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(ask) Ageia PhysX with PCI Express x1

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December 11, 2006 9:17:56 AM

Is there any plan that Ageia will release PhysX card with PCI Express x1 in 2007, PCI Xpress will give more bandwith
December 11, 2006 11:13:04 AM

I don't know if Ageia still developing this card since Nvidia releasing those GeForce 8 series which integrates Quantum Effects (similar as parallel processing as PhysX) and CUDA, so IMO, peoples prefer on buying "all-in-one" card that can "play" everything than PhysX card which only support some games and still need a separate GPU card.

But who knows ? Maybe they'll do some breakthrough and i hope they'll make a "boom"...
December 11, 2006 11:44:25 AM

The original Physx cards have the PCI connection on one side and the PCIe 1x on the other, you just flipped them around to install them either way. They've already developed it, so I simply cannot understand why they didn't release it that way.
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December 11, 2006 2:27:04 PM

Because the old PCI slot still has plenty of bandwidth for the data that card needs to move. Just like AGP 8x still hasn't been saturated by current games. At least not that I've ever heard of in the headlines.
December 11, 2006 2:40:52 PM

IMO, i would prefer save my budget for those 8 series card than PhysX card.
December 11, 2006 3:42:30 PM

AGP works because it is dedicated to only one card. PCI doesn't because PCI gets worse and worse the more cards are installed...
December 11, 2006 4:26:12 PM

I would not waste my money on physics card. If it would be something that revolutionizes gaming than by now everyone would have one. But i have not seen too many titles that actually takes advantage on it at all. And if that trend continues i rely on my new 8800 GTX card to handle that few titles physics requirements that are going to take advantage on it. If any. To me physics cards sounds like the new killer Network card that reduces lag and latency for $260 US and actually the card is useless. You barely gain anything with it. It is just another one of those lets make some money somewhere by slapping a made for gamers name on a piece of hardware. Again that's just my opinion, and i didn't mean to offend anybody with it.
December 11, 2006 4:29:49 PM

Ageia has already announced a PCI-E x1 version of the PhysX card.

On the success of the card, I think it'll start selling better when UT2007 comes out.

The board is already selling at $179.99 at newegg and you get a coupon for 3 games (Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, Bet on Soldier: Blood of Sahara and City of Villains), which add about $100 value. And more games are coming out that uses it.

About G80 physics, will the budget and mid-level cards have it? The GTX and GTS are high-end models and quite expensive, unless the 8200 - 8600 can play physics without affecting the graphics portion, I doubt that this solution will work very well.
December 11, 2006 4:36:00 PM

I think physics is a great idea, but first gen just about everything do poorly. I'll wait it out till a real format is decided on. Just like the issue with HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, it's not important to me right now, maybe it will be in 2 years or so...
December 11, 2006 4:42:55 PM

Quote:
I think physics is a great idea, but first gen just about everything do poorly. I'll wait it out till a real format is decided on. Just like the issue with HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, it's not important to me right now, maybe it will be in 2 years or so...


I agree physics is an awesome idea i just wish more developers take advantage on it because as it is now it seems just like another way of wasting money on hardware that never going to be used by software titles. Other than those few thats out there now. Physics cards are on the market for a while now that game developers could have take advantage on them if they really wanted to. I hope Vista and DX10 will change that around a bit and we will see some titles that will really use physics, and will make such a radical difference so people will want to get those physics cards because there will be a reason why.
December 11, 2006 4:45:09 PM

Ageia = Failure, don't bother wasting any money on anything Ageia releases.

Nvidia & ATI are going to take the physx market and do a much much better job and have much much more support.
December 11, 2006 5:47:10 PM

Quote:
Ageia = Failure, don't bother wasting any money on anything Ageia releases.

Nvidia & ATI are going to take the physx market and do a much much better job and have much much more support.


