NVIDIA has announced its next-generation ION graphics processing unit at CeBIT that allow netbooks equipped with the chip to outperform basic netbook graphics by delivering rich HD media in games, movies and Internet-based video. ION is a discrete GPU that pairs with an Intel Atom Pine Trail CPU via the PCI Express bus and comes with its own dedicated memory. Netbooks using the new ION GPU will also feature NVIDIA’s Optimus technology which automatically selects the best graphics processor for running any given application. By routing the workload to either an NVIDIA discrete GPU or Intel integrated graphics the technology can greatly extend battery life.
NVIDIA says it expects 30 products featuring the new ION GPU to launch by this summer with products ranging from netbooks to small form factor desktops, motherboards and discrete add-in cards. The first netbooks to use the next-generation ION will be the Acer Aspire One 532G and ASUS 1201PN which should become available this April.