Lucid's new Virtu chip is appearing on MSI's H67MA-ED55 and H61MU-E35 motherboards.

This new chip represents a departure from the Hydra component that enabled multi-GPU tech to be used on motherboards not necessarily certified for it, and also on the new MSI Big Bang Marshal board to provide extra PCI-E x16 lanes.

The Virtu is designed to allow desktop users to completely switch off their discrete graphics card when not in use and switch to the processor graphics of the new Sandy Bridge CPUs. This will then allow you to run the excellent Quicksync transcoder engine built into the Sandy Bridge GPU part with a discrete card plugged into the motherboard.

There's no need to reboot the hardware to make the switch, the software should automatically detect when you need to turn on the discrete card and when all you really need is the processor graphics.

Simply plug the monitor into the output on the motherboard and the discrete GPU will copy its frame buffer to the frame buffer of the processor graphics and display it through the connection.

According to Lucid that should only result in a 1-3% degradation in performance, but that has yet to be seen.

This new technology will allow the discrete card to be completely turned off when not in use and will save a considerable amount of power in a high-end system. For the green gamer that means no compromise on graphics hardware, and less guilt...