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Editors' review

September 3, 2016

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NVIDIA ION 2

The Nvidia ION 2 (GT218-ION-A3 / GT218-ILV-A3) is a dedicated graphics card for the new Pinetrail Atom CPUs (e.g., N450, D510, D410 announced Dec 2009) Generation. The ION2 is based on the GT218 chip (GeForce 305M, 310M) with dedicated memory (compared to the old ION that was a chipset graphics card). Because of the limitations of the Pinetrail chipset, it can only be connected with PCIe 1x. Therefore, the performance of the chip is slower than a similar GeForce G210M e.g.

The ION 2 comes in three versions, that differ in core speed and shader cores.

10" Netbook ION

The ION chip in 10" netbooks with Pinetrail Atoms offers only 8 shader cores and a clock rate of 405 MHz. According to Nvidia the performance should still be similar to the first generation of ION. The power consumption of 6 Watt is rather low, and therefore fully suited for small netbooks.

12" Netbook ION

The 12" version features all 16 cores of the GT218 chip and is clocked at 475 MHz. The performance should be above the old ION platform.

Desktop & Netbook ION

The desktop version is clocked even higher at 535 MHz as no power restrictions have to be met.

 

First benchmarks by netbooknews.de on a pre-sample of the Acer Aspire 532g with the 8-shader-core version resulted in about 3000 points in 3DMark03. That would be noticeably slower than a ION 1 netbook. The relative low result can be explained by the early sample and the PCIe 1x bus. Still, compared to a GMA 3150 the performance is a lot better. 

As the integrated GMA 3150 graphics in the Atom CPU is quite limited (slow 3D performance, no HD video acceleration, no digital monitor output), the ION 2 is intended to adress these weak points. It offers a better 3D performance, (digital) monitor outputs (HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, and VGA), video acceleration with PureVideo HD (since Flash 10.1 also for Internet Videos in HD) and CUDA for using the computing power of the GPU.

The netbook ION 2 versions also supports Optimus to automatically switch between the dedicated (ION) and integrated (GMA 3150) graphics card. Therefore the battery runtime without GPU load should be equal to a non ION netbook. The HDMI port however always triggers the use of the ION card, as the port cant be used with the GMA 3150.

The power consumption of 6-12 Watt TDP is quite high for an Atom system, but the ION 2 should be switchable (with the integrated GMA 3150) which still can lead to high battery runtimes.

Manufacturer NVIDIA
ION Series
ION 2 16 @ 405 / 475 / 535 MHz 64 Bit @ 790 MHz
Codename GT218-ION-A3, GT218-ILV-A3
Architecture GT2xx
Pipelines 16 - unified
Core Speed 405 / 475 / 535 MHz
Shader Speed ? / 1100 / ? MHz
Memory Speed 790 MHz
Memory Bus Width 64 Bit
Memory Type DDR2, DDR3
Max. Amount of Memory 512 MB
Shared Memory no
DirectX DirectX 10.1, Shader 4.1
Power Consumption 6/12 Watt
technology 40 nm
Date of Announcement 10.01.2010
Link to Manufacturer Page http://www.nvidia.com/object/sff_ion.html

The specified clock rates are only guidelines for the manufacturer and can be altered by them.

Benchmarks

3DMark Vantage
P GPU no PhysX 1280x1024 +
3DMark Vantage - P GPU no PhysX 1280x1024
0%
100%

min: 600     avg: 621.7 (1%)     median: 601 (1%)     max: 664 Points

...

ATI Radeon HD 4350 -16%

NVIDIA ION 2

...

P Result 1280x1024 +
3DMark Vantage - P Result 1280x1024
0%
100%

min: 696     avg: 715 (1%)     median: 724 (1%)     max: 725 Points

...

ATI Radeon HD 4350 -4%

NVIDIA ION 2

...

3DMark 06 +
3DMark 06
0%
100%

min: 1155     avg: 1822 (5%)     median: 1963 (5%)     max: 2409 Points

Asus Lamborghini VX6 techtree.com D525 2699
Standard 1280x1024
Eee PC 1015PN N550 1024 MB 405 /  MHz 512MB N11M-PT2, 8 Pipelines, DDR3 + Intel GMA 3150 (manuelle Grafikumschaltung) 8.17.12.5912 1155
Asus EeePC 1015PN netbooknews.de N550 1186
Eee PC 1201PN N450 2048 MB 475 / 790 MHz 512MB 1963
Lamborghini VX6 [email protected] GHz 2048 MB 475 / 790 MHz 512MB DDR3 GT218-Core ForceWare 257.41 2397
Eee PC 1215N D525 2048 MB 475 /  MHz 512MB nvlddmkm 8.17.12.5741 Forceware 257.41 Win7 2409
Standard 1280x768 1280x768
Eee PC 1215N D525 2048 MB 475 / 790 MHz 512MB DDR3, dodatkowo Intel GMA 3150 ForceWare 57.34 2488

...

NVIDIA ION 2

...

3DMark 05 - Standard 1024x768
0%
100%

min: 2227     avg: 3384.8 (7%)     median: 3817 (8%)     max: 3961 Points

Eee PC 1015PN N550 1024 MB 405 /  MHz 512MB N11M-PT2, 8 Pipelines, DDR3 + Intel GMA 3150 (manuelle Grafikumschaltung) 8.17.12.5912 2227
Eee PC 1201PN N450 2048 MB 475 / 790 MHz 512MB 3098
Lamborghini VX6 [email protected] GHz 2048 MB 475 / 790 MHz 512MB DDR3 GT218-Core ForceWare 257.41 3817
Eee PC 1215N D525 2048 MB 475 / 790 MHz 512MB DDR3, dodatkowo Intel GMA 3150 ForceWare 57.34 3821
Eee PC 1215N D525 2048 MB 475 /  MHz 512MB nvlddmkm 8.17.12.5741 Forceware 257.41 Win7 3961

...

NVIDIA ION 2

...

3DMark 03 - Standard 1024x768
0%
100%

min: 3362     avg: 5342 (3%)     median: 5718.5 (3%)     max: 6569 Points

Eee PC 1015PN N550 1024 MB 405 /  MHz 512MB N11M-PT2, 8 Pipelines, DDR3 + Intel GMA 3150 (manuelle Grafikumschaltung) 8.17.12.5912 3362
Lamborghini VX6 [email protected] GHz 2048 MB 475 / 790 MHz 512MB DDR3 GT218-Core ForceWare 257.41 5716
Eee PC 1215N D525 2048 MB 475 / 790 MHz 512MB DDR3, dodatkowo Intel GMA 3150 ForceWare 57.34 5721
Eee PC 1201PN N450 2048 MB 475 / 790 MHz 512MB 6569