HydraLogix Vs. SLI And CrossFire: MSI's P55A Fuzion Tested

Ready For Prime Time?

Today’s benchmarks show how Lucid has continued to advance its hardware through improvements in software, expanding its list of compatible titles as it improves the performance in formerly-supported titles. But what it also shows is that some supposedly-supported titles don’t benefit in a noticeable way.

That puts us in a tough position. We want Lucid to succeed because we want its drivers to continue to improve. We want continuous driver improvement because we think the company has a great idea. What we don’t want is someone to buy the product expecting performance miracles, only to be disappointed.

Thus, while we’d like Lucid to sell as many of these things as it must to assure future success, we’re not sure you’re the customer who should buy just yet. Consider the benefits of this technology for each game you plan to use before making your decision, and feel free to look around for additional information on games we didn’t test. HydraLogix might still not be ready to take on the gaming market at large, but we’re sure a few users will find it a valuable technology while we continue to look forward to further development.

MSI’s P55A Fuzion is a good board in spite of Lucid’s teething problems, because it also supports SLI and CrossFire. That makes HydraLogix an added feature, as it should be. The biggest problem we have in recommending the board to a wide variety of buyers is that it costs more than similar products in a market where the money saved could eventually be put towards a properly-matched second graphics card. If that price difference isn’t a big deal to you, also consider that MSI doesn’t include the SLI bridge needed to properly support Nvidia's multi-GPU rendering technology, and that MSI’s most-recent Radeon graphics cards don’t include the CrossFire bridge also missing from the P55A Fuzion’s installation kit. Were MSI to add these two inexpensive accessories, it could make a much stronger argument for the value of this truly-flexible platform.

We do appreciate the fact that MSI listened to our initial feedback on its Big Bang Fuzion board--a platform that was priced far too high to attract customers with LGA 1156-based CPUs--and introduced this technology at much more palatable price points. We sat down with representatives from the company on multiple occasions to discuss where HydraLogix made the most sense, and that is unquestionably in the value segment, where upgrades (rather than outright replacements) are most likely. MSI has its ducks in a row. Now it's up to Lucid to match the performance and compatibility both AMD and Nvidia have had to work at for the past six years. Lucid's job is that much more complex because it's also getting both competing GPU vendors working together. But look how far the company's drivers have come in less than a year.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • tacoslave
    Still seems to buggy to me but at least they're still working on it right?
  • duk3
    Looks good on the 1st 2 games and synthetics.
    I hope Lucid gets all the issues worked out.
  • anacandor
    So basically it's just a universal CF/SLI connecter built into the motherboard? Seems odd that it's taken this long to be developed, but great nonetheless :)
  • Darkerson
    Looks like it has some promise, if they can further work the kinks out. Something to keep an eye on in the future.
  • ruffopurititiwang
    The 6870 scales better in cfx than that 5850. Why not test that?
  • punnar
    I can see it as a standard in the future. I think I will buy a board with Hydralogix on my next build.
  • Yargnit
    It would have been nice to see how well this works with two differing AMD/ATI cards and two Nvidia cards. For instance someone has a GTX260 and wants to add a GTX460, or someone with a AMD5850 who wants to pick up a new 6870 (damn numbering change) to go with it.

    Also comparing performance pairing two cards from the same generation (say GTX 460 + GTX 470) vs differing generations. (GTX 260 + GTX460)

    Lastly what affect would pairing a two cards with varying amounts of memory have? (two regular versions of a card vs 1 reg + 1 dbl memory vs 2 dbl memory) Since it isn't clear from what I've read if both cards would be limited to lowest memory level or not.

    Interesting tech for sure
  • sudeshc
    this should become a standard, allowing us to enjoy features from both manufacturers. I would also be prepared to pay few extra bucks for this as well.
  • Maziar
    Overall,Lucid is a great idea of mixing different cards but it still needs quite a lot of work with drivers.
  • Yargnit
    Ah, thank you. It was posted before I was frequently following the site, I'll give it a look.