Published in Motherboards
ION set to launch in Q2
Nvidia won't be more specific
Nvidia is very excited about its ION platform, but it was impossible to get them to tell us any specifics as to when the ION platform will officially launch. Drew Henry was only willing to say sometime in Q2, although it did sound like it was likely to happen before Computex in June.
From what we were told, there's huge support in the industry for the ION platform, although it seems like Nvidia might still have to work out the CPU supply issues. Rene Haas said that it wasn't Nvidia's problem as such, as it was down to their partners to negotiate with Intel when it comes to purchasing Atom CPUs without an Intel chipset bundle.
Unlike what most people are expecting, the first ION system to launch won't be a notebook/netbook, but rather a very small, affordable desktop system. The demo units that have been making their way around various sites are not going to end up being production systems, as they were just proofs of concept.
Expect the first retail systems to use a much simpler design with a single PCB, a different connector layout, a cheaper PCB (the demo units have a 10 later PCB, production system are likely to have six layer PCBs) and even the inclusion of optical drives. Drew Henry said that most system should be about 1L in size and that's about twice as big as the demo system which is only 0.5L. However, it's up to Nvidia's partners to design their systems as they wish.
The chipset supports all of the Intel Atom processors, so expect to see the 230 and 330 in desktop systems as well as the 270 and 280 in notebooks/netbooks. It will be interesting to see who's first out with an ION based system and even more so to see what Nvidia's partners can come up with in terms of design and functionality. Pricing is expected to start from US$299, although this is likely to be for the desktop systems.