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Nvidia plies Hybrid SLI

Mix'n'match graphics tech goes official

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CES It's official: Nvidia will roll out laptop and desktop chipsets supporting Hybrid SLI throughout 2008, the graphics chip maker announced this week.

Hybrid SLI was first mentioned by Nvidia as long ago as July 2006, though back then it was being called SLI Power. The technology pairs an integrated GPU with a discrete graphics chip, allowing the user to flip between the two at will – to save power when running on batteries, for example – or two run both simultaneously for enhanced graphics performance.

Nvidia calls the first mode HybridPower and the second GeForce Boost, and will undoubtedly be preparing even more logo'd stickers to slap on notebooks and desktops containing its technology.

The company claimed “HybridPower can also dramatically extend battery life by up to three hours”, though we suspect only folk who like their laptops to sport top-of-the-range GPUs will see the full benefit.

Still, it'll be good to get the benefits of a powerful discrete graphics chip when running on mains power and drop down to a less energy hungry GPU when running off the battery.

Nvidia confirmed the imminent arrival of nForce 780, 750 and 730 chipsets for AMD processors by stating they will support Hybrid SLI when they ship “later this month”.

The GeForce 8400 GS and 8500 GT graphics chips already support the technology.

It also confirmed the upcoming launch of the GeForce 8200 integrated chipset, and said notebooks incorporating Hybrid SLI will go on sale in Q2 – almost certainly timed to coincide with the release of 'Montevina', the next generation of Centrino.

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