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Acer Announces First NVIDIA Ion2-Based Netbook

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the one-less-underpowered-thing dept.

Graphics 94

MojoKid writes "Acer has just taken the wraps off the new Acer Aspire One 532G netbook at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The machine is the first netbook with dedicated next-generation NVIDIA ION 2 graphics acceleration. The new Aspire One is also enabled with NVIDIA's recently announced Optimus technology to balance multimedia performance when needed, along with battery life savings, seamlessly switching to integrated Intel Atom/Pinetrail graphics when it's not required. Word is Ion 2 is going to be outfitted with twice the number of shaders for even more graphics horsepower as well."

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94 comments

She just love my big 10 inch (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#31153706)

Back to my fish for a minute. The tank has a volume of 11 gallons. But I hardly ever put that much water in it because the fish ends up bumping its head against the cover and it makes an annoying sound. So I thought about other ways I could keep the tank full without always adding more water, and I came up with a system of adding gravel every other day to raise the level of the water. If the water level falls too far, it becomes a problem for the external water filter. So by adding more baseline gravel, I can pretty much keep the water at a safe level.

When I change the water every other week, I remove some of that gravel so that I have a lower baseline to start from. If this were a larger tank like my old 50 gallon, this system of adding and removing gravel wouldn't work at all. There's just too much volume to make up in the larger tank.

So if the display size is only 10 inches, how much graphics horsepower is really needed? With a decent low-end decoder chip, you can pretty much get WXGA @ 30fps decoding. The additional polygons that the graphics chip can compute seems like it would be under utilized due to the small screen discouraging hardcore gameplay. I've got a netbook like this (an older version) and the ladies are duly impressed when I whip out my big 10 inch display.

Re:She just love my big 10 inch (3, Insightful)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 4 years ago | (#31153812)

Some ION systems have struggled slightly with 1080p decoding. If ION 2 is all it's billed to be (harder, better, faster, stronger) while keeping smaller energy footprint with seamless switching between integrated and discrete graphics (as Anand seems to think it does well: http://www.anandtech.com/mobile/showdoc.aspx?i=3737 [anandtech.com] ), then I'm all for it.

Of course, the ION 2 platform isn't going to be limited to netbooks. The market for small HTPCs (Zotac MAG or Acer Revo and their ilk, I think they're called "nettops" or something) seems to be slowly but steadily gaining steam. Those platforms need to be able to smoothly drive 1920x1080 displays, and ION 2 seems to be something of a match made in heaven for this sort of purpose.

Re:She just love my big 10 inch (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154078)

It isn't just the HD decoding advantage that ION gives you, it is the smoothness and lower power requirements as well. I have been building a lot of low end AMD based dual core desktops, and while much more powerful than an Atom based anything I have noticed how much of a difference hardware acceleration really makes. Not only is video smoother with much less chance of dropped frames, but it really cuts down on the amount of CPU needed and makes multitasking that much nicer as well as cuts down on fan speed and heat.

So I can just imagine that on the Atom, which honestly really isn't much of a chip at all, that the effect is even more dramatic. With wanting to squeeze every minute you can out of the battery I can see an advantage to having ION. The only catch is they are really gonna have to hit the right price point, as walking into Walmart the other day I noticed the new AMD Neo based netbooks, which have nice ULV AMD Athlon CPUs and Radeon GPUs, were selling for less than $425 and at Tigerdirect I noticed the Neo based going for less than $400. With those kinds of prices for a decent CPU AND a decent GPU the price is gonna have to be competitive, as playing with the Neo the thing handled better than my Dell from a couple of years back. Hardware acceleration is really nice, but having a real out of order CPU like the Neo to multitask with was REALLY nice.

I personally am waiting for the nice cheap ARM based netbooks but if they don't come out soon I could see getting a Neo or one of these depending on price. The amount of power these little netbooks are coming out with lately is just nuts. For your basic tasks most folks use a laptop for I can see why netbooks are so appealing, and I bet Intel is regretting coming out with Atom and starting the whole cheap netbooks craze. Now that AMD, Via, and soon ARM will all be given the Atom competition the genie is out of the bottle and Intel is stuck, and I bet the netbooks are really starting to cut into laptop sales.

Does Nvidia still make LGA775 based products? Because for an HTPC I could see having the ION 2 mated with a low power Celeron being an attractive combo. I have a few customers asking about HTPCs, but I'm not sure how well those Atoms will handle those big wide screens. Anybody have any experience with Atom for HTPC? How does it do with Windows 7 HP?

Re:She just love my big 10 inch (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154220)

Nice price, but you'd be lucky to get 3 hours out of one of those NEO netbooks, not to mention the heat.

Re:She just love my big 10 inch (1)

StayFrosty (1521445) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154482)

I get between 5-6 hours of normal use out of mine (Athlon NEO, Radeon x1270, 250gb hdd, 11" display, 6 cell battery.) To be honest, I bought mine to be more of a thin and light notebook rather than a "netbook" so this is more than enough for my purposes. As far as heat goes, the fan rarely has to spin up and it runs much cooler than any "normal" laptop I've owned.

