Feeds

Nvidia launches dual-GPU tech for notebooks

Hybrid graphics done properly

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
iPAD-FONDLING fanboi sparks SECURITY ALERT at Sydney airport
Breaches screening rules cos Apple SCREEN ROOLZ, ok?
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
The British Museum plonks digital bricks on world of Minecraft
Institution confirms it's cool with joining the blocky universe
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.