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No games are being announced that supports ATI's method, says AGEIA

Earlier this week at Computex, DailyTech reported that ATI officially announces its solution to physics processing. Called Triple Play, ATI's solution depends on three Radeon X1K series cards, two of which operate in CrossFire mode while a third card is configured for physics processing. The Triple Play solution, says ATI, uses the raw gigaflop performance of the Radeon X1K series to process physics, but users are concerned at the approach. The fact that customers are forced to buy three ATI boards ended up being questionable for many users as costs quickly escalate.  A system with two Radeons can still use one for physics calculations, but it is no longer dubbed Triple Play.

FiringSquad this week reported a response from AGEIA which attempts to explain the lack of value in ATI's solution. According to AGEIA, measuring the performance of physics processing by simply looking at the number of gigaflops in a GPU is analogous to saying that "the more wheels I have on my car, the faster I will go." AGEIA's vice president of marketing,  Michael Steele, said to FiringSquad:
  • Graphics processors are designed for graphics. Physics is an entirely different environment. Why would you sacrifice graphics performance for questionable physics? You’ll be hard pressed to find game developers who don’t want to use all the graphics power they can get, thus leaving very little for anything else in that chip.
  • “Boundless Gaming” is actually enabled by AGEIA’s Gaming Power Triangle in which the PhysX processor adds true physics to the mix instead of leaving it to a repurposed graphics processor.
AGEIA further says that developers are announcing more and more games that support its PhysX product, while no one is announcing support for ATI's method. Steele also mentioned that while he's glad that ATI has agreed that physics is important, ATI is delivering a "questionable" solution to physics processing.

Steele also emphasized that PhysX is available now while ATI's solution is not.


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Dubious statement...
By Rolphus on 6/9/2006 6:18:19 AM , Rating: 2
"AGEIA further says that developers are announcing more and more games that support its PhysX product, while no one is announcing support for ATI's method."

Right, so no-one's using Havok. I know HavokFX is a new iteration of the tech and all that, but I really can't see that people are less likely to use something as well-established as Havok in favour of Ageia's solution (whose name I've temporarily forgotten).




RE: Dubious statement...
By Strunf on 6/9/2006 6:30:15 AM , Rating: 2
Agree, more so when nVIDIA is also working with Havok.


RE: Dubious statement...
By Xeeros on 6/9/2006 6:41:27 AM , Rating: 2
Honestly I think Ageia had problems to begin with

A) No Customizeable options yet.
B) Performance hit on CPU
C) PCI card that costs $299 ... PCI bus is not exactly future proof and for $300 I think it should at least still be good for another 2 years not if they keep PCI slots that long it will be good.

So lets see a card taht sits off the PCI-E bus and of course a 1K series ATI card can be loads cheaper if needed as a cheap solution. Side note most newer mobo's i've been viewing have less and less pci slots and when deciding between a X-fi sound card or physics I think most would go with teh X-fi.


RE: Dubious statement...
By AndreasM on 6/9/2006 8:21:15 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Right, so no-one's using Havok. I know HavokFX is a new iteration of the tech and all that, but I really can't see that people are less likely to use something as well-established as Havok in favour of Ageia's solution (whose name I've temporarily forgotten).


1. HavokFX costs a lot of money to license. PhysX is free, so even hobbyists have access to it.

2. HavokFX burdens your GPU, causing lower framerates in some cases. This doesn't apply if one has a extra GPU just for physics, but in that case you would have been better off selling your old GPU and buying a PPU instead.

3. As your post stated, game support. PhysX is out there now, and people have been programming for it for over a year. HavokFX hasn't been released yet, so it'll be a long wait for games that support it.

4. HavokFX is effects physics, i.e. eye-candy. In other words, HavokFX is just more of the same. I for one am looking forward to when games really start utilising PhysX and real gameplay altering physics.


RE: Dubious statement...
By Strunf on 6/9/2006 8:56:25 AM , Rating: 2
1. And ? ATI NEVER said only Havok would be able to use their technology actually its the other way around, they say ANY game developer may use it... be it hobbyist or not

2. So is the case of the Ageia PPU... and the Ageia PPU still costs 299$ which is a lot more than the average graphics card.

3. ATI says that it's not that hard to make a game do some of the physics work with the help of the graphics, actually they even made some in lab tests with Counter Strike Source (if I'm not mistaken).


RE: Dubious statement...
By AndreasM on 6/9/2006 11:32:24 AM , Rating: 3
1. And ? ATI NEVER said only Havok would be able to use their technology actually its the other way around, they say ANY game developer may use it... be it hobbyist or not

I was actually responding to the OP about why someone would choose PhysX over HavokFX. But as far as I know, the SDK Ati is planning on releasing (in addition to supporting HFX) will be restricted to Radeons, which would make it pretty much useless.

