Optimus - IGPU switch to GPU SLI

Discussion in 'Alienware 18 and M18x' started by Anentropik, Aug 28, 2011.

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  1. Anentropik

    Anentropik Notebook Consultant

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    Hello,

    I asked this question a few times on many threads and got different answers, so I would gather here the various opinions in order to clarify the issue at best.

    Now to make a switch between IGPU (GPU contained in the Intel CPU) and a NVIDIA SLI requires reboot.

    My question is, to do without a reboot, do you think a Firmware/BIOS upgrade could be enough or should need a new Hardware component like a new chipset (currently HM67)?

    In function of the answer do you think this upgrade is possible for the M18x R2?

    Thank you in advance for all the incredible technicians expert who live on NBR. :)
     
  2. Anentropik

    Anentropik Notebook Consultant

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    No one have an idea ?

    For optimus and for manual GPU/IGPU switching of course.
     
  3. Nigel8600

    Nigel8600 Notebook Evangelist

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    Its probably not a bios tweak. The motherboards I've seen that have optimus have to be made for it. A great example is the xps 17. The 3D version CANNOT enable optimus no matter what you do, its been physically disabled but yet the non 3d xps 17 works optimus fine.

    The great thing about the M18x is that optimus is NOT on it but yet you still can change it manually. Why is this a good thing? Easy, optimus sometimes does not work properly. I would rather have control over IGPU/GPU switching myself but I have heard both sides of the fence here too about the reboot pains. Either you like optimus or you don't care.
     
  4. Anentropik

    Anentropik Notebook Consultant

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    Thanks Nigel8600,

    Hum i think HM67 work with Optimus, but actually it don't work with the SLI perhaps this make a BIOS update or tweak can allow Optimus to work properly with SLI, don't you think so ?

    Do you think that the ability to switch between IGPU and GPU's (Optimus or not) without reboot can be on the m18x R2 ?
     
  5. JTOverath

    JTOverath Notebook Evangelist

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    The way I understand Optimus is that the NVIDIA card actually outputs to the integrated in some fashion, which then outputs the video. It has to be engineered that way. This is why 3D and SLI don't support Optimus as the Intel card can't support the output from the NVIDIA. so there is no way for the R1 to support Optimus. As for the R2, who knows, both NVIDA and Intel may coem up with a way for it to work or they may not.
     
  6. Anentropik

    Anentropik Notebook Consultant

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    I'm not sure to understand what you said (English's not my birth language)

    But i feel that there must be a way to manage the output logically(driver/firmware), because all the ouput are cabled in the hardware, perhaps with a driver something could be possible, don't you think so ?
     
  7. Da_G

    Da_G Notebook Consultant

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    Take a look at my BIOS modification thread here: http://forum.notebookreview.com/alienware-m18x/605380-m18x-a03-bios-modification-infos.html

    In the first post is a list of menu options in the BIOS (many are hidden, but revealed with the unlocked BIOS, although some settings are still limited for now)

    The setting you want to pay close attention to is:

    Location = 0x204<1>, name='PowerXpress Setting' help='Setting Mux or Muxless'

    Muxless switching is the technical term for "Optimus" style video, where the system dynamically switches between dGPU and iGPU. Check this short article: AMD's Nvidia Optimus Killer Technology Gets Detailed - Softpedia

    So, obviously some work was done by the engineers to enable support for AMD's PowerXpress 4.0 Muxless solution (their equivalent of Optimus) - however since this did not come enabled from the factory, and the option remains a hidden BIOS menu, chances are highly likely that the implementation was never completed, and the production motherboard may be missing essential hardware to support this feature.

    However, brave souls could try loading up the modified BIOS and enabling Muxless switching, to see what happens. My money is on the effect being somewhere between "it won't work" to "it won't boot."

    Note that there is not a hidden BIOS setting anywhere to be found for Nvidia's Optimus technology.

    Going by comments found here, it would seem that AMD is not supporting Muxless switching at all on Sandy Bridge systems, only their Llano platform, so this support would have been developed without help from AMD, making it even less likely to function properly.

    Looking here, Dell successfully deployed a platform with PowerXpress support, so the possibility may not be too remote that our system supports it, after all :)
     
  8. Anentropik

    Anentropik Notebook Consultant

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    WOOOWW !

    Da_G you really the more amazing guy of this forum !
    I am very impressed by your skills, ok know I think I have to read two or three time what you clearly write here to be sure to understand a maximum. But now it's very late (and two much wine) for me to read correctly.

    Anyway thank thank thank you :)

    [EDIT]
    OK also thank you very much for the nice articles you bring here.
     
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