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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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Three cards
By Hare on 6/9/2006 3:22:03 PM , Rating: 2
Why is everyone moaning that you need three ATI cards? First of all. Ageia recommends SLI just so that you get decent FPS when there's a lot of extra junk flying on the screen. The situation is not any better. And who cares if its a gpu or a ageia ppu that's producing the physics. No one, except in Ati's case you could recycle an old GPU to be used as a physics processor. I see this as a benefit.

I however believe that this is just hype that will slowly go away since there are no games and the ppu costs too much. This product won't be a success. Besides with the trend of multicore cpus you can pretty easily assign more physics tasks to the other mostly idle core. Granted it's not as effecient as a designed physics ppu, but seriously. Who's going to pay for another 300$ card. Maybe 1/1000 gamers?

I believe pretty strongly that a separate ppu is going to be merged with gpus.

RE: Three cards
By z3R0C00L on 6/9/2006 3:46:45 PM , Rating: 2
Technically a PPU is a GPU.. in the ATi x1K sense.
DX10 level VPU's will be every bit as feature packed as AGEIA PPU (if not more). R520/580 VPU's are already on a level playing field with AGEIA's PPU.
You see, Microsoft is moving towards making VPU/GPU's into multipurpose processors (this is the idea behind DX10 and it's Unified shaders).

RE: Three cards
By mushi799 on 6/9/2006 7:41:49 PM , Rating: 2
People said the same thing when 3D games started. The originally Voodoo cards had a hard time starting out because they were no killer apps until the release the QuakeGlide and eventually Quake2.

We'll have to wait for AGEIA's killer app, it might be UT2007.

RE: Three cards
By Hare on 6/10/2006 8:38:27 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think the analogy is valid. Voodoo-cards were not that expensive and before voodoo-cards there were 3d-accelerated games. Now you need a SLI-setup to actually render the extra particles with decent fps. I'm not saying that PPUs will never be popular, I'm just saying that the they will likely merge with graphic cards and the cost/benefit in physics cards is currently way too small and the benefits interest only a niché market.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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