Intel has confirmed that the company plans to launch the next-generation Intel Atom “Pine Trail” platform before the end of the year. Whether PC makers will rush to adopt the platform before 2010 remains to be seen. But either way, it’s likely that the Atom N270/N280’s days are numbered. And that could be bad news for the NVIDIA ION platform, which is just starting to show up in netbooks after having made a name for itself in Atom 230 powered nettops.

That’s because the ION platform, which is intended to provide higher quality graphics performance than you’ll get from the integrated Intel GMA 950 graphics in most netbooks, bundles an NVIDIA GPU with the Atom CPU. But the Pine Trail platform handles things differently, and groups the CPU and GPU functions together on a single chip. While you probably could still add a discrete graphics card to a Pine Trail-based machine, essentially you’re going to end up with a PC with two graphics controllers, which seems like overkill in a small, cheap netbook.

The folks at Overclocker’s Club speculate that this mean the ION platform’s days are numbered. But it might just be an indication that NVIDIA needs to adapt. The company has already expressed interest in developing a version of ION that uses VIA processors instead of Intel. And I don’t see why it couldn’t work with low power AMD processors as well. NVIDIA already has a separate platform, which it calls Tegra, that bundles a low power ARM-based CPU with NVIDIA graphics to deliver HD video playback on devices that consume even less power than your typical Intel Atom-based netbook.

But then again, it’s possible that netbooks with high performance graphics will turn out to be niche products that most budget-conscious netbook buyers will pass on, in which case maybe it doesn’t matter if NVIDIA takes its ball and goes home.

Support Liliputing

Liliputing's primary sources of revenue are advertising and affiliate links (if you click the "Shop" button at the top of the page and buy something on Amazon, for example, we'll get a small commission).

But there are several ways you can support the site directly even if you're using an ad blocker* and hate online shopping.

Contribute to our Patreon campaign


Contribute via PayPal

* If you are using an ad blocker like uBlock Origin and seeing a pop-up message at the bottom of the screen, we have a guide that may help you disable it.

Subscribe to Liliputing via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9,501 other subscribers

7 replies on “Does the future of NVIDIA ION lie with VIA, AMD?”

  1. You can keep waiting all you want…pine trail isn’t going to be incorporated until the end of the year. But as another poster mentinoed, who knows how much the netbooks that come with pine trail will cost or whether it’ll even be a huge improvement? If you need a notebook/netbook, buy it now.

    I’m personally not in the market for a computer replacement until I figure out where i’m ending up in less than a year.

  2. Ugh, I was about to click buy on that toshiba mini i’ve had my eye on and now i’m not sure. should i wait? curse you intel!

  3. I think the big question that remains is what Pinetrail will be like performance wise. The slides that are circulated on blogs aren’t terribly specific about any performance boosts.

    Intel’s ridiculous restrictions and pricing trickery shows they probably aren’t that interested in the Atom being too much of a success. We should all be buying CULV and C2D chips instead.

  4. I would like to see more variety in netbook processors. It would be great to see some VIA and AMD cpu’s in netbooks. I think competition would motivate companies to not only improve their products but also be competitive in prices; both of which benefit consumers.

  5. People are missing the possiblity that Intel will act stupidly making Pinetrail chips less advanatgous on price point to use in netbooks and nettops. The possibilty also exist that Pinetrail might not be quite as good as people think…after all Intel made the GMA 950…a more sorry sack of dung as a replacement for a real GPU is hard to think of from my point of view.

    I believe it, when I see it, in other words.

  6. nVidia and Intel should just merge. Intel’s graphics suck, and nVidia is in desperate need of a CPU to compete against the likes of AMD/ATi. They need to settle their differences and join forces.

Comments are closed.