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Representatives for AGEIA, a developer of the so-called physics processing units, at the E3 show disclosed official recommended pricing of the world’s first PhysX add-in cards that will be available late this year. With rising prices for powerful microprocessors and graphics cards as well as additional cost of physics processing unit, PC gaming seems to be becoming a rather expensive entertainment.

The cards based on the new AGEIA PhysX processor will start sampling in Q3 2005, and when they appear in retail in Q4 their price is supposed to be between $249 and $299, according to X-bit labs report from E3 show in Los Angeles, California.

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 PhysX is the world’s first and only dedicated physics processing unit, but the company expects more startups to offer similar technology.

The PhysX chip will be manufactured with 0.13 micron technology at TSMC, and the 182sq.mm die will host 125 million transistors, which is larger than that of mainstream graphics processing units, such as ATI RADEON X700. 

The designer of the PhysX co-processor claims that the first games to be use capabilities of the chip will be out by year end, at the same time gamers will be able to get the add-in board.

While the cost of AGEIA PhysX add-in card may sound reasonable by itself, it should be noted that gamers tend to get the best or nearly the best possible hardware for their computers. Currently the high-performance graphics cards cost from $399 to $549, whereas high-performance microprocessors start at about $400 and end at over $1000.

The summarized cost of processing components for a powerful gaming PC in this case would be from $1048, which is a price of an office computer.

Discussion

Comments currently: 19
Discussion started: 05/20/05 05:39:41 AM
Latest comment: 08/25/06 07:36:01 AM
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1. 
^^^agreed
it's bull, before today they were saying under $100 and you could get a ppu, that's when it was reasonable but $250-$300 is way too much, add on the price of a good video card and people are paying way too much for pc gaming. If this overpriced ppu becomes standard I'm sure there will be a lot of pc gamers that will switch to consoles.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 05/20/05 01:01:32 PM]
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2. 
A wickedly overpriced piece of Middleware that has zero support from game developers and presently does nothing that a processor or video card can't do. If all this does is allow me to set physics settings to "High" for a minimal increase in "gee-whiz" effects, then $300 isn't worth it at all.

And I've spent $2000+ on my own hand-built system, so I'm not exactly hesitant to adopt new tech, I'm just not buying the Marketing spin for this product that tells me how my gaming Physics experience being marginally improved is worth $300+.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 05/23/05 07:15:53 AM]
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3. 
The whole concept is totally ridiculous. There are even more reasons to it.

1. Now, that dual-core processors are coming, game programmers have program the new games in a way to benefit from two cpus. The game has to be split into two threads. Since the graphics take a large amount of cpu time, it would be obvious to have a complete separate thread for that, and another thread for the other parts, 3d audio, and the whole "event system", or how should I put it, AI, doors opening, elevators moving, and the physics, barrels rolling, boxes and bodies falling etc.. The latter part would have a complete cpu for itself, so why would it need a seperate addon card? (given, that dual core cpus will find widespread use, which i think they eventually will, with the right SW support)

2. I dont know much about games, but I'd say physics takes up about a max of 10% of CPU time in a game(eg. look at Carmageddon, way realistic car physics, SW rendering, and ran on a P200 flawlessly). So, if you let all those things be handled by an addon card instead of a cpu, you can get about 10% speed increase, theoretically, but practically, even smaller, since the cpu has to communicate with the addon card through the system bus, too, which takes time. A max of 10% speed gain for 200$.

3. GAME physics are very simplified and optimized, because accurate or industry-level mechanic simulation is not needed for one simple reason: games are for entertainment. Noone cares, if your car would slide a millimeter more to the side of the track. Not even in racing simulations.

4. The obvious: I can gain more speed by simply buying a GFX card or cpu, that costs 200$ more. And then I will have an overall speed increase, in applications and in games, that do not support the physics card.

5. It's completely unlikely, that all, no not even all, that even the MAJORITY of the games will support this technology. Maybe the majority of those games, that rely heavily on physics, like aircraft and racing simulations.

For gaming applications, this kind of technology is close to useless. But those who believe in this, try to prove me otherwise, please.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 05/26/05 04:00:54 AM]
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- collapse thread

 
1 firstly, a PPU will still help a dual core system. there is only so much a dual core can process. let's take a fps. an old one, like Quake 3, hell even UT2k4. now if you play with bots, the CPU has to handle the AI pathfinding, and decision making (fire or not to fire). that is different from physics. the physics is how does an object move once "hit". by adding a PPU, you can allow the CPU to better calculate pathfinding for AI... more or less a "smarter" AI, free up some cycles to provide more data to the GPU (along with what the PPU sends)... which means you aren't CPU limited when it comes to video processing. the PPU will handle the physics, and that allows developers to make even MORE obdjects capable of interaction. 64 player limits? how about 500 player limits on your screen without your system coming to a crawl, and STILL have massive explosions left over debris from wreckages... etc.

2 do you know WHY the physics is only 10% of a CPU's cycle? cause if they gave anymore, then they couldn't process other data. the CPU is a "doing everything" unit... which means it can only provide so much time and effort to do any one particular thing.

3 game physics are simplified... because they don't have the resources to be as elaborate as they want to be. again, the CPU shares it cycles among it's tasks.

4. that super high end GPU can DRAW more data to the screen like millions of pebbles, but it can make the millions of pebbles INTERACT... the CPU does that (but since it has to do OTHER things at the same time, it's more like thousands, or hundreds)... and later, the PPU.

5. game developers WILL support this. because of everything the PPU brings to the table. by having a dedicated physics engine, the CPU has more cycles to better calculate AI and other info, the physics can calculate the interaction of objects "bouncing" around. and with the CPU a little freed up, the CPU along with the PPU can provide more information to the GPU... of course requiring an even higher end GPU
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 06/05/05 12:17:22 AM]
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