Lucid initially planned to have its Hydra GPU load-balancer chip in a shipping MSI motherboard by the end of October 2009, but that schedule ended up slipping. (We covered some of the underlying politics in our Hydra hands-on article the following month.) Today, MSI's Hydra-powered Big Bang Fuzion motherboard is finally drawing close to e-tail availability.
Lucid put out a press release this morning to say folks will be able to purchase the Big Bang Fuzion directly from MSI's website in "mid January 2010." The announcement presumably refers to the Shop @ MSI online store, which currently offers MSI pre-built systems, accessories, and clearance items to U.S. customers.
A product page for the Big Bang Fuzion is already up on MSI's global site. This LGA1156 board carries a P55 Express chipset, a Lucid Hydra 200 chip, and three PCI Express Gen2 x16 slots laid out in a x16, x16, x8 lane configuration. Other attributes include two PCIe x1 and 32-bit PCI slots, ten internal Serial ATA ports, two external SATA ports, dual Gigabit Ethernet, and a Quantum Wave sound card with THX TruStudio PC and EAX Advanced HD 5.0 support. Consistent with the board's high-end pedigree, MSI has thrown in plenty of overclocker-friendly extras as well as heat-pipe-based cooling.
The product page notes that the Hydra's cross-vendor multi-GPU capabilities are only available to Windows 7 users, and it provides a couple of different Lucid driver releases for different GPU configurations. (Drivers can be downloaded here.)
For the uninitiated, Lucid claims the Hydra 200 load-balancer can provide near-linear performance scaling with just about any combination of graphics cards, from either the same or different vendors. We saw the technology working first-hand, although as of November 2009, some scaling issues were still present.