Update: Joanna Stern at LAPTOP Magazine took a look at the device manager and has posted a screenshot showing that it does have the GMA 950 graphics chipset.
There’s been some discussion on various websites and forums about a blurb on Lenovo’s website for the IdeaPad S10 and its integrated Graphics Meda Accelerator (graphics chip). It specifically mentions:
Intel Integrated Graphics X4500
I believe this to be inaccurate, for several reasons.
1) GMA 4500MHD is the actual mobile listing (although many people, myself included, lump the X4500 series together, GMA X4500 and GMA X4500HD are the desktop graphics). That’s actually the weakest argument I’m making because the numbers are lumped together, so I’m dumping it here at #1.
2) Numerous articles mentioned the S10 to have the Intel 945 GSE chipset. The 945 GSE chipset does not support the GMA X4500 or 4500MHD. It supports the GMA 950. A different chipset is required for the X4500 / 4500MHD.
3) Related to #2, Cooling, power, and space requirements are probably too high at this point – there have been several chipsets that Intel has rolled out between the time of the 945 series launching and the time that netbooks started appearing, but the majority of netbooks are still using the older series, because it can be placed in a much smaller device. That’s partly why Windows XP is still being offered – putting aside the CPU, the graphics chispets on these are just not that powerful (more than powerful enough for XP, but that’s it).
5) Intel just announced the dual-core Atom 330 (or N330) for desktop / nettop computers. The dual-core Atom has been desired by many since the single-core Atom was first announced. Going into a desktop or nettop type of computer, where you can have a little more leeway for cooling, power, and space requirements, than in a netbook, guess what chipset Intel is rolling out with their brand-new systemboard for the Atom N330? That’s right, according to Intel’s fact sheet, it’s an Intel 945GC Express Chipset with the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950. The 945 GC is very close to the 945 GSE – same memory restrictions, same frontside bus.
6) Maximum memory for the IdeaPad S10 is 2GB according to Lenovo. The Intel 945 GSE chipset has a maximum limit of 2GB. The chipsets that support the X4500/4500MHD can handle a lot more memory.
7) None of the hands-on previews we’ve seen in the last few days have mentioned it. I’m a big fan of Joanna Stern and I’m pretty sure she would have picked up on when she played with an S10 for a while.
8 ) Pricing – I don’t think Lenovo would start their pricing at around $429 if they had a kick-butt graphics chipset that nobody else had, and I’m sure Intel would charge Lenovo a bit more (which means the cost would be passed to you).
9) Finally, Lenovo would love to be able to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack (I would argue that they have with the price – it and the Acer Aspire One HDD models are the best deals going), and being able to handle 4GB of RAM in addition to the huge performance increase from such a graphics chipset would set them apart, and they would be issuing press releases left and right. Windows Vista would perform much much better on such a system, and Microsoft would also be singing its praises from the rooftops since they would probably rather sell Vista licenses than XP licenses.
For the record, I’ve contacted Lenovo about the issue, and once I have a response, I’ll be posting it.
If you believe I’m wrong on any of the above points, please feel free to comment below or contact me. I will gladly post corrections.