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Nvidia Optimus Allows 'Hot' Removal of GPU

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 3 comments

Nvidia yanks GPU from live-running computer system.

Nvidia Optimus is a hardware and software technology that determines when applications require discrete graphics via software, supplying power to the GPU in response. This is done automatically, without the need to manually switch between integrated and discrete graphics.

For notebook users, this is a particularly useful technology as the additional power requirements of the GPU are only called upon only when needed. This should extend battery life, making all notebook users happy.

Nvidia has released a video showing Optimus in action that should help drive home how slick this new technology is. Rather than just put the GPU into an idle or low-power state, the system completely powers down the graphics part. With the GPU off, the system doesn't even mind if the dedicated graphics part is completely removed even while running.

"Few people ever get to see this demo because it requires a completely open notebook system – no chassis – just the motherboard, CPU, GPU, Hard drive, and monitor, so it is not exactly portable. This demo is really killer with engineering teams that design notebooks," said Matt Wuebbling, senior product manager of notebooks at Nvidia.

"They practically fall out of their chairs when they see it," he continued. "Why? Because with Optimus when the GPU is not needed it is completely powered off automatically and seamlessly WHILE the rest of the system is up and running – the power to the PCI Express bus, the frame buffer memory, the GPU - everything. This is in contrast to switching the GPU to a low-power state or to ‘idle’, which would still draw power."

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  • 2 Hide
    Pailin , 4 March 2010 15:48
    Damn good idea.

    Gaming laptop with good battery life for more "mundane" tasks like watching films - or Even working ;) 
  • 0 Hide
    plasmastorm , 4 March 2010 16:52
    "it just simply works"

    Shame they can't say that about fermi hehe.

    Truthfully it has been a while since i though Nvidia had some good tech on the go so kudos for this :) 
  • 0 Hide
    Clintonio , 4 March 2010 23:09
    This will be useful for external graphics card I expect?