Feeds

Nvidia launches dual-GPU tech for notebooks

Hybrid graphics done properly

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Optimus does this by using monitoring software to see what you're running and, according to a pre-determined policy, switch GPUs on the fly. Checking your email? Stick with the integrated core. Fire up Far Cry, though, in the discrete GPU immediately takes over.

Without any interruption to the display.

Nvidia Optimus

Under Optimus, the IGP always manages the display

Here's how. Past dual-GPU solutions used a mutliplexer chip to relay the feed from each GPU to the display. It was the mux chip's switch from source to source that briefly stopped the flow of data from the display engine to the screen.

Optimus pulls the mux chip right out of the picture. Instead, it uses the integrated GPU as the sole source of screen data, and since the IGP is never turned off, there's no break in the what you see on the screen.

Rather than drive the display directly, Optimus uses the discrete GPU - it has to be an Nvidia part, of course - to tap into the IGP's frame buffer and render the off-screen image on the IGP's behalf. The rendered image travels from GPU to IGP's main memory-based frame buffer over the laptop's PCI Express bus.

It's a trick made possibly by Windows 7, which allows a GPU driver to route rendering jobs to other processors when it knows they're available. It runs both drivers simultaneously, even though one may not be doing any work.

The reliance on Windows 7 tech means there's no reason why Nvidia's rivals, like AMD's ATI division, can't create an Optimus of their own. Nvidia is patenting the software techniques it uses to decide which app runs on which GPU, and says it owns the technology used to blit the rendered frame out across the PCIe bus to the IGP frame buffer.

Nvidia Optimus

The discrete GPU is only powered up when it's needed

Haas says that the process of engaging the discrete GPU takes "just a few" CPU clock cyles. Certainly, when he demo'd the technology to Reg Hardware the jump from IGP to GPU was entirely smooth.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
Tim Cook in Applerexia fears: New MacBook THINNER THAN EVER
'Supply chain sources' give up the goss on new iLappy
Just in case? Unverified 'supersize me' iPhone 6 pics in sneak leak peek
Is bigger necessarily better for the fruity firm's flagship phone?
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.