Lucidlogix Virtu, Revisited
Remember that Lucidlogix’s Virtu software gets around the limitation of only being able to access Intel’s Quick Sync transcoding acceleration technology while using integrated graphics. My biggest gripe with it was that Lucid required you hook up to the HD Graphics display output. The problems there were:
- HD Graphics is limited to a single-link DVI output. So much for my 30” test bed.
- Discrete graphics “virtualization” means compatibility issues to consider, necessitating a white list.
- Performance also takes an inherent hit. Lucidlogix masked this as much as possible, but my benchmarks still revealed situations where you’d see a substantial dip (Can Lucidlogix Right Sandy Bridge’s Wrongs? Virtu, Previewed).
Well, version 1.0.105, posted to Lucidlogix’s Web site as a trial, lifts what I saw as this app’s biggest restriction. Mainly, you’re now able to run natively from discrete graphics and virtualize HD Graphics instead. Instead of seeing a list of validated games in Virtu’s control panel, you’ll get a list of validated media apps. There are far fewer of those, making the compatibility question an easier one to answer. Right now, MediaEspresso and MediaConverter are on the list—and we’re fine with those two options for now.
That’s great news. Ninety five percent of the time you can use a Z68-based platform the same way you would have used a P67-based box, gaming from any of your graphics cards’ display outputs, with no white list or compatibility concerns. When it comes time to transcode a movie for your iPad or iPhone, run it through Quick Sync. As before, it’s not going to be native performance, but it’s really danged close, as you’ll see in the benchmarks.
It's important to note that Lucidlogix is going to offer motherboard vendors different types of Virtu licenses. This is going to be largely transparent to end-users, aside from its effect on price (though that should be minimal, too). In essence, a copy of Virtu licensed for a board that offers SLI or CrossFire support will cost more than Virtu for a single-slot board aimed at the mainstream market. I have to hope that motherboard vendors licensing this technology keep the delineation that simple, rather than trying to balance cost by bundling the single-slot software with a dual-card capable motherboard.