Eee Top 2010P, and Eee Box with the new graphics solution, while Lenovo's C200 and Acer's Aspire Revo will also get in on the action. We got to see the Revo strut some Blu-ray playback, so hit the break for some video footage and the full PR. %Gallery-86770% %Gallery-86776%

  • ASUS Eee PC 1201PN and Eee Top 2010PNT with Ion 2 caught lounging around at CeBIT

    by 
    Joanna Stern
    Joanna Stern
    03.01.2010

    You didn't think ASUS would let Acer be the only one with a next-generation Ion netbook, did you? While wandering around ASUS's CeBIT booth we couldn't help but notice some new Ion 2 systems, including the 12.1-inch Eee PC 1201PN. With an identical chassis to the 1201N that we reviewed a few months back, the 1201PN swaps out the Diamondville Atom for a new Pine Trail N450 processor and a discrete NVIDIA GPU. We couldn't figure out much more from the system properties, but the neighboring sign confirmed that Ion 2 would use NVIDIA's Optimus to switch between the discrete and integrated GPU. Around the corner we also stumbled into that Eee Top 2010PNT we heard about awhile back, and just as rumored it packs a dual-core Atom D510 processor along its "next generation Ion." Really more than anything we're looking forward to testing the HD performance and battery life of these new Ion systems, but until then we'll be stuck watching the video below of the 1201PN playing a 720p promo clip. %Gallery-86750%

  • New Chromium OS build brings full NVIDIA Ion acceleration, hope for the future

    by 
    Darren Murph
    Darren Murph
    02.19.2010

    Chrome OS. Man, seems like Google has gotten its hands into quite a few things since we last heard of that, but the underground is keeping things lively with new builds of Chromium OS -- you know, to keep us satisfied while we wait for the real deal. Hexxeh has just unleashed its latest build, dubbed Flow, which makes a few critical improvements, particularly if you're planning to install the system onto an Ion-based rig. Flow includes full NVIDIA Ion acceleration, and it also "improves battery life" while making the automatic update... um, work. Hit that source link to get your download on, and if you've been holding out for fear of trying something new, you've got your whole weekend to fix things should things go terribly awry. [Thanks, Amrita]

  • NVIDIA Optimus automates graphics switching, promises the best of both worlds

    by 
    Joanna Stern
    Joanna Stern
    02.09.2010

    We've always thought switchable graphics made a lot of sense on laptops, and NVIDIA's new Optimus tech looks like it's going to bring it mainstream in a serious way -- there's no more manually toggling between the powerful discrete GPU and the power-saving integrated chip. More than just automatically switching off the discrete GPU when the laptop is unplugged, the idea is that you don't have to think about when you want to use the different graphics options: the software and hardware combo will take care of deciding which graphics processor is best for the application or content. For instance, launch Call of Duty 4 and the discrete GPU will power on, close out and start writing an e-mail and it will switch to the IGP. Sounds pretty simple, but under the hood its much more complicated as NVIDIA has moved to running the drivers for both graphics subsystems concurrently and removed the multiplexers under the hood. For more details on all the technical fixes hit the more coverage link. Unsurprisingly, Intel hasn't been involved in these innovations, but NVIDIA says Optimus will work with Intel's new Core 2010 processors and the Pineview Atom platform, along with NVIDIA's GeForce 200M series, GeForce 300M series, next-gen GeForce M, and next-gen Ion GPUs. Speaking of Ion, NVIDIA wouldn't officially say what the next version will look like, but they confirmed it will be announced in March and use Optimus technology (we're pretty much assuming that it will combine the Pineview platform with a lower-end discrete GPU, like the previously hinted G310). The first Optimus-enabled laptops will hit at the end of this month courtesy of ASUS, and will include the UL50Vf, N61Jv, N71Jv, N82Jv, and U30Jc. We've been playing around with the $849 UL50Vf, so hit the break for some early impressions and video of the new graphics technology. %Gallery-84954%

  • Great Wall Cross PC U150 Ion-izes the Eee Keyboard

    by 
    Nilay Patel
    Nilay Patel
    01.24.2010

    Our interest in the ASUS Eee Keyboard has thoroughly waned as the Atom N270-based internals have aged with time, but the new Cross PC U150 from China's Great Wall puts a little juice back into the remixed C64 form factor with the addition of NVIDIA Ion graphics. Sadly there's no battery or wireless HD out, and it doesn't support dual displays -- the internal 5-inch touchscreen on the right shuts off when an external monitor is connected -- so we're not sold on this guy as a lap-based HTPC, but we're willing to check it out. Anyone got 3888 Yuan ($570) and an extra ticket to China?

  • ASUS' Congo-based Eee PC 1201T pops up on Amazon's German portal

    by 
    Darren Murph
    Darren Murph
    01.21.2010

    Tired of waiting for the Eee PC 1201T to ship? Impatient, aren't we? We've been wondering about the status of this here netbook since it came to light last November, and now it looks like the Germans are about to get a real, live taste of AMD's Congo platform. Boasting a 1.6GHz MV40 CPU, the same look and feel that we've grown accustomed to on Eee PC netbooks, 2GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, ATI HD3200 GPU and Windows 7 on the OS front, this is certainly one of the more unique machines in the sea of Atomized "me-toos." The pain? €399 ($560), and the first batch is expected to ship out tomorrow. Here's hoping the price dips somewhat when it makes its Stateside debut.

