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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Intel Atom + GeForce 9400M = Actual Gaming on Netbooks

Remember when we were talking about gaming on netbooks? Sure, it’s technically possible, but you ain’t going to get a zippy video card in one unless you solder it onto the exterior. Even then, how much fun can you have with your paltry Atom processor?

Not a whole lot. In my own mind, fun is actually quantifiable in terms of frames per second. With a conventional Atom processor you can only have 10-20 FPS of fun. With Nvidia’s upcoming Ion chipset your fun should jump above 30 FPS on Call of Duty 4, The Witcher, Prince of Persia, and basically anything that’s not Crysis (Crysis will run, but it will resemble 1990’s Eye of the Beholder).

Measuring fun in FPS is probably a sad reflection on my generation’s media addiction, but frankly, I don’t have time for introspection when goods like the Nvidia Ion are competing for my attention.

The Ion is basically your standard Atom processor doubled up with an Nvidia GeForce 9400M video card. It would seem that my prayers have not gone unheard, spiraling endlessly through an empty universe. Instead, some benevolent force or other has responded to my desperate pleas. What the Ion means for netbooks is HD media and full-on gaming.

Yeah. Actual gaming. Like, you know, wandering the frozen wastes of Borean Tundra, oohing and awing at meat fountains, travelling through time to kidnap Einstein … Actual gaming on a netbook!

Oh yeah, and if you like movies, 1080p resolution is possible on the Ion, but realistically, do you really want that many p on a lil’ 9-inch screen?

The only downside to the supercharged Ion chipset concerns battery life. As you can imagine, running a GeForce 9400M sucks the juice from a 4 or 6-cell battery pretty quickly.

The Ion should be available midway through 2009 and will cost a bit more than the standard Atom setup. But considering the massive performance increase the Ion will bring, I certainly won’t complain about paying a few bucks more.


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Warner Carter said...

I also second Nicholas that we need to focus on the learning aspect of games rather than the medium, even as the games should focus on fun rather than learning. Teachers at all levels are coming up with more and more creative ways to engage students. Games are another method, which can be incredibly effective teaching mediums when done correctly. online pokedex

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