Feeds

Nvidia launches dual-GPU tech for notebooks

Hybrid graphics done properly

High performance access to file storage

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.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Feast your PUNY eyes on highest resolution phone display EVER
Too much pixel dust for your strained eyeballs to handle
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Nvidia gamers hit trifecta with driver, optimizer, and mobile upgrades
Li'l Shield moves up to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, GameStream comes to notebooks
AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'
The Radeon R9 295X2: Water-cooled, 5,632 stream processors, 11.5TFLOPS
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper
The perils of having Panasonic as a partner
NORKS' own smartmobe pegged as Chinese landfill Android
Fake kit in the hermit kingdom? That's just Kim Jong-un-believable!
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.