facebook rss twitter

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

Add to My Vault: x

Big Bang theory

HYDRA 200 - the 2009 model

LucidLogix is teaming up with MSI to bring the HYDRA technology to the company's Big Bang Intel P55 chipset-based motherboard.

The HYDRA 200 is the new-and-improved model, built on a 65nm process by TSMC, supporting PCI-Express Gen 2, and drawing around 6W when under load. The guts of the chip centre around a Tensilica Diamond RISC architecture that's been augmented with downstream PCI-Express lanes.

LucidLogix will sell various versions of the chip that are differentiated by the downstream (to graphics cards) PCI-Express lane arrangement. These dictate how many cards - and at what bandwidth - can be controlled by the HYDRA chip.

Here's the MSI Big Bang with a Radeon HD 4890 and HD 4770 in the slots. The cards are installed as standalone GPUs, complete with driver, in the operating system. LucidLogix's load-balancing driver is then installed on top. There's no need for a CrossFire cable because the workload is divided up by the HYDRA chip. The BIOSHOCK gaming demonstration highlighted both cards working in tandem.

The same board but a different sample, this time populated by a GeForce GTX 260 and GTS 250 with different memory configurations and, obviously, different clock speeds. Again, as the workload is divided up for the two cards, greater resources can be apportioned to the faster GPU.

Windows 7 lends a hand into providing multi-GPU acceleration when pairing NVIDIA and ATI graphics cards.

Appreciating that the demonstrations we were privy to were wholly Lucid-controlled, there appears to be significant merit in what the company is doing.

However, a number of questions remained unanswered during our session with the company. We still don't have numbers that define the scaling pertaining to two-, three-, or four-card setups. The additional cost of the HYDRA 200 ASIC is still unknown, although the etail price of the MSI Big Bang, when released, will provide us with the likely premium. Who else will take up the design?

How will AMD and NVIDIA respond to a company that aims to render their multi-GPU business redundant? Both firms have apportioned significant dollars in improving multi-GPU support. Can Lucid reduce the power-draw so that the technology become viable for sleeker laptops? And what of on-GPU physics with a mixture of AMD and NVIDIA cards? Lastly, how does Larrabee, once available, and NVIDIA/AMD play out in the same system?

What we can say is that LucidLogix has considerable IP that needs to be expertly managed if it's going to become a commercial success. We can't wait to find out what the company will do next. Intrigued? We are.

HEXUS IDF 2009 coverage

click for more IDF 2009 coverage

HEXUS Forums :: 2 Comments

Login with Forum Account

Don't have an account? Register today!
Thanks for the news. I've been holding off on upgrading in anticipation of this. Now if we can only see the benchmarks; 2 AMD 5870's CF vs Hydra 200 . Also, I doubt MSI is the only vendor with this up and running. The other manufacturers are selling as many Hydra-less motherboards as they can, while they still can.:rockon2:
This sounds a promising way of integrating any mixture of cards so as to get the high performance of the ATI HD4890 cards in CFX, combined with the superior Physx technology of the nVidia cards.

Looking forward to seeing some performance test results.