by Ken Brown

NVIDIA ION, which has won a whole raft of awards this year, just racked up another.

Popular Science, the world’s largest science and technology magazine, has named ION one of the year’s top 100 innovations in its December issue, which just hit the newsstands.

ION is a small yet highly efficient graphics processor that transforms netbook and nettop PCs into versatile multimedia and entertainment systems. ION-based PCs have received loads of attention recently for shattering the conventions of what netbooks can do – enabling them to play smooth HD video, run popular PC games, and even handle video editing.

In the issue, Popular Science writes: “With the right graphics, a li’l ol’ netbook can be your only PC. NVIDIA’s ION chipset pairs a graphics chip with a low-power Intel Atom processor to take on tasks that usually foil netbooks, like playing high-definition movies and converting video formats. And since the graphics chip keeps the burden of video-heavy tasks off the processor, wattage stays low and battery life high. ASUS, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung have ION-enabled netbooks, and more are coming in the next year.”

This is the third major award for ION this year. In January, LAPTOP magazine named ION “The Best Enabling Technology” at CES, the world’s largest consumer electronics tradeshow. In June, ION earned the “Best Choice” award at Computex, Asia’s largest electronics tradeshow. Since then, ION and ION-based products have earned critical praise and awards throughout the world.

ION-based PCs are available from a number of leading OEMs including: the Acer AspireRevo, ASUS EeeTop PC ET2002, HP Mini 311, Lenovo IdeaCentre Q110, Lenovo Ideapad S12, and Samsung N510.