Re:She just love my big 10 inch (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154692)

The NEO stuff is substantially lower power than traditional A64s. Not as good as Atom(though surprisingly close in the case of the old "atom + power-sucking 945 chipset" pair), though with better performance; but it isn't the old gamer's-special "We'll just slap a desktop Athlon and a big-ass fan in there, it'll run like a bat out of hell, cost peanuts, and the kiddies won't care if it is two inches thick and sounds like the souls of the damned if we add some colored lights" AMD based laptop by any means.

Re:She just love my big 10 inch (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155930)

Actually we are talking about an ULV chip and the system only draws 18 watts [computerworld.com] maximum for a dual core processor. And while the above article says $750 IRL Walmart and most of the other chains have them for less than $450 for a dual core with a Radeon 3200 GPU, which allows it to play 1080p video smoothly and maultitask quite nicely.

So it really isn't like the old power sucking Athlon days. While it isn't gonna suck single digits max like an Atom (which when paired with the 945g isn't really great power wise either) frankly the increased performance and smooth hardware accelerated video makes it feel much more like a full size notebook than a netbook. If you have a Walmart nearby I would pop in and give one of their display models a spin. They are actually pretty sweet as far as the feel and handling goes, with the one I was looking at boasting 2Gb of RAM and Windows 7 HP for $450.

Re:She just love my big 10 inch (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31156162)

Yeah, but for that price you're better off with a Core2Duo ULV Laptop which push 7-12 hours of battery life.

However, you get what you pay for with this laptops, their screens are terrible.

Re:She just love my big 10 inch (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31157514)

Re: LGA775, nVidia has their 9200-9400 series onboard graphics, which are pretty much what ION(1&2) is based on. There's even a handful of Mini-ITX options, and ITX cases have gotten cheaper. My current HTPC is on a zotac ITX board with an nv chipset and a low-ish power dual core CPU. I do a bit of game emulation, and browsing (flash) etc in the living room and it runs great. It I could get similar performance (to my needs) from an Atom/ION2 based solution, I'd do it. I tried an Atom330 and even a first-gen ION board for the same use, and it didn't quite cut it. The real issue was dealing with various HD formats (even a lot of 720p content had issues).

Re:She just love my big 10 inch (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154164)

Why am I not surprised it was you who posted this, BadAnalogyGuy? Your name defies your abilities, good sir.

Re:She just love my big 10 inch (1)

Ndkchk (893797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154648)

GMA 4500. Decodes 1080p with low CPU usage, probably less power drain. It isn't as good for games as even original ION, but you're probably not getting an Atom to play games with.

Re:She just love my big 10 inch (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154818)

GMA 4500

That looks very good on paper, until you realize it's essentially vaporware until they finish the drivers. At least ION has VDPAU (even though it's proprietary), so you can actually use it Right Now. By the time they get GMA 4500 working, will the hardware even still be for sale?

Re:She just love my big 10 inch (1, Insightful)

jisatsusha (755173) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155538)

It's a 10" screen, it's not like you can watch 1080p on it anyway. Sure, you can probably connect an external display, but I doubt that many people are going to buy this kind of computer to do that.

Re:She just love my big 10 inch (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155912)

There is a massive community of HTPC enthusiasts who want to do just that. Remember XBMC (formerly Xbox Media Player) ? Yeah, that thing. Slap it on a netbook or "nettop" with ION, hook it up to your TV and you have an 1080p capable any-format media player for less than the cost of a halfway-decent BluRay player.

Re:She just love my big 10 inch (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31157614)

I'm somewhat unconvinced, after trying with a first gen atom 330 (intel gfx) and a first gen Atom330 + ION. I've been much happier with the 775 nv boards or the 780+ AMD boards with low-ish power CPUs. I know it's more power draw than the atom, but to be honest, this is less concern to me for something plugged into the wall, that takes less than $3-4 to run 24/7 (let alone S3 suspend half the time).

I hope it works out well, and that all the acceleration features get worked out. This time, I'm sticking with what I have, which is still way better than the prior generation desktop Athlon X2 that was in my HTPC (after two athon attempts).

Re:She just love my big 10 inch (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 4 years ago | (#31157780)

Who cares what size the display is. If the video you are trying to play is 1080p, you still have to be able to decode 1080p. Besides that, resolution does not make a significant difference anyway. Performance needed for decoding is more dependent on the bitrate than anything else.

Re:She just love my big 10 inch (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 4 years ago | (#31157674)

Some ION systems have struggled slightly with 1080p decoding.

ION systems handle 1080p decoding just fine. Nvidia has one dedicated hardware decoder that is shared across all of their cards. The only improvements that ION2 (and GT2xx cards) provide is a MPEG4 Part2 (ASP, DivX, XviD) decoding, and an improved video scaler.

There are two issues that you may encounter. Being a hardware decoder, it is limited in what options it supports. x264 supports a number of options, levels, and profiles than Nvidia's decoder is capable of handling. People who don't know what they're doing foolishly use those options for that couple percent of extra compressibility. The hardware only supports decoding and scaling, so any deinterlacing needs to be done in software on the shaders. At least under linux, the 9400M is just barely incapable of performing the most intensive deinterlacer at 1080i, and a mild overclock is needed to do 1080i50.

Counter-TROLL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31153814)

If I were to summarize BadAnalogyGuy's scary initiatives I'd need only one word: meretricious. In the text that follows, I won't bother discussing the flaws in BadAnalogyGuy's logic because he surely doesn't use any logic. BadAnalogyGuy's précis can be subtle. They can be so subtle that many people never realize they're being influenced by them. That's why we must proactively notify humanity that I will never give up. I will never stop trying. And I will use every avenue possible to turn random, senseless violence into meaningful action.

