Acer may have been the first company to announce a tiny nettop desktop computer sporting the new NVIDIA ION platform, but it won’t be the last. The ION platform combines a low power Intel Atom CPU with an NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics processor to offer greatly improved graphics performance in some applications.
The two latest companies to announce ION powered nettops are ASRock and Pegatron. One of the most interesting parts of this announcement is that the ASRock PC will use a dual core Intel Atom 330 CPU instead of the single core Intel Atom 230 used in the Acer AspireRevo. That could provide enough of a boost to help the ASRock nettop excel in areas where the AspireRevo fails, like playing Flash video in full screen. But I haven’t had a chance to check out a dual core Atom with a high resolution screen yet, so I’ll try not to get my hopes up until I see one of these little guys in action.
NVIDIA claims that before the end of the year, 40 different devices based on the ION platform will come to market. No word on if or when we’ll see an ION-powered netbook. Because as cute as nettops are, they aren’t much use when you’re on the road.
I don’t think the Atom processors make much sense in a desktop.
The *whole system* power savings are small. You could build a system that was similar in price, similar in size, and far more powerful for the money. And only use a few extra watts of power.
Tomshardware has a couple of articles looking at this. Check out their power usage comparison tables. Notice that when the system isn’t working hard (i.e. most of the time), the atom systems have similar power consumption to a 2 Ghz Core 2 Duo. And while the power consumption goes up a lot underload, you must remember that the Core 2 Duo system finishes the processing job a lot faster, so ultimately uses only a little more power than that atom at the completion of the task.
What with Asrock being a subsidiary of Asus, I’ll be watching reviews of the dual core nettop they make closely.
Ooh! I hope Asrock will implement their “instant-boot” features in this!
For me, I’ve got a simple mantra: no ION netbook, no netbook sale.
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