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BFG AGEIA PhysX Accelerator
The physics battle heats up

FPS Labs is reporting that NVIDIA will soon announce its intention to acquire AGEIA. FPS Labs' Stu Grubbs has no financial terms for the deal, but notes that his confidential source expects the deal to become official sometime this week.

AMD batted around the idea of purchasing AGEIA in November 2007, but considering that the company is still recovering from its ATI acquisition, that idea was put to rest rather quickly. It should be interesting to see how AMD will respond to the news if the announcement comes this week -- especially considering that AMD has already declared GPU-based physics dead.

A successful acquisition of AGEIA would give NVIDIA the firepower to go up against Intel which purchased physics software developer Havok in September.

The last time that DailyTech covered AGEIA, its PhysX 100M mobile physics processor was sharing chassis space with dual GeForce 8700M GT graphics cards in Dell's $2,700 XPS M1730 World of Warcraft Edition notebook.

If NVIDIA has its way, NVIDIA GPUs and chipsets may have an even closer synergy with AGEIA hardware in the future.

Updated 2/4/2008
Just moments after this story went live, NVIDIA sent us the official PR announcing its acquisition of AGEIA (further details will come forth on Wednesday):
NVIDIA, the world leader in visual computing technologies and the inventor of the GPU, today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire AGEIA Technologies, Inc., the industry leader in gaming physics technology. AGEIA's PhysX software is widely adopted with more than 140 PhysX-based games shipping or in development on Sony Playstation3, Microsoft XBOX 360, Nintendo Wii and Gaming PCs. AGEIA physics software is pervasive with over 10,000 registered and active users of the PhysX SDK.

“The AGEIA team is world class, and is passionate about the same thing we are—creating the most amazing and captivating game experiences,” stated Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of NVIDIA. “By combining the teams that created the world’s most pervasive GPU and physics engine brands, we can now bring GeForce®-accelerated PhysX to hundreds of millions of gamers around the world.”

“NVIDIA is the perfect fit for us. They have the world’s best parallel computing technology and are the thought leaders in GPUs and gaming. We are united by a common culture based on a passion for innovating and driving the consumer experience,” said Manju Hegde, co-founder and CEO of AGEIA.

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Hopes for benefits
By Xodus Maximus on 2/4/2008 5:48:57 PM , Rating: 3
Intel has Havok and they did nothing new with them, so I am really hopeful that NVidia might do something that moves the field forward. Im sure that the AGEIA PhysX API will be accelerated by drivers from Nvidia in the future, but NVidia tried something similar with Cg, and that received almost no industry backing, except for some books being written about it.

This might actually kill PhysX, because AMD will make their own product, and with all three companies having competing products and having no standard, games will be forced to have their own solution that doesn't take advantage of these great techs, and eventually it will be some obscure feature on NVidia's SDK that 1% of people use...

RE: Hopes for benefits
By togaman5000 on 2/4/2008 6:07:15 PM , Rating: 4
The different standards may very well hurt overall adoption, but if nVidia takes the smart route and integrates the technology directly into their cards, then developers would have a guaranteed user base.

If it were up to me, then I'd integrate the technology into all future GPUs. I'd also release a software version. Not only would any user be able to use Ageia's physics engine, regardless of GPU brand, but nVidia GPUs would be faster and include more features. Kind of like how EAX is available up to 2.0 for most licensed hardware based sound companies, but Creative can use it up to 5.0. All games support it now, despite the fact that only a certain percentage of the population can use it to the fullest.

RE: Hopes for benefits
By Griswold on 2/5/2008 4:54:17 AM , Rating: 3
The solution will be Microsoft including physics into directX sooner or later. Proprietary APIs will disappear just like they did after the release of DX (in addition to openGL) - Glide anyone?

In the end, it will just be a matter of who delivers the better performance.

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