I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that when BadAnalogyGuy hears anyone say that he backstabs his dupes, his answer is to fortify a social correctness that restricts experience and defines success with narrow boundaries. That's similar to taking a few drunken swings at a beehive: it just makes me want even more to focus on the major economic, social, and political forces that provide the setting for the expression of a stuporous agenda. He obviously didn't have to pass an intelligence test to get to where he is today because his knowledge of how things work is completely off the mark. First of all, I am not interested in debating BadAnalogyGuy. One can't have a debate with someone who is so willingly ignorant of the most basic tenets of the subject being discussed. Are we going to step back and let him regulate wowserism? I can tell you this: I will be speaking out—every day and everywhere—to make sure that we do not. It is not uncommon for him to victimize the innocent, penalize the victim for making any effort to defend himself, and then paint the whole dirty affair as some great benefit to humanity.

If it were up to BadAnalogyGuy, schoolchildren would be taught reading, 'riting, and racism. He makes a living out of revanchism. I call this tactic of his "entrepreneurial revanchism". BadAnalogyGuy and his mercenaries have indubitably raised entrepreneurial revanchism to a fine art by using it to create a Frankenstein's monster.

BadAnalogyGuy has a talent for inventing fantasy worlds in which all it takes to solve our social woes are shotgun marriages, heavy-handed divorce laws, and a return to some mythical 1950s Shangri-la. Then again, just because BadAnalogyGuy is a prolific fantasist doesn't mean that we should derive moral guidance from his glitzy, multi-culti, hip-hop, consumption-oriented cop-outs. Far be it for me to cause an increase in disease, mandarinism, crime, and vice. It is similarly noteworthy that his effusions may have been conceived in idealism, but they quickly degenerated into naive, cruel militarism. What BadAnalogyGuy is doing is not an innocent, recreational sort of thing. It is a criminal activity, it is an immoral activity, it is a socially destructive activity, and it is a profoundly apolaustic activity. My point here is that in public, he vehemently inveighs against corruption and sin. But when nobody's looking, he never fails to oppose the visceral views of 98 percent of the nation's citizens.

There is still hope for our society, real hope—not the false sense of hope that comes from the mouths of morally questionable barmpots but the hope that makes you eager to weed out people like BadAnalogyGuy who have deceived, betrayed, and exploited us. It's debatable whether some deep void within BadAnalogyGuy makes it necessary for him to fleece us. However, no one can disagree that BadAnalogyGuy doesn't want to acknowledge that he should exercise greater judiciousness when extolling barbarism. In fact, BadAnalogyGuy would rather block all discussion on the subject. I suppose that's because he says that his debauches are the result of a high-minded urge to do sociological research. What he means by this, of course, is that he wants free reign to utilize legal, above-ground organizing in combination with illegal, underground tactics to endorse a complete system of leadership by mobocracy. Let me conclude by saying that we who want to educate the public on a range of issues will not rest until we do.

Also, BadAnalogyGuy has a smaller penis than CmdrTaco.

Re:She just love my big 10 inch (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154172)

So if the display size is only 10 inches, how much graphics horsepower is really needed?

A netbook's 1024x600 pixel display has about twice as many pixels as a Wii console, whose "Hollywood" GPU outputs 640x480 pixels. Therefore, a gaming netbook needs to process about twice the vertices and twice the pixels per second as Hollywood. Yet the consensus on Slashdot is that Intel GMA is less powerful than Hollywood, instead comparing to a Voodoo3 from a decade ago.

And as SpeedyDX pointed out [slashdot.org] , people can and do plug in bigger monitors.

Re:She just love my big 10 inch (1)

dindi (78034) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154470)

These netbooks have a vga out, so cranking out more GFX power might be preferred by those who connect them to projectors (presentation or movie) or their primary display.

I got one of the Aspire One netbooks for my wife for Christmas and the only dislike (besides Windows on it - both of us are Mac apes) is the tini-tiny touch pad. Even the keyboard is usable with my large hands for touch typing. While it is a perfect drag-it-around-the-house-or-garden laptop it is what it is: good for mail and web, skype ... and well, that is it..... but most people need a laptop for only these.

Re:She just love my big 10 inch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31155472)

Am I the only person that wonders if Nvidia has a license for Intel's DMI?

Maybe I'll finally be able to buy a small laptop (1)

Vlado (817879) | more than 4 years ago | (#31153708)

I travel a lot on business and for relatively extended periods of time (couple of weeks are not uncommon).

I also like to play "advanced" games. I just recently completed Dragon Age: Origins.

The problems is, that if I want a decent gaming performance I don't usually have a choice of a small laptop. I'm currently lugging around a 17" HP which works great, but is a bit heavy and eats batteries like candy :-)

Something smaller would be a nice change.

Re:Maybe I'll finally be able to buy a small lapto (2, Insightful)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31153800)

I also like to play "advanced" games. I just recently completed Dragon Age: Origins. The problems is, that if I want a decent gaming performance I don't usually have a choice of a small laptop. I'm currently lugging around a 17" HP which works great, but is a bit heavy and eats batteries like candy :-)

Not to piss on your chips, but you can't have battery life AND powerful graphics, not yet at least. Decent GPU is a power hog. If you find a netbook that runs DA:O, for example, the battery isn't going to last 9 hours like the high battery-life ones do now. Can't have it both ways - sorry.

