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nVidia’s Disingenuous Positioning for Next Generation Ion

by Van Baker  |  March 2, 2010  |  Comments Off on nVidia’s Disingenuous Positioning for Next Generation Ion

nVidia announced the next generation Ion graphics processing unit (GPU) which offers 1080p HD decode, Adobe Flash support  and 3-D gaming for netbook products.  The addition of this GPU to a netbook  gives consumers an excellent video playback capability on netbooks that would be unable to playback HD video without the addition of Ion. The GPU is affordable and adds roughly $50 to the street price of a netbook. If a consumer is interested in being able to stream HD video on their netbook then this is money well spent in most cases. So far so good.

The problem with the nVidia positioning comes when they position the battery performance of the new Ion GPU. nVidia has a technology which they refer to as Optimus which automatically powers down the GPU when it is not needed and lets the embedded graphics handle the basic graphics tasks. The problem comes when they describe the Ion as offering up to 10 hours of battery life. The 10 hours is only achieved if the Ion is never powered up. nVidia never discusses the “typical” or “average” battery life when the consumer is utilizing the Ion GPU. As such the consumer is left to guess whether the use of the Ion GPU will cut battery life by 20% or 50% when the netbook is being used for a combination of activities. Admittedly they should not assume that the consumer will watch video 100% of the time with their netbook but to tout battery life figures that assume the consumer will never watch video when that is the benefit of the Ion GPU is disingenuous and potentially misleading.

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Tags: gpu  graphics  ion  netbook  nvidia  

Van L. Baker
Research VP
20 years at Gartner
29 years IT industry

Van Baker is a vice president and research director for Gartner's Retail and Manufacturing Industry Advisory Services. He covers consumer behavior as it relates to electronic commerce and emerging Web 2.0 technologies in the retail industry. Read Full Bio




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