Print 9 comment(s) - last by kattanna.. on Feb 9 at 4:04 PM

NVIDIA Optimus  (Source: NVIDIA)
Optimus changes between integrated and discrete GPUs without any user input

For a while now, NVIDIA has been offering a graphics technology that allowed the user to change between a discrete GPU and an integrated GPU in their notebook computer. The user had to initiate the change when they wanted to use either GPU and many users simply never used the feature. The goal was to give the notebook user a powerful GPU when needed, but allow for a power sipping discrete GPU when battery life was the main goal.

NVIDIA has today unveiled a new technology called Optimus that takes the dual GPU system NVIDIA already has and makes it much easier for the user. Optimus is able to optimize the performance of the notebook automatically without any input from the carbon-based life form in front of the screen. What that means is that the technology knows when the system needs the discrete GPU and will start it up automatically and when the discrete GPU isn't needed, it turns it off automatically.

NVIDIA's Rene Haas said, "Consumers no longer have to choose whether they want great graphics performance or sustained battery life. NVIDIA Optimus gives them both -- great performance, great battery life and it simply works."

Notebooks using the Optimus technology will hit the market shortly and the first examples will come from ASUS. The ASUS machines are the UL50Vf, N61Jv, N71Jv, N82Jv, and U30Jc laptops. 
HotHardware reports that the important component is the Optimus Copy Engine and it is integrated into all current 40nm GeForce 200M and 300M GPUs. The Optimus technology will also be an integral part of all the upcoming Fermi-based GPUs for mobile devices.

HotHardware writes, "With previous NVIDIA offerings that featured support for Hybrid SLI, which also allowed an NVIDIA IGP to display the output from a discrete GPU, elements of the GPU's 3D pipeline were used to copy frame buffer data to the IGP. This caused the 3D engine to stall during DMA operations. With the new Optimus Copy Engine, however, the 3D engines are not stalled during the copy process."

PC Perspective points out, the real magic here is that the Optimus system doesn’t require you to close any applications, logout of your account, or reboot to start one GPU or another. Hybrid graphics from NVIDIA before Optimus often required you to at least shut your open applications.

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Only for carbon-based life forms
By corduroygt on 2/9/2010 11:00:57 AM , Rating: 2
When Silicon based life forms invade our planet, as in the 2001 movie Evolution ( ) they will still need to switch between the graphics in their laptops manually.

By Mizerable on 2/9/2010 11:15:16 AM , Rating: 2
They were nitrogen based.

By amanojaku on 2/9/2010 11:23:25 AM , Rating: 2
Silicon-based life already uses carbon-based life to switch between graphics: US.

I, for one, welcome our new video game-playing, silicon-based overlords. When they sleep you can use their bodies as extra processing power!

I Wonder...
By Souka on 2/9/2010 11:32:33 AM , Rating: 4
I quickly articles will be posted about people getting BSOD on these sytems...and blame Win7 of course :)

But seriously, I do like the concept... and can't wait for some hands on reviews of stability and performance compared to the non Optimus notebooks.

Why not for the desktop, too?
By Jeff7181 on 2/9/2010 1:59:20 PM , Rating: 2
I want to see this on the desktop too. Cafe World and YouTube don't need 500+ stream processors... lets shut down those beastly GPU's we have and switch over to a very low powered GPU that's perfectly capable of the 2D and simple 3D stuff.

RE: Why not for the desktop, too?
By gmyx on 2/9/2010 2:35:42 PM , Rating: 2
I thought that what Hybrid SLI and CrossFireX were for?

By Amiga500 on 2/9/2010 12:27:18 PM , Rating: 1
The Optimus technology will also be an integral part of all the upcoming Fermi-based GPUs for mobile devices.

When exactly will mobile Fermi be upcoming...?

Are they not having enough trouble getting a space heater out the door as it is?

5th generation of boring technlogy
By siuol11 on 2/9/10, Rating: -1
By kattanna on 2/9/2010 4:04:34 PM , Rating: 2

this tech should have been in laptops years ago that had integrated graphics and discreet GPU's.

to me, honestly, its nvidia simply trying to stay relevant in the press, nothing more.

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