Ion Catching On Fast In the Atom Market

The test chipset used by Nvidia for the Ion

The test chipset used by Nvidia for the Ion

Nividia’s Ion is a chipset meant for Intel’s Atom. It is meant to do what Intel’s own chipset cannot do – provide better graphics and more power. It in fact is capable enough to play a few games and play back 1080p HD movies, which is impossible to do on Intel’s own Atom chipset. Nvidia showcased it at the beginning of this year and released it two months back.

The Ion chipset caught on, as Zotac became the first to bring out a board based on Ion. Zotac’s board has a mini-itx form factor with a few variations to create four different models. They are mainly meant for HTPCs and other such small form factors.

The netbooks market was yet to embrace the Ion publicly at the point when Zotac released its Ion boards. Now however, it is apparent that many manufacturers have been working behind the scenes as usual to adapt this new offering to their netbook lines.

Asus has been the first to come under the focus due to unofficial news of a new Ion based netbook leaking across the Internet. The various advantages of the Ion are easily apparent. Atom devices can now have more than just 1GB of RAM and can also playback HD video. Better graphics power translates to better displays and an overall faster performance.

But there is a downside Ion. Since it has more power, it is not as energy efficient as the Intel chipset. Although the Ion’s energy efficiency is still much better than full-scale chipsets like Nvidia’s other offerings, it is still higher than Intel’s chipset and hence the new netbooks are likely to have shorter battery lives or more bulk due to extended batteries.