NVIDIA GPU physics almost ready

Posted on Tuesday, Apr 15 2008 @ 00:45 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
NVIDIA told analysts and the press last week that its port of AGEIA's technology to NVIDIA's CUDA platform is almost done. Basically this means everyone with a GeForce 8 or 9 series graphics card will soon be able to enjoy physics acceleration in games that support the AGEIA PhysX technology, the PhysX card will be replaced by a simple software download.
In order to demonstrate the physics horsepower of the GeForce 8800/9800 series, Hegde took aim at Intel's eight-core Nehalem particle demo, which can be seen in one of our IDF articles. Back in Shanghai for IDF Spring 2008, our own Humphrey Cheung filmed Intel's demo and a statement from Intel's engineer, who talked about the fact that CPUs could soon be strong enough so that you wouldn't need a GPU in the future. While Intel told us later on that the engineer's remarks did not reflect the company's opinion, the statement made waves at Nvidia and prompted the company to create a physics demo with 65,000 simulated particles.

While Intel's Nehalem demo had 50,000-60,000 particles and ran at 15-20 fps (without a GPU), the particle demo on a GeForce 9800 card resulted in 300 fps. If the very likely event that Nvidia's next-gen parts (G100: GT100/200) will double their shader units, this number could top 600 fps, meaning that Nehalem at 2.53 GHz is lagging 20-40x behind 2006/2007/2008 high-end GPU hardware. However, you can't ignore the fact that Nehalem in fact can run physics.

There was also a demonstration of cloth: A quad-core Intel Core 2 Extreme processor was working in 12 fps, while a GeForce 8800 GTS board resulted came in at 200 fps. Former Ageia employees did not compare it to Ageia's own PhysX card, but if we remember correctly, that demo ran at 150-180 fps on an Ageia card.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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