  • ASUS EeeTop ET2010PNT hints that NVIDIA Ion 2 is GeForce G310

    by 
    Joanna Stern
    Joanna Stern
    01.14.2010

    We were a little disheartened last week when we didn't hear a peep out of NVIDIA about Ion 2, but Pierre of Blogee has dug up some dirt on the next-generation graphics. The ASUS Eee PC ET2010PNT's got a pretty nice looking 20-inch HD multitouch display, but it's also powered by the new Intel Pine Trail D510 processor and NVIDIA GeForce G310 graphics -- which according to the document is being dubbed as Ion 2. Sure, we already knew that the next version of Ion would be compatible with Intel new Atom platform, but we didn't know that they'd be tossing aside the GeForce 9400M for its G310 graphics card (which is apparently just a rebranded G210). As we thought, it looks like this will be a discrete solution, and it appears (if the benchmarks are accurate) that the G310 will be considerably faster than the current Ion platform. We're just hoping the 589MHz 16-core CUDA chip has been tweaked for better power efficiency when it comes to cramming it into netbooks. No word on when the ET2010PNT will be available, but given the initial hold up we saw with Ion 1 we aren't overly optimistic that it will be any time soon.

  • ASUS' Ion-powered EeeBox EB1012 resurfaces on Amazon in sub-$400 range

    by 
    Ross Miller
    Ross Miller
    01.13.2010

    Well, would you look at that? Materializing after the fog of CES, ASUS' Eee Box EB1012-B0257 nettop, known colloquially as "the low-cost home theater PC we've been longing for," has popped up on Amazon. In case you forgot, this little guy's packing Intel's 1.6GHz Dual Core N330 Atom processor, NVIDIA Ion, 2GB RAM, 160GB HDD, Windows 7, HDMI out, 802.11b/g/n, and a sextet of USB 2.0 ports. Still no release date but at least we have a better idea as to its cost of entry: $399, with a 3 percent / $12 discount care of the online retailer. Only color being shown right now is a sleek black, but as we saw last time, there should be a white model in the pipeline for some point in the indeterminable future. [Thanks, Joel]

  • Ion netbooks head-to-head: Atom, overcharged?

    by 
    Joanna Stern
    Joanna Stern
    12.30.2009

    It's been more than a year since NVIDIA announced its Ion platform, promising to bring HD video and gaming to the underpowered Atom CPU. After all the hold ups, we started to wonder if we'd ever see the platform packed inside a netbook, so imagine our surprise when no less than four Ion-based machines launched in the past few months. With bigger screens, better specs, more graphics muscle and, of course, the resulting higher price tag, each of these Ion machines promises quite a bit, but which one lives up to the hype? We got them all together and spent the past few weeks testing the ASUS Eee PC 1201N, Lenovo IdeaPad S12, HP Mini 311 and the Samsung N510 -- follow on past the break for our complete faceoff. %Gallery-81099%

  • MSI Wind Top AE2220 unboxing and impressions

    by 
    Darren Murph
    Darren Murph
    12.28.2009

    In the land of netbooks and nettops, the tried-and-true all-in-one PC still has a place in this world yet. MSI is living proof of that, with its 21.5-inch Wind Top AE2220 bringing Windows 7, multitouch and an eye-pleasing design to the collective masses. Said machine just started shipping to consumers at the tail end of last month, and we've been fortunate enough to spend a few weeks tinkering with one of the most cost effective AIO options on the market right now. Thankfully for those who enjoy doing anything with relative speed, MSI overlooked the Atom range and went straight for the Core 2 Duo lineup, and for those with a bit of extra coin to spend, there's even an optional TV tuner and Blu-ray drive. Care to see how we felt about this touch-friendly rig after some extended play time? Read on to find out. %Gallery-81063%

  • Viewsonic VOT132 nettop review

    by 
    Tim Stevens
    Tim Stevens
    12.24.2009

    You don't need booming sales figures to tell you that netbooks have taken over the world -- the mobile computing world, at least. Their screenless and battery-free brethren, however, have yet to find quite the same success. Nettops are great tiny little machines but in general they've been under-powered and, while people love eking out another hour or two of battery life on the road, few sadly care whether their desktop computers pull down 17 or 71 watts of juice. Still, it's hard to deny the appeal of a fully-functional computer that's half the size of a Wii -- especially when it can manage 1080p output over HDMI. Viewsonic's VOT132, with its Ion graphics and trick magnetic DVD drive, is tiny, efficient, and powerful. The perfect media PC? Read on to find out. %Gallery-80890%

  • NVIDIA Ion 2 coming in early 2010, compatible with Pine Trail

    by 
    Joanna Stern
    Joanna Stern
    12.22.2009

    Well, here we go: NVIDIA just gave us the heads-up that the next generation of Ion chips (which we'll be calling Ion 2 until it gets a proper name) will be compatible with Intel's new Pine Trail platform and arriving in Q1 of 2010. That's good news, seeing as the Pine Trail-based Eee PC 1005PE we just reviewed didn't offer much of a performance benefit over the older Diamondville chips and definitely couldn't bust through the first few seconds of a YouTube HD clip. Though we got NVIDIA to confirm that it'll improve some of the battery life concerns we've had, we couldn't get much out of them in terms of how Ion 2 will play with the Intel GMA 3150 GPU that's now integrated into the Atom N450 die. NVIDIA also didn't hold back when it came to Intel's reliance on third-party HD accelerator chips for video duties -- they think customers want richer gaming and multimedia experiences on netbooks than Atom alone can offer, and they don't seem to care that Intel keeps calling Ion "overkill." All drama aside we're looking forward to just getting some YouTube and Hulu HD playback on our netbooks -- we'll see what NVIDIA has to show off at CES.