Virtu goes Universal, tackles vsync

Computex — We sat down with the folks at Lucid yesterday to discuss the company's plans for its Virtu GPU virtualization software. The big news is that Virtu is no longer restricted to Intel's integrated graphics platforms. A new version of the software called Virtu Universal is designed to work with a broader range of platforms, including AMD's upcoming Llano APUs. In addition to demoing the software on a Llano system paired with a GeForce GTX 260, Lucid also had it up and running on a couple of notebooks. Yep, Virtu is going mobile, too.

Virtu Universal will support both i-Mode and d-Mode, allowing users to choose whether to have their IGP or discrete graphics card serve as the primary graphics adapter. We've found that d-Mode offers the best performance because it can take advantage of game-specific optimizations built into discrete graphics drivers, making Lucid's latest Virtu feature a little puzzling.

Dubbed Virtual Vsync, this new addition aims to enable frame rates well in excess of a monitor's refresh rate without subjecting users to unsightly tearing. The software is ready to go, and we saw it running the Devil May Cry 4 benchmark at close to 100 FPS with Vsync enabled (on a 60Hz display) and no visual artifacts. Virtual Vsync is meant for folks who want the best performance possible, but it works its magic on the IGP, so you'll need to be running in i-Mode. That'll cost you some performance right off the bat, which would seem to be contradictory to Virtual Vsync's mission. Eliminating tearing at high frame rates is still a neat trick, though, and licensees can choose whether or not to support the feature. Lucid still has no plans to offer Virtu software for sale to the general public, so it's up to motherboard and notebook makers to bundle the software with their products.

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