The Asus Eee PC 1004DN is one of the first netbooks to sport an optical disc drive. But that’s not its only claim to fame. It’s also the first available mini-laptop to utilize the new Intel GN40 chipset. When paired with an Intel Atom N280 CPU, this chipset is designed to offer better graphics performance than you’ll get from Intel 945GSE chipset found on most netbooks. But how well does it hold up under real world conditions? HKEPC managed to pick up an Eee PC 1004DN in Hong Kong and put it through its paces.
The GN40 chipset supports DirectX 10, H.264 and VC-1 video decoding, and Shader Model 4.0 specifications. When HKEPC pitted the 1004DN against an Asus Eee PC 1000H and 1000HE, the 1004DN came out ahead in most benchmarks – but not by a huge margin. The GN40 chipset gives the new model an edge in most video and graphics tests. But some of the hardware video encoding features simply don’t work in Windows XP. The drivers aren’t available. You’ll need to use Windows Vista or Windows 7 to get the most out of this chipset.
The GN40 chipset is also more expensive than the Intel 945GSE chipset. And an Intel Atom N280/GN40 combo has a TDP of over 16 watts, compared with a TDP of about 8W for an Atom N280/945GSE pairing. All of which is to say, the GN40 chipset might not be all it’s cracked up to be. It might offer marginally better performance than you get from today’s netbooks. But that performance will come at a cost: Netbooks with this chipset could easily run $30 to $50 more than today’s mini-laptops, and the chipset will take a toll on battery life.
The 8 total watts for the n280/945GSE combo is just plain wrong as the 945GSE is 11.8 watts itself. Then add 2 watts for the n280 for a combined 13.8w TDP.
If the 16W is what it’s running when it’s doing a 3d game, then that’s not too unreasonable. I’d like to see info on its normal power draw vs that of the 945 and Ion. One would think that with the die shrink etc 2d power draw wouldn’t have to be higher than the 945.
The real question is will the GN40 have decent drivers? A lot of netbooks still use the 945GSE because the GMA500 drivers were absolutely terrible.
my guess is that the GN40 is nothing more than a low-clocked G45 GPU as used in all current Intel integrated notebook chipsets.
so the drivers will be as good or bad as the notebook variant.
interesting that the TDP is worse than the nVidia Ion.
The following is a quote from an Intel document called “Nvidia Ion Competitive Positioning Guide”, comparing the old N270/945G combo and Ion. Now obviously Intel’s going to paint the best picture for themselves, but unless they flat out lied about the number, the new Intel gear is like half a watt lower then Ion.
“Intel also claims that its own Atom platform will have longer battery life than an Ion-based system, quoting a comparative TDP of 8W against Ion’s 15.5W.”
I was hoping for more out of this new GN40. A new purpose-built netbook chipset should surely be at least as good as some age-old notebook chipset. =(
This is what we could and should have had a year back, the choice of 945 was always ridiculous.
Happily it appears Ion will wipe the floor with this and hopefully it’ll teach Intel not to hold back the market for the sake of squeezing profit out of age old desktop chipsets. Doubt it though 🙁
Second the question about the Ion”s power consumption, yet to see any firm figures.
That laptop is a sweet looking rig, the units looks very nice indeed.
I suppose that lack of functionality for video encoding under Windows XP is fixable with a driver. I would not mind slow, but NOT WORKING is not good acceptable. Yes, not many people would video encode on their netbook…but all the same that sin’t good.
Does anyone know what the TDP for Atom + ION is? That would be far more interesting? I think ION requires less wattage and therfore would be better on the power consumption. Does ION video encode?
Comments are closed.