HybridPower dies on the desktop

Nvidia’s HybridPower technology debuted on the desktop with the nForce 780a SLI, promising to dramatically lower idle system power consumption by completely shutting down discrete graphics cards when their 3D horsepower wasn’t needed. When invoked, HybridPower offloads display output duties to the nForce chipset’s so-called motherboard GPU, resulting in significant power savings with a negligible impact on gaming performance. It’s hard to see a down side to the technology other than its requirement that your graphics card and chipset both come from Nvidia, which is understandable given how the two must cooperate to pass output duties back and forth.

Unfortunately, it seems that HybridPower has no future on the desktop. The new GeForce GTX 285 and 295 don’t support it, for example, and neither will the new desktop GPUs that Nvidia has in the pipeline. According to Senior Technical Marketing Manager Sean Cleveland, HybridPower has been dropped from desktop parts because, thanks to the improved idle power consumption of Nvidia’s latest graphics parts, it no longer “substantially improves the user’s experience.” HybridPower will live on in Nvidia’s mobile platforms, where the company still sees merit in the technology’s ability to reduce heat output and prolong battery life.

While it’s certainly true that Nvidia’s latest graphics cards have very low idle power consumption, it’s disappointing to see HybridPower leave the desktop entirely. Desktop users care about power consumption, too, and HybridPower continues to be one feature that AMD hasn’t been able to counter with its own core logic and graphics chip combos.

Comments closed
    • pogsnet
    • 11 years ago
    • Ashbringer
    • 11 years ago

    I’d rather have SoundStorm back.

      • dermutti
      • 11 years ago

      The Transformer with the cassette player in his chest?

        • MadManOriginal
        • 11 years ago

        I think that was Soundwave.

      • deruberhanyok
      • 11 years ago

      I’m not really sure what purpose that would serve. What could nvidia do with Soundstorm that, say, Asus hasn’t already done with the Xonar cards?

      I think it’s well past time to just let Soundstorm go.

        • stdRaichu
        • 11 years ago

        Don’t think I’ve ever seen a Xonar built into a motherboard chipset…

        For things like HTPCs (where space is often at a premium, especially in low profile cases), high-quality onboard sound/passthrough is a boon. Plus the newer nV chipsets (I’m looking at you 9300) are pretty awesome for all other things HTPC-ey.

          • deruberhanyok
          • 11 years ago

          That’s true, and I agree. But I still don’t see what Soundstorm would get you over current onboard HD audio codecs.

          Plenty of onboard codecs have DDL and DTS connect, CPU usage is negligible, digital outputs negate any problems with the analog output quality…

          Soundstorm was great in 2002 when it was essentially an Audigy with DDL built in to the motherboard, but asking nvidia to bring it back now because it would be “better” really should have stopped a few years ago.

    • StuG
    • 11 years ago

    This is a huge fail in my books too. Its not necessarily that hybrid-graphics for Nvidia was great yet, but imo it was a step in the right direction. Something that with a few years of experience, down the road could really be a great thing. Oh well. Atleast AMD/ATI still have their Hybrid system, and considering I buy mainly their parts, I guess I’m pretty set.

    • dragmor
    • 11 years ago

    Stupid Nvidia, I like less heat and less noise not more. You have the technology use it.

    Hopefully Microsoft will fix the Vista graphics driver issue (only 1 graphics driver can be loaded at one time, so switch is an unload then load resulting in ~10 seconds of black) so other manufactures will have chance of putting this on a desktop.

      • UberGerbil
      • 11 years ago

      There’s just one graphics driver in this case — the unified nVida driver. That’s not the problem. (And, Win 7 supports multiple heterogeneous video drivers)

      • MadManOriginal
      • 11 years ago

      Windows 7 driver model will allow multiple video drivers last I knew.

    • bdwilcox
    • 11 years ago

    They can bury this along with the hybrid car.

      • smilingcrow
      • 11 years ago

      And hybrid hard drives!

      • eitje
      • 11 years ago

      And hybrid tomatoes!

        • Nitrodist
        • 11 years ago

        Tomacco will make a return, I guarantee it.

    • GFC
    • 11 years ago

    To be honest, that (and SLI) was the only good thing about nForce, not only it reduces your bill, it eliminates the whooshing of fan completely, so you can read TR in total silence – like it’s meant to.
    In my book – that’s a fail, and a big one too!

