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The pair will investigate the use of Radeon GPUs for physics processing

Physics processing has promised to bring more realism into the world of PC games since AGEIA first announced its PhysX card. To date, physics processing in most video games hasn’t become the big draw that many hoped it would.

AMD and Havok announced this week that they plan to optimize physics processing for AMD hardware. Havok already has a well defined user base with over 100 developers using its Havok Physics engine and it says that 300 leading game titles currently use its Havok engine.

AMD says that Havok’s physics engine will scale well across the entire AMD line. This includes its processors and its ATI Radeon video cards. AMD says that it and Havok will investigate the use of the Radeon GPU to manage aspects of in-game physics.

AMD isn’t alone in looking to the GPU to process physics. Rival NVIDIA purchased physics hardware and software maker AGEIA. NVIDIA announced that it was purchasing AGEIA in February 2008. The purchase virtually ensures that physics processing makes it to NVIDIA graphics cards in force.

Intel purchased Havok in September 2007 and at the time Intel said that Havok would become a key element in its visual computing and graphics efforts. Despite the proclamation at the time the purchase was announced by Intel, physics has not been seen as a key component in Intel’s product strategy yet.

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Intel and AMD vs. nVidia and VIA?
By Lightnix on 6/13/2008 7:08:12 PM , Rating: 2
Well, all four companies there produce CPUs and graphics units to one extent or another. Nvidia and VIA seem to be bed partners at the moment, AMD and Intel are at least giving each other fleeting looks... Intel and Nvidia have been fighting over whether CPUs or GPUs are superior, AMD and Nvidia are about to go to war with their new graphics units, and Intel, Nvidia and VIA are fighting in the ultra-mobile space.

All the while, Intel and Nvidia are going to be pushing their shiny new physics companies that they've recently bought, AMD has the hardware and Intel has the software. Nvidia wants to prove CPUs should take a back-seat, so obviously VIA was their first choice, Windows compatible, 'fast enough' with their Nano CPUs, but have a bad enough reputation to allow Nvidia to show GPUs as the stars they think they are.

Very interesting times, folks.

By Hlafordlaes on 6/14/2008 9:36:31 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. NVidia's upcoming MCP79 chipset for the Mini-ITX 2.0 standard being promoted by VIA (whose own VX800 chipset is not 2.0 compliant - does not support PCIe x16) will mean that the form factor will be media and gaming capable, and power friendly. Judging from reports on Computex 2008, mini-itx is likely to gain a lot of share for entry and mid-level PCs, apart from the HTPC market, over the next 2 years.

Interesting times, indeed.

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