As an Ubuntu user of one of these laptops (nVidia Optimus: Intel + nVidia), I can tell you right now that the whole switchable graphics thing is a nightmare. It's getting better, slowly, but you run across all sorts of problems. I suggest looking into the Bumblebee Project (apparently I'm too new to post links, but Google "bumblebee nvidia" and you should be able to find something), at least for the nVidia side of things.
Basically, though, my understanding of Optimus is that, even though it has a dedicated GPU, everything still gets sent through the Intel GPU before being displayed. Therefore, you cannot turn off the Intel GPU, but you can still leverage the nVidia card. Nonetheless, it seems what you're trying to accomplish can already be done through the use of Bumblebee's optirun command. The basic state of things is that everything goes through the Intel GPU, but when you precede a command with "optirun" it will turn on your dedicated card and use it instead.
Frankly, though, it's all just a big pain. While using Ubuntu I very, very rarely touch my nVidia card. The Intel GPU built into the Core i3's seems to be plenty to handle any tasks I've thrown at it. Basic day to day use sort of things.
I am familiar with bumblebee, and vgaswitcheroo... for whatever reason bumblebees bash version has been wiped from the map and the devs wont give me any idea where I might find it.
What you say, while disheartening, makes sense about the optimus, which is why you can't disable the thing in the bios to begin with... however I have changed my methodology (even though I only had ONE user test for a few minutes for me
) has changed.
I am no longer disabling the hardware, I am installing the appropriate driver and pointing to the bus id of the appropriate card in xorg. I have it all written out, I just need to figure out the right place to introduce it in our very chicken and egg unique xorg.conf creation.
I believe I have it worked out in the right places. Just need testers.