NVIDIA® Optimus technology
Optimus is a switchable graphics technology developed by NVIDIA that intelligently optimizes the notebook's graphical processing unit's (GPU) performance to provide outstanding graphics while extending battery life for longer run time.
Traditionally notebooks came equipped with either an integrated GPU or a discrete GPU. Notebooks equipped with a discrete GPU will have powerful rendering capabilities but this usually will take a toll on what the expected battery life can be. A notebook equipped with an integrated GPU, however, usually can expect longer battery life, but it's 3D rendering performance would be lower than a discrete GPU.
NVIDIA Optimus achieves a balance by equipping a notebook with both an integrated GPU and a discrete GPU and automatically switching between them when appropriate. Whenever an application requires a more powerful GPU the NVIDIA drivers will automatically switch from the integrated GPU to the discrete GPU “on the fly” without requiring the notebook to be restarted for the GPU switch to take place. By the same method it will switch to the lower powered graphics solution when running applications no longer need the additional 3D capabilities.
For more information on NVIDIA Optimus, please visit the NVIDIA Optimus Technology page.