Nvidia says it didn’t, won’t block Lucid’s Hydra

Our hands-on preview of the Lucid Hydra GPU load-balancing chip included some reporting about the status of the first Hydra-based product, MSI’s Big Bang Fuzion motherboard, and the rumors that have swirled around that delay, some centering on a possible role Nvidia might have played in the whole drama. As we noted in that report, when we first asked Nvidia about this issue, we received a carefully worded reply from spokesman Ken Brown, who said he "wasn’t aware" of Nvidia having played any role in the delay. He also confirmed that Nvidia would not block its partners from designing motherboards based on the Hydra chip.

As we said then, we found MSI’s claims that the product was delayed simply due to the need for futher refinements to the Hydra’s drivers, particularly for Windows 7 and for mixed-vendor configurations, to be credible.

However, some mystery has remained about whether Nvidia might have quietly encouraged MSI not to release the Fuzion board immediately—or not until the mixed-GPU-vendor feature was fully supported. We’ve also heard whispers around the web that Nvidia might choose to sabotage the Hydra technically by modifying its ForceWare graphics driver to be incompatible with the chip. Such poor citizenship in the PC gaming ecosystem would be troubling, but it wouldn’t be entirely inconsistent with some of Nvidia’s stances on issues related to SLI licensing, PhysX interoperability, and a few other issues of late. (Not that Nvidia doesn’t have reason to throw a few elbows, with Intel and AMD essentially having pushed it out of the chipset business.) The fact that the Hydra’s potential success could threaten Nvidia’s SLI licensing regime, through which it earns royalties from motherboard makers, also gave some credence to the rumors.

Fortunately, Nvidia has decided to clear the air on these issues with an unequivocal public statement. Brown contacted us earlier today and informed us that Nvidia "had nothing to do with MSI’s decision to postpone its Big Bang Fuzion motherboard." Furthermore, he affirmed that Nvidia would not place any technical roadblocks in Lucid’s path, stating: "As I mentioned, we welcome Lucid to the market and have no intention of blocking them with our drivers, etc."

To underscore that first point, Brown relayed a statement from MSI product manager Jason Lee, who denies any Nvidia involvement in the Fuzion’s delay. Here’s the statement in full:

We have seen a lot of speculation about our upcoming Big Bang motherboards, and we wanted to take this opportunity to clear up some misconceptions.
First, the MSI Big Bang is a line of products targeted at enthusiast gamers. Big Bang is not a single motherboard or product. The first motherboard in our Big Bang line is the MSI P55 Big Bang Trinergy which uses the nForce 200 SLI chip to deliver 3-way SLI on P55. With Trinergy, gamers can combine the latest Intel CPUs with the power of 3-way SLI. The product, which was originally debuted at Cebit 2009, is on track for a release in Q4 2009, as planned.

The second product in our Big Bang line will be the MSI Fuzion motherboard featuring Lucid Hydra technology. Although we had planned to release this product by now, we decided to postpone it until early next year to make sure it delivers the best possible experience for our customers. We are continuing to work closely with Lucid to bring this exciting product to market.

We want to be clear that the reason for the delay has to do with software, and not external pressure from others. NVIDIA did not delay or impede the production of Fuzion in any way.

We’re very excited to bring these products to market, and will share further details for the Big Bang line in the weeks to come. Stay tuned!

That, it would seem, settles that. Perhaps. We certainly will stayed tuned, especially now that another potential roadblock for Lucid has fallen.

Comments closed
    • shank15217
    • 10 years ago

    How exactly has AMD pushed Nvidia out of the chip set business? Please correct that fallacy. These kind of comments start rumors of the bad kind.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      By releasing what are for the most part quality chipsets, especially relaitve to NV chipsets, that cover the full gamut there’s little reason to buy an NV chipset for an AMD CPU.

        • shank15217
        • 10 years ago

        Yea, that’s called competition, AMD isn’t explicitly disallowing Nvidia to make chipsets for it’s platform, but Intel is.

    • StashTheVampede
    • 10 years ago

    Wonder how much this chip is. I’m sure Nvidia is concerned with Lucid being cheaper than SLI. Still, Lucid’s cost is higher than crossfire.

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 10 years ago

    The thing about Charlie that is keeping me from believe is his refusal to call nVidia to confirm his writing. He will have nothing to do with nVidia. So the buck stops there.

      • Game_boy
      • 10 years ago

      Is that really surprising? This is what Nvidia says about Charlie when HardOCP asks them to confirm or deny an SA story [in this case that Nvidia had discontinued the GTX200 series:

      “There is no truth to this. Charlie has become a sponsored site of his sole advertiser. It’s no coincidence his website looks like an AMD ad.”

      Meanwhile, the GTX275 and GTX285 seem to be very low on stock. Newegg doesn’t even have any 275s, and the 285s have half the models unavailible on Newegg and Zipzoomfly. Loook how few stores stock the 260/275/285/295 on the TR pricecheck – no 295s and one 285.

