Saturday, September 13th 2008

NVIDIA Pioneers New Hybrid Graphics for Select Notebooks

Notebook PC makers and users desire the realism and performance of a discrete graphics processing unit (GPU), but they still demand maximum battery life. Now Sony, Fujitsu Siemens, and BenQ have announced the availability of notebooks that let users dynamically switch between a discrete NVIDIA GeForce GPU and Intel Centrino 2 integrated graphics without rebooting, giving users the choice of more visual computing performance or reducing power demands to extend battery life.

All GeForce 9M Series GPUs support the hybrid graphics feature, but the notebook must be designed to support the technology. The hybrid graphics feature is currently available in the following new notebook models:

  • Sony VAIO Z series ultra-light laptops with GeForce 9300M GS GPUs
  • Fujitsu Siemens Amilo XI 3650 entertainment laptops with GeForce 9600M GT GPUs
  • BenQ Joybook S42 ultra-light laptops with GeForce 9600M GT GPUs
To boost battery life, the hybrid graphics equipped notebooks allow users to select between the NVIDIA GeForce GPU and the integrated graphics in the Intel chipset. Users can choose between the lightning-fast 3D performance delivered by the NVIDIA GeForce GPU for visually intensive applications or improved stamina using the integrated Intel graphics. For applications like word processing and email, which don’t require performance graphics, battery life can last more than five hours on the Sony Z series. And, most importantly, the switch can be made without rebooting the machine.

Enabling the seamless dynamic switching between the different hardware architectures of the GeForce GPU and Intel Centrino 2 in laptops was a collaborative effort between NVIDIA, Intel and notebook makers. “Engineering hybrid graphics was a significant effort between all involved, but the end result was worth it,” said Rene Haas, general manager of the notebook business at NVIDIA. “Now consumers can experience a new breed of laptops that eliminates the compromise between battery life and visual computing performance.”Source: NVIDIA
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9 Comments on NVIDIA Pioneers New Hybrid Graphics for Select Notebooks

#1
lemonadesoda
IMO, that's a very poor design if a laptop has to have TWO discrete GPU subsystems, and switch on the fly.

nV needs to design a SINGLE mobile GPU chipset that can dynamically downclock and cut power in 2D mode.
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#2
Wile E
Power User
by: lemonadesoda
IMO, that's a very poor design if a laptop has to have TWO discrete GPU subsystems, and switch on the fly.

nV needs to design a SINGLE mobile GPU chipset that can dynamically downclock and cut power in 2D mode.
Perhaps, but this ia a great stepping stone. Any inroads to more efficiency/battery life in a laptop, is a welcome achievement in my book. I wish my lappy had this.
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#3
aytus
yep.. nice one. sometime ago some specs of studio xps 16 were leaked out stating that it supports hybrid sli. i was guessing if they were correct or not. seems like they are. good thing to put those idle chips to use. and i think no matter how deep sleep u put a gfx chip into .. it still cant match integrated,s efficency.
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#4
ktr
by: lemonadesoda
IMO, that's a very poor design if a laptop has to have TWO discrete GPU subsystems, and switch on the fly.

nV needs to design a SINGLE mobile GPU chipset that can dynamically downclock and cut power in 2D mode.
That is what the current GPU does. If you go to the nvidia control panel, there should be an option for a power saving mode, which drastically down clocks and under volts the GPU. I would like to see the yields of this Hybrid setup. Btw, is this both Hybird SLI and Power? or just Power?
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#5
Mussels
Moderprator
Nvdia and ATI both have methods of powering down the cards to save battery life, but its got hard limits. You have a card with 512MB of ram and a card with 32MB ram, you can bet your ass the 512MB card is at a disadvantage, power wise.
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#6
lemonadesoda
I think everyone is missing my point. Quite agreed: if there is a (currently) more power efficient approach, then great, let's take it. But the problem is, this is a design failure in two ways:

1./ A mobile discrete GPU needs to be able to implement far superior power management techniques, resorting to complete turnoff then using the integrated solution is IMO silly redundancy due to them not designing the discrete soution in the best possible way.

2./ If also smells of "add-on", as though they have an optional add-on board. Lower value laptops dont include the add-on, more expensive higher up the range laptops have the add-on (discrete board, on some internal connector, solution). But ultimately, it adds greater cost and size to the final item compared to a one-GPU system.

However it is a design WIN in the following way:
3./ Point 2 adds a lot of production line assemble simplicity, and optionality (insert GM9300 or GM9600 or other card), and warranty RMA replacement methods.

CONCLUSION
This approach is OK, but IT IS NOT DESIGNED for a clever solution to power management. It is designed as a "add-on" board, where nVidia can produce them to different specification/model numbers, RAM etc. It also, theoretically, allows for aftermarket upgrade. And I like that approach.

Now this is all GREAT... But repeat... dressing this as a "all new solution to power management" is pure marketing spin.
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#7
Baum
Nice one...

thought before that this was possible and it is one of the best things.

google for "mxm"
my NB has a Northbridge with integrated GPU but doesn't use it, it run's off an mxm board with Nvidia 7600 Go. The Chipset was choosen because of it's powersaving capabilitys for Mobile CPU.

that's why i think hybrid GPU is nice ;) , and they have done it very well (no reboot)
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#8
wiak
pioneer?
AMD did this with Puma a long while ago in june?
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#9
darthbeavis
by: wiak
pioneer?
AMD did this with Puma a long while ago in june?
nvidia talked about the the concept as an outgrowth of SLI a few years ago. looks like they are shipping now. as far as I know AMD has not shipped hybrid on laptops yet.
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