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Nvidia's Optimus, A Miracle: The Next Generation Video Driver

522 words - 3 pages

NVIDIA is not only a company but also a place where invention and quality mixers with each other. Company’s main aim is to develop the ATI and the GPU department. But microprocessor market is also in their concern because we can see a battle with ARM, INTEL and Qualcomm and NVIDIA. This company is also the pioneers in 3D technology for pc and laptop. They invent software in a regular basis in order to capture the Graphics market. There’s actually a huge link between the software & GPU market. What software has to do with improved GPUs, it is not an important question to be asked.

In this release, NVIDIA's Optimus is taking center stage, and the company's GPU switching technology is seeing improvements all thanks to software. ...view middle of the document...

What is Optimus?

Optimus is only a switch able graphics on steroids, but some techniques make it so much better than gen2. The problems with generation two switch able graphics are:
Manual switching.
Blocking applications.
5 to 10 second delay.
Flicker or screen blanking when you switch between IGP and GPU.
The graphics is very poor and slow.
Optimus solves virtually every one of the complaints. Is it Manual switching? It's no longer required. Blocking applications? That doesn't happen anymore. Forget the 5 to 10 second delay; with the actual switch taking around 200 ms—and that time is hidden in the application launch process, so you won't notice it. Finally, there's no flicker or screen blanking when you switch between IGP and GPU. The only remaining concern is the frequency of driver updates. NVIDIA has committed to rolling Optimus into their Verde driver program, which means you should get at least quarterly driver updates.

The previous switch able graphics implementations used hardware maxis hardware, all of that is done in software in Optimus. The trick is that NVIDIA's Optimus driver is able to look at each running application and decide whether it should use discrete graphics or the IGP. The GPU is "instantly" powered up (most of the 200 ms delay is spent waiting for stabilize the voltage) If an application can benefit from discrete graphics the GPU does the necessary work, and the final result is then copied from the GPU frame buffer into the IGP frame buffer over the PCI Express bus. By this way NVIDIA is able to avoid screen flicker, and they have apparently done all of the background work using standard API calls so that there's no need to worry about updating drivers for both graphics chips simultaneously.

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