Nvidia Optimus Multi Graphics Processor First Look

Posted on Sep 11 2010 - 11:57pm by Richard Sharp

There has been a lot of buzz about the new Nvidia optimus multi-GPU processors lately with images and rumours circulating around the tech sites. On Friday we were invited to a private press meeting to take a look at some of the new laptops using the latest Nvidia GTX graphics processors.

The GTxx graphical processor units (GPU’s) all make use of Nvidia’s new Optimus technology. There was a slide show at the event detailing the tech but what we found more interesting was the hands on time we were given to play with the notebooks on offer from each of the manufactures. Nvidia say that Optimus technology provides graphics performance when you need it whilst still delivering optimum battery life – we put it to the test.

Image processing

The GPU kicks in when the software senses the need (high definition video, images, games etc), we processed some photos using an Asus machine with a Quad core i5 processor running at 2.53 GHz, 6GB of ram and the Optimus GPU and compared it to a similar spec notebook without the GPU – the results were clear, the GPU machine was 8 seconds faster at rendering the image. This type of function would be particularly useful to professional photographers, web designers or architects – basically any one who uses a PC for graphical work.

Gaming

Another obvious use for the Optimus GPU is gaming; again we tested a graphic heavy game on the two laptops (Starcraft 2). The non GPU laptop managed 7 frames a second and appeared jerky and wooden in movement. The laptop with the GPU performed well with 50 frames a second resulting in sharp and flowing graphics – the way games deserve to be played.

Manufactures supporting Optimus

Nvidia has announced that Toshiba, Asus, Acer, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung will all be supporting the Nvidia GeForce 400 series. The one major brand not supporting it is Hewlett Packard so we are not sure whether they will stick to the built in graphics card for their notebooks or have something else in mind.

Another interesting piece of information is that this new technology has only been optimized for Windows 7 as according to Nvidia it is the only operating system capable of supporting multiple graphic processors or more specifically the drivers necessary to use/select between the IGP and the GPU.

When speaking with the Nvidia guys it became apparent that Microsoft are the only company with the resources at the moment to support Nvidia and were very complimentary about their exclusive Optimus business partners.

We took some video, it is very raw but you can clearly see the difference, we will be reviewing the laptops in full over the next couple of months so check back for some decent photos, video and opinion.

About the Author

Richard Sharp is the founder of gadgetsandgizmos.org. He loves technology, gadgets (comes with the territory) and social media. You'll find him writing features, attending events and playing with cool tech. Life's good.

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