Netbooks and other inexpensive, small form-factor (SFF) PCs might be all the rage in the consumer computing marketplace, but there’s no denying that the Atom-powered machines don’t have the power to run the latest and greatest software—in fact, netbooks are one of the reasons Windows XP is still holding on as a Microsoft operating system years after the company hoped it would be in the recycle bin of history.
Now, Nvidia is looking to change the netbook and SFF landscape, announcing its Ion graphics platform has been been officially certified for Windows Vista. The certification means that Microsoft has validated Nvidia Ion with Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) drivers for use with Windows Vista Home Premium.
“Nvidia Ion and Windows are a perfect match,” said general manager for Nvidia’s MCP business Drew Henry, in a statement. “It is great to have Microsoft work with us to drive Windows with Ion into these new low-priced notebooks and really small desktop PCs, which previously wasn’t possible with other solutions. This is a big win for consumers!”
Nvidia’s Ion graphics platform is designed to replace the integrated graphics included with Intel’s low-power Atom processors and offer advanced graphics capabilities, including 1080p video playback, DirectX 10 support, GPU acceleration, and support for premium Vista features like Flip3D and Aero…all on the comparatively low-powered Atom platform.
Nvidia expects Ion-based mini-notebooks and desktop PCs will hit the market by mid-year with price points as low as $299.