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AMD says GPU physics is dead until DirectX 11

PC gamers have been looking for more than just pretty graphics when it comes to their game titles over the last few years. Not only do gamers want realistic graphics, but they want realistic physics as well.

Physics have long been a part of PC and console games to some extent. As games get more complex the mathematical calculations required for accurately rendering things on screen like smoke and explosions gets more complex as well.

GPU makers ATI and NVIDIA both know the value of physics processing and both companies put forth similar ways to tackle physics for video games. DailyTech reported in January of 2007 leaked specifications from ATI showing exactly what would be required for its asymmetric physics processing. Almost a year before those documents were leaked, DailyTech reported on NVIDIA’s Quantum physics engine.

Things in the world of video game physics heated up when Intel announced in September that it intended to buy Havok, the company whose physics software is widely used by game developers around the world. Xbit Labs reports today that AMD’s Developer Relations Chief, Richard Huddy is saying that GPU physics is dead for now.

The reason Huddy is saying GPU physics is dead is that Havok, now owned by Intel, is said to be releasing its Havok FX physics effects engine that is responsible for computing GPU physics without support. That is assuming Havok doesn’t abandon the Havok FX engine at all. DirectX 11 is projected to support physics on the GPU and it may be the release of DirectX 11 before we see GPU physics processing. This should be great new to the ears of AGEIA, who recently announced it would be developing a mobile physics processor.

Exactly how this will affect mainboards that NVIDIA already has in development remains to be seen; the replacement to the NVIDIA 680i mainboard is said to have three PCIe slots. If one of those slots was slated for use in GPU physics is unknown, however, this could be why the 680i replacement was pushed from a launch date of mid-November as was rumored to have been the scheduled launch date.

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Gpu physics wont work
By xNIBx on 11/23/2007 5:49:48 AM , Rating: 3
It is simple people. Current and future games will always stress the gpu to the fullest. Almost all games are gpu dependent. Almost no games can fully utilise multicore cpus.

We have tons of cpu power going underutilised while the gpus are fully utilised. Therefore, it is a lot more logical to have the cpu do the physics, isnt it?

And what is the best physics engine/api for cpus atm? Havok's one. Intel stroke gold with this move. They automatically get almost the entire physics market and they can optimise it for their cpus.

RE: Gpu physics wont work
By goku on 11/23/2007 7:05:14 AM , Rating: 1
The reason for this is because going from 70% to 100% utilization of the CPU will have a minimal increase in potential game interactivity, not to mention there are quite a few systems with malware and other crap running in the background, sucking up CPU power, requiring devs to account for that. Since having a non optimized system with programs running in the background will affect available CPU and memory resources, it won't affect GPU resources; the only concern would be outdated drivers but even then it's a nonissue for most people. Therefore spending more time on fully utilizing the GPU will mean that two similarly configured systems won't have large differences in performance depending on whether or not said machine is "clean".

A PPU is another one of those resources that are task specific and since running vista or F@H or some virus/malware application in the background generally won't affect its performance, optimizing for the PPU will mean that you can expect similar performance across various configurations with this part in common.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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