It looks like Intel and Nvidia are beginning to reconcile their previous differences. Nvidia is about to launch a follow-up to Hybrid Graphics – the previously awkward combination of an integrated Intel GPU and a more powerful dedicated one.
This could mean a lot for the battery life of laptops that have previously used only a dedicated graphics card, gaming laptops for example. It’s both a combination of two technologies with similar names – Hybrid Graphics and Hybrid SLI. Optimus means that Intel’s IGP (which is integrated into the actual CPU die this time around) and Nvidia’s GPU will live in symbiosis.
In the real world it supposedly means that the graphics will switch seamlessly between integrated and dedicated modes, and the dedicated GPU; when you start a game for example, the hardware automatically switches to high performance mode, and when you revert to using less demanding tasks the laptop uses only the power-efficient IGP. It will also work with the ION 2 in conjunction with the Pinetrail netbook platform.
The first manufacturer to release laptops with the new Optimus technology appears to be Asus, with five new models on the way already.