Half-power NVIDIA Ion 2 GPU for smaller netbooks explains dreary benchmarking?

We've been all over NVIDIA's new next-generation Ion 2 today, but that excitement has now been tempered by a little small-print confusion over exactly what you're getting in your fancy new netbook.  According to a confidential NVIDIA slide posted by PC Watch, the graphics company will actually be pushing two versions of Ion 2: one for 12-inch netbooks and desktops, with 16 CUDA cores, and another for 10-inch netbooks with just 8 CUDA cores.

CUDA is, in effect, NVIDIA's interpretation of shaders: multi-purpose cores that can be set to run different tasks in parallel.  That basically means smaller netbook users will get half the performance of those people using slightly larger machines; we're presuming NVIDIA are rounding up 11.6-inch netbooks to 12-inches.

This could certainly go some way to explaining why the 12-inch ASUS Eee PC 1201PN scored higher than its first-gen Ion predecessor in benchmarks, while last month the 10-inch Acer Aspire One 532G produced worse results than its predecessor.  At the time it was assumed that early drivers had scuppered the testing.

[via SemiAccurate]