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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.


New-generation Ageia physics accelerator card. Image from Newhua web-site

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.


New-generation Ageia physics accelerator card. Image from Newhua web-site

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.


New-generation Ageia physics processing unit. Image from Newhua web-site

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.

Discussion

Comments currently: 18
Discussion started: 08/30/07 04:32:38 PM
Latest comment: 01/26/08 08:01:38 PM
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1. 
Oh yeah . . . more crap to fill up most needed PCI slots. Good God, I wish this company could stop putting this useless crap out onto the market. A very small amount of gamers actually have bought this thing and current/next gen GPU's can already do physics calculations; saving users a slot.

Furthermore, hardly any games support it and those that do, don't take full advantage of it. GPU based physics processing is really the best, most cost effective, and most intelligent move to do.

I hope that this PhysX crap burns in the market.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 08/30/07 04:32:38 PM]
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CPU-based physics processing is the best, most cost effective, and most intelligent move to make.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 08/30/07 05:02:48 PM]
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Not quite right.

CPU-based approach is NOT the "best". (as in pure performance. A CPU is a general processor, its highly inefficient for specific tasks...ie: "Jack of all trades, master of none"). Heck, GPU-based approach does a FAR better job!

But CPU approach IS the most cost effective to develop on and sell to the consumer. No one wants to buy something that offers little improvement to their computing experience. (And I know we've all experienced this one time or another in our lives!).

The biggest problem for AEGIA is that software developers MUST write their games from the ground-up to fully take advantage of the hardware that AEGIA provides.

PhysX Accelerators don't work well (offer minimal benefit) when support is merely slapped on as a afterthought. Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter is a clear example of this.

Game developers can't do that. They can't tie themselves to a specific SDK too heavily. They must stay flexible while meeting deadlines and supporting other platforms (consoles, etc) to maximise profit.

I understand what AEGIA is trying to do, but wouldn't this capability be better off licensed to chipset providers such that physics acceleration is included with motherboards?

Why not have a Cell processor in PCI or PCI-Express form? Will that be good for physics acceleration? This way, you can have a programmable solution that has versatility and flexibility. (It isn't single purpose and can be easily adopted for other roles).
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 08/30/07 05:48:42 PM]
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2. 
The logo on this card looks uncannily like an nVidia logo.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 08/30/07 08:20:25 PM]
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You're right. It does look like an Nvidia cooler. And why would it need a PCI-E slot? And why the hell does it have an SLI connector? Multiple PPU's? Yeah right, that what I'm gonna do with the few slot I have on my MB. Put 2 PPU's in 'em. If this thing is real I'm never buying a PhysX card again. My current one doesn't even do much.

This has got to be either fake OR the dumbest idea since the Bigfoot networks Killer NIC.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 08/31/07 10:34:24 AM]
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3. 
Almost looks like a shopped video card >.>

And who came on the processor?
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 08/30/07 08:27:08 PM]
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