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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: I have an 8400gs
By goku on 2/17/2008 9:17:14 AM , Rating: 2
That is a bunch of nonsense. Remember, this is a GPU, intended for, you guessed it, GRAPHICS. Just because it HAS the capability of doing something, it doesn't mean it'll do a very good job at it. Sound familiar? It should, and it's called a CPU. The PPU had dedicated hardware for JUST physics. And what's worse is that this GPU physics is absolutely worthless because all it will do is add second order physics. In order to change the game world and how you interact with a game, you need FIRST order physics, which isn't going to happen.

Also incase anyone has forgotten, nvidia only bought ageia because they were bitter about the failure of HavokFX which only did second order physics.


"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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