Nvidia's Ion Gets Windows Vista Certification - InformationWeek

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Nvidia's Ion Gets Windows Vista Certification

The performance boost means the mini-laptops can also run high-definition video on top of Microsoft's current operating system.

Nvidia on Wednesday said its Ion graphics platform for mini-laptops has been certified by Microsoft for running Windows Vista operating systems.

Nvidia said Microsoft has certified Ion for running the Home Premium version of Vista. The graphics chipmaker said it is working with Microsoft and PC manufacturers to deliver Ion-based PCs by this summer. Besides netbooks, the Ion is expected to be used in mini-desktops.

Today's netbooks typically ship with either Windows XP or Linux and have limited video capabilities.

The Ion motherboard chipset would run alongside Intel's Atom processor to deliver better graphics on so-called netbooks, which have displays of 10 inches or less and sell for as low as $300, according to Nvidia. The chipset would be an alternative to two Intel chipsets used today in netbooks, the 945GSE and the I/O controller hub 7, or ICH7.

Nvidia claims its one chipset paired with Intel's Atom laptop chip delivers 10 times the speed of current Intel-only netbooks. While they have yet to get the official nod from Microsoft, Nvidia claims the performance boost means the mini-laptops can also run high-definition video on top of Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 operating systems.

Nvidia claims Ion can ensure that future mini-laptops can run 1080p high-definition video, including Blu-ray movies, and play video games built on Microsoft's DirectX 10 graphics technology in Vista. In addition, Ion will power premium Vista features, such as Aero Glass and Flip3D.

Ion, however, is expected to add to the cost of netbooks. A $300 netbook today running Windows XP would likely cost about $100 more with Ion and Windows Vista Basic. Adding Vista Premium would likely add another $50.

Despite its ubiquity in new PCs, there are still enterprises that have yet to upgrade to Windows Vista. InformationWeek interviewed 500 readers to find out why. Download the report here (registration required).

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