Intel motherboards tend to be shunned by enthusiasts, but select models based on H67 and upcoming Z68 chipsets will look a little more appealing thanks Lucid Technologies' Virtu software. Showcased at CES earlier this year, Virtu allows users to enjoy to enjoy the Quick Sync video transcoding mojo built into Sandy Bridge CPUs while running a discrete graphics card. Without the software, Sandy's transcoding logic can only be tapped by systems running off the CPU's integrated graphics processor.
Virtu is currently available as a free 30-day trial for anyone with an H61 or H67 motherboard. Intel has licensed the software for use with some of its products, and I suspect other motherboard makers will soon follow suit, especially as the Z68's arrival approaches.
The news that Virtu has been licensed for Intel's Z68 boards is a little troubling, though. The chipset was expected to be a restriction-free affair that allowed users to overclock K-series CPUs, which is currently limited to P67 chipsets, and enjoy Quick Sync transcoding, which only works with H61 and H67 motherboards right now. The ability to run a discrete graphics card alongside Quick Sync was thought to be a part of the package, but it appears that Virtu will be necessary to make that work. Bummer.