You could either get a laptop that rocked in performance, or a laptop with awesome battery life – but not both. To provide the best of both worlds to consumers, NVIDIA announced “Optimus technology” to provide an absolutely seamless experience between switching from integrated graphics to discrete graphics in laptop PCs while preserving battery life and performance. User literally has to do nothing. There’s no physical button, there’s no weird software solution that forces you to log out and log back in or the screen to flicker. It just, well, switches. For Optimus, we created a fast copy engine, added to GPU when we moved to the 40nm process. Hence, fast copy engine is present in 200M series (40nm), GeForce 300M series, next-gen GeForce M, and next-gen ION GPUs,” announced. Optimus only works on Windows 7. NVIDIA’s software and Windows 7’s driver model (Windows Driver Model (WDM) and APIs (like DirectX and DirectCompute) allow for the kind of experience Optimus provides. NVIDIA’s 200M series (40nm), GeForce 300M series, next-gen GeForce M, and next-gen ION GPUs provide hardware component of the equation. On Optimus-powered Windows 7 PCs when user launches an app that requires a little more power for graphics, it’ll automatically and seamless switch from integrated graphics to discrete graphics, through regular online updates via the NVIDIA Verde Driver Program, NVIDIA will update the application-specific Optimus profiles with suggested settings that’ll tell Optimus to use either integrated or discrete graphics.
More info: NVIDIA’s Optimus technology