Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has publicly spelled out the pricing for the company’s ION platform. Here’s the skinny: The GeForce 9400M processor that NVIDIA bundles with an Intel Atom CPU in ION-powered netbooks and nettops costs about $30 to $35. While that might sound like a lot, it means that the total cost for the ION platform can be 3 times higher than a basic Intel Atom chipset.
That’s because Intel charges about $45 to computer makers that just want the Atom CPU. If you also take the Intel 945GSE chipset with integrated GMA950 graphics, you pay just $25. So computer makers essentially have a choice of spending $25 to put an Atom CPU and chipset in a computer, or about $75 to use the ION platform. That cost will most likely be passed along to consumers, but amid the netbook price wars, some computer makers might be reluctant to include any components that will drive up the price of their netbooks, even if it does boost graphics and video performance as well.