1 Reply Latest reply on Dec 28, 2012 5:37 PM by medo3000

    Nvidia Optimus vs switchable graphics misinformation




      The eagle-eyed of you will see that I'm new to these forums but it seems to me like there's a lot of misleading information being given out here at the moment from folk who should know better.


      I've just been browsing through the Graphics section and I've already counted at least three occasions where users have reported issues with HD 4000 or similar integrated graphics when used on notebooks alongside Nvidia graphic cards with Optimus.


      The stock response seems to be "Oh, generic Intel drivers can't be used on computers with switchable graphics. Speak to your manufacturer."


      This is wrong. Optimus is NOT the same thing as switchable graphics.


      Switchable graphics refers to when the computer hardware would have to physically "switch" between one graphics solution and another, a process which would often require that the computer be rebooted. This was the type of graphics used on some notebooks between 2009 and 2011, when dual graphics solutions were rare and in their infancy. This is a messy process and does indeed require that OEMs produce bespoke drivers to allow the whole process to happen. The main reason Optimus came to be is to make this process seamless and immediate, and to avoid a lot of the compatibility problems created by the old systems. Most, if not all notebooks with dual graphics solutions now use Optimus, so switchable graphics no longer exists in the old sense.


      I refer you to Nvidia's white paper on Optimus, which can be viewed here: http://www.nvidia.com/object/LO_optimus_whitepapers.html


      A few excerpts:


      "Optimus technology leverages Windows 7‟s ability to allow two independent graphics drivers to be active at the same time. The standard Intel graphics driver is used along with the NVIDIA driver because both display adapters operate independently. Looking within the Windows Device Manager, you‟ll see two display adapters listed even if Optimus has turned the GPU off." (Note it states "the STANDARD Intel graphics driver")


      Also, when comparing Optimus to switchable graphics:


      "Switchable graphics relies upon special drivers from each vendor."

      whereas Optimus:

      "uses standard drivers".


      Seems pretty clear cut to me. Frankly, i'm amazed that advisors on an Intel forum could even get this wrong. Only a cynic could suggest of course that it's a deliberate ploy to shift attention away from shoddy drivers and to place the blame on hardware manufacturers.


      Have I missed something here? Please let me know if so.