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Test Configuration

HydraLogix Vs. SLI And CrossFire: MSI's P55A Fuzion Tested
Test System Configuration
CPUIntel Core i7-870 (2.93 GHz, 8 MB Cache)
Overclocked to 4.00 GHz at 1.35 V, 200 MHz BCLK
Lucid Hydra
MSI P55A Fuzion BIOS V1.1 (09-09-2010), Intel P55 Express/Lucid Hydra LT22102, LGA 1156
ASRock P55 Extreme4 BIOS 1.42 (08-20-2010), Intel P55 Express, LGA 1156
RAMKingston KHX2133C9D3T1K2/4GX (4 GB)
DDR3-2133 at DDR3-1600 CAS 7-7-7-21
AMD Graphics2 x MSI R5850 Twin FROZR II 1 GB
725 MHz GPU, GDDR5-4000
Single, CrossFire, HydraLogix A-Mode
Nvidia Graphics2 x Sparkle GeForce GTX 460 1 GB
700 MHz GPU, GDDR5-3600
Single, SLI, HydraLogix N-Mode
Hard DriveWestern Digital Velociraptor WD3000HLFS, 300 GB, 10 000 RPM, SATA 3Gb/s, 16 MB cache
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerOCZ-Z1000 1000 W Modular
ATX12V v2.2, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
GeForce GraphicsForceWare 258.96
Radeon GraphicsAMD Catalyst 10.9
HydraLogixVersion 1.6.109
ChipsetIntel INF

MSI doesn’t include an SLI bridge with its P55A Fuzion, assuming instead that Nvidia graphics users will always chose HydraLogix N-Mode over SLI, even when the cards are identical. While that’s not a problem for a site that has SLI bridges laying about the test bench, it could be a problem for some buyers. With the bridges missing from the P55A Fuzion, most buyers who insist on SLI capability would choose a different board rather than buy the connectors separately. This makes sense, since you're paying extra for the HydraLogix functionality up front. Our desire to produce the most realistic configurations led us to add a second motherboard to the test, ASRock’s P55 Extreme4.

The P55 Extreme4 is slightly better-equipped by way of USB 3.0 and SATA connectivity, but doesn’t have a PCI Express bridge on the CPU’s sixteen PCIe 2.0 lanes. Like most P55 motherboards, it switches from x16 mode to dual x8 mode when two graphics cards are installed. We used it for single card, SLI, and CrossFire tests.

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games 
Aliens Vs. Predator BenchmarkAlien vs Predator Benchmark Tool
Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA
Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2Campaign, Act III, Second Sun (45 sec. FRAPS)
Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA
Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
Test Set 1: Highest Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Highest Quality, 4x AA
DiRT 2Run with -benchmark example_benchmark.xml
Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA
Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of PripyatCall Of Pripyat Benchmark version
Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA
Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x MSAA
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.0.1, GPU and CPU scores
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