Nvidia quietly adds Ion variant without DX10

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.

Comments closed
    • JustAnEngineer
    • 10 years ago

    This is just to further show that netbooks are technology going in reverse, isn’t it?

      • PRIME1
      • 10 years ago

      Or netbooks are showing how unnecessary some technology is.

      • PetMiceRnice
      • 10 years ago

      Netbooks are not exactly designed to be speed demons to begin with, so I would not consider dropping DirectX 10 to be a loss at all. In fact, in this case, I would say it translates into a gain for consumers if it means a lower price because of the licensing restrictions of Windows XP.

    • mczak
    • 10 years ago

    same except it’s DX9 only…
    Now that’s a bit strange. You can’t just “strip” DX10 functionality from the chip, so I guess what happens is the driver just only works in DX9 mode for these pci ids. Odd they’d need to do that for cheaper XP licensing…

    • FuturePastNow
    • 10 years ago

    Even with Windows 7, there’s no point to DX10 on a netbook. The machine won’t run modern games and Aero works on DX9 graphics.

    • Beomagi
    • 10 years ago

    Don’t much get it either – dx10 means vista anyway, so that’s money for ms 😛

    Then again is also means unified shaders for nicer opengl engines where designers coded paths specific to certain chips – e.g. quake4/doom3 where the engine can benefit from enhanced architecture even in xp with dx9.

    Still I don’t get it either. I doubt the part is truly identical if it’s stripped down to dx9 only.

      • pullmyfoot
      • 10 years ago

      and you want to do all that on a… netbook?

    • Meadows
    • 10 years ago

    Is there a benefit to taking away that capability? What with Cyril’s last sentence and all.

    • ltcommander.data
    • 10 years ago

    Why would Windows XP licensing care whether a GPU is DX9 or DX10 complaint, since either way, you can only run in DX9 mode anyways? You’d think Microsoft would want to have DX10 hardware in place in netbooks to encourage people to upgrade to Windows 7. The only reason I can think of for Microsoft to force people to hardware lock DX10 GPUs in DX9 mode is to prevent people turning to OpenGL to get DX10 features in Windows XP.

      • ironoutsider
      • 10 years ago

      Any movement away from “licensed” technology is generally frowned upon by M$. It’s in their interest to maintain DirectX technology so that OpenGL doesn’t take a valuable market from them.

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