Re:Maybe I'll finally be able to buy a small lapto (1)

JDeane (1402533) | more than 4 years ago | (#31153818)

Well they could but no company has the balls to build a notebook with a 20 pound battery!!! (not to mention the fire hazard...)

Re:Maybe I'll finally be able to buy a small lapto (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31153890)

Well they could but no company has the balls to build a notebook with a 20 pound battery!!! (not to mention the fire hazard...)

That'd be funny. Kevin Smith would buy one

Kevin shoves 20 pound laptop battery down the front of his pants
Kevin approaches check in
[Attendant] Please put all your hand luggage on the scales to be weighed, sir.
[Kevin] Certainly...

Re:Maybe I'll finally be able to buy a small lapto (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31153898)

That'd be funny.

I'm sure that sounded really funny in your head, but do us all a favor and stick with whatever it is that you do that isn't involved in the entertainment industry.

kthxbye

Re:Maybe I'll finally be able to buy a small lapto (1)

Vlado (817879) | more than 4 years ago | (#31153828)

Well, actually it seems here that I could have it both ways.

Qute from TFA:
NVIDIA® Optimus Technology intelligently, automatically, and seamlessly transitions between the powerful NVIDIA® ION GPU, and battery-saving integrated graphics

To me this sounds optimal. While playing games I'm usually stationary and have an access to the power source. On the other hand, while I'm on the go I don't need high-end graphics. I need Powerpoint, Wword, Excel. If this thingy can go into low power mode for such applications and keep me running for a few hours, I'll be quite happy.
Hell, my current laptop is so power hungry, I can't even use power sockets on airplanes, because it draws to much power, while it's running :-D

The only thing that I'm really waiting for now is for this chipset to appear in either HP or Lenovo laptops, since those are my company's preferred vendors. I'm due for a new laptop this year ;-)

Re:Maybe I'll finally be able to buy a small lapto (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31153866)

Well, actually it seems here that I could have it both ways. Qute from TFA: NVIDIA® Optimus Technology intelligently, automatically, and seamlessly transitions between the powerful NVIDIA® ION GPU, and battery-saving integrated graphics

Call me a cynic, but this just sounds like the normal GPU manufacturer PR puff. Besides, when have you ever played DA:O for an hour? It's a 5 or 6 hours session kinda game, at least when I've played it. Swapping back and forth between dedicated GPU and onboard is fine in theory. "Plugging it in" is is fine in theory. THe question still is: are you going to get 5 or 6 hours of current generation 3D gaming out of it when you are on the go? The answer is no.

Re:Maybe I'll finally be able to buy a small lapto (1)

Vlado (817879) | more than 4 years ago | (#31153950)

You're completely right and I wasn't disagreeing with you at all.

I said that on the go powerful graphics are not a requirement and battery life is. While spending time in a hotel room in the middle of nowhere can be usefully spent with a nice game. And here battery life is irrelevant and graphics are not.

I also agree that the "seamlessly switching" part might be marketing, however let's give the thing a benefit of the doubt and see how it turns out in practice. We should have some faith in technology, right? :-)

Re:Maybe I'll finally be able to buy a small lapto (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31157686)

I don't think it will be completely un-noticable when switching... but I do think it's far better than the shutdown, flip switch (physical or programatic) and boot up under other GPU option of some prior hybrid graphics approaches. I won't be using this for an HTPC (already happy with my current solution), but have been considering a new laptop/netbook... I don't care too much about screen size 9 to 11 inches is fine for me, my bigger issues have been the resolution (1024x600 isn't enough, 1280x800 should be), and with playing flash video.

Re:Maybe I'll finally be able to buy a small lapto (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#31153954)

Shutting off internal graphics cards when not in need is a trick that has been in use for a while now, though usually it requires a reboot.

Considering this is specifically targeted for the low-cost, low power netbook market, don't expect anything approaching acceptable graphics performance, however. The current highest-end Nvidia notebook graphics card just hit 38.4 GT/s fill rate, whereas the current ion is at 3.6. That's just 10% of the full "notebook" cousin performance. And that's assuming that your games aren't being bottlenecked by the main processor speed (hint: they are).

This GPU seems like it's better suited to watching DVD's than playing Team Fortress 2. 17" laptops can get away with much more intensive chipsets, frequently using standard desktop parts for laptop applications. That's why they're good. Get into fully laptop chipsets, and you sacrifice power for size and portability. Get into netbooks, and that tradeoff is magnified tenfold.

Re:Maybe I'll finally be able to buy a small lapto (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31153976)

NVIDIA® Optimus Technology intelligently, automatically, and seamlessly transitions between the powerful NVIDIA® ION GPU, and battery-saving integrated graphics

Let's put things into perspective, shall we. The original ION chipset used an integrated 9300/9400 GPU, and was being touted by NVIDIA as being 'powerful'. Now let's see where that falls on the Tom's Hardware Graphics Card Heirarchy chart. [tomshardware.com] That's it way down there roughly comparable to an FX5900 or an ATI 9800. Sure it has some newer features (DX10, HD video decoding, etc), but in terms of general power, it's incredibly weak, even for 5-6 year old games. Now, assuming they've managed to bump things up a bit with the ION2, it still will only move it up a few levels on that chart. So in a nutshell, don't expect to be able to play games like Dragon Age: Origins on a netbook anytime soon.

