NVIDIA's Latest Verde Drivers Enhance Optimus Customizations

NVIDIA has made themselves known as a hardware company, and more recently, an innovation company. The company used to battle with ATI in the GPU department, but now they compete with ARM, Intel and Qualcomm in the microprocessor market. But that's not all. NVIDIA is also one of the pioneers in 3D for PCs, and now that they have a solid footing in the graphics market, they're looking to really pull ahead with software innovations. You may wonder what software has to do with improved GPUs, but there's actually a huge link between the two.

GPU performance relies heavily on drivers, and poorly written drivers lead to poor performance. NVIDIA recently made drivers a top priority, even going so far as to align their notebook and desktop GPU driver releases with "Verde." NVIDIA is also releasing new drivers on a regular basis, which ensures that existing consumers are looked after even as GPU technology continues on at a breakneck rate. But the July 2010 Verde driver release is no normal release. In this release, NVIDIA's Optimus is taking center stage, and the company's GPU switching technology is seeing improvements all thanks to software.

Optimus is a system that we have grown quite fond of here, as you'll probably notice in our reviews of Optimus-enabled laptops. When laptops ship with a discrete GPU and an integrated graphics set, Optimus allows the computer to switch between the two on the fly, without a reboot or system log-off/log-on. The reasons for this are simple: with the IGP, you can save a lot of battery power, but having the ability to switch on a discrete GPU means that gamers can get that extra boost where it wouldn't have been available before. The main issue with Optimus? As a new technology, the software that shipped with most Optimus machines was rather spartan, with very few options available to the end user. Basically, Optimus worked, but end users weren't able to really tell when it was active, which GPU was active and how Optimus was making decisions.

In an effort to add transparency to the Optimus system, NVIDIA's latest drivers highlights the new customization settings and options made available to consumers within the latest NVIDIA Control Panel and shows Optimus in action. It also has a new user interface which provides even more visibility into how Optimus is working and allows you even more control over how Optimus operates. There are also a bunch of new customization options to put the full power of your GPU/IGP into your own hands. The video below details the new additions, which are waiting for you to enjoy right now after you update your NVIDIA's GPU drivers. No need to wait any longer to start that download, right?