Can Lucidlogix Right Sandy Bridge’s Wrongs? Virtu, Previewed

Quick Sync was Intel's secret Sandy Bridge weapon, kept quiet for five years and unveiled at the very last moment. But there's a chance that desktop enthusiasts will miss out on that functionality. That is, unless Lucidlogix has anything to do with it.

The quest to differentiate pits engineers against marketers. On one side, you have teams of brilliant people trying to figure out how to design the best product possible. On the other, often equally-intelligent minds are devoted to extracting maximum profit from those same products. When both camps strike a harmonious balance, the result is usually something that enthusiasts are willing to embrace.

I’m singling out the hardcore users for a reason. We’re willing to pay good money for a Core i7-2600K because its complete feature set is downright impressive. We know the speeds and feeds. We know what to expect. We know damn well when something is being taken away from us. And we know that when we don’t like something, we can speak with our wallets.

Mom, dad, my wife—they don’t care if they buy an H67-based motherboard today and can’t overclock their processor tomorrow. Instead they count on a system builder to put the right components together. But we know better.

Frankly, the chipset side of Intel’s Sandy Bridge launch soured the deal for enthusiasts who salivated over Quick Sync functionality and then learned it required H67 Express—the only desktop chipset capable of exposing the HD Graphics engine, but designed to artificially crush processor overclocking efforts. Bad marketing, bad.

Video Enthusiasts: Wait For Z68

If Quick Sync means nothing to you, then carry on. P67 Express is probably the platform that’ll make you happiest, especially if you purchase a K-series processor.

If the ability to slash 80% off of your transcode times sounds sexy though, and you can’t live without discrete graphics, wait for Z68 Express, expected in the May/June time frame. The Z68 chipset will make it possible to:

  1. Overclock your K-series chip through manual clock ratio selection
  2. Utilize integrated graphics, freeing up overclocking of that component, too
  3. Enable SSD-based caching—but more on that later

That still leaves us with a problem, though. It’s possible for HD Graphics 3000 to coexist alongside a discrete graphics card in a Z68-based machine. However, nobody is going to get behind their PC to swap display outputs and restart every time they want to transcode a video or play a game. That’d eat up any potential time savings from Quick Sync super-fast.

Lucidlogix To The Rescue

But Lucidlogix—the same company we've seen try to unify multi-card rendering solutions from AMD and Nvidia—has an answer that it hopes will make Z68 an even more viable solution for enthusiasts: GPU virtualization. Using the company’s Virtu software, you can connect a display to the output of an H67- or Z68-based motherboard, drop in a discrete card, and harness the capabilities of both components.

Virtu is generic in that it conceptually doesn’t care if you’re using an add-in card from AMD or Nvidia, or an integrated graphics solution from Intel or AMD. It's only being validated on Sandy Bridge-based platforms today, but we expect that there will be a time when Lucid officially adds support for other configurations as well. It just so happened that Intel left an opportunity wide open by limiting access to Quick Sync for enthusiasts.

Sound like something Intel might have been counting on all along? Intel Capital is one of Lucidlogix’s investors, after all…

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  • rhino13
    AMD's Fusion stuff integrates without needing software though right?
  • mister g
    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?
  • jemm
    I wonder how much the Z68 will cost.
  • 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.
  • user 18
    sounds cool, although the whitelist could be a deal-breaker for a lot of people.
  • haplo602
    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 ?
  • tommysch
    I dont want a cheap graphic solution producing heat along my precious CPU...
  • RobinPanties
    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)
  • truehighroller
    I already sent back my sandy bridge setup, that's to bad. Guess it's Intel's loss huh?
  • lradunovic77
    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.
  • hp79
    (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.
  • lradunovic77
    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.
  • wolfram23
    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!?
  • lradunovic77
    @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.
  • Travis Beane
    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.?
  • sblantipodi
    Why care about quick sync when you have a discrete GPU?
  • Who needs this ? Mobile users can use Optimus, as part of native NVidia drivers. And for desktops, why do I need this at all ?
  • ProDigit10
    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.
  • ProDigit10
    ^^-*edit while your desktop is showing through the intel card*
  • cangelini
    sblantipodiWhy care about quick sync when you have a discrete GPU?


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


    Because you're not looking for the same thing. Generally speaking, discrete GPUs are marketed for gaming and the rendering/converting and the little thingies that quick sync offers are not a priority and are pretty far down the list.

    It is an interesting and certainly worthwhile tech for those who feel they need it whether professionally or out of daily routine -- or for others to show how awesome they are in certain benchmarks-- but for the majority of people it just doesn't matter all that much.

    More thunderbolt please.
  • reprotected
    You know it would be nice if Intel actually had their integrated video cards to work along side with our discrete cards, but no...
  • @Travis Beane

    not completely sure, but i hazard that nVidia aint going be licensing their tech to AMD or Intel
  • siliconchampion
    Quote:
    Why care about quick sync when you have a discrete GPU?


    Because Quick Sync is several times faster than Discrete GPU transcoding methods right now. What I would like to see is improvements made to CUDA, and especially APP.