ATI is no greenhorn when it comes to switchable graphics, but the company's version has always required manual intervention on part of the end user. It doesn't need to be that way, and Nvidia proved as much when the rival graphics chip maker introduced the world to its Optimus technology , a switchable graphics solution that automatically determines whether the task at hand requires the additional power of discrete graphics or can get by with the integrated GPU.
From what we're hearing , ATI isn't content to sit on the sidelines and watch Nvidia rule over the switchable graphics market, not with ATI's mobile chipsets so prevalent in the marketplace. Word on the Web is that ATI is working on its own version of Optimus, which notebook manufacturers expect will be ready by the end of the year.
Specifics aren't yet known, though we don't imagine ATI's version will differ much from Nvidia's solution. It will be interesting, however, to see if one of them ends up having a leg up over the other.