Since its introduction, Optimus Technology is a runaway success. Just like ATI jumped on nVidia with Eyefinity on desktop, nVidia jumped on AMD with Optimus Technology, resulting in a large number of OEM deals.
The idea of seamless switch between the integrated and discrete GPU, with controls in software instead of hardware remind us of the discussion between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, at the time that Microsoft was working with Apple and secretly developing Windows operating system: Microsoft had issues understanding how to control the mice. Microsoft tried to use hardware and failed to do so, while Apple wrote a driver and had no issues. Until Microsoft learned of how Apple was controlling the mice, their UI efforts were stuck. The rest is, how they say - history. This legendary conversation appeared in "iCon: Second Greatest Act in History of Business", an unauthorized biography of Steve Jobs, as well as in movie flick Pirates of The Silicon Valley.nVidia Optimus Technology goal at glance - we can now confirm that nVidia achieved this goal
Getting back to business, over the past couple of months, the company introduced Verde notebook drivers
, offering 1st party drivers for interested notebook owners, rather than relying on 3rd party refresh schedule, which a we all know, screwed both AMD and nVidia in the past, with companies releasing multi-GPU powered, $2000 notebooks with year old drivers.
This article is written on an Optimus-powered notebook, which in its nine months of service life, raised numerous eyebrows in executive meetings showing nine hours of battery life with Wi-Fi enabled, and yet being powerful enough to run World of Warcraft, Need for Speed: Shift and Left 4 Dead 2 in native display resolution [1366x768]. ASUS UL50vf was also the first notebook to raise discussion after Apple's MacBooks started their entrance into executive meetings. nVidia's Notebook Attack: GT 415 and GT 420 notebooks starting at only $749, going head to head against integrated
Best of them all, the notebook retailed for $849. With the new line-up of GeForce GT 400M boards, nVidia is reducing the price bracket to $749, going straight head to head against notebooks with integrated graphics which as we all know, have quite a ragged performance and suffer from the lack of essential DirectX capabilities, resulting in improperly rendered frames. As you can see in an image, Acer Aspire carries a larger screen as well, and a full-size keyboard. 3D Vision on the Go
Regardless of recent movies that brought sub-standard experience, the technology is here to stay. Playing games or reviewing old movies and TV shows in 3D [CyberLink's PowerDVD software has a neat feature of "3D-izing" 2D movies] has its appeal and simply creates a better experience. Sony is even bringing 3D to five-year old PlayStation 3 console.
As a pioneer of 3D in computing world, nVidia has a neat position of already developed ecosystem and complete product line-up. Their glasses, while looking a bit geeky - offer greater comfort than some of the products we've tried. With GeForce 400M series, OEMs are bringing multiple 3D notebooks with integrated IrDA receiver, getting rid of the tiny pyramid that nVidia ships with its 3D Vision kit.Two 3D Vision notebooks headline this announcement. Plenty more to come...
Two of the announced notebooks, GTX460M-powered ASUS G53Jw and GT 425M-powered Acer Aspire 5745DG are heading the initial 3D Vision Notebook line-up. We also learned of several new models that will debut for the Holiday season, such as notebooks from Dell, HP, Sony, Toshiba and others. Some of these designs will use 3D Vision, some will use passive technologies such as TriDef by DDD
Arriving more than six months after AMD introduced their DirectX 11-capable Mobility Radeon parts, nVidia has a tough mountain to climb. We learned of several very interesting OEM deals for these parts. We had no performance data to rely on, and we did not receive any review units from the company or its OEM partners. Thus, at this point in time we cannot know how GeForce 400M Series performs against AMD's Mobility Radeon HD 5000 Series. Then again, AMD is working in sixth gear to get mobile version of Southern Islands ready, and these parts should feature Optimus-like switching technology. However, Optimus is here and it works flawlessly, enabling OEMs to create thin notebooks with long-lasting battery that simply turn into gaming rigs on the go - something that was unimaginable just 10 months ago.
Thanks to very aggressive pricing against the integrated graphics there is really no reason to go with a notebook that does not carry discrete graphics, regardless of them being from AMD or nVidia.
There is only one thing we can conclude in the end of this preview article: Consumer wins. Big time.
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