Will they? Don't you think it's still too soon to say that? UT2007 isn't even out (and it uses PhysX as it's physics engine, and, well it may attract a lot of buyers to buy Ageia's board, which is already being sold at 179.99 and probably will sell even cheaper soon), and noone has seen any support to Nvidia's or ATi solutions (actually, I'd like to see their solutions working on a game)...I'd wait a bit longer before stating such things.
December 11, 2006 5:49:47 PM

Developers have no choice but to support Nvidia and Ati/Amd. The problem with physics is much like what 3dfx had to go through when they brought the first GPU (gamer's GPU anyway) to market. It's chicken or the egg, all over again. If you want to sell to the most people, you do go down to a lower (not lowest, Intel's IGP FTL...) denomenator, and that kicks the idea to the curb until it's more mainstream, giving those already with good position (those making GPU's currently) even more leverage than they already had.
December 11, 2006 6:03:18 PM

Quote:
Developers have no choice but to support Nvidia and Ati/Amd. The problem with physics is much like what 3dfx had to go through when they brought the first GPU (gamer's GPU anyway) to market. It's chicken or the egg, all over again. If you want to sell to the most people, you do go down to a lower (not lowest, Intel's IGP FTL...) denomenator, and that kicks the idea to the curb until it's more mainstream, giving those already with good position (those making GPU's currently) even more leverage than they already had.


Well, I don't see it this way...after all, ATi has no working solution on the market and Nvidia's solution is a $550-$700 solution which only enthusiasts will buy. And I would rather wait for both compnies to have afordable physics solution before calling a winner here (want to see how a 8200 or a 8600 will fare with physics and graphics at the same time and also see the pricing on the physX by the time those cards are out).
December 11, 2006 6:22:59 PM

I'm not calling any side a "winner." Just pointing out the difficulties and strengths the different components have. I think ATI has the advantage on things once their 2xxx series cars are out, but that's just my opinion.
December 11, 2006 6:32:43 PM

Neither ATI/AMD or nvidia seem to be working on a physics engine, so my guess is they're waiting on either havok fx to pick up or microsoft to make a decision on direct physics. Since havok fx doesn't seem to have any support, that leaves ageia all alone in the hardware accelerated physics market. Since they're giving their SDK to anyone who pledges support for the PPU, I see many a small firm choosing ageia to save some money now that the PPU has dropped to a more reasonable price.

For the PPU, you have a product that has no timeframe or replacement in development. Sure ageia is allowing their partners to finally make 1x PCIe boards, but there's not really a need for them or any physx card yet since there's nothing physx specific about the physx card (the entire physx engine exists in software and certain calculations are offloaded to the physx card). But, in the end the entire venture hinges on next gen consoles.

Though neither the ps3 or 360 posess a PPU, ageia has "certified" them to be able to fully support their physx software thanks to their abundance of computing power. With unreal engine 3 making use of physx and a popular game called gears of war making good use of unreal engine 3, the PPU could be 1 port away from popularity.

Finally, don't bring GRAW into this. It's a craptastically programed game that uses both havok and physx simultaneously, doubling the CPU requirement when the physx card is present. A good example is city of villans because it only uses the physx engine and sees a large performance boost from the PPU.

Just my $0.02
December 11, 2006 6:45:20 PM

Quote:
Neither ATI/AMD or nvidia seem to be working on a physics engine


If ATI's current hardware can do Folding @ Home so well, it's only a hop, skip, and a jump to Physics acceleration.
December 11, 2006 6:46:34 PM

Quote:

Finally, don't bring GRAW into this. It's a craptastically programed game that uses both havok and physx simultaneously, doubling the CPU requirement when the physx card is present.


Actually GRAW was so far the best game released that uses any kind of phisics card. The online play at least is a lot of fun. I don't even want to hear about Bet On Soldier. That was a pile of crap.
December 11, 2006 7:08:57 PM

Quote:

Finally, don't bring GRAW into this. It's a craptastically programed game that uses both havok and physx simultaneously, doubling the CPU requirement when the physx card is present.


Actually GRAW was so far the best game released that uses any kind of phisics card. The online play at least is a lot of fun. I don't even want to hear about Bet On Soldier. That was a pile of crap.

I'm not saying graw wasn't a good game, just that it's performance with the physx card was less than spectacular. It stinks of physx being tacked on at the end.

Quote:
Neither ATI/AMD or nvidia seem to be working on a physics engine


If ATI's current hardware can do Folding @ Home so well, it's only a hop, skip, and a jump to Physics acceleration.

It's not that ATI/AMD and nvidia's next gen video cards can't do physics, just no one seems to be taking advantage of that capabillity.
December 11, 2006 7:17:05 PM

Quote:
It's not that ATI/AMD and nvidia's next gen video cards can't do physics, just no one seems to be taking advantage of that capabillity.


