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Nvidia's new GTxx series, unveiled last week, is an attempt by the company to significantly boost the graphical capabilities of notebooks and laptops. ZDNet UK visited a product demonstration of the chip in London on Friday.
The GTX 480M graphical processing unit (pictured) is the most powerful chip within the range. The chip, like all within the series, supports DirectX 11, the latest version of Microsoft's collection of common application programming interfaces for visual applications. The GTX 480M supports PhysX, the Nvidia-developed technology that increases the fidelity and detailing of physical simulations. The chip also supports 3D gaming and display, GPU-browser accelleration for modern browsers including Chrome 6 and Internet Explorer 9 (IE9), and speeds the rendering of pictures and HD video.
GTxx discrete graphical processing units (GPUs) use Nvidia's Optimus technology, which turns the on-chip integrated graphical processor into a display controller for a separate, off-chip and more powerful dedicated GPU.
A software layer with profiles of applications switches the chip on when the notebook when needed; for example, when editing high definition video or rendering large images.
The output of the GPU is fed through the notebook's integrated graphics processor (IGP) and outputted to the display, with the IGP resuming control when the period of high use has ended.
The technology is only optimised for Windows 7. Nvidia said it had not found another operating system that can support the technology required for running multiple graphical processing unit drivers in parallel, as a driver is required in this case both for the IGP and for the discrete GPU.