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What is Nvidia Optimus Technology? Easiest Explanation

Nvidia Optimus Technology Explained

The Nvidia Optimus Technology ensures good performance in laptops without compromising on the Battery Life.

Having a Dedicated Graphics on your Laptop ensures great performance in gaming and 3D Applications. However, this seriously impacts the Battery Life of your devices.

When we talk of Integrated Graphics, they don’t consume a lot of battery but can’t deliver good performance either.

So, what’s the solution?

The best way to address this issue is to introduce switchable graphics. In this way, when a GPU intensive application is being used, all the load is given to the dedicated GPU but when some basic tasks are running, it is handled by the Integrated one.

And the Nvidia Optimus does this automatically. Whenever you start a Game or a Video Editing Application, it is automatically detected and driven by the Nvidia’s Dedicated GPU. But when you’re doing basic tasks such as Web Browsing or listening to music, all the processing is done by the Intergrated GPU.

How to Enable Nvidia Optimus?

If your Nvidia GeForce GPU supports Optimus, you only have to make sure that the necessary drivers are installed. If they’re installed, you don’t have to do anything on your part. Nvidia Optimus will take care of everything automatically.

You can also select the Preferred Graphics Card from the Nvidia Control Panel. To do so, right click on your Desktop and Select the Nvidia Control Panel. Go to manage 3D settings.

Nvidia 3D Settings

From here, you can select whether you want the Integrated GPU to be the default one or the Nvidia GPU.

So, how does this works?

Whenever you start a program, the Nvidia Graphics Driver whether using the dedicated GPU will benefit this application or not. If it will benefit then job is transferred to the Nvidia GPU otherwise it is carried out by the Integrated one. Remember that the Nvidia GPU in case of Optimus only renders and sends the output to your Integrated GPU. In the end, it is only the Integrated GPU that shows the final output. This job of copying data from the Nvidia GPU to the Integrated one consumes a little time as well.

This is simply because the port of your Laptop’s display is directly connected with the Integrated GPU, and not the Nvidia one. Also, if your Laptop comes with an HDMI output port,  it is also most likely to be connected with the Integrated GPU only.

So, for most Laptops with Nvidia Optimus enabled, the dedicated GPU can only do the rendering job. The job of displaying on screen is always done by the Integrated GPU.

But some Laptops also have the feature to disable the Nvidia Optimus from the BIOS and use the Nvidia GPU for both rendering and display.

So, there are advantages as well as disadvantages of this technology. However, considering that the Notebooks are made for portability and long battery life in the first place, the Nvidia Optimus Technology is rather helpful.

Supported Operating Systems

Nvidia Optimus is supported on both Windows and Linux.

You can learn more about Optimus on Nvidia’s Official Website.

Brandan Collins

Author Brandan Collins

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