Nvidia Optimus in layman’s term

For those of you looking for new laptop may come across Laptops powered by Nvidia advertises Nvidia Optimus here and there. I, for one, did not know what Optimus was and started asking around my peers. What I got was “it’s good for the laptop’s performance” and “it’s way better than normal Nvidia cards”, sure Nvidia must’ve advertised it because it’s good but what does it actually do?

Basically Nvidia Optimus makes sure that your computer only uses what it needs when doing certain tasks. What it does is turns off your Nvidia graphics card when not in used and instead activates the onboard Intel GMA graphics chip. Similarly, it turns on your Nvidia Graphics card when needed like when doing some gaming, or when your card comes with CUDA, when doing some heavy computing as well.

It has been done before, but Nvidia somehow makes the transition between the two modes seamless and smooth. Prior to Nvidia Optimus, the transition either require physical rebooting or the screen flickers a few times upon transition.

+ Saves battery life
+ Seamless transition between modes
+ Automatically detect when the Graphics card are needed

– only supports Win7 (linux and Mac are in the shadows)
– Won’t work with older PC without Intel GMA

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