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Ageia Technologies, the world’s only designer of physics processing units (PPUs), has quietly slashed pricing of physics accelerators based on its PhysX PPU and also said Wednesday that during holiday season it would bundle $100 worth game along with every physics accelerator board.

From now on, when Asustek Computer’s and BFG Technologies’ physics accelerator boards are purchased from certain retailers - such as Mwave, Newegg and Zipzoomfly - they will include a special bundle that will contain three games: City of Villains, Bet on Soldier: Blood of Sahara and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, which combined value is $100, according to Ageia. In addition, the bundle will also include a demo of CellFactor: Combat Training, a prequel to the highly anticipated CellFactor: Revolution game to be released later this year.

All three games and the demo benefit from PhysX accelerator and by complimenting physics accelerator add-in cards by them, Ageia provides gamers an opportunity to enjoy advantages of PhysX right out of the box. Given that so far not a lot of games can utilize PPUs, giving end-users an evidence of PhysX technology benefits is crucial for Ageia’s short-term success.

“We want to provide the bundled entertainment experience that gamers crave. PhysX is the next chapter of gaming evolution. PhysX based games deliver an immersive experience that engages players like never before. These games are a great way to wet consumers’ appetites for what’s coming this holiday season,” said Michael Steele, vice president of marketing for Ageia.

Meanwhile, Ageia Technologies’ add-in card partners – Asustek and BFG – have quietly reduced pricing of the PhysX add-in cards with 128MB 733MHz GDDR3 memory designed for PCI bus to $179 - $249, down from $299 initially. Price reduction along with the enrichment of the product bundle should make the PhysX accelerators more appealing for customers.

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.


Comments currently: 6
Discussion started: 11/15/06 11:24:21 AM
Latest comment: 11/19/06 04:23:30 AM


Their product is technically inferior to 'Sh' and C+ being 'stream crunched' by GPUs, and made on an outdated die 'shrink'.

If it was 90 - 65 nm, and PCIe x1 - x4 (people who have, or rather had, an interest in Ageia PhysX mostly had PCIe x1-x4 slots) then it maybe, just maybe, could gain a market niché.

Here are the specs of a BFG assembled PhysX card:

>> Processor Type: AGEIA PhysX
>> Memory Interface: 128-bit GDDR3 Memory Architecture
>> Memory Capacity: 128MB
>> Peak Instruction Bandwidth: 20 Billion Instructions/sec
>> Sphere-Sphere Collisions/sec.: 530 Million Max
>> Convex-Convex (Complex) Collisions/sec.: 533,000 Max
>> Bus Technology: 32-bit PCI 2.3 (3.3v & 5v support)

Most PhysX cards use just 30 watts, and have 128 bit x 700 MHz memory, for apx 11.2 GB/sec peak throughput. The 30 watt limitition is PCI slot imposed really. They'd need to be able to use PCIe x16 slots to really get anywhere near 65+ watts without adding a molex power requirement.

Remember, PCIe x16 slots are the exclusive domain of Video Cards, currently dominated by ATI/AMD and nVidia. This is a key reason why Ageia PhysX will fail. As 500+ million transistor GPUs become more common, and 1+ billion transistor setups using SLI, ATI Crossfire, E&S systems, etc Ageia's 125 million transistors pales by comparison.

The Ageia PhysX PPU is built on a, now materials uncompetitive, 130 nm die process and consists of apx 125 million transistors. Usually, quite possibly exclusively, by TSMC.

Using the 32-bit PCI bus, at 33 MHz (often a shared bus) yields 133 MB/sec to/from host CPU (peak, typical will be far less).

I feel sorry for anyone who has invested in Ageia... although it was an obvious technical suicide almost from day one.

4 - 8 years ago such an idea wouldn't been OK, but AI acceleration / offloading is where it will be next, and that is something that even future GPUs will have a harder time offloading, assuming games scale depth and quantity of required AI processing. (Chicken & Egg scenario).
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 11/16/06 01:25:24 AM]


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