No one's taking advantage of Nvida's, ATI's, or Ageia's, and heck, four cores can do some physics without needing a GPU, although not nearly as well as the other options.
December 11, 2006 7:23:04 PM

I remember ageia saying physx won't benefit much from pci-e. It can't use that much bandwidth, the techs just not that good. If they where smart they would make a card that uses system mem like hypercashe does and sell the card for $100 or less. The only chance they have is if they cut the price or integrate on to the motherboard. They should beg someone to buy them and do something good with there ideas.
December 11, 2006 7:25:18 PM

It's not just a bandwidth issue, it's also a latency issue. Latency can kill framerates pretty fast, that's why you don't see GPU's with real slow Ram.
a b U Graphics card
December 11, 2006 7:46:39 PM

Quote:
Ageia = Failure, don't bother wasting any money on anything Ageia releases.

Nvidia & ATI are going to take the physx market and do a much much better job and have much much more support.


agreed there, nvidia and ati will give multiple generations and mainstream the idea with more frequent driver updates.
December 11, 2006 10:28:04 PM

what always bugged me was that ageias so tight lipped about specs. Who really knows what this thing can do. From what if heard the card makers have put stuff on it the core can't fully use just so it looks better, Like ddr3 [do you remember the 256mb cards that got pulled] and now pci-e. I think there coming out with pci-e at the beginning of next year. I hope some of the games that are exclusively physx will switch to a more open physic engine. Because cellfator looks killer.
December 11, 2006 10:49:28 PM

Quote:
Ageia = Failure, don't bother wasting any money on anything Ageia releases.

Nvidia & ATI are going to take the physx market and do a much much better job and have much much more support.


Will they? Don't you think it's still too soon to say that? UT2007 isn't even out (and it uses PhysX as it's physics engine, and, well it may attract a lot of buyers to buy Ageia's board, which is already being sold at 179.99 and probably will sell even cheaper soon), and noone has seen any support to Nvidia's or ATi solutions (actually, I'd like to see their solutions working on a game)...I'd wait a bit longer before stating such things.

If UT2007 came out and it needed (or liked) a PhysX card wouldn't that drive up prices as more people bought them?
December 11, 2006 10:53:22 PM

Quote:
what always bugged me was that ageias so tight lipped about specs. Who really knows what this thing can do. From what if heard the card makers have put stuff on it the core can't fully use just so it looks better, Like ddr3 [do you remember the 256mb cards that got pulled] and now pci-e. I think there coming out with pci-e at the beginning of next year. I hope some of the games that are exclusively physx will switch to a more open physic engine. Because cellfator looks killer.


Well, I think PhysX has a lot of potential. For starters, there're the Unreal 2007 Engine and Eclipse Engine (from Bioware), which should gather some interesting games using PhysX (there's already Robot Blitz, made using the Unreal engine). Also, Autodesk has added PhysX to 3d Studio Max. So I wouldn't say there's not support for the PhysX Engine.
December 11, 2006 10:57:25 PM

Quote:
If UT2007 came out and it needed (or liked) a PhysX card wouldn't that drive up prices as more people bought them?


Don't think so, only if they couldn't replenish the market. Usually, the more you produce, the cheaper the cost of production, so the less expensive it is, and usually this price drop is taken to the end-user as well.
December 11, 2006 11:08:59 PM

Quote:
what always bugged me was that ageias so tight lipped about specs. Who really knows what this thing can do. From what if heard the card makers have put stuff on it the core can't fully use just so it looks better, Like ddr3 [do you remember the 256mb cards that got pulled] and now pci-e. I think there coming out with pci-e at the beginning of next year. I hope some of the games that are exclusively physx will switch to a more open physic engine. Because cellfator looks killer.


AFAIK, the physx card is nothing but a generic floating point processor. The physx engine exists entirely in software, with the PPU being used to offload simple physics computations from the CPU. Asuming you have a powerful enough CPU, you could enable all the PPU specific features and get the same result. This is how the 360 and ps3 are capable of doing physics that a pc couldn't do without a PPU.
December 11, 2006 11:55:21 PM

I'm not saying theres no support for it, The amount of support is what scares me. I don't want to have to buy one to play the new games. It's not that I'm apposed to buying new gear. I'm apposed to buying over priced low grade hardware when theres better stuff out. From every review I've seen the ageia doesn't have much under the hood. When put up against gpu power it looks rather sad. I would really like to see ageia succeed but I can't justify spending $200 on something that uses Dx8 graphic card tech. If they can get on some motherboards or really improve the ppu then they may have a chance but I think the big players are going to crush them before the 2nd gen comes out. At least they got the ball rolling for physics and you have to respect that.
December 12, 2006 9:37:58 AM

Quote:
what always bugged me was that ageias so tight lipped about specs. Who really knows what this thing can do. From what if heard the card makers have put stuff on it the core can't fully use just so it looks better, Like ddr3 [do you remember the 256mb cards that got pulled] and now pci-e. I think there coming out with pci-e at the beginning of next year. I hope some of the games that are exclusively physx will switch to a more open physic engine. Because cellfator looks killer.


