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From enthusiast to low-end, all new NVIDIA chipsets will feature an enabled integrated graphics core

In conjunction with the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, NVIDIA launched its NVIDIA Hybrid SLI technology along with its newest chipset. Hybrid SLI is NVIDIA’s first foray into visual computing.

NVIDIA’s Hybrid SLI links NVIDIA integrated graphics chipsets with NVIDIA discrete GPUs, allowing them to work together. The company claims that the new technology lowers power consumption and improves performance.

NVIDIA’s announcement of Hybrid SLI also indicates a major shift in the company’s chipset-feature policy. NVIDIA chipsets with integrated graphics processors (IGP) have traditionally been available only in the lower segment of the market. NVIDIA now decided that all of its new chipsets, low and high-end alike, will come with IGP. 

Of course most core logic includes an integrated graphics processor, albeit disabled. 

Two fundamental components make up Hybrid SLI: HybridPower and GeForce Boost. HybridPower, as the name indicates, is the power-consumption reducing aspect of the technology. It allows for systems to completely turn off discrete graphics cards when their high-functionality is not needed. Instead, the chipset’s integrated graphics takes over.

In order to use Hybrid power, the system must include an NVIDIA IGP and a discrete NVIDIA video card. Under HybridPower, users connect their display to the motherboards graphics outputs. When users require the use of their discrete GPU, the frame buffer contents for the discrete graphics cards are copied over to the integrated graphics processor’s frame buffer. NVIDIA asserts that the second generation PCI specification provides enough bandwidth.

Latency is considered a "non-issue," claims NVIDIA spokesman. 

GeForce Boost combines the power of the IGP -- which NVIDIA calls the mGPU) and the discrete GPU (dGPU) to improve performance. NVDIA told the press that this technology is meant for low-end or mid-range PCs. In fact, the company states that this feature could be detrimental to the performance of high-end PCs.

NVIDIA Hybrid SLI is currently a Windows Vista exclusive.

NVIDIA Hybrid SLI technology will be incorporated into a wide variety of graphics and motherboard desktop and notebook products that the Company is rolling out for both AMD and Intel desktop and notebook computing platforms throughout 2008.

In addition to announcing hybrid SLI, NVIDIA also announced its new nForce 780a chipset.  Naturally, one of the newest features is Hybrid SLI support. In addition, all chipset versions now have embedded GPUs. Currently, the nForce 780a is being launched for AMD processors.

The new chipset supports AMD’s newest HyperTransport 3 link interconnect, and offers 32 PCI Express lanes via an NVIDIA nForce 200 chip.

The nForce 200 comes with a couple of notable features. One of them is a Posted Write Shortcut, which NVIDIA says allows data from one graphics card to be passed directly to other graphics cards without having the data to be sent back through the CPU. The feature is said to improve SLI scaling performance.

As can be expected, the chipset is also ESA certified and supports 3-way SLI.

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Vista EULA
By wordsworm on 1/9/2008 8:31:52 AM , Rating: 2
Since this went into Vista, I thought I'd add my rant.

I think the worst change in Vista is the new EULA. It used to be XP retail was worth it because you might go through 3-4 computers using the same OS (concurrently, not simultaneously - in accordance with the spirit of the document). now, Vista retail can only go on a maximum of two machines. So, why pay $200ish for retail for 2 machines when $110 gets you OEM for one? It's just not enough of a savings for me. Check this out:

I've noticed that there are some good games out for Linux. I've tried it, and it wasn't bad at all. Maybe one day we'll all be using it instead of this EULA hell.

As far as Nvidia only going through Vista, I can't say as I blame them. It's far superior to XP. It's clearly the best OS they've ever made.

RE: Vista EULA
By jbizzler on 1/9/2008 9:26:14 AM , Rating: 2
Being a developer, I've had Vista since before it was released to the public. As soon as release candidates were rolling out, it was already ready to be my main operating system. I'd personally never buy it retail for a computer with XP on it, but when I get new computers, I order them with Vista. And when I build my own computers, I order them with an OEM Vista disk. It's really not worth an upgrade to, but it's nice to get for a new machine.

Yeah, a lot of people don't realize how different Vista is for developers. The graphics model in Vista is vastly different than XP, especially for driver programmers. I'm sure it's possible they could have this tech be supported by XP, but it would be either difficult or simply take way too much time to do it from scratch.

Vista's like that with everything. It's pretty for regular consumers, but it's the programmers who benefit most form it. DX10 changes little in the way of features, and I'm yet to see a commercial product benefit from it, but I must say it is far easier and more efficient to program for. And, in my own tests, it's faster than DX9, but I don't know why that doesn't scale over to commercial games.

I've never had problems with Microsoft products anymore than I have had with any other software.

I think this HybridSLI tech is most useful for notebooks. In a world with an increasing number of performance notebooks, it would be nice to have one with a great deal more battery life, and possibly a little performance boost as well.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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