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After months of delays, Ageia Technologies, the developer of the world’s first dedicated processor for physics aimed at gamers, said that its PhysX add-in cards will be integrated into personal computers (PCs) from Alienware, Dell and Falcon Northwest shortly. Add-in boards featuring PhysX chips for channel market will be available in two months.

The move to sell its physics accelerators to several big customers allows Ageia to supply several thousands of its PhysX products before actual games that take advantage of them come out. Meanwhile, system makers are now able to create “future-proof” PCs that will be able to deliver advanced physics effects some time in future, when games that were developed with PhysX physics accelerators in mind are launched.

“Ageia is charting new territory by bringing dedicated physics hardware to market that delivers the real-time physics gameplay that gamers and developers alike have been clamoring for. With the PhysX accelerator board in these new PCs from Dell, Alienware and Falcon Northwest, gamers now have future-proof systems for a fast-growing library of great games that exploit their power,” said Manju Hegde, chief executive of Ageia.

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.

However, 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. Still, the company does not provide any guidance regarding availability of PhysX-supporting titles.

The cards based on the new Ageia PhysX processor were supposed to start sampling in Q3 2005, and emerge in retail in Q4 at the price between $249 and $299, it was revealed in 2005. Then it was said that the boards will hit the market in February, 2006. Now Ageia promises that Ageia PhysX accelerator add-in boards from Asus and BFG will be available in “wide distribution” in May of this year.


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