Lucid Hydra 200 Multi-GPU Performance Revealed


About a year ago, Lucid started making waves in the graphics space with claims of being able to revolutionize multi-GPU computing. It promised consumers the ability to add any graphics card, unrestricted by model or vendor, to an existing set up and achieve highly efficient load balancing with near linear performance increases. This option presumably provides consumers the flexibility to buy an ATI graphics card, install it next to an NVIDIA model on the same motherboard, and see a boost in graphics rendering performance close to the sum of both individual components.

Today we have news of this technology finally coming to life. The Hydra 200 processor is currently in mass production and will soon be featured on retail motherboards, starting with MSI's Big Bang Fuzion P55 motherboard. While this processor will initially be implemented on high end boards, it is actually better suited for the much larger mainstream market segment. Instead of replacing old hardware, upgraders and system builders alike can presumably optimize their existing graphics performance by adding a new affordable videocard.

Recently, we sat down with Lucid and had the chance to get some hands-on time with their product to see how well it performed. Accordingly, we installed multiple graphics card configurations on Lucid's test system and ran several gaming benchmarks to find the truth about Hydra's capabilities and finally lay some of the rumors to rest. So what's the verdict? Read on as HotHardware gives you an exclusive look at one of the PC industry's most intriguing technologies.   

MSI's Big Bang Fuzion Motherboard featuring Hydra 200 Processor

Lucid Hydra Implementation
ASIC Hardware

"The implementation of the Hydra engine is done in ASIC hardware with the support of a software driver. The ASIC is located between the Northbridge and the GPUs, as shown in the figure. The Hydra engine scales performance of multi-GPU configurations from any GPU vender and will scale relative to each GPU's individual performance. In other words, the GPUs do not need to be identical. The Hydra ASIC  handles all connectivity between the CPU, the GPU, and between the GPUs through a full-duplex wired speed implementation. As such, the solution is connector free and does not require any GPU to GPU connector." - Lucid

Hydra Engine Graphics User Interface

Hydra's control panel is simple to use and provides users the ability to enable or disable installed graphics cards within the operating system. With Hydra enabled, the GUI can be minimized to the system tray while graphics performance is automatically optimized.

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