Is the NVIDIA ION platform worth it for home theater PCs?

There has been a lot of buzz around nVidia’s ION platform, and the central question being addressed in this post is simple. Is the nVidia ION platform really worth the money? If you’re planning on building or buying a media PC for a home theater, then the simple answer is yes.

What is nVidia ION?

The nVidia ION platform consists of an nVidia chipset which is connected to Intel’s Atom processor. The Atom is a very small processor that is not powerful enough to display any sort of decent graphics or video. In short, the Intel Atom processor lacks the ability to play video, making it seemingly worthless for home theater PCs. Luckily for Intel, nVidia’s chipset saves the Atom processor by making it useful for home theater computers. The ION chipset contains a graphics processing core which is more than capable of displaying flawless high definition, video. 720p, 1080p, everything plays flawlessly with the nVidia’s ION chipset because it can do the complex and computationally intensive task of displaying high definition video. Of course, the ION platform is fully capable of outputting with a regular DVI or HDMI connector, making it ideal for connecting it to your television. Without the ION chipset, you can not connect an HDMI connector to a computer with an Intel Atom processor. Period. Intel’s default chipset is extremely primitive when compared to the ION.

Other advantages

Aside from being able to flawlessly play HD content with the ION chipset, there are other advantages as well. The ION uses about the same amount of power on average as Intel’s default chipset. This means you aren’t going to need any additional fans or any noisy components in order to keep the computer cool. The ION is also advanced enough to enable playing 2d and 3d games on your computer. Intel’s chipset for the Atom processor is simply too primitive to play any sort of modern game. Having said that, please keep in mind that the ION is not, and is not meant to be, a high end gaming solution, but it can play most modern games at reasonable settings.

The cost

This blog is about saving money, so what sort of cost will the ION add to any computer? Reports have been claiming that the addition of the ION graphics processor will add approximately 50 dollars to the total cost of the system. This is actually pretty reasonable considering that it allows you to play and display video in true HD quality, even with the puny Atom possessor. The ION is worth every penny because there is simply no alternative. If you’re building or buying a media or home theater PC, the absolute best choice is anything with nVidia’s ION processor inside.

Posted under Shopping, Technology

This post was written by admin on May 24, 2009

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Three reasons why you shouldn’t buy quad core processors

Thinking about upgrading your computer or buying a new computer with a quad-core processor? You may be making a big mistake that will cost you money!

#1) Good quad core processors are very expensive

If you’re thinking about getting a quad core processor, chances are you’re looking to get a nice, fast, high performance computer. Unfortunately, the fast quad core processors can be very expensive. Obviously, quad core processors are about twice as expensive to manufacture as dual core processors, so right away you can expect the processors to be more expensive. As it turns out, yield for processors go down as frequency goes up. This means the higher the clock speed is, the more expensive it will be. So getting a quad core processor with a fast clock speed can cost you many hundreds of dollars more!

#2) Many applications can actually slow down

Yes, it’s true. Even though dual core processors have been out for years, most applications are still single threaded. These programs can’t take advantage of four cores! With these programs, you will be much better off buying a cheaper, higher speed dual core processor, rather than a quad core processor with a slower clock.

#3) Quad core processors use more electricity

The die size of quad core processors is very large, so you can expect them to use plenty of extra electricity. Not only do you have to have capable power supply to handle the extra load, you need to pay actual money for electricity for as long as you use your computer. Not only will the processor cost more, but you have to pay more to use it also!


Before you get a quad core processor, you should really think about the potential downsides. Very few programs are designed to take advantage of 4 cores, so you should really evaluate how many programs you use that will, and how often you’ll use those programs. But the bitter truth is that most applications use one or two processors, and because of this, the most reasonable thing to do is stick with good, high-clocked dual core processors.

Posted under Saving Electricity, Saving Money, Shopping

This post was written by admin on September 4, 2008

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