updated 03:20 pm EDT, Wed April 22, 2009
Intel GN40 hampered by XP
While Intel's new GN40 graphics chipset for the Atom N280 CPU is, in theory, capable of playing back 1080p HD video, in practice it does not, thanks to the limitations placed upon it by Windows XP. As confirmed by Chinese website HKEPC, which reviewed a GN40-equipped ASUS EeePC 1004DN netbook with Windows XP, the configuration was not working properly in decoding 1080p video. This is due to XP only having DirectX Video Acceleration 1.0 (DXVA 1.0) available, whereas the GN40 requires DXVA 2.0 and DirectX 10. As virtually all netbooks ship with XP, the GN40's HD video playback ability goes largely wasted on the new system.
In its testing, HKEPC loaded Windows Vista, which includes DXVA 2.0, onto the EeePC 1004DN and found that the hardware decoding worked as advertised and expected. Intel responded to the issue by saying it is netbook vendors who choose what operating system they include with their products. Their decision to offer netbooks almost exclusively with Windows XP is likely due to performance gains in areas other than video processing, as Vista is known to be hardware-intensive. Apart from the Eee PC 1004DN, Gigabyte's Touch Note T1028 also uses Intel's GN40 chipset.
Intel is planning to phase out the Atom N280 and GN40 combo in the first half of 2010, with a chip codenamed Pineview coming this October. [via DigiTimes]