Originally Posted by Negative Sun
Hybrid CrossFire means just that, instead of having to use two identical cards, you can use two different ones, but in this particular case, it's an on-board GPU with a discrete card.
The on-board handles pretty much everything in Windows (even Vista Aero) as it's the most powerful on-board solution to date.
When you start up a game, the discrete card will kick in on top of the on-board graphics to give you Hybrid Crossfire, which gives you a decent boost in certain games apparently, even more so because the on-board GPU on the above mentioned mobo is apparently a doozy to overclock without any extra need for cooling. Even though it's not as powerful as an HD3870 or even 3850, boosting the core from 500Mhz to about 700/750Mhz is nothing to sniff at, couple that with a decent mid-range GPU (HD3850/3870) and the mid-range isn't quite as dull anymore!
That sounds pretty much like what I'm looking for. Mid-range to high-end discrete card is in a powered off or very low standby power state while low to mid-range onboard GPU runs non-GPU intensive apps like general web browsing, e-mail, office apps, etc. But when GPU activity starts to hit 85-90% utilization or so then the chipset, GPU, or other h/w device powers up the discrete card and both
onboard and discrete GPU's are used to render the display.
I'm not sure I'd go for the idea of the onboard GPU switching over to the discrete card and not being used until the GPU load drops enough that the switchback threshold is reached and the discrete hands off GP to the onboard again. I don't know, maybe there are technical limitations around running two GPU's with significant differences in GP computational capabilities but if that is the way it works it seems to me that this becomes a one-dimensional benefit of power savings instead of power savings with increased GP power. I look forward to reading in-depth reviews of hybrid GP products to learn more about how this works.