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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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RE: physics
By hwhacker on 6/9/2006 8:48:16 AM , Rating: 2
I agree that Targon made some excellent points.

The thing about about the PhysX PPU is not if or if not it can calculate physics better than any other current solution, it's the fact that enabling it's ability MOST times drops the frame-rate so badly in games that it makes resolutions that were playable unplayable with the options on, with currently little actual benefits from games we've currently seen. It's not worth it on multiple, multiple levels.

Now, could it change with better utilization in upcoming games? Sure. Could drivers be improved? Sure. Could Ageia produce a better product down the line as this tech progresses, and could this be physics (particularly Ageia's API's) teething stage? Sure.

Like what was said though, the fact BOTH Nvidia/ATi are working with Havok...I'd be a little scared if I were Ageia...Like "who's going to buy us out" scared. All of their points are rather useless and in some spots rediculous, as i'm sure we'll see Havok-optimized games shortly...and perhaps with playable frame rates/better effects before Ageia because of the higher processing ability! On top of that, the fact Nvidia and especially ATi are putting support on their current cards for physics when using a next-gen part for gfx is enough to give them a default audience; they're already a step in the door.

I could pick apart every rediculous Ageia comment, but I like the "Who would sacrifice horsepower for physics...?" comment. Do they not understand ATi's plan is for you to use OLDER cards when you upgrade to a NEWER one, that would not be compatible with the newer one for xfire? IE a x1k card when grabbing a R600, or a x1600-x1800 when using a x1900.

All of their comments sound either deceiving, CYA, or just plain ignorant. I know this sounds like i'm trying to bash them, but they are sounding uninformed and border-line idiotic. I expect them to be chased out of the scene, if not eatten, rather quickly. I give them credit for pushing technology forward though, they do deserve that.


RE: physics
By Strunf on 6/9/2006 8:59:40 AM , Rating: 2
Scared of being bought ? na that's probably their goal...


RE: physics
By walmartshopper on 6/9/2006 4:12:18 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe somebody else can expand on this, but it seems like physics cards should be able to work in conjuction with the new instancing feature of shader model 3.0, which according to Microsoft, "Allows many varied objects to be drawn with only a single command." As we've established, more physics means rendering more objects for the graphics card and therefore lower fps. But in some cases such as explosions, when you are dealing with a bunch of similar objects, couldn't instancing be used to draw the extra objects without slowing down performance much? Would this be left to game developers? Or could Ageia implement this in their API?

Maybe I'm wrong, but this seems like a fairly simple solution to the performance problem.


RE: physics
By AndreasM on 6/9/2006 4:46:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Maybe somebody else can expand on this, but it seems like physics cards should be able to work in conjuction with the new instancing feature of shader model 3.0, which according to Microsoft, "Allows many varied objects to be drawn with only a single command." As we've established, more physics means rendering more objects for the graphics card and therefore lower fps. But in some cases such as explosions, when you are dealing with a bunch of similar objects, couldn't instancing be used to draw the extra objects without slowing down performance much? Would this be left to game developers? Or could Ageia implement this in their API?


Instancing would help some, but the objects would still need to be run through shaders, which are starting to be the bottleneck in GPUs. Using it is up to game developers, though.


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