Nvidia introduces Optimus technology for notebooks

Posted by Aharon Etengoff

Nvidia has introduced an intelligent switching technology for notebook PCs that automatically selects the optimal graphics processor for running a specific application.

Once selected, Optimus routes the workload to either an Nvidia discrete GPU or Intel integrated graphics.

Nvidia spokesperson Rene Haas explained that Optimus frees consumer from having to choose between "great" graphics performance or "sustained" battery life.

"Just as a Hybrid car chooses between the gas-powered and electric car engine on-the-fly and uses the most appropriate engine, Optimus does the same thing for graphics processors," said Haas.

"The technology instantly directs the workload through the most efficient processor for the job, extending battery life by up to 2 times compared to similarly configured systems equipped with discrete graphics processors (GPUs)."

According to Haas, Optimus selects the high-performance Nvidia discrete GPU
when running 3D games, videos, or GPU compute applications.

"When using basic applications, like web surfing or email, the integrated graphics processor is [deployed]. The result is long lasting battery life without sacrificing great graphics performance," added Haas.

Optimus has already received positive reviews from Dr. Jon Peddie, who noted that the "genius" of the technology was in its simplicity.

"One can surf the web and get great battery life and when one needs the extra horsepower for applications like Adobe Flash 10.1, Optimus automatically switches to the more powerful NVIDIA GPU," opined Peddie.

"[This] is a game changer for the notebook PC industry. It intelligently and seamlessly manages graphics performance while extending battery life to provide the best notebook PC experience." 



Sean Cavanaugh, lead graphics programmer for Gearbox Software, expressed similar sentiments.

"Nvidia Optimus technology is raising the bar on notebook gaming. This new technology beautifully bridges the gap that has always existed between the performance a gamer wants for playing Borderlands or Brothers in Arms and the battery life that has always been missing from a gaming capable laptop."