Back in June during the Computex show in Taipei, we saw a very interesting pair of graphics cards in the Lucid suite.  One combined a set of lower end GPUs in a multi-GPU single card design that otherwise hadn’t existed while the other card showed a single AMD GPU and a single HYDRALogix 200 chip.  (Note the small change from Lucid HYDRA to Lucid HYDRALogix.)

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By adding the Lucid technology onto the graphics card the board manufacturer is enabling the use of HYDRALogix multi-GPU scaling technology (if you need to catch up on Lucid’s technology, do so here) on basically ANY motherboard using this single card and any other PCIe video card installed in the system.  Lucid is calling this new iteration of HYDRALogix “UNITY” for its ability to pair two completely independent graphics cards together in a single gaming system.

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There a whole host of potential benefits to Lucid’s UNITY technology when taken at face value:

Card Manufacturers
  • Create multi-vendor-multi-GPU upgradeable cards by integrating a single, low-cost HydraLogix chip
  • Allow their customers to couple a UNITY type VGA with any additional existing or new VGA from any vendor on Intel or AMD motherboards
  • Create differentiated products by using any brand or GPU model, mixing and matching capabilities, power consumption and price points
  • Easy upgrade with additional cards
Consumers
  • Add HydraLogix multi-GPU graphics capabilities to existing motherboards
  • Run multiple NVIDIA and/or ATI GPUs on any motherboard
  • Upgrade system performance simply by leveraging any existing GPUs by coupling with a new UNITY based VGA.
  • Combine a low cost graphics card with another for increased performance, or turn up the volume with multiple high end graphics card of choice
  • Combine both an AMD and NVIDIA GPU to enjoy the benefits of both graphics features and performance
System Builders
  • Flexibly design custom systems at multiple price/performance targets
  • Save costs with royalty-free alternative to vendor-specific multi-GPU graphics architectures
 
The idea here is simple: you could take the HD 5770 UNITY enabled graphics card I saw in June (pictured above) and add an HD 5750 that you friend gave you, or maybe a new GeForce GTX 460 card and see gaming performance scale accordingly.  In practice, it hasn’t always been roses for Lucid and their HYDRALogix technology; the first iteration had issues with performance and stability but the company has been slowing updating drivers and improving the service.  We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our sample UNITY card to test just that…

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In fact, the new UNITY designs from Lucid will not only support two graphics cards, but THREE if the motherboard has enough PCI Express slots to get the job done.  All of the hardware communication then between the Lucid technology and the other GPUs is all handled by the single HYDRALogix 200 on the single UNITY graphics card the user purchases.  Best of all, this solution does NOT prevent the user from using your standard SLI or CrossFire configurations should they wish to revert for specific games, etc.

Thus far only Radeon manufacturer TUL/PowerColor has announced support for Lucid’s UNITY technology though Lucid continues to indicate that others are on the way.  While they won’t talk details, I am guessing the added cost of the Lucid chip is about $5, maybe less, plus the cost in redesigning the PCB of a graphics card to integrate it.  If that is the case, it will be interesting to see what performance levels of cards will actually integrate it as that will indicate how reliable performance scaling actually is. 

Of course, if you don’t want to get a UNITY graphics card and don’t mind upgrading your motherboard, there are several upcoming Lucid-powered options coming out for various price points very soon.

Lucid Introduces UNITY Graphics Board Architecture to Make HYDRALOGIX Multi-GPU Gaming Accessible to All

 

When combined with a HydraLogix graphics card, any system or graphics card turns into a multi-GPU platform

 

KFAR NETTER, Israel and SANTA CLARA, California – August 30, 2010 – Today LucidLogix Technologies (Lucid) announced its arming video card manufacturers with the new Unity™ graphics board architecture for the HydraLogix engine (previously known as HYDRA).

 

Now graphics board vendors for the first time can combine a single HydraLogix 200 real time distributed processor with any single NVIDIA or ATI GPU, creating an affordable, flexible multi-GPU-ready graphics card that can make any motherboard a high performance gaming system.  

