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Nvidia may be developing Ultrabook-specific GPUs

Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks this year could be sporting ULV GeForce 600M GPUs designed specifically for the ultrathin form factor

As the world waits for the next generation of Nvidia 600M series of discrete graphics to arrive, the GPU maker may have also been working on another series of GPUs catered for ultrathin notebooks.

It’s no secret that thin-and-light notebooks are generally more chic and attractive than, say, a 17.3-inch behemoth like the Asus 74SX. Still, ultrathin notebooks are constantly criticized by many users for their weak or below average graphics performance. Thus, gamers and serious graphics artists alike may pass on notebooks such as the MacBook Air where the integrated graphics may just not be enough to meet demands of 3D-intensive applications.

But, according to sources close to Fudzilla, Nvidia is already looking to change the graphics landscape for future ultrathin notebooks (i.e., Ultrabooks). While the upcoming Kepler architecture will power Nvidia’s next flagship desktop graphics card, the company may have also been optimizing the architecture for lower thermal requirements at the same time. This, says Fudzilla, confirms that Kepler GPUs in some shape or form will be powering Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks beginning as early as this year.

If true, it would be interesting to see how beneficial these ULV discrete GPUs will be for Ultrabooks where long battery lives are usually of top concern. We’re getting a bit tired of seeing integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics in 99 percent of notebooks, so we are definitely rooting for additional GPU options from not just Nvidia but from AMD as well.


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Allen Ngo, 2012-01-28 (Update: 2012-05-26)