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Thursday, April 14th 2005
AGEIA Physics Interview
08:41 PM


Team XBox posted an interview with AGEIA Technologies, discussing their upcoming dedicated Physics Processing Unit (PPU): PhysX.
 
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Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active. It is here for reference purposes. This thread was created on an older version of the flipcode forums, before the site closed in 2005. Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.
 
ZEN

April 21, 2005, 05:27 PM

Seems to be a good idea to have a PPU but I think they are late in the going, with the coming of dual core CPUs there will be absolutely no need for a PPU when you will have one for 'free' by simply starting a physics thread on your 2nd idle CPU.

 
mentalcalculator

April 21, 2005, 05:32 PM

I'm not going to buy a separate card for physics. That's the most ridiculous thing i ever heard!

 
Chad Austin

April 21, 2005, 07:00 PM

With the scale of the simulations they're talking about (orders of magnitude greater than what you can do on a CPU), a single general-purpose CPU won't cut it. My concern is that the GPU manufacturers are in a better position to subsume AGEIA's work as GPUs get more and more general. We'll see though... Gamers probably won't buy an additional, custom processor just for more realistic physics, so IMO their best chance is to get it into a next-gen (or next-next-gen) console. That'll increase the demand enough for it to spread.

 
John Schultz

April 21, 2005, 08:21 PM

When graphics (accelerator) cards first came out, developers called them "decelerators", as they were very slow (slower than good CPU renderers in some cases). The first NVidia GPU flopped. When the Rendition Verite and 3DFX Voodoo came out, everything changed. By the time the NVidia TNT was released, GPU's were well on their way to becoming mainstream. Now GPU's are required: even a ~10+ core CPU (perhaps many more) cannot match a single GPU.

Custom physics hardware will not be matched any time soon with general purpose CPUs (no matter how many cores). It's also more than just raw number-crunching, it's moving and accessing data very quickly (another reason GPU's blow away CPU's). It too soon to tell how the physics market will play out, but if there are enough killer apps, dedicated physics processing hardware will make it to the mainstream just like GPU's did (or generalized "GPU"'s that can also handle physics on a single card).

It will be interesting to see their demos at E3 next month.

 
Dr. Necessiter

April 22, 2005, 09:19 AM

My guess is AGEIA will ultimately partner with or license out to a graphics chip vendor get their product into the mainstream. I could certainly see high-end graphics cards including phyiscs onboard. After all, both elements target the exact same market: high-end gamers, simulations, CAD, etc.

There are other benefits also:

- The base cost of the board, memory, bridge interface, etc. are already taken care of.
- The AGP bus has better bandwidth to talk to physics processor.
- A combined chip/chipset will be very attractive to next-gen consoles.

 
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