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New AGEIA PhysX 100M physics processor for notebooks

AGEIA Technologies this week announced it is taking PhysX technology to the mobile sector with new PhysX 100M. The new AGEIA PhysX 100M is a physics processor designed for high-end gaming notebooks. AGEIA claims the PhysX 100M delivers unmatched “power, efficiency and design flexibility.”

"AGEIA is fully committed to delivering the most intensely realistic gaming and entertainment experience to PC gamers," said Manju Hegde, CEO of AGEIA Technologies. "We are enabling enthusiasts to enjoy games their way: whenever and wherever they want. AGEIA PhysX Mobile Technology further expands our position in the gaming market and we look forward to seeing new laptops bring gamers the freedom to enjoy incredible physics action on the go."

AGEIA claims the PhysX 100M processor is available now, but does not mention any design wins. However, notebooks featuring the AGEIA PhysX 100M are expected very soon. AGEIA is also showcasing the PhysX 100M at the Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany.

Games featuring AGEIA PhysX technology are still quite scarce, with the biggest title supporting PhysX technology being the Tom Clancy Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter series while Unreal Tournament 3 is the next big title, but still in development.

AMD and NVIDIA have both previewed CrossFire and SLI physics technologies powered by Havok FX, but neither company have delivered a hardware physics processing solution.

High-performance gaming notebooks are the latest trend in mobile computing. Technologies previously found only on desktops have made its way into notebooks. NVIDIA last year debuted SLI technology for notebooks while AMD released its ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2000 series consecutively with its desktop ATI Radeon HD 2000 models. NVIDIA also delivers its latest GeForce 8 series technology to the mobile sector. Overclocking has also found its way into notebooks, with unlocked Core 2 Extreme X7800 and X7900 processors and MSI’s Turbo button.

Notebook manufacturers are also releasing bigger and faster gaming notebooks with display sizes up to 20-inches. HP’s Pavilion HDX notebook packs ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2600 XT graphics with a 20.1-inch display and two hard drives. ASUS also has two Santa Rosa based gaming notebooks in its lineup, as well as a new do-it-yourself gaming notebook. Dell also has its upcoming Dell XPS M1730 with a 17-inch display, Core 2 Extreme X7800 processor and GeForce 8 series graphics while Eurocom manages to pack quad-core, SLI technology, RAID 5 and Blu-ray in a single 17.1-inch notebook.

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Wake up AGEIA
By Serreth on 8/23/2007 9:39:21 PM , Rating: 3
With Dual and Quad core processors you don't need a dedicated physics processor...

RE: Wake up AGEIA
By Gul Westfale on 8/23/2007 10:17:55 PM , Rating: 2
... yet. in a few years maybe these things will be as good for physicsa as GPUs are for graphics, but that day has not come yet.

RE: Wake up AGEIA
By Flunk on 8/24/2007 12:01:58 AM , Rating: 3
I really do hope no one buys this. I don't want to see Physics processors go mainstream because it's just another piece of hardware to buy that we really don't need.

The last thing I want is to have to buy another card with every new PC.

RE: Wake up AGEIA
By phusg on 8/24/2007 9:11:04 AM , Rating: 2
I understand you not wanting extra cards in your system, but you do realise that if this does go mainstream it will be integrated into either motherboards, CPU's or GPU's? It's not that much silicon we're talking about here.

RE: Wake up AGEIA
By Flunk on 8/24/2007 9:59:30 AM , Rating: 3
I expect it to me more like a graphics card where the integrated ones are useless and you need to spend upwards of $400 for a high end physics card.

If you had told anyone 10 years ago that they would make $700 graphics cards (8800 Ultra) they would think you were crazy.

RE: Wake up AGEIA
By phusg on 8/24/2007 10:26:19 AM , Rating: 2
I expect it to me more like a graphics card where the integrated ones are useless and you need to spend upwards of $400 for a high end physics card.

I don't. Physics is fundamentally different from GPU's in that it changes the game play experience (well, at least it should, otherwise there isn't much point) and not just the resolution and number of frames rendered per second. I therefore don't expect Ageia to release different versions of their card in a hurry, maybe only when (32 core?) CPU's catch up with the physics processing power of their current hardware.

The current chip is made up of 125 million transistors. This is about as many as a GeForce FX 5800 or GeForce 7300 GS, and so should readily be able to be integrated given a small enough procedure.

If you had told anyone 10 years ago that they would make $700 graphics cards (8800 Ultra) they would think you were crazy.

That my friend is very true! Also if anyone actually bought one of those cards at that price I'd think they were crazy.

RE: Wake up AGEIA
By Alpha4 on 8/23/2007 10:33:11 PM , Rating: 2
With Dual and Quad core processors you don't need a dedicated physics processor...
Heh. According to an article I read over 2 years ago Sony came to the same conclusion. I don't know if it has taken effect but Sony essentially planned on leveraging the Cell's multi threading capabilities to render physics with the Ageia/Novodex physics library.

I, however, don't feel the PhysX chip is necessarily obsolete, but from what I recall it does hamper performance significantly due to the fact that it utilizes a PCI interface. Something about the additional latencies created when the PhysX card has to poll the CPU to communicate with the GPU. If Ageia could resolve that I think the card would have more potential.

RE: Wake up AGEIA
By phaxmohdem on 8/23/2007 11:52:04 PM , Rating: 3
I hear they plan to realease a 16 bit ISA version of the card soon to resolve these problems :P

Seriously though.. If they would make a card that ran on the PCIe x1 or x4 slot that largely goes unused on today's motherboards I think they'd be onto something..... That and getting a few games to actually support their hardware would be nice too... And getting those games to not perform so bad when the hardware is active.

