AGEIA's new PhysX cards will be available starting in May

AGEIA is entering new territory with its new Physics Processing Unit (PPU). The company is hoping to do for the world of phyics what 3dfx did for 3D graphics 10 years ago. The new add-in board will be available from leading board manufacturers including ASUS and BFG beginning in May of 2006. AGEIA is also touting design wins from the leading enthusiast-level PC manufacturers in the industry.  The company claims:

AGEIA is charting new territory by bringing dedicated physics hardware to market that delivers the real-time physics gameplay that gamers and developers alike have been clamoring for,” said Manju Hegde, CEO at AGEIA. “With the PhysX accelerator board in these new PCs from Dell, Alienware and Falcon Northwest, gamers now have future-proof systems for a fast-growing library of great games that exploit their power.

The initial cards will be available in PCI format with 128MB of onboard GDDR3 memory. Hopefully, PCIe versions are earmarked for the future seeing as how PCI is on its way out.

AGEIA is confident that its PhysX processor will enhance the user experience in the following situations:

  • Explosions with dust, debris and shrapnel that cause collateral damage
  • Characters with joints, convexes and other complex geometry that enable realistic motion
  • Spectacular new weapons with unpredictable effects
  • Lush foliage that bends and sways when brushed against by the player or other characters or objects
  • Dense smoke and fog that ooze naturally around moving objects
  • Fluids that ebb and flow, drip, or spray naturally with physical characteristics dependent on their viscosity
  • Cloth that drapes, flows, tears and billows depending on where it is placed and the environment

This latest announcement means that AGEIA will be competing head to head with NVIDIA and Havok in the realm of physics processing. AGEIA is going with a dedicated card while NVIDIA and Havok are offloading some of the physics calculations to a single GPU in an SLI configuration. Each comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages so it will be interesting to see which solution (if any) becomes the norm for future gaming systems.

In a recent announcement from AGEIA, the company claimed NCSoft will be one of the largest supporters of PhysX, with support for the engine in City of Villians and other upcoming titles.

For more information on AGEIA's new PhysX processors, you can read previews from Hot Hardware and PC Perspective.

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