HP Mini 311: NVIDIA ION Makes Gaming Possible on a Netbook

The HP Mini 311 is the bigger brother of the Mini 110, but it’s what inside that really counts. The Mini 311 features NVIDIA ION graphics, making it a lot more capable in the video performance department.

The Mini 311 has an Intel Atom processor, earning it a ‘netbook’ moniker. This product is one example of how the line between netbooks and notebooks are continuing to blur. You can use the Mini 311 for a lot more than just web browsing, but it still isn’t speedy enough to keep up with systems equipped with more robust processors.

I don’t spend a whole lot of time playing games, but I do enjoy playing them. You can’t even get graphics-intensive games to load on most netbooks, but they’re playable on the Mini 311. In this video you can see that Call of Duty 4 plays smoothly on low settings.

NVIDIA ION graphics also speeds up video transcoding. In this demo we moved a video file from each of the netbooks onto a Sony Walkman device. The NVIDIA ION equipped netbook performed the task over five times faster than the netbook with integrated graphics.

The Mini 311 comes with a video player from Arcsoft that upscales standard-def content. In this demo you can see more detail in the actor’s face and color is improved.

As you can see in the above video, HP Mini 311 excels compared to netbooks without dedicated graphics. However, if you push around a lot of video clips or are a gaming enthusiast this won’t suffice as your primary notebook. The Intel Atom processor is fine for basic tasks, but it’s not speedy enough to play Flash videos from Hulu full screen.

The Mini 311 does address a lot of the common complaints about smaller netbooks and is definitely worth a look.

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