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Sony laptop among first to combine Intel and Nvidia graphics

An upcoming Sony notebook will be one of the first to switch between Intel and Nvidia graphics.

Intel or Nvida? You decide. An upcoming Sony notebook will be one of the first to have the capability to switch between Intel Centrino 2 and Nvidia graphics.

Sony Z series
Sony Z series Sony

Intel's new Centrino 2 technology features what the chipmaker calls "switchable graphics" to save power. When the laptop is plugged in, it uses the higher-performance--and more power-hungry--Nvidia or AMD-ATI graphics. On battery, the system runs on Intel's 4500 series integrated graphics, which uses less power.

Sony lists the graphics system as "Hybrid Graphics" with a "Dedicated Hybrid GPU Switch" based on the Nvidia 9300M GS graphics chip and Intel 4500MHD integrated graphics silicon. What makes this unique is that the switch can be done on the fly.

The 13-inch Sony Vaio Z570, due later this summer in retail, will use an Intel P9500 (2.53GHz) processor that has a power envelope of only 25 watts compared with the 35 watts for mainstream Intel mobile processors on the market today. Other P series low-power Centrino 2 processors include the P8400 and P8600. These will both be offered in Hewlett-Packard's EliteBook 6930p, for example.

The Z570 also comes with 3GB of DDR3 memory, a 13.1-inch (1366 x 768) screen, a 320GB hard disk drive, an optical drive, built-in mobile broadband high-speed EVDO WAN, and 802.11a/b/g/n wireless.

The Z570 weighs 3.3 pounds--putting it into ultra-light notebook territory--and is between 1.0 and 1.3 inches thick.

One reseller also lists a Vaio Z591 that has similar specifications but adds 4GB of memory and a "BluRay Combo DVD±RW Optical Drive."

Though pricing may ultimately change, a reseller lists the Z570 at $2,249 and the Z591 at $3,399.