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Review: NVIDIA Optimus technology: mobile GPU implementation done right?

by Tarinder Sandhu on 9 February 2010, 14:00


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The inexorable rise of notebook sales has been a boon for the PC industry. Headlined by the nascent netbook category that generates considerable interest, the vast majority of purchases still centre on larger laptops that have a greater feature-set.

Everyone wants in on the notebook pie, because doing so enables considerable volume to be shipped. In terms of core components, Intel dominates the CPU and chipset (with integrated graphics) side, AMD pitches in with its own CPUs, chipsets, IGPs and discrete mobile gaming cards, whilst NVIDIA's GPUs provide competition for AMD's discrete mobile graphics. Confusing, eh?

The attach rate for discrete graphics in laptop computers is around 30 per cent, or around half that for desktops. NVIDIA's primary aim for increasing sales is provide both partners and users greater value with its range of GPUs...but we've witnessed a slowdown in graphics evolution - desktop and mobile - from the graphics giant.

NVIDIA is hoping that a nifty new technology, released today, will help bolster its mobile GPU proposition. Dubbed Optimus and to be made available on 50 or so laptops by summer 2010, the technology aims to provide seamless NVIDIA GPU acceleration for battery-powered laptops, hastening to an end the days of Switchable Graphics.

Read on to find out what Optimus is and to see it in action.