Nvidia Optimus Allows Easy Graphics Switching
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Laptop vendors thought it was a good idea to put low-power integrated graphics in laptops for basic application work and a high-power GPU for gaming, and letting people switch between the two as needed. But the switching process wasn't particularly elegant. nVidia, which makes those graphics chips, came up with a solution. Hardware Central came up with the story.
Nvidia Corp. today unveiled a new notebook technology called Optimus that will make it simpler to switch between discrete and integrated graphics by taking away the manual task for users and eliminating the reboot.
Over the years, notebook manufacturers have been torn between integrated graphics processors (IGP), which are suitable for running Windows and business applications but not good for gaming, and discrete graphics, which are more powerful but come at the cost of battery drain.
The solution was to simply add both discrete and integrated processors into one laptop. That way, users could run integrated for Excel and save on power, then switch to discrete mode for playing Call of Duty while plugged into an AC outlet. There were just two problems with that solution: The switch had to be done manually, and in many cases it required rebooting the computer.
The end result was that only 1 percent of users with the option to switch actually did so, said Matt Wuebbling, senior product manager at Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA), citing a study by research firm Endpoint Technologies.