Sunday, September 2, 2007

Ageia Tests Next-Generation PhysX Accelerators – Photos

A web-site has published photos of what it claims to be a next-generation Ageia PhysX physics processing add-in-card. The board seems to be rather huge, while the revamped physics processing unit (PPU) also seems to be large, which implies that the new board will be rather powerful.

The new Ageia PhysX card is designed for PCI Express x8/x16 slots and is much longer compared to the first incarnation of physics accelerator for personal computers and also has much more complex print-circuit board design. The new board also has external power connector, which indicates that the card has pretty high power consumption. Besides, the new Agiea PhysX sports an interface akin to that used by graphics cards that feature ATI CrossFire or Nvidia SLI multi-GPU technology.
The fact that pictures of the board emerged on the Web means that Ageia is already testing the new generation of PPUs along with its add-in-board partners.

The next-generation Ageia PhysX chip is very large and resembles Intel’s first dual-core Smithfield processor. The huge die size of the chip implies that the new chip will feature much higher performance compared to the first-generation PPU. In addition, with improved multi-PPU technology the new generation of physics processing units will offer extreme physics performance.

Ageia yet has to unveil the new incarnation of PPUs to replace the first generation of its PhysX processors unveiled in 2006. However, there are currently not a lot of games that take advantage of physics accelerators, moreover, John Carmack, the developer of legendary Doom and Quake video games, said in a recent interview that Ageia PhysX has no future.

Ageia’s PhysX is the world’s first physics processing unit (PPU), which offloads software physics processing from central processing units and graphics processing units to it. The architecture of the PhysX PPU is tailored for multi-threaded processing of vertexes, which allows game creators to develop detailed, soft and precise animation and simulation of movements, hair, clothing, liquids, fluids and other. Currently Ageia’s PhysX is the world’s first and only dedicated physics processing unit, but the company expects more startups to offer similar technology.
To take advantage of advanced capabilities the PhysX has, game developers have to create games using Novodex SDK supplied by Ageia, which requires some additional effort from them. According to Ageia, more than one hundred games designed for and supporting the Ageia PhysX processor are in development from over 60 software creators and publishers.
Ageia did not comment on the news-story.

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