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To get a feel for how Virtu functioned and to test whether or not it affects performance, we built up an Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7-3770-based system with integrated Intel HD 4000‑series graphics, using a Z77 Express motherboard from Asus, 8GB of RAM, and a few high-end graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD, namely a pair of GeForce GTX 680s and a pair of Radeon HD 7970s. We tested every supported configuration, in both i-Mode and d-Mode, checking performance and power consumption along the way.
What we found was that Virtu had little impact on power consumption with our hardware. In fact, power consumption was typically a bit higher using Virtu, presumably because the iGPU is used for some of Virtu’s proprietary functions when the dGPU in under load. We should point out, however, that this will not always be the case. Some older graphics cards behave differently under Virtu and may exhibit much lower idle power consumption. With the GeForce GTX 680 and Radeon HD 7970, though, idle power was mostly flat.
In terms of game performance, we found that Virtu had little impact. We saw some slight performance variations from configuration to configuration, but the deltas were relatively small and of no consequence. There is some overhead associated with shuttling frame buffer data between GPUs, but Lucid seems to have done a good job minimizing its impact on frame rates.
For the most part, Virtu just worked. When we wanted to use Quick Sync we could, regardless of the graphics configuration, and the applications and games we tested didn’t exhibit any image‑quality or performance issues. Quick Sync’s output quality was also unchanged in each configuration. We did, however, experience an issue with Metro 2033 when in i-Mode. The game simply wouldn’t launch when GPU Virtualization was enabled. We’d get to the loading screen and the game would just hang.
Note: This article was taken from the October 2012 issue of the magazine.