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

Test Configuration

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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 MotherboardMSI P55A Fuzion BIOS V1.1 (09-09-2010), Intel P55 Express/Lucid Hydra LT22102, LGA 1156
Standard MotherboardASRock 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.

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Benchmark Configuration
3D GamesRow 0 - Cell 1
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
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.