GeForce 8 Cards to Gain PhysX Engine Support

By Chris Faylor, Feb 14, 2008 9:25am PST Hardware manufacturer Nvidia, which just purchased physics technology developer AGEIA, is porting AGEIA's PhysX engine software to run on its GeForce 8 cards, according to The Tech Report.

During a financial call, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hseun Huang revealed that the ported engine will bring enhanced physics capabilities to all of the company's existing GeForce 8 cards, as it will be programmed in CUDA.

"Finally [developers are] able to get a physics engine accelerated into a very large population of gamers," explained Huang. "[It's] just gonna be a software download. Every single GPU that is CUDA-enabled will be able to run the physics engine when it comes...Every one of our GeForce 8-series GPUs runs CUDA."

At the time of the AGEIA purchase, Nvidia noted its intent to integrate PhysX support into its products, but did not specify any details. In light of today's revelation, Huang expects to see increased sales of the Nvidia cards, especially to those equipped with SLI slots.

"It might, and probably will, encourage people to buy a second GPU for their SLI slot," he said. "And for the highest-end gamer, it will encourage them to buy three GPUs. Potentially two for graphics and one for physics, or one for graphics and two for physics."

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  • Intel bought out Havok, Nvidia bought out Ageia, ATI/AMD as of this moment has no options other than to either get a license from Nvidia or Intel to integrate their new physics technology into their own hardware, OR develop their own physics software/hardware algorithms etc. OR pray that Microsoft comes out with its own universal physics engine for all to utilize.

    Let's say that ATI/AMD does develop its own physics processor, well guess what happens. Software programmers now have to either choose which physics engine to utilize knowing full well that each physics processor will only allow certain hardware brand owners to play their games the way they designed it to be played, or the alternative would be to develop 3 different versions of the game with their own programming for each physics engine separately, which would have the most unfortunate consequence of delaying game releases by at least half a year if not hitting the multi-year delay range due to the amount of tweaking involved with each engine being different, having to teach the programmers how to properly manipulate the game with each engine so that they all yield the same results in the end without crashing and glitching all at a playable framerate.

    In the end if you think about it, the physics wars will likely end in either a new/separate universal physics engine, a cross license between a single engine among multiple companies, or the unlikely and undesirable end result of one company going under due to the lack of the ability to adopt the new technology in time and creating a duopoly or monopoly in the end, raising the prices for everyone. What we will see until there is a universally agreed upon physics engine is a very low integration rate of dedicated physics engines into games like we are seeing right now.

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