Samsung breaks Netbook mold with Nvidia chip

Nvidia confirms Monday that Samsung will bring out a Netbook based on Nvidia's Ion chipset, another design that breaks the Netbook mold.

Nvidia on Monday confirmed that Samsung will bring out a Netbook based on the graphics chipmaker's Ion chipset, another design that breaks the Netbook mold.

"Ion really transforms these small laptops, like the upcoming Samsung and Lenovo Ideapad S12, into fully capable notebooks," Rene Haas, general manager of notebook products at Nvidia said Monday in a statement.

Ion brings mainstream PC graphics to Netbooks, including 1080p high-definition video support and better gaming, according to Nvidia.

The disclosure of the Samsung Netbook follows the Lenovo IdeaPad S12 --due in August--the first Netbook announced from a major PC maker to employ the Nvidia chip.

Upcoming Samsung Netbook based on Nvidia's Ion chipset and Intel Atom processor
Upcoming Samsung Netbook based on Nvidia's Ion chipset and Intel Atom processor Nvidia

Though Nvidia would not confirm specifications, Netbook Choice is reporting that the Netbook, branded the Samsung N510, is due in July and will sport an 11.6-inch screen--large for the Netbook category, where screens typically top out at about 10 inches.

The Samsung Netbook would be another manifestation, following the Lenovo IdeaPad S12, of Nvidia's efforts to break the Netbook mold as defined by Intel: a low-performance device with a screen under 11 inches in diagonal size. Nvidia claims designs like Samsung's and Lenovo's are more notebook than Netbook.

Samsung's Netbook bears Nvidia badge
Samsung's Netbook bears Nvidia badge Nvidia

"The Netbook term was created by Intel to define a segment offering a limited experience, but with Ion you don't have those same limitations," Nvidia's Haas said. "These systems can handle mainstream gaming, HD video, and new GPU-powered applications. You might as well call them notebooks, because that's what they are."

The N510 will also pack an Intel 1.66GHz N280 Atom processor, according to Netbook Choice. The N280 is Intel's latest Atom processor that, ironically, is offered to Netbook makers with supporting Intel silicon that delivers better graphics performance than previous Intel Atom technology. That Intel feature, however, is not available when a PC maker uses Nvidia's higher-performance Ion silicon that integrates Nvidia's 9400M graphics chip--the same chip used in Apple's MacBook line.

Other Samsung Netbook features include a 160GB hard disk drive, 1GB of memory, and Wi-Fi (draft-n), Bluetooth, and a Webcam, according to Netbook Choice.

Nvidia's Ion is also used in tiny desktop PCs such as the Acer AspireRevo and ASUS eeeTop.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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