      • Forge
      • 11 years ago

      Clearly you missed a memo, because the one thing that’s always turned me off about Nvidia chipsets was the heat/fan. My P35 mobo (back in my system now) runs just fine under a rather weedy little passive cooler. My 780i needs a massive northbridge sink, and if you disable/don’t install the fan, it reaches *absurd* temperatures. If you leave the fan on, it doesn’t move any air at all under ~70% speed, and it’s clearly audible from 60% on up.

      No thanks.

      Not to mention, a hotter chipset even with a larger HSF means it HAS to be burning more watts. That would kill a lot of power savings before a GPU even comes near the system.

      I wonder, what’s the wattage difference between an idle GTX260 on a P35 versus a 680i or 780i by itself? I bet it’s closer than you think.

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 11 years ago

    Damn, I was going to use this for my wife when it came out. She leaves the computer on all day, which is understandable, uses it for a hour or two a day. This is perfect for people like her! Don’t they care about saving every watt we can. I guess that is the mentality of rich executive?

      • ludi
      • 11 years ago

      Run the numbers — this might have saved you all of a shiny nickle per day. You can probabaly get at least equivalent power savings by tweaking the power and hibernate settings.

        • Dashak
        • 11 years ago

        Maybe you should run your numbers again ludi, cuz assuming only $0.05 multiplied over the course of a few years that we’ll keep a desktop adds up to exactly the amount people don’t want to pay.

          • ludi
          • 11 years ago

          I get $18.25/year (although that nickel does involve a certain number of assumptions, which may or may not be true).

          None of the computer enthusiasts I know have ever seriously debated something as nonessential and expensive as a middle-to-high-end graphics card purchase on the basis of saving $20 in a year in utilities, but maybe I run with the wrong crowd.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 11 years ago

      This isn’t 2002, set it up to sleep or hybernate after 30 or 45 minutes and make her put it to sleep when she knows she is done using it. Wake from sleep is very fast compared to a full boot.

        • smilingcrow
        • 11 years ago

        Here here, exactly what I was thinking unless the PC needs to be on for a particular reason during that period.

          • willyolio
          • 11 years ago

          i agree. just because you’re not sitting in front of it doesn’t mean it’s not in use.

            • sydbot
            • 11 years ago

            You can’t have torrents running in sleep mode. Maybe they should work on that Driver Feature…

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 11 years ago

    hybrid power just sounded like a good bandaid on a gpu utilization problem. happy to see they’ve moved past it on desktop.

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 11 years ago

    I thought ATI did have something similar to hybridpower, but they haven’t improved it much either.
    §[< http://ati.amd.com/technology/hybridgraphics/index.html<]§

    • LiquidRain
    • 11 years ago

    I have attempted to use HybridPower on my desktop (Vista x64 + ASUS M3N78-VM + eVGA GTX 260) and it’s a pretty miserable experience.

    It switches to the dedicated GPU if I so much as move the mouse in Aero, and when it *is* running on motherboard-graphics mode, the fan on the GTX 260 doesn’t shut off. (which was the biggest selling point of HybridPower to me, and actually a chief reason why I went AMD – I want my PC silent and it doesn’t have the room for a Thermalright HR-03 GTX)

    I’ve followed all of nVidia’s docs to a T on getting it setup, and it simply doesn’t work.

    I love the idea of the technology. It’s the execution that stinks.

      • homerdog
      • 11 years ago

      Mkay you can easily spin the fan down to inaudible levels with RivaTuner.

        • LiquidRain
        • 11 years ago

        Temps skyrocket. :/

          • rohith10
          • 11 years ago

          Weird, because that implies that the dedicated is not being switched off. Which means that HybridPower isn’t working in the first place.

        • eitje
        • 11 years ago

        HybridPower is about automation.

      • fpsduck
      • 11 years ago

      Geez, I just ordered EVGA GTX 260 superclocked. 🙁

        • kilkennycat
        • 11 years ago

        Don’t worry, your eVGA 260 Superclock runs its fan down to inaudible levels when in Desktop —all without HybridPower. You will hear the fan spin to full speed for about 2 seconds immediately after a power-on, then the fan speed drops to ~ 40% courtesy of the eVGA 260 BIOS and stays there until the GPU core temperature gets above 60 degrees C… typically 35 degrees C in Desktop, unless your case has few intake air vents or you block the rear vent of the eVGA 260. Check GPU fan speed and GPU core-temperature with the latest version of GPU-Z.

      • shank15217
      • 11 years ago

      Prolly the Vista part is what screwed you over.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 11 years ago

    Hm yes that is a shame. It’s just about the only reason I would have considered an NV chipset as long as I was going to have a discrete graphics card in the system too.

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