Graphics behemoth Nvidia has announced a new feature called Optimus that will allow laptops to seamlessly switch between their integrated and dedicated graphics module depending on power requirements and to save battery life.
Switching graphics is nothing new but has been until now a tedious process which has required the users to manually switch between the two modules and in many cases either restart applications or the whole system altogether.
The first laptop to actually benefit from the Optimus technology is the Asus UL50VG and will be offered on a number of Intel platforms. Expect it also to come in the Geforce M GPUs as well as in the next generation ION platform, although to be fair, we don't really see the point for the latter.
Nvidia's general manager for notebook products did confirm that more than 50 laptops will support Optimus over the next few months and this could even include a few netbooks. This brings another question obviously. Will mainstream netbooks now come with dedicated graphics module?
The other question cropping up will be, how much is it going to add to the cost of the devices. Expect the technology to come to desktop computers as well as companies look for ways to decrease their power consumption (and their energy bill).
We're mildly excited by the prospects of switching between graphics module. Perhaps more interesting would have been the idea of switching off automatically part of the GPU instead. Certainly that would make more sense in terms of resources. Maybe that will come after Optimus.