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Zotac Brings NVIDIA ION to the Desktop/HTPC Market

Like all of NVIDIA’ partners, Zotac launched a lot of products in its time, including everything from low profile entry-level video boards to the mighty GTX 400 Series or DirectX 11 models. What the company has decided to do this time, on the other hand, doesn’t exactly fit any blueprint. In fact, the newest of Zotac’s product is so out of the ordinary that it turned heads even though its release was not accompanied by a press release of any kind.

Essentially, Zotac created a low profile entry-level graphics adapter, dubbed ION GPU-A-E, based on the NVIDIA ION 2 graphics processing unit. Its build is far from ordinary. For one, it features 512MB of DDR3 memory, clocked at 790 MHz, and a GPU clock of 589 MHz. The board also comes with 16 processing cores, set at 1402MHz, and a memory interface of 64 bits. What’s most unusual, however, is that the card’s x1 slot is restricted to version 1.1 of the PCI-Express standard.

Being restricted to the PC Express 1.1 standard means that the bandwidth top is at 200MB/s. This, obviously, is a major drawback, but the adapter also has an undeniable asset, namely the sheer fact that it is one of the very few x1 PCI Express cards available. This means that it will be able to visibly improve the performance of HTPCs and, of course, add support for 1080p video. What’s more, the device actually includes DVI and HDMI outputs, which may mean quite a lot, considering that Intel’s Atom boards only have VGA.

Zotac no doubt hopes to see its ION GPU-A-E become part of as many HTPCs as possible and, thus, has already made it available for order through Newegg. End-users that have no qualms about spending $60 on a decent upgrade may visit this page to place their orders.

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