Intel and NVIDIA Ion – It’s Looking Ugly

NVIDIA Fudzilla is discussing a document released by Intel called “Nvidia Ion Competition Position Guide”, and it’s definitely not a good sign of things to come. Intel goes after the Ion platform.

As Fudzilla points out, some of the arguments don’t make much sense – Intel mentions that Ion is not a new chipset, and is instead derived from the MCP79M/NCP7A chipset family.

Let’s stop and think about this for a moment. Intel’s 945GSE/GM chipset is nearly 4 years old. At this time last year, we were still a few months away from Intel Atoms being widely available, and were still using older Intel Celerons (that probably predated the 945 chipset). From the beginning, these devices were based on older technologies in order to keep the costs down. As shocking as it may seem to some, the whole point of these devices was not to include the latest and greatest technologies – most of those would severely impact the battery life on these devices, given that the batteries are smaller.

Intel also argues that Ion will consume more power and add to the cost (or Bill of Material). So what? The Ion has been positioned from the beginning as being for people wanting better performance than what’s currently available and what will be available later this year (Intel’s GN40 chipset). I include myself in that group – I would gladly give up a little battery life for something that can spit out smooth HD video and that has a much better graphics chipset than anything we currently have. That does fall well outside of the range of what netbooks were originally meant for, but there shouldn’t be a problem with having offerings that are $50-$100 more, unless you are worried about it really eating into conventional low-end laptops powered by normal laptop CPUs (which I can see Intel being concerned about that).

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