Re:Maybe I'll finally be able to buy a small lapto (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154184)

And that, good folks, is the saddest part of technology. OP was (correctly) talking about how woefully underpowered an ATI 9800 or FX5900 are...yet at the time when they were released, they were considered the best value for the money, able to run just about any game on the market, and run it smoothly...kinda like the 8800GTs. ::sigh:: oh technology of years gone by...how we lament your passing. I suspect I will feel the same way when my 4850 gets replaced, considering its value when it was new.

Re:Maybe I'll finally be able to buy a small lapto (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154248)

DA:O isn't a very demanding game to be honest.

Besides if you really wanted to play it you could get the Alienware m11x with a GT335M, claimed 6-8 hours of battery life with the GPU off. Or you could get one of the ASUS UL series with discrete GPUs, a GT210/310 will easily run DA:O since they score ~3-4k 3D Mark 06. Especially at the lower resolution of the laptop displays.

These are both laptops that will get well over 6 hours of battery life for under a grand and are sub 13".

Re:Maybe I'll finally be able to buy a small lapto (4, Interesting)

wintermute000 (928348) | more than 4 years ago | (#31153996)

You can get a decent balance though. Have you seen the new alienware? C2D 1.3 CULV, GT335M,
say 3 hours with a midrange card. Or more with switchable, like macbook pro.

The Asus U30Jc looks particularly tasty for the lighter option + with the new optimus switchable feature from Nvidia (supposed to be seamless, no need to manually toggle). Hopefully more models with powerful GPUs are on the way
http://zedomax.com/blog/2010/01/08/asus-u30jc-hands-on-review-at-ces-2010/ [zedomax.com]

If cash is no issue and you want small/light the new Alienware looks wicked. 11" but proper midrange card! They claim over 6 hours battery life when not running games.
http://www.dell.com/us/en/home/notebooks/alienware-m11x/pd.aspx?refid=alienware-m11x&cs=19&s=dhs [dell.com]

Re:Maybe I'll finally be able to buy a small lapto (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154456)

Or more with switchable, like macbook pro.

The smallest MacBook Pro you can get with the switchable graphics is a 15", which isn't much of a space saving over the OPs current 17" laptop when you consider they were thinking about netbook sized machines.

Re:Maybe I'll finally be able to buy a small lapto (1)

Jeppe Salvesen (101622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154312)

If you are willing to turn down the graphics settings, then you'll be able to get a smaller laptop that will also last you longer on battery.

Re:Maybe I'll finally be able to buy a small lapto (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#31156312)

I just bought an HP Envy. That thing chews up games (Radeon 5830, i5/i7 CPU choices), and with the extra slice, it'll go 6+ hours on normal-ish usage, maybe 3+ hours gaming. I can't complain a bit about it. And it's a 15.6", so a bit smaller than yours, as well as being a fair bit lighter.

Pricing still unknown :( (2, Insightful)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 4 years ago | (#31153710)

I so want one... but no doubt it will be done with a ridiculous straight dollars to pounds when, if ever, we see it in the UK...

Re:Pricing still unknown :( (1)

Niubi (1578987) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154542)

Depends where you buy it from - if DubLi have it in stock it'll probably work out far cheaper than you can imagine.

GPU on netbooks? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31153712)

Meh. Who needs graphics on netbooks anyway. It's not like you're going to use photoshop/CAD or play games on them...

Re:GPU on netbooks? (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 4 years ago | (#31153720)

3D web content? playback of movies? the GPU is to offload the video decoding

Re:GPU on netbooks? (1)

PeterKraus (1244558) | more than 4 years ago | (#31153746)

I still dont get why it is needed to have a dedicated GPU. I've got HD4200 on my desktop, I believe HD3200-based (and newer) IGPU's (from AMD and nVidia, not from Intel, which suck) are more than enough for youtube decoding, 3D web content, and even full-HD playback...

BTW, AC above is me.

Re:GPU on netbooks? (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154188)

I still dont get why it is needed to have a dedicated GPU

Because name-brand PCs with Intel CPUs tend to come with Intel GMA. This includes netbooks. And as you pointed out, GMA in practice stands for Graphics My Ass.

Re:GPU on netbooks? (4, Informative)

PhotoBoy (684898) | more than 4 years ago | (#31153750)

Meh. Who needs graphics on netbooks anyway. It's not like you're going to use photoshop/CAD or play games on them...

I play games on mine! :) My current netbook plays stuff like GTA Vice City and Aliens vs Predator (1999) really well.

I'm about to replace it with an Alienware M11x so I can play modern stuff like Mass Effect 2 on the go. Basically it's a portable Xbox 360 for me. It should have the horsepower for most emulators too.

Re:GPU on netbooks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31153968)

believe it or not we have CAD on our hp netbooks, slow as hell to start the app but it starts and works. I haven't tried any 3-D modeling but the 2d works fine.

Finally (1)

VinylPusher (856712) | more than 4 years ago | (#31153912)

A netbook that ticks all my boxes. ION was almost there and now ION2 is going to fit the bill.

I suppose I really wanted one of those >£1,000 10 or 12 inch laptops, but was too put off by the price.

