UPDATE ** Is Lucid's Hydra 200 really ready, or are they pulling a "Fermi Mock Up"?
11/11/2009 by: Sean Kalinich
Today we saw the launch of several articles on the Hydra 200 chip [from hothardware.com, PCPerspective.com, and Tech Report]. These all came from very respected sources in the tech press. Yet all three were talking about the exact same box. The point behind the exercise was to show that Lucid is working and that there are no problems with their drivers [Unlike MSI’s claim].
Lucid staged this little show after the MSI Big Bang Fuzion motherboard with Hydra 200 chip was indefinitely delayed. Many in the press saw this as a sign that nVidia had put pressure on MSI to prevent the launch of any hardware that would allow for the running of an nVidia GPU alongside an AMD GPU. After all they blocked the ability to use an nVidia GPU as a PPU with an AMD GPU as master on Windows 7 so this seemed a likely case.
That was until MSI came out and claimed that they had delayed due to driver issues with the Lucid Hydra 200 chip. They were not specific about them though, just that there were some issues. Even nVidia made statements pointing to this in an e-mail to BSN* they said; "If you look at what MSI has said, they clearly say they delayed the product because Lucid’s drivers aren’t baked."
To counter being the point of blame Lucid arranged this little mini-event just to show everyone that their drivers are working fine. The three sites were able to run the Hydra 200 chip on an external box [not the one on the MSI Big Bang Fusion though] and show there are no real issues to be seen.
So now that we see this what can we conclude? Well there are a couple of things you can get from this. The first is that MSI is lying and that nVidia is indeed behind the issue and controlling the shots. After all MSI did release a P55 board with an NF200 chip on it for Tri SLI. You can take that nVidia put pressure on MSI to postpone the launch or to kill it off permanently to prevent it interfering with SLI.
On the other hand you could also see this as a staged event by Lucid to cover up an issue with their product. After all if this is working and all is well, why have we not seen these systems outside the Lucid lab? We at BSN* were actually told we would receive one for testing on multiple occasions yet when all this broke we could not even get an e-mail response from Lucid. Yes, we have contacted the PR team and the senior executives in the company to no avail.
This demo and "preview" screams "fake Fermi" in very loud tones. It is even more of an obvious ploy than the now infamous use of the faked mock up by nVidia. We have a single external box [identical] used for the evaluation complete with drivers provided by Lucid of an unknown type [are they beta, can they be obtained publicly?] being written by a small and very select group of websites in the hope that the average consumer will not notice all three sites are using and testing the same piece of hardware. Just take a look at the images below if you do not believe me.
Click to Enlarge
We are not saying anything about the sites that ran the previews as we do not feel they were [or are] actively involved in anything deceptive but we do feel that Lucid is using them to get this message out.
For our part we do feel that nVidia does have a hand in this but perhaps not the malicious one that people are alluding to. Meanwhile, this "demo" by Lucid raises great concerns as to the state of Hydra. After all ANY obvious attempt to manipulate the press like this needs to be looked at with great care and should be suspect in any consumer’s eye. The situation between Lucid, nVidia and MSI bears watching; we are certain that the finger pointing is going to start very soon and it could get very ugly before it is all over.
UPDATE 11/12/2009 13:31 EDT**
We have heard from Lucid's PR firm Stowe Consulting and are expecting a statement from Lucid later today. We will be publishing a follow on with that information as well as some new information directly from nVidia.
we also want to make an addition, our comment that "We at BSN* were actually told we would receive one for testing onmultiple occasions yet when all this broke we could not even get ane-mail response from Lucid." was meant to point out that at one time Lucid and MSI had planned on a larger sampling yet when this PR event was held only the three sites involved were contacted and then on very short notice. It made the event seem "fishy" and warranted a better look.
As of right now we have found out that there is quite a bit going on behind all of this, but we want to make sure we have more information from Lucid and nVidia before publishing our follow up.
Lucid Logix, Hydra, Multi-GPU, , Hydra 200, MSI, nVidia, SLI, MSI Big Bang, Big Bang Fuzion
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