Nvidia to talk about Synergy at Computex

Free as in not free, new as in old

Nvidia world iconWord has come to SemiAccurate that Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) plans to talk about ‘Synergy’ at Computex, something we are told is the new name for Optimus on the desktop. A few weeks ago, Nvidia was shopping this to everyone that mattered, but it is questionable if there will be high uptake due to its cost.

The short story, Nvidia is touting Optimus for the desktop as a ‘free’ thing, the cost is now ‘zero’. Why? AMD’s version is included for free in anything that supports it, and Intel is using Lucid’s Hydra drivers to achieve the same and better in a GPU agnostic fashion. Both solutions are the same or better than Nvidia’s, and are not locked in and very expensive.

If you notice the quotes around some of the above, especially the words free and zero, there is good reason for that. Nvidia charges about $5 per chip/chipset to not blacklist your machine in drivers, something they call enabling Optimus. If the chips are wired correctly, the ‘technology’ should work, but Nvidia does not allow that unless you tithe, even if everything else is correct.

Since they are now the most expensive option on the market, and worse yet, other quite viable options exist, the green team had to do something. So they lowered the price to zero. Unfortunately, the SKUs that have Optimus/Synergy enabled cost $5 more than those that do not. Funny how that worked out, eh? Luckily for users, the ‘technology’ is free now, just ask Nvidia, they never lie.

The one new thing this driver update is said to bring to the table is the ability to use Intel’s video encode block while connected to an external GPU. Basically, they are trying to push back against Lucid’s Hydra, and control the connection to the monitor. Other than that, the ‘technology’ is pretty pointless on the desktop, it adds nothing that Lucid does not, other than cost.

That said, we have heard the name go both ways, called both Optimus for desktops and Synergy. That tells us that when it was shopped around, the marketing hadn’t been pinned down yet. Since more of our sources referred to it as Synergy, we will go with that. In any case, it isn’t anything new, nor is it actually free.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate