What's Next in Graphics Cards: Integrated Physics Processors

Illustration for article titled Whats Next in Graphics Cards: Integrated Physics Processors

We suspected this, but now it's clear that NVIDIA's end game when it picked up PhysX-maker AGEIA was to integrate physics processors into graphics cards. Right now, they're porting the PhysX engine over to run on GeForce 8s, and it'll be a simple software download, bringing some additional physics-crunching juice to current cards. The next step is a GPU with an onboard specialized physics processor.

For one, AGEIA's standalone PhysX cards haven't really broken into the mainstream computing. Throwing their chips onto NVIDIA's graphics cards would push adoption, and by Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang's reasoning,

"encourage people to buy even better GPUs. It might—and probably will—encourage people to buy a second GPU for their SLI slot. And for the highest-end gamer, it will encourage them to buy three GPUs. Potentially two for graphics and one for physics, or one for graphics and two for physics."

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So yeah, they're definitely coming. [Tech Report via digg]

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DISCUSSION

I am glad that NVidia snaped up Ageia, because that some great IP to have on the shelf.

But who really wants this? This is essentially a chicken-and-the-egg face-off. Developers won't write in some type of physics API until there is hardware support. Gamers are not going to dedicated card or a GFX card w/a dedicated PPU until the games appear.

This the whole reason why Ageia is being bought by NVidia...! Their single solution cards in most reviews did nothing even if they were using the patched or what few PPU-enabled game there were.

I have no objection of paying another $50 or up to $100 to have dedicated core for physics, or a discrete PPU on GFX card that accelerates ANY games physics performance.

Mr. Huang's reasoning is a little off kilter. This is not 1998 or 2000 when you can get away with a monster CPU and software rendering. You need a GPU to do complex rendering. You need a CPU to push the numbers. You don't need a PPU to push numbers, maybe a faster CPU... Especially if there's API for physics...

Now tell MS is adding something to DX11, and I'll start saving right now.