When Intel launched the Atom they were late getting to the game, but they knew that they had entered a market that was going to be big. ASUS also saw this as a gold mine; they embarked on a push to utilize this new CPU to their best advantage. The EeePC was born along with what was to become the netbook. We then saw this market branch out to other areas with the nettop, the mini HTPC and more.
Of course, as more people jumped into the game using Intel's building blocks, other companies like VIA (who started the form factor the nettop would be built on and built some of the first CPUs and chipsets for it) and NVIDIA wanted a larger piece of the pie. NVIDIA refashioned one of their older IGP flaunting chipsets, the MCP7A and renamed it ION. This move gave them a readymade solution to Intel's existing (and underpowered) chipset available for the Atom CPU.
We have played around with a couple of ION based systems, but have not been able to give one a full review (well, I have not been able to). Now we are able to change that. Today we have the ASUS AT3IONT-I Deluxe MiniMax Home Entertainment System. This board features a dual core Atom 330 (complete with Hyper Threading), the NVIDIA ION MCP, support for DDR3 (up to 1066MHz), built in WiFi and its own power supply. It is quite a nice package for only $189.99 from NewEgg.com. So let's break open the box and see exactly what this will give us.