Quantcast Hybrid SLI, Hybrid CrossFireX, PowerXPress, GeForce Boost, ATI XGP explained

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  1. #1
    Notebook Virtuoso
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    Default Hybrid SLI, Hybrid CrossFireX, PowerXPress, GeForce Boost, ATI XGP explained

    Hello,

    during and around the Computex 2008 many new terms to do with notebook graphics cards popped up. I will try to summarize the terms and describe them.

    Hybrids with the Ability to turn off the 3d chip:

    AMD/ATI calls it PowerXpress and Nvidia HybridPower. It uses 2 graphics cards, one energy efficient with little 3d power and the other for gaming (fast and uses more/a lot of power), the user can choose which chip to use.
    This is not a new concept. Sony has build in 2 graphics chips into some of their laptops for years. In the past a reboot was required to switch between the chips. With the new generation it is possible to change between chips on the fly, the screen will flicker but no need to reboot. At least in Windows Vista (XP, Linux not supported) the user can switch freely between the chips or set up a profile to do so automatically (eg when on battery use low power chip and when plugged in use the more powerful chip).

    The graphic card hybrid not only works with two Nvidia or AMD cards but the low power Intel graphics solutions (mostly shard memory) can also be combined with 3d chips from AMD or Nvidia. This solution is ideal for users who want maximum battery life and be able to play current games. The most likely combination is Intel shard memory graphics card for battery life and some low to mid level 3d chip. This will not give great 3d performance but enable you to play some games.

    Limitations are the drivers. Special drivers are needed depending on which graphic chips are combined in the hybrid. This will most likely make you depended on the Notebook manufactures driver support. It is uncertain if 3rd party drivers (such as laptopvideo2go) will be usable.

    SLI Combing 2 or more Graphics Cards

    AMD calls this Hybrid CrossFireX, Nvidia GeForce Boost. It combines 2 (or more) graphics cards to boost graphic performance. This is the same concept as SLI on the Desktop and some gaming laptops. When the notebook is running on battery one graphics card is idle to save power. During gaming both graphics cards work together to boost performance. This works with 2 chips from the same manufacture (AMD or Nividia). The benefits are the same as with the hybrids. The difference is that the battery saving will be less because one of the 3d chips will still be on, but the potential 3d performance is higher.

    External Graphics Cards

    AMD calls this XGP (eXternal Graphics Platform). It is an external box with a graphics card inside. It is connected to the laptop via PCI express 2.0. This is a propitiatory connection. It will only work with laptop specially design for it. The external graphics card can only be used with an external monitor connected to it. The notebooks LCD can not be used (unless they design some kind of signal in port). The CPU, memory and harddrive of the notebook will be combined with the external graphics card to play games. The notebooks internal card will not be used during this time. Potentially this will unable both long battery life with a low power internal chip and a high power external chip in the XGP.
    Asus has been trying to bring out a similar device for a while now that works with the normal widely used PCIexpress port. However it never materialized. Asus said there are driver problems, this might be a problem with all these new solutions.

  2. #2
    Notebook Deity
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    Default Re: Hybrid SLI, Hybrid CrossFireX, PowerXPress, GeForce Boost, ATI XGP explained

    so are you saying for nvidia's hybrid it can use the intels integrated graphics as well? I've heard that it only works with a nvidia chipset.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Hybrid SLI, Hybrid CrossFireX, PowerXPress, GeForce Boost, ATI XGP explained

    Quote Originally Posted by wave View Post
    Asus has been trying to bring out a similar device for a while now that works with the normal widely used PCIexpress port. However it never materialized. Asus said there are driver problems, this might be a problem with all these new solutions.
    It materialized as did others like the ViDock and Magma, but they're all still stuck on a single PCIe lane of the XpressCard slot which greatly cripples anything attached to it.

    The external graphics card can only be used with an external monitor connected to it.
    That's currently the case, but might not always be, as according to their white paper they plan for something called "CROSS DISPLAY" which would power the laptop monitor;
    http://ati.amd.com/technology/xgp/xg...logy_brief.pdf
    Last edited by TheGreatGrapeApe; 8th June 2008 at 05:27 AM. Reason: added white paper info
    - Just my two frames worth, your drivers may vary.

    - Fujitsu N6460 / ASUS T91MT - Various Workstations @ Work - Pre-release Test Cellphones & a cottage full of 'Classic Laptops'

 

 

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