Thing is, the Atom processor is more than capable of running everything I want it to run. I didn't need a ULV Core2Duo (which seems to be the only defining factor between netbooks and uber-expensive mini-laptops).

Graphics - well, I do like my HD content and as for gaming... I like my indie titles. Some of them do 3D stuff that looks nice and simple, but still needs a bit of GPU grunt behind it.

This little Asus will fit in my rucksack (I do cycling to places to get some peace and quiet whilst working), can plug into my HD telly and has just enough screen real-estate to let me run the IDE's and editors I like.

If I see somewhere to pre-order, Job Done.

Re:Finally (1)

dswskinner (630472) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154216)

They aren't all uber-expensive.

I just bought an Acer 1810TZ for £440 off Dixons (with about £15 cashback from quidco). It's for the ULV 1.3Ghz C2D, 4Gb of Ram, ~7 hours battery. The only downside is the Intel integrated graphics. This is in a 11.6 inch case, perfect for dumping in my bag for use on call or for long journeys.

I'm thinking this machine with an ION2 would be almost the perfect ultra portable. Maybe an i3/i5 would be nice too, but i'm just greedy. The C2D is easily good enough for my purposes.

Re:Finally (1)

VinylPusher (856712) | more than 4 years ago | (#31157564)

I stand dejected. That sounds like quite a good deal.

I suppose I should just confess that I have an allergy to Intel. Especially their integrated graphics.

Mind you, if the price is right, the pragmatist in me will win over.

What HD? (1)

mxh83 (1607017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31153972)

Does any netbook screen support 1920*1080 resolution?

Re:What HD? (2, Insightful)

quenda (644621) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154024)

Does any netbook screen support 1920*1080 resolution?

No, but atom + ion = HTPC. The 1920*1080 is on your 42"+/- TV set.

Re:What HD? (1)

wintermute000 (928348) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154134)

I'm still a bit iffy on how video card hardware support for HD decoding is so dependent on driver/codec issues.
For example, you can't do a lot of it on linux (osx?). Windows codecs are a bit of a nightmare mishmash the way they (don't?) fit together, there's little clear documentation on the net as to how it all hooks in and into what player. e.g. for ages DXDA worked in media centre classic but bad luck if you preferred anything else.

Also the codec you use might not be usable in the program/context you want it for.

For example, in my Vista media center, I have an ATI 5770.
- However I can't use DXDA because I need software ffdshow.
- And the reason I need software ffdshow is to enable mediacontrol plugin, which allows me to use my remote to change / toggle audio channels and subtitles.

If windows media center's built in player wasn't so sh1tty and allowed me to change subtitles etc. I wouldn't have that issue. But it doesn't. And no I can't use say XBMC for example because I need the TV functionality as well. And no I don't want a media playing appliance because w/ a good card in it it doubles nicely as a virtual xbox. And soforth.....

if your CPU can do at HD natively then that's optimal. Which is any C2D, though I guess that means at least a mATX case, not a dinky little ion box. (I'll that my ATI 5770 packing mATX case anyday... heck it sits under the telly, who cares about size - its not a laptop!)

Re:What HD? (4, Informative)

aeiah (937509) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154196)

HD x264 decoding support is as strong if not stronger under linux than windows right now with nvidias newer graphics card. look up VDPAU. people report very very little CPU usage running 1080p videos under linux on acer revos and the like.

Re:What HD? (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#31156370)

Damn straight it's stronger. I'm finding some files that'll decode great with vdpau that DXVA won't touch. Rather annoying.

Re:What HD? (1)

VinylPusher (856712) | more than 4 years ago | (#31157578)

I've not yet found a combination that Win 7 x64 + Media Player Classic x64 won't play. District 9 HD with external subtitles file rendered flawlessly.

DRM (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154218)

I'm still a bit iffy on how video card hardware support for HD decoding is so dependent on driver/codec issues.
For example, you can't do a lot of it on linux (osx?).

Because the six major motion picture studios apply stronger digital restrictions management to HD video than to SD video. Steve Jobs doesn't want to put Blu-ray support into Mac OS X because the DRM is so draconian. Neither do desktop Linux distributors.

And no I don't want a media playing appliance because w/ a good card in it it doubles nicely as a virtual xbox.

Then use an xbox. At least its games are designed to run on a TV in that they let more than one player connect a gamepad.

Re:DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31155188)

but multimedia is totally and completely locked down hardcore.
its a pain in the ass to load anything on an xbox without using a media server (no regular usb)

a pc is a better idea for that

Re:What HD? (1)

Briareos (21163) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154406)

For example, in my Vista media center, I have an ATI 5770.
- However I can't use DXDA because I need software ffdshow.
- And the reason I need software ffdshow is to enable mediacontrol plugin, which allows me to use my remote to change / toggle audio channels and subtitles.

I take it you don't keep up with ffdshow development, because mediacontrol's author actually added DXVA support (and limited OSD/subtitles support for it) five weeks ago [sourceforge.net] ...

np: Pantha Du Prince - Lay In A Shimmer (Black Noise)

Re:What HD? (1)

atamido (1020905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154486)

And no I can't use say XBMC for example because I need the TV functionality as well.

By "TV functionality" do you mean recording TV shows? If so, you might want to investigate separate front-end and back-end systems. The back-end system sits in the basement or closet somewhere and just records TV. The front-end system is much smaller and just plays the recorded media over the network.

