Theres a rumor going around that NVIDIA’s next-generation ION platform could be available on a PCI Express card. French netbook blogger Pierre Lecourt reports that while he hasn’t seen any confirmation, he’s heard from several sources that NVIDIA will be taking a PCIe approach for the ION chipset in the future.

And I have to say, this rumor makes sense. Right now, here’s the recipe for building the ION chipset: Take an Intel Atom processor, disregard the integrated GMA 950 graphics that Intel usually bundles with the chip and replace it with NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics. But Intel’s next-gen Atom processors don’t include a separate graphics chipset. Intel Atom Pine Trail chips will bundle the CPU, graphics, and memory controller functions all onto a single chip.

In other words, creating a standalone video card that can easily be slotted into a netbook might be the smartest way for NVIDIA to go. As an added bonus, it could mean that devices with ION 2 graphics might have switchable graphics, meaning you could use the Intel graphics for day to day computing tasks and turn on the NVIDIA GPU when you want to watch HD video or play a game.

We’ve also heard that NVIDIA plans to make the next generation ION platform compatible with non-Intel chips. A PCIe solution would certainly make it just as easy to throw an ION graphics card into a PC with a VIA Nano processor as an Intel Atom based system.

While I’m guessing that NVIDIA’s primary customers for any such PCIe graphics card would be computer system builders, the move would also open up the possibility of NVIDIA selling ION graphics as a third-party add-on. A fair number of netbooks and mini-laptops ship with an open PCIe slot which may be intended for use with a 3G modem or other module. If you happen to have one of those systems, it would be relatively simple to open up your laptop and insert an ION PCIe card. On the other hand, because that would be an internal-only modification, you wouldn’t get an HDMI port that way.

Of course, this all just a rumor for now. But we should know more early next year.

via Minifrag

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11 replies on “Could NVIDIA offer ION 2 as a netbook upgrade on a PCIe card?”

  1. If this happens, ATi are going to do it… And i will certainly buy the Nvidia ION 2! It would be great for me, I’m pretty annoyed that i bought my netbook for £300 and now new netbooks with better graphics are comming out for that or cheaper! So if N-vidia did this, i would be happy, and so will they, because they will be making a huge load of money!

  2. If heat weren’t an issue, it could use the existing display and GMA video to output – you don’t have to connect directly to it – just like having multiple video cards in SLI mode – you only put your monitor on one of them.

    Practically, as a previous commenter said, it would burn up, so I don’t see it happening.

  3. Very good idea. This will keep the cost of netbooks down and will be optional to the netbook purchaser. After all, not everyone wants the ION and not everyone targets their netbooks to handle graphics.

    Most people use their netbooks to surf the Internet. As for video, most HD video of reasonable size (usually to download) is MKV 720p and existing culv and N280 can play 720p.

  4. I would definitely want to see NVIDIA fitted to netbooks as a stand alone switchable graphics chip. It would work better than way for many consumers who dont always watch videos and play games. but want the added graphics whenever they are doing either.

  5. I don’t think this will happen quite as you suggest in the article because you’d need a lot more PCI-E lanes than are available on your typical netbook’s add-in card slot. Also these add-in slots aren’t typically in the right place to connect to the LCD screen connector. However if the laptop was specifically designed to take a MXM type module, we could be in business. See also:

    1. That might all be true, but it would be AWESOME if they figured out how.

    2. A good point.
      This consideration was raised when the HP-2133 was new…
      Few integrated chipsets support more than 1x PCIe data paths.
      Usually, the integrated graphics is already running that fast or faster.

  6. Hmm.. HDMI should be standard with above the average netbook resolution (1024×600).. CES would be really exciting! Can’t wait. 😀

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