Nvidia unveils Optimus - its new switchable graphics technology for laptops


Giving a new lease of life to laptops with switchable graphics, which though shipping for years have failed to make any noteworthy impact, Nvidia Tuesday introduced its new Optimus technology – helping laptops switch between integrated graphics and a graphics card, as per the application requirements; thereby extending battery life.

The Optimus technology makes a seamless graphics switch, using Nvidia’s distinct graphics card, not only for graphics-demanding applications, like 3-D games, and videos; but also for more commonplace computing tasks, like e-mail and Web browsing.

Running the less power-consuming graphics chip integrated into the chipset that works with the CPU, the Optimus technology, as per Nvidia claims, unfolds a better alternative than the switching technology of some selected Apple, Lenovo, Asus and Sony laptops; and other systems that generally necessitate a reboot or log out of the computer when graphics are switched.

Almost all the presently-shipping notebook platforms, as well as the Core i3, i5, and i7 “Arrandale” notebooks, Core 2 Duo platforms and the new Atom N4xx “Pine Trail” platform for netbooks, are supported by the new Optimus technology.

The technology, which Nvidia compares to a hybrid vehicle that mechanically switches from electric to gas-powered engines, depending on the workload, will make its opening mark on a forthcoming Asus product - the $869-priced U30JC, which is already available for pre-order.