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Nvidia to beat AMD to release on-the-fly GPU switching tech?

'SLI Power' becomes 'Hybrid SLI'

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Nvidia is said to be moving forward with a plan to allow notebook computers fitted with both integrated and discrete graphics chips to flip between the two GPUs, the better to balance battery life with all-out performance.

We're not at all surprised. The latest claim is made in a Chinese-language report on HKEPC, but Register Hardware wrote about this so-called Hybrid SLI technology almost a year ago. Back then, Nvidia was said to be calling the technology 'SLI Power'.

The technique is likely to have improved over the last 11 months, hopefully to allow the GPUs to be switched without a reboot. That's certainly what AMD is working on, having announced in May this year that its M780 chipset, due early next year to support the upcoming 'Griffin' notebook CPU, will support on-the-fly GPU switching. AMD calls its take on the technology 'PowerXPress'.

Whatever it's called - PowerXPress, SLI Power or Hybrid SLI - the technique's identical: when the laptop's running on mains, it uses the discrete GPU; when it's running on batteries, the main graphics chip is powered down and the integrated engine is utilised instead. To what extent this behaviour will be open to user control remains to be seen.

Like AMD's M780, Nvidia chipsets supporting this dual-GPU technology are some way off. They won't appear until the end of the year, it's claimed.

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