I recently attended the launch of the Acer AspireRevo, the first ‘nettop’ to be powered by NVIDIA ION technology. In plain English, it’s a small PC that clips onto the back of the inevitable super-sized screen you’ll want to buy to maximise its killer graphics capabilities.
Those of you that read regularly will know that I’ve embraced the netbook revolution readily, and only a few weeks ago reviewed the Samsung NC10. Acer and NVIDIA are capitalising on this success, and have produced a pretty smart little offering that’s pitched as being low on energy consumption and meeting ‘Energy Star 5.0
I’m dubious as ever of its green credentials, but what I can say is that the combination of Intel Atom 230 and NVIDIA ION graphics processors make this a great value entertainment centre for accessing music, video and images, as well as the ability to transmit and stream HD content. Oh, and it can be used as a gaming console as well. Though the hardware itself is nothing out of the ordinary, it’s the graphics qualities (10x faster than most desktop PCs) that the partnership with NVIDIA brings to the table and makes this model a little special.
One of the most appropriate ways I saw this showcased was watching a demo of NVIDIA’s vReveal in real time. The software cleans up even the most pixillated videos, removing shake and redefining colour or noise. VReveal has actually been tuned to run up to five times faster on CUDA-enabled NVIDIA graphics processors (which the AspireRevo also has), which means that you can free up your CPU for everyday tasks like emailing and internet browsing. Needless to say, it’s got the wow factor, quite apart from the fact that they do actually use it on CSI.
It comes as no surprise that the ION platform seems to be teacher’s pet at the moment, with Adobe, Google, Microsoft all piling on the praise as the ‘future of graphics processing’.
You can pick up an AspireRevo on Play.com's website from May 5th in three configurations; a £149 package with 8GB SSD running Linux, a step up to £249 with Vista Premium and 160GB HDD, or one with the same spec as the last but with a Wii inspired controller and four games preloaded for £299.
Speaking of netbooks, rumour has it that an Android-based ION netbook is just around the corner as well, which I’ll be waiting to pounce on as soon as it launches.