What Is NVIDIA Optimus Technology?

An explanation of NVIDIA's hybrid graphics platform


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When you're checking out a laptop's specifications, you may notice that some NVIDIA graphics cards feature Optimus technology. But what exactly is Optimus? And is it an option worth looking for in a notebook?

What Is Optimus?

Optimus is a technology by NVIDIA that automatically adjusts graphics based on how you're using the device to better conserve battery power on a laptop computer. Sometimes this is referred to as a hybrid graphics system.

How Does Optimus Work?

Optimus transitions between integrated graphics and a discrete GPU automatically based upon what applications a user launches so you can utilize high-performance graphics during gameplay or when watching an HD movie. When you're done or are simply surfing the web, Optimus-enabled systems can switch to integrated graphics to prolong battery life, which is a win-win for users.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Laptop With Optimus Technology?

The key benefit of using a notebook with Optimus technology is better battery life as the system isn't running the more power demanding discrete graphics card non-stop. By automatically switching between integrated graphics to a dedicated graphics card, you'll find battery life to improve in mixed computer usage situations. Since the system is done automatically, it also improved upon previous hybrid graphics systems that required the users to manually switch between the two graphics systems.

How to Find a Laptop With Optimus Technology

To find a notebook with Optimus, the system must have a compatible NVIDIA graphics card and clearly state that Optimus technology is supported. Not all modern laptops with the latest NVIDIA graphics cards have this feature. In fact, two similar laptops within the same manufacturer series may not have it.