Re:What HD? (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154500)

if your CPU can do at HD natively then that's optimal. Which is any C2D, though I guess that means at least a mATX case, not a dinky little ion box.

Tell that to my C2D E6300 in a mBTX case paired with a 7600GS. Even then it struggles at times with 1080p H.264.

Re:What HD? (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154790)

> I'm still a bit iffy on how video card hardware support for HD decoding is
> so dependent on driver/codec issues.
> For example, you can't do a lot of it on linux (osx?).

Utter nonsense.

The ION gear is quite well supported on Linux and has been since before any
corresponding gear had made it out onto the market. Nvidia is VERY GOOD about
Linux support in this area. They always seem to be the example that ATI doesn't
follow. Even Intel chips are better than ATI in this respect. The level of partial
acceleration from Intel gear might even be enough to make (non-ION) Atom feasable
for lightweight HD.

The fact that Linux applications can be treated like your own private Frankenstein
is of considerable value here. If the Linux equivalent of Microsoft with MCE is
dragging their feet, you don't have to be trapped with the single source solution.
Although that isn't even strictly true with Windows either if you aren't a total
Lemming.

Re:What HD? (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#31156436)

ATI's in-house Linux drivers have sucked, true. But at least they're throwing support at proper open-source support of their GPUs. If you have an x1xxx or older GPU you get the fastest open-source graphics acceleration available right now. I think the HD2xxx and later chips are going to be supported by the next rounds of mainstream distros, too. There's still not great video acceleration with any open-source drivers, but ATI is working with the community on that. I much prefer that to a binary blob that replaces half of the X rendering stack with proprietary, undebuggable code. That said, I am using a GeForce 210 for vdpau in my media center now, but as soon as the integrated HD3200 can do accelerated decode, it's getting taken back out.

Re:What HD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31154026)

I realize you were probably being sarcastic, but the built-in display will handle 720p; if you want 1080p, you'll need to connect the computer to your TV via an HDMI cable.

Re:What HD? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154222)

[A netbook's] built-in display will handle 720p

A netbook's built-in display is 1024x600 pixels. 600p is closer to 576p, which is EDTV in 50 Hz territories, than to 720p, which is HDTV.

Re:What HD? (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154268)

All of the ION netbooks use 1368x768 screens.

Except for the Lenovo Ideapad S12 which has a 1280x800 screen...

All of which can play 720p video.

Get your facts straight.

Re:What HD? (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154338)

Not all netbooks have 1024x600 screens. We don't know yet about his particular one, but a bunch of them, especially those with ION chipsets, have 720p resolutions (or rather 1366x768).

ULCPC restrictions (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154386)

Not all netbooks have 1024x600 screens.

I was under the impression that manufacturers of ultra-low-cost PCs (ULCPCs) couldn't get a discount on the Windows license unless they kept the screen resolution under some bar set by Microsoft. When has this changed? Or do ION netbook makers pay the full laptop price for each copy of Windows?

Re:ULCPC restrictions (1)

Fluffy Bunnies (1055208) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155036)

No idea, but at least HP 5101 is available with a 1366x768 10 inch screen and it doesn't seem more expensive than other netbooks. I can't think of any others like it though, at least not in the same price range.

Re:ULCPC restrictions (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155358)

From what I've heard it's the display size that matters, not the resolution. There's also RAM requirements.

Re:What HD? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154828)

If you "want" 1080p you just feed it to the GPU and let it scale it.

The beauty of a chipset that can decode any h264 you want to throw at it is that
you don't have to go to the bother of creating separate versions of your movies
for every different device you have or try to create some "lowest common denominator".
You just copy over the original m2ts file and not have to futz with anything.

Before too long, the storage overhead of doing this won't even seem problematic.

Video will be like audio: one file that plays everywhere without the need to translate
content for individual devices and no degredation on larger high quality displays.

Re:What HD? (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 4 years ago | (#31159312)

The resolution of the screen is completely irrelevant. You have to be able to decode whatever format the video is in. Scaling comes afterward.

free software drivers? (1, Troll)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154384)

Can someone who knows these products tell me if these laptops will work well with free software, or are they are disaster like the Intel GMA500(right?) based laptops?

Re:free software drivers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31156932)

Can someone who knows these products tell me if these laptops will work well with free software, or are they are disaster like the Intel GMA500(right?) based laptops?

If by free software you mean free OS like Linux, then switching graphics and Nvidia should remove any hope. I currently use dedicated Nvidia graphics and Linux on my laptop and small things like no screen brightness control and severe issues sleeping/hibernating and having no working X11 after switching consoles make me wonder how much Nvidia cares about the Free OS "market". Throw GPU switching in the mix and you have, what I guess, is a disaster for Linux support.

GMA500 sucked for Linux.

I DO have a HTPC running Intel GMA4500HD graphics and have absolutely no problems running 1080 MKV movies. Hell, 3D even works and this is with fully open source Intel drivers! Sleep and hibernate work as well. I would assume the latest integrated on chip Intel processor combos would also be currently or shortly very well supported with open source drivers.

C/N: Look at recent Intel based GPUs if you want 1080P, open source drivers and proper Linux OS support for laptops. Screw Nvidia. Fear ATI.