    • Richie_G
    • 10 years ago

    They’re not blocking it because they’re not worried about it. I don’t think this tech is really going to hold up all that well against the newer and more powerful single card solutions. It’s a nice gimmick that’s come a bit late in the game for existing owners of multiple GPUs, but that’s about it.

    Of course, if I’m wrong and this turns out to be massive, maybe then we’ll see a different attitude.

    • Meadows
    • 10 years ago

    I believe them. There’s evidence that Hydra didn’t work perfectly in W7 and that caused the unexpected delays.

    NVidia is not in the position to stop something that intel is supporting.

      • DrDillyBar
      • 10 years ago

      oOo; A Larabee would be nice to add to the mix.

    • bcronce
    • 10 years ago

    I wonder how well it works with CUDA/etc. their demo setup seemed to work just fine over a year ago playing games.

      • wibeasley
      • 10 years ago

      CUDA doesn’t use DirectX. I don’t know if Hydra can intercept DirectCompute calls.

    • DrDillyBar
    • 10 years ago

    I await a robust review of Hydra using GPU’s from more then just ATI and nVidia. Maybe an S3 Chrome should be involved to show true scaling of resources.

      • Farting Bob
      • 10 years ago

      Could get really adventurous.
      Grab a radeon 9200promix it with a GTX295 and a S3 Chrome. That’ll test lucid’s driver team.

    • Welch
    • 10 years ago

    Hmmm, Im going to stay tuned… If Nvidia tries to pull some road blocking on something like this i’d stop supporting them all together. I’m already not to happy with their little kid attitude lately (their Intel knock site, and I don’t care for Intel’s crap either) and their getting all up and dirty about Intel’s claims on its IGP performance in games (also BS by Intel). They just care to much about mud slinging instead of trying to improve their image/products as a whole. You don’t see AMD setting up fake websites with political art, or calling Intel’s every mistake. All of these companies would do well to grow the heck up, they are loosing peoples loyalty because of their immaturity.

    It’s like that one football player that points out other players mistakes until eventually he messes up really bad himself. If they don’t get their heads in the game, Nvidia is going to end up on the sidelines.

    Note… this all coming from a guy who is wearing an Nvidia T-Shirt as he is typing this hehe. BF 1942 FTW lol

      • moshpit
      • 10 years ago

      Well said! Totally agreed.

      • wira020
      • 10 years ago

      Agrees, and its such a lost because they really are good and innovative… i just hate their tactics… always money first rather than the actual experience..

        • pullmyfoot
        • 10 years ago

        Thats why as long as AMD has something competitive in the market Im going to be buying from them. I dont give a crap about the games NVIDIA and Intel play

          • StuG
          • 10 years ago

          I have to say I totally agree with you. I run on a full AMD/ATI system and my computer kicks every game’s butt I own. Phenom II dominates just as hard as my friends i5 in games.

            • NeelyCam
            • 10 years ago

            I thought PhenomII was supposed to kick i7’s butt, not to mention the pathetic i5’s…?
            What happened?

    • ub3r
    • 10 years ago

    And if they do block it, this whole concept fails. so does Lucid.

    • PRIME1
    • 10 years ago

    Wait Charlie was wrong? Can it be? Unpossible!

      • green
      • 10 years ago

      according to charlie it’s all a cover up by nvidia
      that way he can say he’s still “possibly” right
      another reason why using him as a source is not a good idea

      • flip-mode
      • 10 years ago

      He’s right more than he’s wrong.

        • PRIME1
        • 10 years ago

        Only to a select few fans of a certain company.

        Otherwise, no.

          • Game_boy
          • 10 years ago

          Can you name some more stories he has got wrong in the last year? I can think of only one example (this). As for what he has right, I would say the Fermi delays, Evergreen specs, Northern Islands codename, Geforce 200 -> 300 renaming, fake Fermi board, and GT216/218 delays.

        • NeelyCam
        • 10 years ago

        This^ +5

      • stmok
      • 10 years ago

      Are *[

      • Game_boy
      • 10 years ago

      He’s reporting on the edge of where it’s possible to tell conspiracy from coincidence. The evidence was limited and he made the wrong call, but with that kind of reporting (where no one else is saying it) the story can be completely false or completely correct (as with the packaging incident).

      Also I doubt Nvidia never got involved at any step. There may have been short-lived plans to block it in the driver or delay the product. Nvidia as a company isn’t exactly coherent and focused, one half could have been anti-Hydra while the other didn’t care. Or they could have reversed their stance once the stories came out (see the fake Fermi board, admitted only after Charlie and others posted their reports).

      I don’t think Charlie’s story was unreasonable, just less well founded than most journalism. But as I said, that’s a risk he has to take to get those good, original stories.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      He’s the Fox News of technology reporting and blogging. Right or wrong it’s always more sensationalistic than journalistic.

        • Game_boy
        • 10 years ago

        Yes.

        If what he’s saying in a given article is true he should tone down the emotion and sensationalism in it. On the forums, he comes across a lot more reasonable.

    • Jigar
    • 10 years ago

    Lucid will further only improve sales for Nvidia, it doesn’t make sense, if they block it some how.

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