Editor: Charles 'Lupine' Oliver
Date: May 15th, 2008
Editor's Note: ChrisRay, a contributive member at Rage3D since 2003, brings to the table the insight gleaned during his many years on the enthusiast scene. ChrisRay is administrator at Nvidia's SLI Zone, an Nvidia User Group Member, and a valued member of the video hardware community.
Most SLI users and high end enthusiasts can appreciate the growing power and heat requirements of the high end enthusiast market. This is an area Hybrid Power aims to provide much needed alleviation to this problem. When there are 3 Way and Quad SLI setups out there capable of pulling anywhere from 160 to 250 watts the question comes to mind. Do you really need your high end SLI setups to power your internet browsing experience where you will spend likely half of your PC usage?
Nvidia aims for Hybrid power to be the answer. The principle idea is very simple: you really don't need your 3 Way SLI or Quad SLI graphic cards to run the base internet experience. Nor do you need more than a single GPU to run your video and high definition DVDs.
The Technology Behind it
Hybrid Power Combines the PCIE bus with a low powered IGP. Simple enough? You'd think so. But this does require some pretty complex drivers and implementation.
Hybrid Power On / Off
SMBUS: The SMBUS, the Hybrid Power trigger, has been around since the PCIE introduction, but has gone largely unused until now. The SMBUS has the capability to turn GPUs on and off "on the fly", allowing GPUs to be turned on and off very quickly. This can be done without even accessing the driver control panel.
PWShort: PWShort allows for quick communication through the GPUs connected through the system bus and memory. In theory, it should allow for one to drive an integrated GPU as the main display device while letting the discreet GPUs do the rendering at minimal performance hit. We will address this later in our investigation.
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