2. So is the case of the Ageia PPU... and the Ageia PPU still costs 299$ which is a lot more than the average graphics card.

While it's true that more physics objects will increase the GPU load by making it draw more stuff, with HFX the GPU needs to both draw the new physics objects and calculate their physics. Obviously this makes HFX a heavier burden. ATM the PPU is a bit expensive, but it's because of the new-tech premium. An average GPU doesn't have this, so with time the price difference will shrink.

P.S. If you're talking about Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, don't. It has a shitty implementation where they use Havok for all the physics and PhysX for some extra effects.

3. ATI says that it's not that hard to make a game do some of the physics work with the help of the graphics, actually they even made some in lab tests with Counter Strike Source (if I'm not mistaken).

With access to the sourcecode of CS:S, porting it to PhysX would be a minor task (assuming Havok is as easy to use as PhysX is), and porting it from Havok->HavokFX would probably be even easier. OTOH, adding GPU-assisted physics acceleration to CS:S without the source code sounds surreal, lab or not. ;)


RE: Dubious statement...
By mendocinosummit on 6/9/2006 11:36:35 AM , Rating: 2
Don't foreget that a PPU is a very new tech and that adds $$$. I bet we will see a $75 to $100 drop in the next year and half and PEx4.


RE: Dubious statement...
By Strunf on 6/9/2006 1:22:18 PM , Rating: 2
If nVIDIA and ATI are both working with Havok, chances are that their SDK will be close, and Directx 10 will probably set some standards, ATI also showed up some benchs with nVIDIA cards so they have tested their solution on nVIDIA cards as well.

With H:FX one card takes cares of the physics the other of the graphics, soo the burden is close to exactly the same has using on graphics card + PPU.

Shitty implementation or not, the facts speak for themselves.

I can find where I've read that about CS:Source so forget what I said, however I’m pretty sure Valve is doing some homework when it comes to Physics, not just Valve but ID, Crytek and all the others that DIDN’T say they were going to support Ageia, and CryTek already showed up a new demo with some advanced physics without mentioning Ageia…


RE: Dubious statement...
By Trisped on 6/12/2006 2:59:51 PM , Rating: 2
Why do people keep saying ATI is working with Havok? I don't remember reading anything that even implied that. I have also searched ATI.COM and found that the ONLY mention of Havok on the whole site (including press releases) was for a piece of modeling software.


RE: Dubious statement...
By MrKaz on 6/9/2006 11:13:04 AM , Rating: 2
2. HavokFX burdens your GPU, causing lower framerates in some cases. This doesn't apply if one has a extra GPU just for physics, but in that case you would have been better off selling your old GPU and buying a PPU instead.

And Ageia solution improves frame rates, yeah right...


Sigh...
By AndreasM on 6/9/2006 11:39:41 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
And Ageia solution improves frame rates, yeah right...


In case this is about GRAW (again):

quote:
Havok Physics (on the CPU) is used for all game-play physics in both the multiplayer and single-player PC versions of the game. All persistent collidable objects in the game are simulated using Havok software technology running on the CPU.


quote:
AGEIA PhysX had to be layered on top of Havok to extend the physics effects beyond that which could be achieved with CPU only. Imagine what you’ll see in tomorrow’s games in which all resources can be dedicated to PhysX without the hinderance of a software physics engine that runs on general purpose hardware.


http://www.firingsquad.com/features/ageia_physx_re...


RE: Sigh...
By Goty on 6/9/2006 3:00:56 PM , Rating: 2
So is everyone forgetting about the Cell Factor issues where the game runs just as well (or should I say just as badly?) with or without a PPU?

As far as I'm concerned, the AGEIA chip is currently nothing more than a waste of money for no performance gain in the best case, and a fairly large performance decrease for very little improvement in other areas.


RE: Sigh...
By AndreasM on 6/9/2006 4:26:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So is everyone forgetting about the Cell Factor issues where the game runs just as well (or should I say just as badly?) with or without a PPU?


Do you know if this is with the new version of Cellfactor? Ageia probably pulled the previous version for a good reason.

http://www.ageia.com/physx_in_action/cellfactor.ht...

quote:
As far as I'm concerned, the AGEIA chip is currently nothing more than a waste of money for no performance gain in the best case, and a fairly large performance decrease for very little improvement in other areas.


I agree, there is no point in buying one now (though it could be fun to just mess around with the SDK). But I feel confident this will change when UT2k7 comes out. :)


RE: Dubious statement...
By Fenixgoon on 6/9/2006 1:15:48 PM , Rating: 2
Did you see how badly the GRAW framerates dropped once a PhysX card was added? Anandtech's very own benches prove how horrendous a framerate hit GRAW takes with a PhysX card. I'd rather have an extra 20+ fps versus more realistic physics.


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