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View Full Version : Is Nvidia’s Optimus the Best of Both Worlds?

Chris Gohlke
09-05-2010, 12:00 PM
<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://blog.laptopmag.com/gpu-switching-on-the-fly-the-best-nvidia-optimus-notebooks?slide=1' target='_blank'>http://blog.laptopmag.com/gpu-switc...tebooks?slide=1</a><br /><br /></div><p><em>"Laptop shoppers no longer need to be faced with the unenviable choice of long battery life or powerful graphics. Notebooks with Nvidia&rsquo;s Optimus technology attempt to deliver the best of both worlds by seamlessly switching between two GPUs&mdash;one discrete, one integrated&ndash;to give you plenty of oomph for playing the latest titles as well as close to all-day endurance. And unlike previous switchable graphics laptops, there&rsquo;s no need to flick a switch or deal with screen flicker. It all happens automatically."</em></p><p><em><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/lpt/auto/1283602811.usr10.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></em></p><p>Seems like a pretty cool idea. &nbsp;If it appeals to you, LaptopMag has a rundown of their top five machines featuring this technology. &nbsp;More importantly, have any of you picked up a machine with this feature? &nbsp;If so, is it all it is cracked up to be?</p><p><em></em></p>

Tony Rylow
09-05-2010, 04:08 PM
I recently picked up an M11x to replace my Dell Mini 12 net-book. I am thrilled with the performance of the M11x, although battery life is very poor. I chose the Core i5 w/ 4GB RAM, and added a spare Intel X-25M 80GB SSD (v1 w/o TRIM) myself. Based on some research, it seems that the i7 doesn't add much performance over the i5, just adds to the price.

The downside of the amazing screen is that it is super glossy. Even sitting around the house, I have to be careful what light sources are nearby. The anti-glare screen seems to be constantly out of stock at Dell, though I'd like to find a privacy filter instead. The screen is behind a large clear plastic covering that extends beyond the LCD sides, so most likely will need to find a large filter and cut it down to cover the entire surface or it will look completely out of place.

The Alienware control center for configuring the power, led, and face-recognition settings seems a bit sluggish. It takes up the full screen when running, just so it can add useless graphics. The face recognition is a neat gimmick but is very unreliable. Some days it works great, and logs me in no problem. When I had the option enabled to lock the PC when it doesn't recognize me for 3 minutes, it was not a problem while just browsing the web. When I play games, it seems to lock the computer at the worst possible time.

David Tucker
09-06-2010, 12:27 AM
I have the M11x and I think its a great feature. I'm pretty surprised you think it has poor battery life, though, as I can't think of any other gaming laptop that gives nearly as much battery life as the M11x does. I've never had any laptop on a standard battery capable of 6 hours on the go. If I'm gaming I get two solid hours on a charge which is also fairly good in my opinion. And I have the i7...I think having the extra performance is worth it even if its not much.

Hooch Tan
09-06-2010, 09:01 PM
I've been closely watching the Optimus laptops, but haven't bought one yet. The majority of the ones I see out there are Intel GMA/Nvidia 310M GPUs, which while an improvement, I have to wonder if it is that much better. Alienware's M11x is very tempting though. The only killer for me is the resolution. I'd much prefer something that is WXGA+ or higher.