NVIDIA has announced a hybrid technology for PC platforms -- Hybrid SLI -- that addresses the issues of increasing graphics performance and reducing power consumption. The technology will be incorporated into a variety of graphics and motherboard desktop and notebook products that the company is rolling out for both AMD and Intel desktop and notebook platforms.
First disclosed in mid 2007, NVIDIA Hybrid SLI technology is based on the company's GeForce graphics processor units (GPUs) and SLI multi-GPU technology. Hybrid SLI enables NVIDIA motherboard GPUs (mGPUs) to work cooperatively with NVIDIA discrete GPUs (dGPUs) when paired in the same PC platform. Hybrid SLI provides two new technologies -- GeForce Boost and HybridPower -- that allow the PC to deliver graphics performance for today's applications and games when 3D graphics horsepower is required, or transition to a lower-powered operating state when not.
For lower energy consumption and quieter PC operation, HybridPower lets the PC switch processing from a single GPU or multiple GPUs in SLI configuration to the onboard motherboard GPU. HybridPower is most useful in situations where graphics horsepower is not required, such as high-definition movie playback on a notebook platform or simple e-mail or Internet browsing on a desktop. It is also beneficial for users who want a quiet operating state with reduced thermals and noise. For notebooks, HybridPower can also dramatically extend battery life by up to 3 hours. When a game or application is started that requires the additional 3D horsepower, the PC can automatically transition back to the discrete graphics cards and power up the 3D capabilities all transparent to the end user (i).
For applications where 3D performance is required, GeForce Boost increases 3D operation by combining the processing power of the NVIDIA GeForce-based graphics card with that of the second GPU integrated into the motherboard core logic. In media-rich applications, both GPUs work in tandem to render the combined images. For typical games and 3D applications, GeForce Boost can kick in automatically.