Asus Crosshair IV Extreme to use Lucid Hydra

May 12, 2010 // 11:12 a.m.

Tags: #4 #am3 #amd #asus #c4e #crosshair-iv #crosshair-iv-extreme #extreme #hydra #lucid #lucid-hydra #motherboard #nvidia #pics #pictures #sli

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
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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

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