I've honestly thought this whole idea of dedicated Physics processing was crap to begin with, but who knows. Maybe they just need to stumble upon their "Halo" game to get people to finally buy the thing.

RE: Wake up AGEIA
By phusg on 8/24/2007 9:20:53 AM , Rating: 2
but from what I recall it does hamper performance significantly due to the fact that it utilizes a PCI interface.

Not true. From the horse's mouth here []:
At this point, every AGEIA PhysX Accelerator is configured as a PCI 2.1 add-in board with 128MB GDDR3. The PCI interface is more than adequate for handling complex physics calculations, so changing the design to PCI Express would be simply to address slot availability on the motherboard, not to enhance raw performance.

RE: Wake up AGEIA
By Alpha4 on 8/25/2007 11:54:41 PM , Rating: 2
Nice find, and I'm sure thats true. I guess what I meant was if the PhysX card could communicate with a 3D Accelerator directly via the PCIe bus and/or a bridge chip, like SLI, and bypass the CPU than we'd see a worthwhile gain in performance.

RE: Wake up AGEIA
By phusg on 8/27/2007 7:06:00 AM , Rating: 2
I doubt it. I don't think the PCI Physx card is particularly hardware limited in any way. It's the software! Once the programmers get to grips with the API/chip then it will fly. It's just a question of whether gamers are that interested in the flight it has to offer.

RE: Wake up AGEIA
By oopyseohs on 8/24/2007 10:12:32 AM , Rating: 2

You guys seem to be avoiding the factual information that the PhysX card actually does work. The point that it doesn't work for most games is void because AGEIA never said it would. In order for the PhysX card to work effectively in a game, that game needs to be built using the PhysX API. Games that have patches using the PhysX API are typically just using it for visual enhancements which end up slowing frame rates rather than increasing.

For instance, in CellFactor: Revolution, a game that was built using the PhysX API, the performance increases are indeed tangible. (

The real problem for AGEIA so far has been the lack of games that actually fully use the PhysX API. However, they have been without these games for a long time but Unreal 3 is literally right around the corner, and it might just be the killer title AGEIA needs...

Furthermore, no dual-core or quad-core CPU could ever hope (at least for now and the foreseeable future until AMD's Fusion drops) to be as effective as the PhysX card at physics calculations. Physics calculations are based heavily on linear algebra, which is best completed by massively parallel core architectures (a la GPU). The PPU, as the GPU before it, is a processor built specifically for a certain cause - rather than a processor built to do everything (CPU). The real threat for the feasibility of a dedicated physics processor as we move forward is the GPU, which is becoming increasingly general purpose with the implementation of unified architectures.

Sorry for this rant-like post, but I am a bit tired of people saying that the PhysX card is bad based on opinions that were formulated immediately after its release in early 2006. Its the future now.

Thanks for reading,

RE: Wake up AGEIA
By Mitch101 on 8/24/2007 12:07:53 PM , Rating: 2
Well put unfortunately they will all be changing thier tunes around 2009 when AMD's fusion comes along to incorporate the GPU/CPU merge. So really 2010 is the year when Physics move forward. When Physics is available to the PC at no reduction in performance than physics will take off in games. Unfortunately there is a $200 buy in and limited sales for anyone to make it standard. Sadly as well all the current games are tiny bits of eye candy add ons and not full blown stretches of physics.

The problem for AGEIA is that game developers wont code for Physics using the AGEIA API is because of the lack of sales of AGEIA cards. So by AGEIA making a free game with it might actually open thier eyes to what Physics brings to games that many arent grasping. But it wont be long before ATI/NVIDIA incorporate that into the GPU or AMD/INTEL add physics abilities to the CPU and games will be written with the widest market of availability.

NO your CPU is not good for Physics. Intel is talking out its arse when they say that. Maybe in 2-3 years when Intel incorporates Physics abilities into SSE5 or 6 then a multi cpu chip be able to do physics as good as AGEIA or like I stated before when AMD Fusion comes along.

Sadly since Im sure UT will have physics it will be built around whats capable of a CPU and GPU today and the AGEIA will just add additional eye candy or allow a higher framerate at higher resolutions. Im sure it adds some physics but not more than todays CPU/GPU combos can handle.

So AGEIA is doing the right thing by saying if the games wont come to them with nothing more than a few eye candy improvements then they need to produce an game built with incerdible physics around it. They can give the game away for free like they plan to do because the game will come to a screeching halt on anything without a PPU. Im sure some hack will try bypassing it but good luck todays GPU's and CPU's wont be able to pump it.

As for anyone wanting to spend $200 on a card that only works with one game. Heck people do that every day and got worse games like DOOM 3. The nice part is it will work with one game entirely but add nice visuals to some games you already have so its not a horrible mess. Heck I know people who bought 360's just for gears of war. Even I would have done that until I heard it will come for the PC.

Most of you should worry that the Wii outsold the XBOX 360 in sales. This means if you code for the Wii you have a game which can appeal to the largest market including PC gamers. Which means a lot of games will be written to work on the Wii and be visually enhanced to the 360, PS3, PC instead of taking full advantage of the abilities of those units.

Again the problem here with AGEIA is there is no market for the game developers to make games that fully utilize the AGEIA PPU they have to produce something incredible on thier own.

RE: Wake up AGEIA
By oopyseohs on 8/24/2007 3:21:06 PM , Rating: 2
so... you agree with me?

RE: Wake up AGEIA
By Mitch101 on 8/24/2007 5:23:14 PM , Rating: 2
YES! Absolutely. Sorry I started Monologue-ing

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