Asus Lucid Hydra board revealed

It looks as though more ATI and Nvidia cards could be forced to work together in parallel, as tech giant Asus has now also joined MSI on the Lucid Hydra train.

We’ve just been leaked some photos of Asus’ forthcoming Crosshair IV Extreme motherboard, which clearly shows a Lucid Hydra chip sitting in between the Northbridge and Southbridge. The board also features a large stack of five PCI-E slots, so we assume that Asus will be offering a similar Hydra driver to MSI that enables three mixed-manufacturer GPUs to cooperate with each other.

Lucid’s Hydra chips effectively enable gamers to combine the graphical power of any two or three graphics cards, regardless of the model and even the GPU manufacturer. Three modes are available – the A mode for a combination of ATI GPUs, the N mode for Nvidia GPUs and the X mode that combines the power of ATI and Nvidia chips.

You won’t be able to put a dual-slot graphics card in each of the Crosshair IV Extreme’s slots, as the middle three are all bunched up together. However, there could be potential here to mix and match three GPUs for 3D graphics, and using an additional Nvidia card just for PhysX via NGOHQ’s PhysX mod.

The motherboard also comes with a PCI-E graphics switch, which means that you can switch between graphics cards to check problems with each one individually. Targeted at extreme overclockers, the AM3 motherboard is based on AMD’s new 890FX chipset, and also comes with a dual BIOS system.

Meanwhile, Asus’ RoG (Republic of Gamers) Connect feature will enable overclockers to hook up an Eee PC to the motherboard via Bluetooth for stylish remote overclocking. The photos we’ve received don’t show Asus’ cooling system, but we’d imagine the Crosshair IV Extreme will come with a custom heatpipe and heatsink system, much like its underling; the Crosshair IV Formula.

The Extreme motherboard also comes with a single PCI slot and the standard allocation of four DDR3 DIMM slots.

There’s no word on pricing yet, but we’re told by a reliable source that the board will probably be doing the rounds in mid July.