Feeds

Nvidia launches dual-GPU tech for notebooks

Hybrid graphics done properly

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Nvidia reckons it has finally cracked the problem of smoothly swapping between graphics chips in notebooks that have more than one GPU. Today, it launched its solution, which it has branded Optimus.

Now, we're not talking two or more GPUs configured in SLI mode for greater graphics performance. Optimus addresses the use of a discrete graphics chip that operates when you're running software that needs one, and a separate, integrate graphics core that handles all the other tasks, and does so with a much lower impact on battery life.

Nvidia Optimus

This isn't a new notion. To date, there have been plenty of laptops with two GPUs. Originally, they required a physical reboot two switch between them, to allow Windows to load the appropriate driver. That also meant saving work and shutting down applications then reloading them after the restart.

Later, vendors worked out how to flip between the two at the flip of a physical switch. That too required a driver switch, causing the screen to flash and momentarily display garbled pixels while one GPU quit and the other kicked in, but without the need for a full restart.

If the brief blast of screen junk wasn't bad enough, the switching process had to be triggered by the user. You had to decide whether the app you planned to launch would benefit from a full GPU or not, and make the switch accordingly. And then back again when you were done, to ensure your battery wasn't being depleted as quickly.

Few folk, we suspect, bothered to do so, and Nvidia claims its own research shows that just one per cent of dual-GPU laptop owners ever switch between graphics chips.

Nvidia Optimus

Mux spreader: the old, sub-optimal approach to hybrid graphics

Nvidia's key promise is that Optimus will do all automatically and behind scenes so that the user doesn't even need to know it's happened.

"It should work like a hybrid car," says Rene Haas, head of Nvidia's notebook GPU operation. Flipping between GPUs should happen as smoothly and as transparently as a hybrid switches between electric and petrol propulsion systems.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
All aboard the Poo Bus! Ding ding, route Number Two departing
Only another three days of pooing and I can have a ride!
Heyyy! NICE e-bracelet you've got there ... SHAME if someone were to SUBPOENA it
Court pops open cans of worms and whup-ass in Fitbit case
Official: European members prefer to fondle Apple iPads
Only 7 of 50 parliamentarians plump for Samsung Galaxy S
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
The IT Crowd's internet in a box gets $240k of crowdcash for a cause
'Outernet' project proposes satellite-fuelled 'Lantern' WiFi library for remote areas
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.