Re:free software drivers? (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31157638)

Screw Nvidia? Let me guess, you're trying to use the open source driver? I've had no problems with my GTX275 or 8600MGT with 1080p playback on Linux using the closed source binary blob.

Re:free software drivers? (1)

MojoStan (776183) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165588)

Can someone who knows these products tell me if these laptops will work well with free software, or are they are disaster like the Intel GMA500(right?) based laptops?

Since no one who "knows" these products is giving good answers...

By "free" do you mean free drivers as well as OS? If you're okay with proprietary drivers, then Phoronix's articles on ION/Atom seem to show that they work well (by Linux standards) with Ubuntu and NVIDIA's proprietary drivers. 3D acceleration and video acceleration (VDPAU) both seem to work.

Horsepower (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31154788)

Because fast CPUs or graphics cards are what's going to make the netbook/tablet market take off, am I right?

Netbooks are inexpensive (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154866)

The way I see things this is not a netbook. The pricing I was able to find is over $400. That makes this a small notebook. As far as I am concerned a netbook is a 10" or smaller screen and under $400. This market was created with computers in the $250 to $300 range. This is the second "netbook" I have seen in the last month that is approaching $500. The manufacturers don't seem to understand that a large part of what created the buzz around netbooks was the price.

Re:Netbooks are inexpensive (1)

Fluffy Bunnies (1055208) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155200)

They still offer those cheaper models. Their low prices pique your interest in netbooks, and then when you do your research/talk to a salesman you learn about these better versions that you could have for just a little extra. I think the manufacturers know exactly what they're doing.

Re:Netbooks are inexpensive (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#31156886)

Once the price goes over $350, the machine in question is no longer a netbook it is a UMPC. Now I know that manufacturers want to sell UMPCs as netbooks because the UMPC market never really caught on. Of course the reason that UMPCs never developed a big market is because people don't want to pay a premium for a small PC. The reason that netbooks did is because they are cheap and cute. At less than $300, I can afford to buy something that doesn't have all of the functionality I would like. Once it costs more than $300, it starts to compete against fullblown notebook computers. At that price, why am I buying an underpowered computer when for a few dollars more I can get something that is a fully functioning laptop?
Yes, there are people for whom the small size is worth a premium, but they are a small market segment.

Basically, you are correct, the manufacturers are trying to use the inexpensive netbooks to drive traffic towards the more profitable, pricier ones. I believe that this is a strategy that will fail. If they continue down this path netbooks will become just another size option in laptop computers: 17", 15", 14", netbook (10", 9", 7"). Right now, netbooks are their own market segment and people don't generally compare capabilities against regular laptops. The direction that the manufacturers are going will change that.

Re:Netbooks are inexpensive (0)

ThePlague (30616) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155208)

These sorts of definitions are always sketchy, but it seems to me the one defining difference between what is usually called a notebook and what is called a netbook is the presence of an integrated optical drive. Notebooks have them, netbooks don't.

Re:Netbooks are inexpensive (1)

Walter White (1573805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155224)

...This is the second "netbook" I have seen in the last month that is approaching $500. The manufacturers don't seem to understand that a large part of what created the buzz around netbooks was the price.

I think they understand all too well. $200 - $300 (USD) machines were selling well and eating into the bigger profits they would have made on bigger and more expen$ive units. Smaller cheaper netbooks seem unlikely to come from the likes of Asus, Acer, Lenovo, Dell, etc.

Of course the other issue could be the need to run Win7 for whatever reason (pressure from Microsoft, lack of popularity of Linux.) That puts upward pressure on H/W requirements which also puts upward pressure on price.

Our best bet for a small cheap laptop is from some vendor in a related field - like cell phones - who does not have a laptop line to protect.

What about other applications? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155296)

Anyone know how am I supposed to connect this Ion2 chip to my ATtiny85? Is it with duct tape or crazy glue?

Come on Acer! (-1, Flamebait)

theJML (911853) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155394)

PLEASE get rid of the keyboard, and put a high-end touch screen in it's place, removing the existing hinged screen. It'd make it under .6" thick I'd think and it'd be a nice little powerhouse! Not to mention the awesome applications and interaction that could take place on a correctly done touch screen interface, in this form factor with wifi, bluetooth, and 3G. It's what the iPad should have been and it'd kick it's butt. I'll just keep waiting until this happens. I see no reason to get a netbook in it's current form. If I wanted all that I'd just buy a laptop and get a lot more for my money.

Q&A (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31155960)

Q: What are some things you don't need in a netbook?

A:
>> its 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450 processor, GMA 3150 GPU graphics, 2GB of RAM and 320GB hard drive will be joined by a discrete NVIDIA GPU

"is also enabled with X technology" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31156006)

Okay, what is this "is enabled with" crap? Try "is based on" or "comes with" some other non-obfuscated form... I can't stand marketspeak any more.

They're late... (1)

TarMil (1623915) | more than 4 years ago | (#31166756)

My netbook already runs Ion3. And it sure as hell saves some graphics resources and battery.

How much$? (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 4 years ago | (#31172402)

Netbooks sell because they are cheap. How much will this ION 2 netbook cost? Too much and you just push yourself out of the market, as you can just get a better equipped (if not as small) laptop.

I am intrigued however. If they create a low cost netbook, that can run a game like WOW (I said run, not barely function), I might buy one just to have a portable WOW device for on the road (as well as all that other stuff like email, internet, etc...).

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