CHW's interview with Ageia.


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edit: Never mind, here is the entire interview...

We got the oportunity to interview AGEIA, the manufacturer behind the first specialized physics calculation card. In the following article you will see what is AGEIA planning on subjects like their PPU technology, Windows Vista, Overclocking, all of this from the CEO itself, Many Hedge.

Why does Ageia think people should buy their physics card with solutions like AMD or NVIDIA Havoc support using a second or third video card on the horizon?

CPUs and GPUs cannot do physics at the feature diversity, scale and performance than the PPU can. In addition as games push the amount of physics in a game, the rendering load and the AI load on the GPU and CPU (the other legs of the gaming power triangle) respectively increase. So, for a game to show off the best physics, one that has the necessary fidelity, scale, interaction and sophistication for a compelling experience, a PPU is absolutely necessary.

What is the status on support for actual game titles and upcoming titles?

We have been working with a number of game engines and AAA titles based on them. In 2007 there will be several titles using the PPU. The ones to watch for and which use physics in a very compelling way in the immediate future are Cellfactor: Revolution and Warmonger: Operation Downtown Destruction.

There are several games that exploit the capabilities offered by the AGEIA PhysX card. How much of the processing power of the PPU is actually used by these games? Do you think you will have to release faster cards soon? Or the current level of performance is enough compared with existing and near future video cards, processors and

Depending on the game only a small portion of the PhysX card is used. The physics used is often peaky and in the next wave of games there will be a more prevalent use of physics. As a fables semiconductor company AGEIA is working on next generation processors and will announce them
when the market is ready for them.

How does your PPU work under Vista and the new API DirectX10

PhysX is fully compatible with Vista and DirectX10. DirectX 10 is a pure graphics API, which requires very high performance graphics chips to fully exploit its full potential, this makes Vista and Direct10 systems perfect for PhysX accelerators - enabling realistic graphical rendering of leading edge PhysX enabled games.

Are there Windows Vista drivers available right now?

We have had VISTA drivers available for download some months before the launch of Vista.

Do you have drivers for Linux? Mac OSX?

We have drivers for some ports of Linux. Currently we do not have hardware PhysX support under Mac OSX.

Will you give the possibility to Overclock your Physx card? What are your feelings about overclocking?

The value of overclocking cards depends on where the bottlenecks in the games are. There are currently no games shipping in which hardware accelerated PhysX is the bottleneck, by design. Physics simulation is critical to the realism of the game and great care is taken in our software and hardware to prevent any negative impact to the overall performance and experience. Some PhysX benchmarks could show benefit of increased performance - that's about all.

Do you plan to support two or more card working in parallel?


Can your PPU make other GPGPU kind of calculation?

The PPU can be used for accelerating other calculations in scientific, engineering and financial applications such as DCC, video encoding/decoding, financial options pricing, CAD applications, medical imaging etc. We are working with partners on each of these applications

If so do you have a software in development like NVIDIAs CUDA that lets you program in C to run GPGPU on G80?


Do you have plans or is it possible to use PPU on mobile devices?


Do you have plans on working with AMD, NVIDIA or Intel to integrate you PPU chip on other devices?

We are engaged in talks with these and other partners to integrate the PPU on other devices.

Are you planning to release more models of physics cards, like mid range or low end cards, that are less expensive?

Currently we have one model of the PhysX card being shipped. As the game developers become more sophisticated in the use of physics in games, we envision a spectrum of PhysX offerings.

Now that Cebit is coming really soon, do you have teasers for us?

Two words: CellFactor, Warmonger. BE THERE!
5 answers Last reply
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  1. The only problem is they don't stand a chance against AMD and nVidia. He mentions that GPU's don't have the diversity of PPU's. I disagree. A prime example of this is CUDA. It's too bad because Ageia has a lot of enthusiasm for their product. And they are working hard to make it better.

    For our sake I hope they're successful. But I'm not counting on it...
  2. To me personally, I do hope all of us able
    to build ourselves a nice system with multi-physics capabilities.
    One problem I don't like with Nvidia's approach at physic is you need
    3 cards. Imagine 3 8800GTX and the power requirement it needs. 8O
    And not only that If I do then I would like to have a free PCI slot for
    my sound card!
  3. Who said you need 3 cards?

    Both ATi and nV have said it's fine to use two cards, and they don't even need to be the same. You could have a GF8800GTS/R600 for graphics and then a mid-range or less for physics.

    I think Ageia is doomed, but perhaps they can license their IP to the others, which seems to be the path they are exploring with these talks with the others.
  4. Is it just me or does this phrase;

    "The value of overclocking cards depends on where the bottlenecks in the games are. There are currently no games shipping in which hardware accelerated PhysX is the bottleneck, by design. "

    make you think one of two things is bunk;

    a) the PCI slot wasn't what was holding the PhysX cards back, unlike most people's speculation with regards to PCIe?


    b) they built in a limit into the apps because of the bottleneck, until they can add more power and throughput?
  5. good questions. i happen to think the bottleneck was a combination of drivers and PCI.

    i don't really understand why they chose to go the PCI route instead of PCIe. people who buy those cards already have the latest and greatest... so PCIe is given.

    who knows?
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