 

  

Gamers and high performance PC enthusiasts will have even more options to configure multi-GPU systems, which until recently were limited to vendor-exclusive architectures or HydraLogix equipped motherboards.   And mainstream graphics users can now buy even a $99 graphics card and upgrade their system in the future with the brand graphics card of their choice.

 

“The Unity architecture provides a win-win situation for the market and for consumers,” said Offir Remez, Lucid President.   “Graphics board vendors can increase the total market for multi-GPU computing from the low end to the high end.  And as a consumer, why wouldn’t you choose to buy a graphics card with HydraLogix on board? You only get more!”

 

The benefits of the UNITY architecture for HydraLogix include:

 

Card Manufacturers

·         Create multi-vendor-multi-GPU upgradeable cards by integrating a single, low-cost HydraLogix chip

·         Allow their customers to couple a UNITY type VGA with any additional existing or new VGA from any vendor on Intel or AMD motherboards

·         Create differentiated products by using any brand or GPU model, mixing and matching capabilities, power consumption and price points

·         Easy upgrade with additional cards

Consumers

·         Add HydraLogix multi-GPU graphics capabilities to existing motherboards

·         Run multiple NVIDIA and/or ATI GPUs on any motherboard

·         Upgrade system performance simply by leveraging any existing GPUs by coupling with a new
UNITY based VGA.

·         Combine a low cost graphics card with another for increased performance, or turn up the volume with multiple high end graphics card of choice

·         Combine both an AMD and NVIDIA GPU to enjoy the benefits of both graphics features and perfromance

System Builders

·         Flexibly design custom systems at multiple price/performance targets

·         Save costs with royalty-free alternative to vendor-specific multi-GPU graphics architectures

 

Jon Peddie of Jon Peddie Research

“The market for multi-GPU systems has shown continual growth even in a down economy. Lucid’s expansion of its HydraLogix technology to the graphics board further expands options for OEMs, ODMs and consumers, and should provide additional momentum to the growth of reasonably priced, high-powered gaming systems.”

 

Ted Chen, TUL CEO at TUL, maker of the 1st Unity architecture based VGA – the PowerColor Evolution

“Lucid’s graphics card implementation of HydraLogix creates new marketing opportunities for graphics card vendors, and we’re proud to be first to offer this technology integrated into our graphics cards. With more options for consumers, we are looking forward to continued healthy growth for PC gaming technology.”

 

About HydraLogix

Designed with the PC gamer in mind, The HydraLogix engine offers a flexible solution for performance hungry or cost sensitive consumers who may wish to upgrade to multiple GPUs from a variety of vendors. This Lucid approach provides interoperability among GPUs and chipsets, auto-correct load balancing and multiple GPUs that simultaneously process.

 

The HydraLogix 200 currently supports both dual and triple multi-GPU configurations, and provides 80% or more graphics acceleration for popular PC games.

 

Pricing & Availability

The Lucid UNITY architecture for graphics board with HydraLogix 200 engine are both available now to graphics board OEMs. With multiple configurations of the HydraLogix engine, vendors can provide nearly limitless combinations of GPUs to meet a variety of target audiences and price points.

 

Consumer graphics boards are expected to be available for the holiday buying season 2010 at accessible prices under $199.

 

About Lucid

LucidLogix Technologies has reinvented multi-core graphics with its HydraLogix real-time distributed processing engine that improves visual computing for both business and gaming applications. A fabless SoC provider, headquartered in Kfar Netter Israel with sales and marketing in Santa Clara, California,

Lucid’s innovations are protected by more than 60 patents and patents pending. For more information visit the Lucid website or follow @LucidHYDRA on Twitter.

 

About TUL

 

TUL is a leading supplier of AMD graphics cards under the PowerColor brand.  We offer award-winning products based on our technology leading componments, quality design and superb engineering.  TUL employs more than 150 talents worldwide, with offices in China, Europe, Russa and USA to support over 300 channel partners and distributors in 50 plus countries. For more information visit: www.powercolor.com.