Laptop makers have come up with a way of letting users switch between an Nvidia GeForce graphics chip and the less powerful Intel Centrino 2 integrated graphics, without rebooting.

The features on new laptops from Sony, Fujitsu Siemens, and BenQ give users the choice of more visual computing performance or reducing power demands to extend battery life.

All GeForce 9M Series GPUs support the hybrid graphics feature, but the notebook must be designed to support the technology. The hybrid graphics feature is currently available in the following new notebook models:

- Sony VAIO Z series ultra-light laptops with GeForce 9300M GS GPUs
- Fujitsu Siemens Amilo XI 3650 entertainment laptops with GeForce 9600M GT GPUs
- BenQ Joybook S42 ultra-light laptops with GeForce 9600M GT GPUs

To boost battery life, the hybrid graphics equipped notebooks allow users to select between the Nvidia GeForce GPU and the integrated graphics in the Intel chipset. Users can choose between the faster 3D performance delivered by the Nvidia GeForce GPU for visually intensive applications or improved stamina using the integrated Intel graphics.

For applications like word processing and email, which don't require performance graphics, battery life can last more than five hours on the Sony Z series. And, most importantly, the switch can be made without rebooting the machine.

Enabling the seamless dynamic switching between the different hardware architectures of the GeForce GPU and Intel Centrino 2 in laptops was a collaborative effort between Nvidia, Intel and notebook makers.

"Engineering hybrid graphics was a significant effort between all involved, but the end result was worth it," said Rene Haas, general manager of the notebook business at Nvidia. "Now consumers can experience a new breed of laptops that eliminates the compromise between battery life and visual computing performance."