Alfred Bayle's Blog
Alfred Bayle male Senior Technical Writer
Amateur photographer, self-proclaimed storage junkie, PC gamer and human swiss-knife, Alfred joined the team back in 2007 straight out of college, lured by the smell of fresh new gadgets and mind-boggling computer wizardry. He juggles his time between graphics cards and mobos, photo shoots, Otaku conventions, PC games, collecting anime figures, and sorting files on his hard drives.
LucidLogix is an Isreal-based company that has released two unorthodox innovations that are, for all intents and purposes, designed to allow two competing technologies to work together. These are the Lucid Hydra and the Lucid Virtu.
In the beginning, there was Lucid Hydra. It was innovative. It seemed cool. It allowed for an NVIDIA and an AMD card to function side by side on a single motherboard. Yet somehow, it didn’t catch on as much as most people had hoped. From the reviews at the time of its release, many commented on how a Hydra configuration tends to have lower performance output when compared to native SLI and CrossFireX. Additionally, there are only a few motherboards available on the market that supported Lucid Hydra and these motherboards are fast becoming a thing of the past, thanks to the release of the Sandy Bridge processors and Z68 motherboards.
But despite this setback, Lucid bravely dives into the unknown again and introduces Lucid Virtu, which comes packaged with most of the early motherboard adaptations of the Intel Z68 chipset. In fact, manufacturers seem to be clamoring over who gets the bragging rights for releasing the best Z68-based board with Virtu. A complete one-eighty when compared to the lukewarm reception of Hydra. So what is Lucid Virtu anyway? Basically, it is a software layer that when installed, allows the PC system to fully utilize the otherwise dormant embedded Intel HD GPU, provided the Z68 motherboard includes a video output like that of the ASUS P8P67-V Pro or MSI Z68A-GD80. There are also two modes for utilizing Virtu namely i-Mode and d-Mode, which are fairly self-explanatory where "i" should stand for "Intel" and "d" stands for "discrete". Under i-Mode, the Intel HD GPU is the primary GPU so the monitor is connected to the motherboard's built-in video out, while under d-Mode, the monitor is connected to the discrete graphics card's connector.
As you may have deduced, Virtu is not 100% automated, requiring you to transfer monitor cables to and fro the motherboard and discrete graphics card and vice versa. There is also the short trip to the BIOS to switch the GPU priority to onboard and turn on multi-monitor support. From your Windows desktop, you can view the pre-loaded list of supported games and transcoding software on the Virtu control panel. What the "Games" tab will display depends on what mode you're using. Under i-Mode, it displays the name of games that Virtu supports. Future titles can be added by simply adding the game's EXE file into the list. For d-Mode, it displays the number of transcoding software that utilizes Intel's Quick Sync feature. Adding more software is the same as with adding games to the list.
Now if you're not yet confused with all the information that you've read, congratulations! You will now be able to appreciate the simple genius of this humble software layer from a humble company in Israel. With the speed with which motherboard manufacturers have adapted Virtu, it seems the future looks brighter for Virtu. Like the Hydra, Virtu will be strongly dependent on updates from LucidLogix. The role that Virtu will play in shaping future motherboards may yet be a significant one so here's to hoping that LucidLogix continues to update its software.