HYDRA Engine – Multi-GPU Technology

Lucid before, also known as LucidLogix, is a small semiconductor company (they design chips but outsource the manufacturing to other companies like TSMC). Lucid has developed HYDRA Engine. HYDRA is a GPU-independent graphics scaling technology that takes as input the graphics flow data (Direct3D render calls) and splits it intelligently before redistribute the graphics workloads across multiple GPUs in real-time. GPUs can be GeForce, Radeon and even both in the same time.

By essentially intercepting the DirectX calls from the game to the graphics cards, the HYDRA Engine is able to intelligently break up the rendering workload rather than just “brute-forcing” alternate frames or split frames as both GPU vendors are doing today in SLI and CrossFire. And according to Lucid all of this is done with virtually no CPU overhead and no latency compared to standard single GPU rendering.

HYDRA Engine is a software (a driver placed between Direct3D and GPU driver) and hardware technology. Here is the silicon part of HYDRA:

The distribution engine as it is called is responsible for reading the information passed from the game or application to DirectX before it gets to the NVIDIA or AMD drivers. There the engine breaks up the various blocks of information into tasks – a task is a specific job that HYDRA defines that can be passed to any of the 2-4 GPUs in the system. A task might be something like a specific lighting effect, a run, a specific model being drawn, etc.

From a purely hardware perspective, the HYDRA chip takes in a single PCIe x16 connection and outputs two full PCIe 2.0 x16 connections. Depending on the partner’s implementation method, that could connect to two GPUs or split into four x8 PCIe 2.0 connections for four GPUs.

Read the complete story here: HYDRA Engine by Lucid – Multi-GPU Technology with No Strings Attached.

I hope HYDRA will be able to intercept also OpenGL calls!

Update (2008-08-20)

Update (2008-08-21)


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