AFAIK, the physx card is nothing but a generic floating point processor. The physx engine exists entirely in software, with the PPU being used to offload simple physics computations from the CPU. Asuming you have a powerful enough CPU, you could enable all the PPU specific features and get the same result. This is how the 360 and ps3 are capable of doing physics that a pc couldn't do without a PPU.

According to game developers, both A64 and C2D are much more power than either the 360 or PS3 processors, which are based on PowerMac design.
December 12, 2006 9:58:19 AM

Quote:
I'm not saying theres no support for it, The amount of support is what scares me. I don't want to have to buy one to play the new games. It's not that I'm apposed to buying new gear. I'm apposed to buying over priced low grade hardware when theres better stuff out. From every review I've seen the ageia doesn't have much under the hood. When put up against gpu power it looks rather sad. I would really like to see ageia succeed but I can't justify spending $200 on something that uses Dx8 graphic card tech. If they can get on some motherboards or really improve the ppu then they may have a chance but I think the big players are going to crush them before the 2nd gen comes out. At least they got the ball rolling for physics and you have to respect that.


I see your point, but the problem is that most reviews of PhysX have to be interpreted right, which they weren't. First they compared FPS of systems with a PhysX and without, and then criticized the fact that FPS went down...that would be obvious, as, with the PhysX there's more things to be rendered by the graphics cards at any time, just take the Cell Factor demo for instance, there're a lot of things happening at the screen, all of which are PPU calculated, but the GPU must render them, as it's it job, so if you got more details on the screen your FPS will go down (and even then, there has been some driver updates that have improved this situation).

The second issue I think is wrong in reviews is that they say that gpu physics will have better results, but they have no tangible facts to make such statements...until I see any gpu physics working I won't defend it. Then there's the Folding @ Home project (which I'm not much familiar with). From what I read, the Geforce boards were really bad for doing this, but ATi was good. Haven't heard anything on the G80 being used to it yet, so this is something to take a look.

On pricing, if the only gpus with power to do physics witout hampering the system are the high end, then you have to think if it's worth paying 500 dollars on a G80 or R600 for physics or 400 on x1900 on the gpu side or paying less than 200 on a PhysX.

Also, I'd like to see some game that can use the 3 implementations on physics (and even a 4th on multi-core processors) so we can compare how well they fare and how gpu physics will impact on graphics performance and how it compares to physX, both on performance and what it is doing in the game.
December 12, 2006 10:49:40 AM

Quote:
what always bugged me was that ageias so tight lipped about specs. Who really knows what this thing can do. From what if heard the card makers have put stuff on it the core can't fully use just so it looks better, Like ddr3 [do you remember the 256mb cards that got pulled] and now pci-e. I think there coming out with pci-e at the beginning of next year. I hope some of the games that are exclusively physx will switch to a more open physic engine. Because cellfator looks killer.


AFAIK, the physx card is nothing but a generic floating point processor. The physx engine exists entirely in software, with the PPU being used to offload simple physics computations from the CPU. Asuming you have a powerful enough CPU, you could enable all the PPU specific features and get the same result. This is how the 360 and ps3 are capable of doing physics that a pc couldn't do without a PPU.

According to game developers, both A64 and C2D are much more power than either the 360 or PS3 processors, which are based on PowerMac design.

lol. no, they are not based on "PowerMac design". They are both custom and very different from the PowerPc procs in the Mac (although they ARE IBM PPC cores :p ) Do you have a link to that information by any chance?
December 12, 2006 11:23:47 AM

Quote:


lol. no, they are not based on "PowerMac design". They are both custom and very different from the PowerPc procs in the Mac (although they ARE IBM PPC cores :p ) Do you have a link to that information by any chance?


Yeah, I meant PowerPC... sorry for the confusion :p 

The Cell is a PowerPC processor working with 8 SPE (smaller processors) and an integrated XDR controller.

The Xenos (Xbox 360) is a 3-core PowerPC based processor (note that it isn't a PowerPC, but its design is derived from a it).

