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Universal Software Or Application-Specific?

Can Lucidlogix Right Sandy Bridge’s Wrongs? Virtu, Previewed
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Part of what makes Hydra a tough pill to swallow for enthusiasts is that the technology adds a layer of complexity. You buy Crysis 2 on launch day. You want to play it that night. But maybe AMD’s Catalyst driver isn’t optimized yet, so you end up waiting a couple of days for a hotfix. Well, if you’re using a Radeon HD 5870 with a GeForce GTX 460 on a Hydra-equipped board, you then have to worry about Nvidia’s driver, too. Moreover, you might need an updated driver from Lucidlogix as well, depending on how the game looks after you manually add it to the launcher.

I’m convinced that, in order for Virtu to succeed, it has to be as application-agnostic as possible, and not run into show-stopping compatibility snags when new software comes out and enthusiasts adopt early.

According to Offir Remez, Lucidlogix’s president, Virtu does work with any application you throw at it. However, the software in its current form does employ a white list that includes tested and validated applications guaranteed to work. Any application not on that list is not natively supported. Now, you can manually add a title to the white list using a tab in Lucid’s software. But the current build does not facilitate this (everything is grayed-out). So, as you’ll see in the benchmarks, there are titles we simply cannot test currently.

Update (2/28/2011): Lucidlogix's Offir Remez clarifies that we are, in fact, using a production version of the software. However, because our motherboard isn't properly licensed, games cannot be added, the Virtu logo cannot be removed, the games list cannot be scrolled-through, and the software expires after 20 days.

Why is this even necessary? Well, according to Lucid, it started by testing 100 different games for the Virtu launch. During the course of building the white list, 85 of those titles behaved as expected right out of the box. Ten titles presented artifacts of some sort—generally related to anti-aliasing, windowed gaming, or even effects like motion blur that can be affected by the synchronization of two frame buffers connected over PCI Express. They had to be bug-fixed. We're not sure what happened with the remaining five.

Now, we already know that at least a couple of motherboard vendors that have recommended the black list approach to Lucidlogix instead. This would allow everything to work automatically, except applications explicitly flagged as incompatible. I agree that a black list would make using Virtu even more straightforward—so long as the compatibility is there.

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  • 2 Hide
    rhino13 , February 28, 2011 11:27 AM
    AMD's Fusion stuff integrates without needing software though right?
  • 0 Hide
    mister g , February 28, 2011 11:37 AM
    I'm pretty sure that Fusion only works with AMD parts, but the idea whould be the same. Anybody else remember this company's ads on the side of some of Tom's articles?
  • 1 Hide
    jemm , February 28, 2011 11:40 AM
    I wonder how much the Z68 will cost.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 28, 2011 11:52 AM
    I suppose a multi-monitor setup, main screen for gaming on the discrete card (assuming game only uses that one screen), secondary on the Z68 Output of the Intel HD card, will not have any need for this, and just run perfectly.

    Thats how i will roll, once Z68 gets out.
  • 0 Hide
    user 18 , February 28, 2011 11:57 AM
    sounds cool, although the whitelist could be a deal-breaker for a lot of people.
  • 0 Hide
    haplo602 , February 28, 2011 12:07 PM
    seems like we are heading to what voodoo graphics and TV tuners were doing long long time ago. just now over the PCIe bus.

    I wonder why it's so difficult to map framebuffers and create virtual screens ?
  • 1 Hide
    tommysch , February 28, 2011 12:41 PM
    I dont want a cheap graphic solution producing heat along my precious CPU...
  • 0 Hide
    RobinPanties , February 28, 2011 1:12 PM
    This sounds like software technology that should be built straight into OS's, instead of added as separate layers... maybe OS manufacturer's need to wake up (*cough* Microsoft)
  • 0 Hide
    truehighroller , February 28, 2011 1:28 PM
    I already sent back my sandy bridge setup, that's to bad. Guess it's Intel's loss huh?
  • -1 Hide
    lradunovic77 , February 28, 2011 1:45 PM
    This is another absolutely useless piece of crap. Why in the world would you put deal with another stupid layer and why would you use Intel integrated graphic chip (or any integrated solution) along with your dedicated video card???

    Conclusion of this article is...don't go with such nonsense solution.
  • 0 Hide
    hp79 , February 28, 2011 1:48 PM
    (unrelated to article)
    Dear Tom's,
    your pull down menu for page navigation sucks. I mean it really really sucks. I am so annoyed that it makes me want to stop reading the articles. It is the worst design of any webpage. I use IE, Firefox, and Chrome. It's very hard to jump through pages using the pull down menu. Please fix the style of it.
  • 4 Hide
    lradunovic77 , February 28, 2011 1:48 PM
    Again Intel and AMD move to integrate graphic chip into CPU is good for mobile useless for anything else. It is far from being smart solution for desktops unless they can pack GTX580 capable card into....mmmm i don't think so.
  • 0 Hide
    wolfram23 , February 28, 2011 1:51 PM
    I'm sorry but Intel seriously didn't bother to allow you to do transcoding with the EPUs with a discreet card?? WTF are they thinking!?
  • 1 Hide
    lradunovic77 , February 28, 2011 1:53 PM
    @HP79

    I agree with you. You guys need to implement partial rendering on this site. It is annoying how much it flickers on post back actions.
  • 0 Hide
    Travis Beane , February 28, 2011 1:53 PM
    I've been asking for using the integrated GPU for GPGPU purposes, and the discrete for gaming for a year now.
    It seems like we're slowly getting there.
    I'd like to run PhysX, but why not on the HD 3000 instead of a second $200 card, requiring a more meaty power supply, better cooling etc.?
  • -1 Hide
    sblantipodi , February 28, 2011 4:39 PM
    Why care about quick sync when you have a discrete GPU?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 28, 2011 4:39 PM
    Who needs this ? Mobile users can use Optimus, as part of native NVidia drivers. And for desktops, why do I need this at all ?
  • 1 Hide
    ProDigit10 , February 28, 2011 4:43 PM
    I wished the intel graphics could be used for most desktop activities, and the discrete card as main monitor connector for games, using a dual monitor setup.
    It's a much easier, and much better approach!

    Play games on the discrete, while your desktop is showing on the other monitor.
  • 0 Hide
    ProDigit10 , February 28, 2011 4:44 PM
    ^^-*edit while your desktop is showing through the intel card*
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , February 28, 2011 4:44 PM
    sblantipodiWhy care about quick sync when you have a discrete GPU?


    Because the discrete GPU can't do what Quick Sync does :) 
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