The super-cute Lenovo IdeaPad S12 just earned the title of most powerful 12″ Netbook (told you it was coming). Thanks to its NVIDIA Ion chipset, the IdeaPad S12 can play 1080p HD content at full speed on its 12″ display or an HDTV (via HDMI). That erases one of the main critic regularly thrown at Netbooks: they can’t play video right. Most importantly, it can run recent games like Call of Duty 4 or the Sims 3 (and DX10 titles) at interactive speeds while these games don’t work at all on traditional Netbook graphics like Intel’s 945G. We even expect this notebook to perform better in pure Windows 2D benchmarks, but we’ll wait until we run the numbers to confirm this.
Finally, the Ion chipset can use CUDA applications that process video or audio files (among other things) on GPU cores. This is quite unique, especially for this market segment. You may wonder how much more it will cost, especially in light of the alleged pricing dispute over Atom CPUs (it’s old)… Well, the Ion flavor will cost about $50 more, which should be well worth it – if you care about video and basic gaming.
We expect all this to be confirmed by independent benchmarks, but in the meantime, we can only like the Lenovo IdeaPad S12: it’s the most powerful 12″ Netbook right now (availability: June). Now it’s time for the arms race… who’s next in line to use NVIDIA’s Ion? [lenovo, nvidia]