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Asus Crosshair IV Extreme to use Lucid Hydra

Asus Crosshair IV Extreme to use Lucid Hydra

Asus has opted to use a Lucid Hydra chip to bring Nvidia SLI back to AMD.

Asus is planning an Extreme version of its latest high-end AMD motherboard, the Crosshair IV. We reviewed the current, Formula version of the Crosshair IV earlier this month.

The new version will still be based on AMD's 890fx chipset, but the most notable addition will be the Lucid Hydra, the controversial third-party multi-GPU chip. The Hydra aims to allow you to mix-and-match Nvidia and ATI graphics cards, free from the constrictions of SLI and CrossFire. So far MSI has been the only motherboard manufacturer to take the plunge, with its Big Bang board, but Asus now appears ready to taken the plunge.

Our sources in Taiwan tell us that its primary motivation is not actually the mix-and-match aspect of the Hydra, but to bring Nvidia's SLI technology back to AMD systems. With Nvidia's latest Fermi architecture and AMD's 6-core CPUs now released, Asus feels the time is ripe to invest its efforts in the brand monster that is SLI, although it will have to do this without Nvidia's official support. While SLI is Asus' focus, the Hydra's ability to allow mixed Nvidia and ATI cards to work together will still be present for those willing to try it.

The Crosshair IV Extreme also has a tweaked layout with an extra PCI-E slot the Hydra adds, but that's not all because you can even switch the lanes on or off to check if the graphics cards are all working. That said, actually pulling the cards out does the same thing, and using the switches to customise the lane layout would be far more useful.

The CPU socket uses the same power phases as the Crosshair IV Forumula, but gets a higher capacity capacitor in addition to as many caps as the space allows. The board will still have RoG Connect and RC Bluetooth for compatible devices, as well as the same switchable BIOS as before, but it's now selectable via simple button press.

We've no idea on price yet, although we know the Hydra chip isn't cheap and the Crosshair IV Formula already retails for £170. Clearly Asus thinks there's enough enthusiasts out there with cash to splash, or, its RoG brand will do most of the selling for it.

Fancy yourself an Extreme AMD board with Lucid Hydra? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

Asus Crosshair IV Extreme to use Lucid Hydra Asus CrossHair IV Extreme to use Lucid Hydra
Click to enlarge

Asus Crosshair IV Extreme to use Lucid Hydra Asus CrossHair IV Extreme to use Lucid Hydra
Click to enlarge

Asus Crosshair IV Extreme to use Lucid Hydra Asus CrossHair IV Extreme to use Lucid Hydra
Click to enlarge

Asus Crosshair IV Extreme to use Lucid Hydra Asus CrossHair IV Extreme to use Lucid Hydra
Click to enlarge

Asus Crosshair IV Extreme to use Lucid Hydra Asus CrossHair IV Extreme to use Lucid Hydra
Click to enlarge

14 Comments

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TWeaK 12th May 2010, 12:30 Quote
While the Hydra chip will more than likely be crap, a part of me is glad that ASUS is going for this. Maybe after they've got some feedback from users and manufacterers Lucid can produce a better product after Hydra.

Still, you've got to wonder how often people are likely to want to change between crossfire and sli. If you were going to splash out on two or more new GPUs, chances are you'll want to get a new motherboard anyway.
proxess 12th May 2010, 13:02 Quote
A Fermi and yesterday's 5970 4GB? Anyone? Richie Rich?
flibblesan 12th May 2010, 13:05 Quote
Wouldn't surprise me if ASUS have somehow managed to make the Hydra less crap than it is.
-VK- 12th May 2010, 13:29 Quote
ARES + MARS on Crosshair IV Extreme?

Dumdedum....
Redkachina 12th May 2010, 16:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by -VK-
ARES + MARS on Crosshair IV Extreme?

Dumdedum....

+1 Richie Rich lol
Fordy 12th May 2010, 17:16 Quote
Its a great looking mobo too.. price?
Nikols 12th May 2010, 18:20 Quote
If they can't keep the NB and SB cool on the crosshair iv formula I'd like to see how they'll manage a third chip... Waiting on my RMA replacement board for a NB that could boil water within 2 minutes of turning it on and there are a fair few people in asus forums who have rma'd for similar reasons. Hope they put some heatsink compound on the extreme version!
thehippoz 12th May 2010, 18:32 Quote
I'd like to see the multi video card performance.. know you guys did a test on lucid and it came up bad- but who knows maybe they worked some things out- I like new tech instead of the same old crap from the two video card companies that are supposedly in competition
JAMF 12th May 2010, 19:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TWeaK
Still, you've got to wonder how often people are likely to want to change between crossfire and sli. If you were going to splash out on two or more new GPUs, chances are you'll want to get a new motherboard anyway.
Switching from SLI to Crossfire and back isn't really the trick here. It's the running of an AMD and an nVidia card together that makes this special, a hybrid between SLI and CF.

Will nVidia allow it? They've already written their drivers to stop someone running an nVidia and an AMD card simultaneously in Windows7. If someone wants to use his older nVidia card for PhysX but his newer AMD for graphics in tandem, he has to be running an older nVidia driver (pre-186).
ImNotPOTUS 13th May 2010, 02:15 Quote
If they can get the HYDRA working for this spec below:

890FX chipset
AMD hexacore X6 1090T chip
16GB ram
1- SATA 6 GB/s SSD OS disk
1- SATA 6 GB/s SSD scratch disk
1- 2-6TB SATA 6 GB/s HDD raid array
.....now this is the critical part here...............................
1 AMD 5870 6 DVI port Video Card outputting to 6 DVI monitors or at least 5750 with 3 displays.
1 Nvidia GTX 285 used only to accelerate the Adobe Mercury Playback Engine.

Win 7 64 bit
Adobe CS5 Production Suite.(free to try for 30 days....go DL it and see what this board can do.)

If they can get that collection of parts to work together.........

You are looking at the most cost efficient/most bang for the buck Non-Linear Video Editing system on the planet and still go toe to toe with a six core $10 grand workstation class editing systems for a fraction of the cost.

You could even start with a low end 5750 card and the bare minimum of memory and hard drives and still get decent production using HDSLR format video files. You could skip eyefinity all together and just use the GTX 285... but why would you?

ASUS better wake up to the market share potential of this eyefininty/CUDA/hexacore monster.

Every single wedding videographer on the planet will want to buy this setup in a heartbeat. That is not an overstatement by any means. Real time H.264 editing for under $4 grand to start..soup to nuts...
Nictron 13th May 2010, 08:01 Quote
I see this as good news, as it will send some money towards Hydra for further improvements to their drivers. I actually hope that AMD adopts this tech as they are more open to open standards.
Techspat 14th May 2010, 05:31 Quote
Mmm, methinks there be some other devilry at work. Could it be that Asus wants Nvidia to enable 4-way SLI in the BIOS without having to buy two additional (hot) chips, and the threat of using Hydra is just tactics? SLI tax is a bugger!
Mlothiss 6th June 2010, 21:23 Quote
I have built a few months ago an AMD AM3 system that uses HD4890 which I prefer over now lying around GTS250. I was thinking buying a 120hz monitor, cause I'd like to try 3D.

Now, my dilemma is: I would have to sacrifice ATI horspower.
Is there any chance that with the purchase of this mobo or the MSI counterpart to be ready in July, I could just drop in my chip, mem and of course my two GPU's and get a 3 way hybrid, that will run 3D vision, physics and add two AMD(ATI) chips for increased performance?

That would be awesome!!!
Thyran 7th July 2010, 18:17 Quote
Where can I get it? How much it will cost?

Pls tell me...
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