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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 Targon on 6/10/2006 7:40:07 AM , Rating: 2
3Dfx was on the leading edge of 3D acceleration, so it DID start out better. The fact that the other 3D accelerators were worse doesn't change that.

The fact that the 3Dfx Voodoo chip improved the framerates is a key reason why we see 3D acceleration as a standard feature since most people will NOT accept very poor framerates just for eye candy. Going from 100fps to 60fps would work, but not from 60fps to 20fps.

If the current physics processors really improved gameplay, it would mean more than if it's just eye candy. Better visuals(so you can see details like switches/controls from a distance) for example is something people might pay for. If it's just for better explosions, then it wouldn't be. If you could take down a wall with an RPG and climb on top of the rubble to get a tactical advantage, or to advance through the game might be useful, but again, if the frame rate drops to 5fps, it won't do well.

Anti-aliasing is a similar type of thing. If you turn it on and it drops your framerates too much, it's NOT something you will turn on during normal play. It has taken us a LONG time to get to the point where graphics cards are powerful enough to allow AA to be enabled during normal gameplay on mid level video cards, but we are finally at that point.

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