NVIDIA has yet to officially unveil its ION 2 platform. But based on a series of leaks, announcements, and the fact that the Acer Aspire One 532g with next-generation NVIDIA ION made a surprise appearance at Mobile World Congress in Spain last week, here’s what we know: ION 2 is basically a GeForce GT218 that can be paired with an Intel Atomor other CPU to offer higher performance graphics.

It doesn’t matter if the CPU has integrated graphics, like the Atom N450 with GMA 3150 graphics, because ION 2 uses NVIDIA’s Optimus technology to automatically switch between integrated and dedicated graphics depending on the tasks you’re performing. In other words, if you’re playing a game or watching a high definition video, ION 2 kicks in. If you’re surfing the web and battery life is more important than graphics performance, you’ll rely on the integrated graphics.

But how does the next-generation ION platform stack up against the first generation ION chipset available in a handful of netbooks and nettops today? And how does it fare against the GMA 3150 graphics that come standard with most netbooks?

It’s a bit early to make any definitive judgments. But the folks at Netbook News managed to grab some time with the Acer Aspire One 532g with ION 2 graphics and they ran the 3DMark03 benchmark. The verdict? It scored a respectable, if not spectacular 3049. The Samsung n150, by comparison, scored just 704 points. Higher scores are better. They tell me that they used the same test on a Samsung N510 with first-generation ION graphics and it notched a score of 3513.

Again, these scores may be due to a variety of features, and not just the ION chipset. But if you were holding out hope that ION 2 was going to be significantly faster than the first generation, that doesn’t appear to be the case. The Acer netbook actually got a lower score than the Samsung N510.

But while bleeding edge games might give the Aspire One 532g some trouble, the mini-laptop should have more than enough graphical prowess to handle 1080p HD video playback and some 3D gaming. The exciting thing about ION 2 isn’t that it’s faster than ION 1. It’s the fact that it exists at all. When Intel decided to combine the GPU and CPU into a single chip, NVIDIA could have just decided to drop its ball and go home. Instead, the company figured out a way to bring discrete, switchable graphics to low end mini-laptops.

We should have more details soon, when NVIDIA is ready to make an official announcement. And I’m going to withhold final judgment until I’ve had a chance to test an ION 2 system or two myself… or at least until I’ve seen test results for a few more systems.

You can check out the benchmarking video, courtesy of Netbook News, after the break.

Update: TG Daily got a a response from NVIDIA, and it boils down to this: NVIDIA hasn’t officially unveiled its next-gen ION platform yet and has yet to talk about its performance. Oh yeah, and Sascha benchmarked pre-release hardware, so you know, there’s that. via Netbooked

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21 replies on “NVIDIA ION 2 netbook benchmarked”

  1. the asus 1215n has a 3dmark03 score of 5806 check it out! ION2 and a d525 atom

  2. I have an HP mini 210 and I’m holding out on buying a broadcom chip to videos and flash. When the ION2 chip comes out, will one be able to purchase it OEM and install it on his/her own netbook?

    1. I hope so don’t see why not , sure nvidia would like to sell them, keep a eye on e-bay that’s where you buy most these things

        1. There was rumor that it might be but it doesn’t look like that’s the case with the HDMI support, would require more bandwidth, but we’ll have to wait for someone to examine the interior to be sure.

  3. As readers have pointed out before, no matter how fast a GPU you stick in a netbook the Atom processor is still a huge bottleneck and you still won’t be able to play 3D games from even a few years back at any decent speed.

    1. LCD is 10.1″ 1024 x 600 same as the aspire D250 this model is based on. 🙁 no way i would buy with 1024 x 600 , hopefully they will also make 12″ 1366 x 768 model too

      1. another site claims it as 10.1″ computing machine has 1280×720 resolution, will have to wait for press release to be sure.

  4. Main feature of ION2 is powerful graphics with longer battery life
    think ION with slightly less battery life as plain atom.

    ION may give 2h , atom 10h
    ION hopefully 8h

    nvidia has done well to design switchable video a technology, but it is limited by bandwidth of mini PCI-E x1 , since intel wont allow access to DMI (FSB)

  5. Wow, it’s slower than ION/9400M.

    This pretty much seals the fate of any possible ION2/CULV combos.

    nvidia, get off your duff and work with VIA! Give Intel some competition in the netbook space.

    1. “This pretty much seals the fate of any possible ION2/CULV combos.”

      No, it doesn’t at all.
      As was pointed out by Dan, the “ION2” is acutaly a discrete graphics card with a core also used in the G210m that is found in regular Core2Duo Notebooks.
      The severly limiting factor here is the PCIe 1x connection to the system that gives the ‘worse then ION 1 performance’.

      If you want an idea of how “ION2/CULV” would perform, look at how G210m performs, because CULVs use the same mobile chipset als “big Core2Duo” laptops, with enough PCIe Lanes for a decent connection.

      With nVidia Optimus Technology giving significantly better batterylife then normal switchable graphics (because poeple rarely switch on their own back and forth when multitasking) you can expect CULVs to more often sport discrete graphics if they don’t take such a big batterylife hit.

  6. I think this is a dissapointment actually. Maybe i should buy a ASUS Eee 1201N with ion 1 before they replace it with something slower and probably more expensive 🙁

    1. Making an integrated GPU when Intel has decided, antitrust regulators be darned, to do their best to make that impossible is a little difficult. Since Intel won’t license DMI, the only way a non-Intel graphics chip can connect to the latest generation of Atom is by PCIe, and the NM10 only has 4 PCIe 1.0 lanes available. Furthermore, the lanes go either as 4×1 or 1×4, and I imagine nVidia can’t use all four of those on most laptops (other things need PCIe as well). So we’re back to 1x PCIe 1.0: less bandwidth to the card than AGP 1x, introduced *1997*. While nV could have put a more powerful chip in there than the GT218 (which also goes by the moniker GeForce G210M), the PCIe link is the main bottleneck.

  7. Pixel Qi direct sunlight in day light use Screen, with power saving features like ability to shut off power to CPU (sleep) with Mooretown or ARM CPU TO SAVE POWER TOO, and all with 20 hours battery life. Then the OS advancements with Linux (Kubuntu, Chrome, Android, Moblin that is now working with Nokia’s Maemo… and any other Linux except Ubuntu with MONO), or some kind of Windows… and FLASH for Linux, and FLASH for Android and others (and future HTML5 advancements)… the year, or so, should be exciting to watch.

    However, anyone who gets trapped with Silverlight, .NET, or MONO will regret that they went for the Microsoft Lock-in again. Google is doing the right thing by using the OpenSource direction and you can see that this open direction is paying off already.

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