Nvidia has pushed out the next version of its ION chipset which aims at the booming market of netbooks and, increasingly, nettops where many are left wanting for more as Intel's integrated graphics solutions simply aren't up to the job.
The green team reckons that the new ION which will still be called ION (rather than ION 2) and will apparently replace the old version outright, will boost eight CUDA cores for 10-inch netbook and a whopping 16-CUDA cores for 12-inch netbooks and desktops.
Apart from support for Microsoft's DirectX 10.1, the other worthy information is that it will support a frame buffer of up to 512MB DDR3 RAM which open the prospect of some cool Sideport-like functionality (i.e. memory stuck to it via PCI Express).
Interestingly, even Intel's latest N470 Atom processor doesn't support DDR3 yet, so Nvidia is making sure the new ION is kind of future proof.
The chipset will come with Nvidia's own Optimus technology which promises to switch on the ION GPU on demand, depending on the load and the tasks being performed. Doing so, Nvidia says, will allow netbooks to offer up to 10 hours worth of battery life while offering optimal performance.
Speaking of performance, the new ION will be up to 15 times faster than the GMA3150 (found in Pinetrail) or the 945GSE under 3D Mark 2006, a DirectX9, while the new ION is twice as fast as the old ION under the DX10-capable 3D Mark Vantage benchmark.
Asus and Acer have already announced that they will be shipping netbooks based on the new ION chipset with some interesting all in one models coming up soon from Asus and Lenovo, already. More than 30 other computers and netbooks will come with ION by the end of the year.