Refuses to play nicely.
It’s no secret that Nvidia and Intel have their differences when it comes to Ion and Atom. A fact made abundantly clear by Intel’s “Nvidia Ion Competitive Positioning Guide” – intercepted by our pals at bit-tech.
According to Intel, some of Nvidia’s claims about Ion, as it compares to Intel’s own platform solution, are either exaggerated, or simply not relevant to the target market. One criticism Intel makes is that the chipset is simply the pre-existing MCP79, rebadged – nothing new at all. Intel also reckons that “despite Nvidia’s continued execution and power problems with this chipset, Nvidia is partnering the same chipset with an Intel Atom processor and creating hype around what it calls the ‘Ion Platform’.”
Intel isn’t exactly innocent of such shenanigans, given that the 945GSE chipset Intel has partnered with Atom CPUs to date is a four year old design, it should be pointed out. Intel also adds that Nvidia is “attempting to re-use an integrated graphics chipset designed for the notebook and desktop system price points into the netbook and nettop system price points. This in turn leads to higher costs as well as high power consumption.”
Another area Intel reckons it beats Ion is battery life. According to Intel, its own Atom platform draws a mere 8W of power, while an Ion solution will drain up to 15.5W. And while Nvidia’s solution does have some benefits, Intel counters that “neither gaming nor video transcoding are relevant to netbook and nettop users.” Fair point well made, is all I can say to that, really. Not that small, low-power, HTPC solutions aren’t a tempting proposition, but I put them outside of the remit of the nettop product category.
Intel also calls Nvidia’s “claims that many OEMs are exploring the Ion” into question. Intel points out that, thus far, “no customer has publicly disclosed plans to design Ion-based products.” We’re told that several OEMs are interested, but as Intel says, none will go on record to conform plans to launch Ion solutions.
The driving message from Intel is to not “buy the hype around Nvidia Ion—it offers no advantages that an Intel platform cannot provide relevant to the Netbook and Nettop market segments.” However, that Intel feels the need to campaign against Ion at all is fairly telling. Clearly there’s a consideration that Ion poses at least some threat to Intel’s own Atom platforms, or it wouldn’t bother pointing out the perceived flaws.
I’m content just to let the two argue it out with products – should any Ion-based netbooks or nettops ever hit the market.