Asus UL50Vf shows off nVidia Optimus graphics

Gaming laptops tend to have feeble battery lives, mainly because of their juice-guzzling discrete graphics cards. But Asus and nVidia are claiming to

Gaming laptops tend to have feeble battery lives, mainly because of their juice-guzzling discrete graphics cards. But Asus and nVidia are claiming to have solved this bugbear with the UL50Vf, the first laptop to sport nVidia’s Optimus tech.

The UL50Vf is a minor upgrade from the current UL50 with a 15.6in screen, Core 2 Duo processor, 512MB RAM and a dedicated nVidia GT310M graphics card. So far, so ordinary.

But the inclusion of nVidia’s Optimus tech means it can automatically switch between this powerful card and the more sedate, battery-friendly integrated graphics depending on what you’re doing.

‘Switchable graphics’ are nothing new, but in current systems you need to make the switch manually. Because Optimus is automatic – even recognizing flash video in web browsing – you should see big gains in battery life.

The UL50Vf will start at £800 from March, and Optimus will also be appearing soon in the next-gen ION processor – which should mean new gaming netbooks with lengthy battery lives. Hooray to that.