NVIDIA Optimus: The Video Card Is Optional

We've already covered the launch of NVIDIA's power-saving Optimus technology and associated Next-Generation Ion platforms for Atom today (including the ZBox from Zotac), but there's a nifty video over at nTersect (NVIDIA's company blog) that's worth a watch if you want to see just how "Off" your video card is when a system uses Optimus technology. NVIDIA describes it thusly:

Why? Because with Optimus when the GPU is not needed it is completely powered off automatically and seamlessly WHILE the rest of the system is up and running – the power to the PCI Express bus, the frame buffer memory, the GPU - everything. This is in contrast to switching the GPU to a low-power state or to ‘idle’, which would still draw power. You can of course prove the GPU is electrically off by using battery benchmarks and software tests. But the fun way to prove it is to physically PULL THE GPU out of the system while the system is still on and working.

In the video, the company does just that. I was excited when AHCI technology brought us hot-swappable SATA; hot-swappable video cards are another matter altogether. End-users are highly unlikely to go pulling their video cards out regardless if the notebook is on or off, but as tech demos go, this one is a doozy.
Via:  nTersect
gibbersome 4 years ago

Woah...now that is very impressive. While you'll never need to take out the video card while your laptop is on, this is a great demonstration of Optimus' capabilities.

And I don't recall laptops having swappable video cards, how long has this been going on?

RyuGTX 4 years ago

Now that is a great demonstration!


I think the swappable video cards came about with Nvidia's MXM graphics module.


Article was created in 2004.

rapid1 4 years ago

No it is all doable because of Optimus, which is why he's using it to show you. If optimus did not completely shut down that video card this very well could cause an issue. However; if the GPU is completely off, and you are grounded as well as the board being grounded, this is doable. You should also notice the board is sitting on a magnetic bag which keeps it grounded. One thing I learned many years ago and I hope most of you already know, when you open up a case make sure you touch the frame (metal). This removes any static charge you have on you.

This is also why everything is generally wrapped in a magnetic bag, yes it protects everything while shipping, but it also protects the component when you take it out of the bag, by discharging you.

Either way that video card was totally off and through Optimus, unless they had the card module alone hooked to a switch, which they did not as the energy was coming from the board on the leed wire he showed you (the red and white one).

realneil 4 years ago

Cool Beans!

I half expected to see a big Arc shoot from the board to his fingers and knock him on his ass!

bob_on_the_cob 4 years ago

There wouldn't be a arc or anything if the GPU was powered up. System would just crash.

rapid1 4 years ago

lol realneil I kind of expected it to, but they are set up well and most likely standing on mat's etc. The information they showed is very good the way I see it, and this product seems to be as well.

Der Meister 4 years ago

thats sweet!

Komando_93 4 years ago

lol even computers are green now along with 7 figure price tag hypercars

D.Dragoon 4 years ago

that is amazing but wouldnt c myself using it lol

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