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LucidLogix HYDRA now ready to deliver death-knell to AMD and NVIDIA multi-GPU graphics?

by Tarinder Sandhu on 23 September 2009, 00:30

Tags: LucidLogix

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qat4g

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No more CrossFireX or SLI?

Enthralling technology from last year

At last year's Intel Developer Forum we came across some intriguing technology that promised to change the way we viewed multi-GPU graphics forever.

Developed by LucidLogix and dubbed HYDRA, the technology was set to revolutionise multi-GPU graphics by eliminating the need for specific, limited driver support from either ATI or NVIDIA in the form of CrossFireX or SLI, respectively. Rather, sitting in-between the DirectX API and graphics cards, Lucid employed a manufacturer-agnostic chip and associated software that latched on to the PCIe bus to mete out the necessary data to two-, three-, and four-card combinations.

The cool aspect was that the technology sat outside the driver environment. The HYDRA chip was and is, at the fundamental level, an arbiter of workload and nothing else. What that means is that any combination of DirectX9 to 11-supporting cards can be used to increase single-GPU performance. OpenGL, though, isn't supported.

Sounds great, doesn't it? Get yourself an HYDRA-equipped motherboard and place any cards of your choice for multi-GPU-accelerated gaming. One innate problem of last year's demonstration was the limitation imposed by Windows Vista driver model, where two different graphics drivers couldn't be installed on to a system. Windows 7 changes this and paves the way for many-vendor GPU support.

So, a year or so later, LucidLogix is back with a newer HYDRA 200 chip. This time around, however, the company has leveraged the support of a tier-one motherboard vendor, and we'll be seeing the HYDRA-powered board in a few weeks' time.

Turn to the next page to see Radeon and GeForce teaming up for higher frame-rate fun.