Nvidia automates switchable mobile graphics with Optimus

By Jos
Feb 9, 2010
  1. After teasing the technology back in January, Nvidia has finally thrown back the curtain on Optimus and is promising notebook users the full performance benefits of a discrete GPU with the battery life of an integrated graphics solution. In a nutshell, it allows notebooks to dynamically switch between graphics systems without any user interaction.

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  2. compdata

    compdata TechSpot Paladin Posts: 526

    Definitely will be nice to see, although i am afraid that most with IE, Windows, Flash, and many other programs relying on GPU acceleration these days that this will only really play into effect when you are not doing anything on your computer :p Guess time will tell though.
  3. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,285   +238

    @compdata - you know, I was thinking the same thing. Just wondering how they calculate the break-off point between integrated and discrete GPUs. I mean, integrated will do many flash type games just fine, so the discrete would be overkill. But how does this system know that the draw is going to be heavy and make the switch? Or does it switch dynamically in-game? And, if so, how many games are going to buckle under this flip-flopping of GPU properties?

    Hmmm, now I'm all curious and stuff! heh
  4. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,258

    I believe the Optimus routing switch (?) looks for and detects CUDA , DVXA and DirectX calls (i.e. the graphics intesive operations) something like a semi-automated version of the nVidia control panel's 3D management settings.
  5. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,285   +238

    Ah, that would make sense. Digging further, it almost appears that the Optimus system "fibs" by presenting itself with the credentials of the full-on discrete GPU, then it internally decides which of the processors will do the work. So, to the outside applications, nothing ever appears to change. If I'm understanding that correctly, that's a pretty sneaky (and ingenious) way to handle things!
  6. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,258

    Seems strange that two company's preparing to go to war in court seem to have managed to put together a technology that seems to have such a good future.
    Just as well AMD has Llano in the pipeline, but that's one hell of a lead time for Intel/nV.
  7. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,422   +470

    I'm just not convinced here, it's like the optimum way to allocate memory pagefiles that they teach you in school... if you do it in paper it IS the OPTIMUM way to go, but in reality it can't be applied because you will never know at first what will come 5 minutes later.

    So you say no screen flickering?
  8. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,258

    Would Anandtech lie ?
  9. alexandrionel

    alexandrionel TS Enthusiast Posts: 93

    So, if I understood correctly, Tegra and Tegra2 are for smartphones and Tablet PC and the nVidia ION and OPTIMUS are for laptops and notebooks? Cant a notebook integrate Tegra2? They showed with Tegra1 runing HD movies and consuming less power than a notebook.
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