by Anton Shilov
02/22/2011 | 09:46 PM
LucidLogix on Tuesday said it had released Virtu virtualization software for Intel Core i-series "Sandy Bridge" platforms to global motherboard manufacturers. The software allows to dynamically switch between integrated graphics core inside the central processing unit and discrete graphics processing unit from Advanced Micro Devices or Nvidia Corp in order to save power.
Virtu Lucid GPU virtualization software is able to assign tasks in real time to the best available graphics resource based on power, performance and features considerations, with no need for additional hardware. If high graphics performance is needed for applications like high-resolution 3D games, the system will assign the job to the discrete GPU. If not, the discrete GPU automatically goes into idle mode, while heat drops, fan speed slows down and GPU utilization goes down to zero, resulting in power-efficient system no matter how powerful it is.
The technology is designed for the latest Intel’s Core i3/i5/i7 microprocessors with Sandy Bridge core as well as AMD Radeon and Nvidia GeForce DirectX 11-class graphics processing units. The company did not specify with exact GPUs are supported. One of the compulsory system requirement is to always connect the display screen directly to the motherboard’s Sandy Bridge display output (DVI, HDMI, etc). Another one is the usage of Microsoft Windows 7 operating system.
“A simple software solution, Virtu is a cost-efficient technology with big rewards. Virtu solves both usability and power consumption issues for motherboard consumers and makes it easy for an OEM to build systems that have no-compromise video and 3D graphics capabilities," said Offir Remez, LucidLogix president and founder.
Nvidia Corp. in 2010 unveiled its Optimus technology, which dynamically switches between integrated Intel Core i graphics engine and Nvidia GeForce DX11-class graphics processors based on applications that are loaded at the moment. The technology helps to improve battery lives of notebooks and is currently not used on desktop computers. Advanced Micro Devices also has PowerXpress, which is a similar, but a less flexible, technology [ATI PowerXpress allows notebook users to manually or automatically switch between an ATI Mobility Radeon HD discrete graphics processor and an integrated core of AMD M780G with ATI Radeon HD 3200 chipset without rebooting their notebook] and plans to introduce a more advanced dynamic graphics switching technology for its mobile platforms featuring code-named Llano accelerated processing units. The technology will also allow to run integrated and standalone GPUs at the same time to boost performance.
LucidLogix Virtu essentially enables mobile technologies from AMD and Nvidia on desktop using proprietary software. It remains to be seen how successful will technology become. Not a lot of people try to cut power consumption of desktops and so do OEMs. With the first release candidate out in the market now, Lucid expects motherboard manufacturers to release product by next quarter.