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The physics-intensive Cell Factor: Revolution demo will soon be "No PhysX Card Required"
NVIDIA's purchase of AGEIA leads to a PhysX-on-CUDA port

With the announcement earlier this month of NVIDIA's acquisition of AGEIA, rumours began to fly immediately surrounding the future of dedicated physics hardware -- and it now appears that the PhysX name will live on as a checkbox beside the capabilities of some current and most future NVIDIA GPUs.

During NVIDIA's fourth-quarter financial results conference call, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang responded to several questions about the plans for technology obtained in the AGEIA purchase, revealing that the plan is to port the AGEIA PhysX engine to NVIDIA's CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture) C-like programming language.

"We're working toward the physics-engine-to-CUDA port as we speak. And we intend to throw a lot of resources at it." said Huang. "[PhysX on CUDA] is just going to be a software download. Every single GPU that is CUDA-enabled will be able to run the physics engine when it comes."

NVIDIA's choice to run a physics engine on a GPU runs in stark contrast to AMD's assertion in late 2007 that "GPU based physics is dead until DirectX 11." Every NVIDIA 8-series GPU is currently capable of running CUDA applications, and future GPUs will no doubt retain this feature.

The idea of using SLI for more than graphics has been brought up by NVIDIA in the past, so it was no surprise to hear Huang endorsing its further use again. "It might - and probably will - encourage people to buy a second GPU for their SLI slot. And for the highest-end gamer, it will encourage them to buy three GPUs." No mention was made of the use of the upcoming "Hybrid SLI" technology showcased at CES 2008, but an onboard GPU supporting CUDA could theoretically be used as a physics processor while discrete GPUs handle the rendering.

No timeframe for the release of the PhysX-on-CUDA software was specified, but with the PhysX engine to be available to a larger audience, it will no doubt encourage the development of more accelerated physics engines in upcoming titles.


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RE: Old Video Cards
By lompocus on 2/16/2008 12:03:19 AM , Rating: 3
The 8800 alone is good enough for physics. It won't use up too much processing power, and you won't notice it unless you're playing Crysis. Crysis does not use PhysX, however, and in my opinion I could go with losing 20 frames off of the 100+ frames I get in every other game under the sun.

OMG Imagine the R700 with physX, even though that will never happen. The R700's architecture just BEGS for a similar physics thing!


RE: Old Video Cards
By goku on 2/17/08, Rating: 0
RE: Old Video Cards
By 3kliksphilip on 2/20/2008 11:59:25 AM , Rating: 2
Disabling that pretty flag effect, I can run Cell Factor smoothly on a Geforce 8800 with out any sort of Physics processor. There were some smaller demos as well which I managed to get working, with a rippable carpet and a big block. All ran at a constant 60 fps. You'd have thought that they would have prevented people from running the programmes with out the Physx card completely.

All I need now is a way of running ATI's new videos to demonstrate the power of the X2900 and X3800 series ;)


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