Harnessing the Hydra - MSI Big Bang Fuzion


Test Setup

Hydra Test Setup

Our usual P55 test setup was brought out for the testing and consists of the following:

  • Intel Core i7-870 (@2.93GHz, Intel Turbo Boost, HyperThreading enabled)
  • 2 x 1GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1333 @ 7-7-20 CAS 7.0
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 200GB SATA hard disk drive (one single NTFS partition)
  • Intel INF 9.1.0.1007 and Intel Matrix Storage manager 8.6.0.1007 driver set
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate
  • Hydra Engine driver version 1.3.105

There are quite a few permutations of the GPUs that we can test but as mentioned previously, the Hydra chip only works with certain classes of GPUs and obviously we can't test them entirely due to time constraints. Also, MSI/Lucid has identified which driver versions are qualified to work for each configuration and while we have tried to use the latest available drivers from ATI and NVIDIA where possible, chances are that some configurations only work with the qualified drivers. Below are the listed GPU configurations tested with Hydra, with all GPUs running at stock clocks:

  • Multi-vendor (X-Mode) - Radeon HD 4890 and GeForce GTX 285 (Catalyst 9.12 and ForceWare 195.62)
  • 2 x NVIDIA GPUs (N-Mode) - 2 x GeForce GTX 285 (Reverted to ForceWare 191.07)
  • 2 x ATI GPUs (A-Mode) - 2 x Radeon HD 4890
  • Radeon HD 4890 with Radeon HD 4670 (Catalyst 9.12)
  • GeForce GTX 285 with GeForce 9600 GT (Reverted to ForceWare 191.07)
  • GeForce GTX 285 with GeForce GTX 260 (Reverted to ForceWare 191.07)

We have also thrown in SLI and CrossFireX performance scores on a similar system using MSI's P55-GD80 as well as the single-card performance scores for a Radeon HD 4890 and a GeForce GTX 285 using the latest drivers as the baseline.

One note about the installation process: users have to first install the supported graphics drivers from the respective vendors (ATI and/or NVIDIA). Then when that's done and working fine, install the Hydra drivers, which will require a reboot.

As the applications that work for the multi-vendor (X-Mode) are limited, we will be testing this and other modes on the following benchmarks that are qualified to work:

  • 3DMark06 (version 110)
  • 3DMark Vantage (version 1.0.1)
  • Batman Arkham Asylum (version 1.1)