Nvidia is getting a new Ion integrated graphics processor ready. No, we're not talking about the Ion 2. Rather, as Fudzilla points out, Nvidia's latest drivers include configuration information for a new, yet-unannounced "Ion LE" part. Behold the following lines straight from the driver's NV_DISP.INFfile:
NVIDIA_DEV.0874.01 = "NVIDIA ION"
NVIDIA_DEV.0876.01 = "NVIDIA ION "
NVIDIA_DEV.087A.01 = "NVIDIA Quadro FX 470"
NVIDIA_DEV.087D.01 = "NVIDIA ION "
NVIDIA_DEV.087E.01 = "NVIDIA ION LE"
NVIDIA_DEV.087F.01 = "NVIDIA ION LE "
In the graphics card world, the LE suffix often denotes stripped-down versions of more popular offerings. That apparently applies here, too. Nvidia spokesman Igor Stanek told Fudzilla, "ION LE is SKU of the ION GPU that is identical to . . . ION, except it only supports DX9. This product is designed specifically for Windows XP on Netbooks and Nettops and we are going to offer LE SKU just for OEM market."
Fudzilla suspects the move has to do with Windows XP's licensing restrictions for netbooks, which might allow PC vendors to pay less if they go with DirectX 9, rather than DirectX 10, integrated graphics. With Windows 7 less than three months away, though, that might not matter for very long.