The means the laptop had the i5 or i7 processor and a discrete card. The a graphics processor is built into the processor and the processor can switch to use the discrete card if it's needed (powerfull new games). The second generation has even a more powerfull graphics processor built into the processor. This process helps with battery life and heat. AMD is also releasing a processor with the graphics card integrated into the processor. This is one of the reasons that AMD purchased ATI a couple of years back.
Even if you don't get the 2nd generation if you wait till they're released the prices for the 1st generation i5 processors will drop.
I've been browsing this forum to try and figure out the configuration I want in a new laptop. The Intel Core i5 processor "with switchable graphics" has been mentioned a few times as a good option. I'm close to a complete dummy about the internal workings of computers and I don't understand what is meant by switchable graphics. Is it a different piece of hardware, a setting that you can select, a feature associated with the processor or??? Could you please give a little more explanation and maybe an example of where it would be important. For reference, I don't do any gaming. I use my laptop for Internet, E-mail, Word, Excel, various genealogy software programs, and to store the hundreds of documents and jpeg files associated with my family tree.
My current laptop is a Dell Inspiron 630m, over 5 years old and still running on XP. I expect to keep the new laptop about the same amount of time so I am looking for a model that has lots of room to grow and a big leap up in technology. I am currently considering the Sony VAIO custom to order VPC-EB390 with an i5-580M processor (2.66GHz) with Turbo Boost up to 3.33 GHz; 8GB DDR3-SDRAM-1066; 500 GB SATA (7200 rpm): Blu-ray read+write drive; with ATI Mobility Radeon HD5470 GPU (512MB VRAM). Do you have any comments or cautions on this choice?
I'm also wondering if it is worth waiting until the 2nd generation Intel i5 processors are available. The release date says Feb 20. Do you have any experience as to how long it takes before the laptop manufacturers will offer these.