The notebook market is probably the most interesting segment in the computer industry, as the entire market appears to be drawn to the adoption of new portable computer systems. The undeniable popularity of netbooks, tablets and other portable computer systems is becoming the catalyst for fresh technologies, essentially designed to improve the overall computing experience. On that principle, NVIDIA launched its ION platform
at the end of 2008.
The ION was essentially NVIDIA's debut in the netbook space, one that Intel had been dominating for a while and that was becoming one of the most dynamic segments in the portable computer industry. Despite the warm welcome received from the media, ION-based systems were very slow, in terms of adoption rate, mostly because manufacturers weren't that quick to bring them to the market. In spite of various issues NVIDIA had with Intel, the graphics chip maker carried on developing new solutions for the portable market, where the latter still has the dominant position.
Before the second generation of ION
was introduced, NVIDIA surprised everybody by announcing a fresh solution that could be adopted for all portable platforms with an Intel chip inside. We are talking about the NVIDIA Optimus
, a technology that basically allowed NVIDIA’s product to be inside all those Intel-powered laptops, even those with integrated Intel graphics. In addition, the Optimus technology brought back a solution that hasn't managed to become very popular, namely that of hybrid graphics.
Optimus was introduced back in early February, just one month ahead of the annual CeBIT show in Hanover, Germany. This basically meant that NVIDIA gave little time to its partners to adopt the new solution, ahead of the expo. However, that didn't stop ASUS from enabling NVIDIA's Optimus technology on a bunch of fresh portable computer systems, which it showcased back at CeBIT.
On that note, we start our review of one of the first laptops to have been featured with said technology, namely the UL50Vf
, which paired one of Intel's low-voltage processors with an NVIDIA GeForce 210 graphics processor, inside a 15-inch laptop designed for both portability and everyday computing. We first took a look at this model a few days after NVIDIA launched its Optimus technology, but we are now ready to provide you with a more detailed review of its features and capabilities.