I have seen this in some stories, but I'll look at it again, don't remember if I've seen this at dailytech or firingsquad (it was a few weeks ago). Once I find them I'll add the links.
December 12, 2006 1:42:10 PM

Those 8 small cores give the cell processor raw power of 10 core duo processors (~240GFLOPs).
Together with a gpu the ps3 system has the computational capability of 2 TFLOPs. Thats almost enough to fit in the top500 supercomputer list.
If sonys promises to make it an open platform will truly come true, it could become very interesting.
December 12, 2006 2:20:35 PM

Quote:
Those 8 small cores give the cell processor raw power of 10 core duo processors (~240GFLOPs).
Together with a gpu the ps3 system has the computational capability of 2 TFLOPs. Thats almost enough to fit in the top500 supercomputer list.
If sonys promises to make it an open platform will truly come true, it could become very interesting.


The ps3's only using 7 of the 8 spe's to improve yields and only 6 are used for gaming. Even then, the spe's give it plenty of vector power, but don't lend themselves to general purpose computing very well. This is why the ps3 is much harder to code for than the 360.

Also, cell as it exists in the ps3 has maybe 140-160 accessable gflops for gaming, down from the 218 sony says. But, there's no way a tweaked G70 or G71 can crank out 1.8 tflops of computing power when it's desktop counterparts have maybe 350 gflops and only slightly fewer transistors. In the entire ps3, you have 500-600 gflops of measureable computing power, or roughly the same as the 360.

Also, you need slightly less than 3 measured tflops (not theoretical) to make the top 500.

Quote:
According to game developers, both A64 and C2D are much more power than either the 360 or PS3 processors, which are based on PowerMac design.


But, as for the CPU power of either the ps3 or 360 being less than a desktop chip isn't entirely true. From a strictly hardware standpoint, yes a good desktop chip could spank either CPU easily. But since both cell and xenos are operating in a fixed environment, proper coding can more than overcome the shortcommings of either chip. Either console is easily capable of doing nearly what the physx card is capable of.
December 12, 2006 2:46:18 PM

I still think a bigger problem is just FIXING the physics. Before having more physics objects. The same old problems of object interaction for 10 years are still around. Even in Oblivion, I see the shield going through other objects and objects sit in unnatural positions.
December 12, 2006 3:32:13 PM

Quote:
Those 8 small cores give the cell processor raw power of 10 core duo processors (~240GFLOPs).
Together with a gpu the ps3 system has the computational capability of 2 TFLOPs. Thats almost enough to fit in the top500 supercomputer list.
If sonys promises to make it an open platform will truly come true, it could become very interesting.


The ps3's only using 7 of the 8 spe's to improve yields and only 6 are used for gaming. Even then, the spe's give it plenty of vector power, but don't lend themselves to general purpose computing very well. This is why the ps3 is much harder to code for than the 360.

Also, cell as it exists in the ps3 has maybe 140-160 accessable gflops for gaming, down from the 218 sony says. But, there's no way a tweaked G70 or G71 can crank out 1.8 tflops of computing power when it's desktop counterparts have maybe 350 gflops and only slightly fewer transistors. In the entire ps3, you have 500-600 gflops of measureable computing power, or roughly the same as the 360.

Also, you need slightly less than 3 measured tflops (not theoretical) to make the top 500.

Quote:
According to game developers, both A64 and C2D are much more power than either the 360 or PS3 processors, which are based on PowerMac design.


But, as for the CPU power of either the ps3 or 360 being less than a desktop chip isn't entirely true. From a strictly hardware standpoint, yes a good desktop chip could spank either CPU easily. But since both cell and xenos are operating in a fixed environment, proper coding can more than overcome the shortcommings of either chip. Either console is easily capable of doing nearly what the physx card is capable of.

Yes, but I wasn't comparing the whole plataforms to the pc, and yes the processors only. I know they have the advantage of a fixed environment, which will let developers explore it to it's maximum and have fantastic graphics, in spite of the pc plataform which is a mess of configurations (altough dx10 and windows vista should make developing games much easier and isolate the hardware from the development).
December 13, 2006 4:40:32 AM

Quote:
The original Physx cards have the PCI connection on one side and the PCIe 1x on the other, you just flipped them around to install them either way. They've already developed it, so I simply cannot understand why they didn't release it that way.


Where in the hell did you hear/see that? How would the card fit properly into the case? Think about it...
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