CES 2009 CoverageBosco - January 7, 2009
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Easily some of the coolest stuff of the show was at the Nvidia booth. The 3D Vision goggles that were just introduced offered a 3D solution that actually works. No Flickering and game profiles for over 350 games. You can see the the full evaluation on Overclockersclub Get it here.
We were able to get a look at pair of see thru Geforce 3D vision goggles that enabled us to look at how the electronics were configured.
The next thing that we got to look at was the Nvidia Ion Platform. This platform combines the Intel Atom 1.6GHz processor and Nvidia Geforce 9400 graphics processor. The base main board and 2.5 inch hard drive will fit into a space of ¼ liter. Add the daughter board underneath for increased functionality and the space requirement bumps up to ½ liter. Considering the abilities of the ION platform in the miniature platform it provides an increase in netbook graphics performance over the current Intel 945 graphics chipset currently used in netbooks. Just a quick note we were able to pull of a run of Call of Duty 4. It was playable on the ION platform. The actual numbers are under embargo until tomorrow so check back for those numbers.
So after our first visit we were invited back to run some benchmarks on the ION platform. Of course we could not turn down that kind of offer so we returned back to the Nvidia booth to see just what kind of performance this little box could deliver. The first thing we did was load up Call of Duty 4 and run through the first SAS mission. You know the one, fly in on the chopper and drop to the deck of the ship below to take command of the ship from some less than reputable people. The settings that we used differed slightly from those that Nvidia was using. The setting Nvidia recommended were basically all the eye candy off so that you could run through at a steady 30 FPS with the run made at 1024x768. We bumped up the settings just a tad and made a run through the first few minutes of the map. What we were greeted with was a run that averaged 36.2 frames per second. Not too shabby for the 9400GPU and Atom dual core processor. Now we tried the same run with a popular netbook and well let's just say the Intel 945 chipset could not make the cut.
Rather than relying on canned benchmark scores that were input into a nice presentation we wanted to witness the performance ourselves. Next up was 3DMark06. We ran the same run on both the ION platform and the netbook used as a comparison and while the scores are not phenomenal by any means the difference in the graphics capabilities from the Intel 945 chipset to the 9400mGPU is a significant jump in terms of graphics performance. The ION pulls a repeatable 1510 while the 945 equipped netbook dropped a staggering 123 yes a 123. I think I pulled off the lowest score I have seen in 3D06.
So just what else does the ION do well at. Well you can offload the video transcoding off of the CPU and onto the GPU to allow the 16 processing cores on the GPU handle the load freeing up the CPU for multitasking. Badaboom is an application from Elemental technologies that allows the conversion of video to any number of formats for use on portable devices. It took just over 2 minutes to convert the test 186Mb file for use on an IPhone
The last thing we looked at was how well the platform was able to handle playing high definition content using Power DVD 8 and displaying the content at 1920x1200. You can see how low the CPU usage is in this series of pictures as the GPU is handling the load and delivering almost 40FPS.
Look for a full review on this little gem in the near future!