MicroStar International to Boost Multi-GPU Efficiency with Lucid’s Hydra

MSI to Install Lucid Hydra Chip on Upcoming Intel P55 Mainboard

by Anton Shilov
08/12/2009 | 06:13 AM

MicroStar International, one of the world’s largest makers of mainboards, plans to boost efficiency of multi-GPU operation on its next-generation motherboard powered by Intel P55 chipset. MSI’s code-named Big Bang mainboard features Hydra chip from Lucid Logix that enables nearly linear scaling of multi-GPU arrays’ performance.


According to IOPanel web-site, MSI’s 7582 “Big Band” mainboard features a Lucid LT24102 (revision) A0 chip to “balance [the workload – X-bit labs] and link between the different video cards”. The motherboard itself is based on Intel P55 core-logic set and is compatible with Intel Core i7 or i5 “Lynnfield” processors in LGA1156 form-factor.

It is interesting to note that the Hydra chip sports completely different packaging compared to the Hydra chip found on a special mainboard by Elsa released earlier this year and aimed at professional market. Moreover, the mainboard itself does not feature any video outputs, whereas Lucid Hydra technology supposes that the dispatch processor outputs the picture itself.

The Hydra engine sits between the chipset and several GPUs and acts like a dispatch processor within the array of graphics processing units (GPU) to distribute tasks between the chips. The technology drives the GPUs, performing scalable rendering of a particular image or scene, and relies on “unique adaptive decomposition and acceleration algorithms to overcome bottlenecks”. The Hydra engine combines a PCI Express 1.1. system-on-chip (Tensilica Diamond 212GP programmable general purpose processor) with exclusive software technologies that load-balances graphics processing tasks, delivering near-linear to above-linear performance with two, three or more graphics cards, according to the company’s promises.

In case Lucid’s Hydra chip and software operate as planned, MSI’s 7582 “Big Bang” mainboard may become one of the most demanded platforms among video gaming enthusiasts who plan to utilize two graphics cards for ultimate performance.

It is interesting to note that Lucid Logix company was originally funded by Intel Capital. Perhaps, installation of Hydra chip onto a next-gen mainboard featuring Intel's chipset is a preparation for multi-GPU arrays based on Intel Larrabee graphics processors?

Neither MSI nor Lucid commented on the news-story.