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Nvidia Supports ATI Radeon PhysX Efforts

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 31 comments

Mountain House (CA) - You gotta love this industry. 12 days ago, we reported about a website making progress in getting Nvidia’s CUDA platform and PhysX to run on ATI Radeon cards, which Nvidia denied would be possible. Some even claimed that such a tool was a planned hoax. Now we are told that developer Eran Badit has not only been invited to join Nvidia’s developer program, but has also been offered hands-on help. Here is an update to a fascinating story that may soon bring PhysX support to your Radeon graphics card.

Nehalem X58 4850

Eran Badit editor-in-chief of posted an update to the events of last week. He confirmed that he is receiving support from Nvidia to get PhysX to run on ATI cards. "It’s very impressive, inspiring and motivating to see Nvidia’s view on this," he wrote. He believes that Nvidia most likely wants to "take on Intel with CUDA and to deal with the latest Havok threat from both AMD and Intel."

He also noted that he made progress getting his hands on a Radeon 4800 card and noted that his CUDA Radeon library is "almost done." Badit said that "there are some issues that need to be addressed, since adding Radeon support in CUDA isn’t a big deal - but it’s not enough! We also need to add CUDA support on AMD’s driver level and its being addressed as we speak."

The tone at Nvidia has changed quite a bit over the past week. It appears that Nvidia does not mind running PhysX on ATI Radeon (or just about any other GPU) cards. In fact, Nvidia has opened access to Developer Relations and is providing assistance to Badit, including access to documentation, SDKs and more importantly, hardware and actual engineers. In the end, if Badit could get PhysX to run on Radeon cards, the PhysX reach would be extended dramatically and Nvidia would not be exposed to any fishy business claims - since a third party developer is leading the effort.

We contacted Nvidia for a statement and received the following note from Roy Taylor, vice president of developer relations:

"Eran and I have been talking via email and we have invited him to join NVIDIA’s registered developer program. We are delighted at his interests in CUDA and in GPU accelerated physics using PhysX. Eran joins a long line of developers who are now working on using the GPU to run physics and who are doing so with the world’s leading physics software — PhysX. "

Derek Perez, who is in charge of Nvidia’s PR department joined Taylor with this statement:

"We’ll help any and all developers that are using CUDA. That includes tools... documentation... and hands on help. We’re delighted with the interest in CUDA and PhysX; and that includes the news on"

Eran told us that he needs support from AMD as to get the utility developed and compatible with the ATI Radeon 2900, 3800 and 4800 series of graphics cards. According to Badit, it took AMD seven days to respond and send the requested documents. We also asked AMD for comment, but have not received a reply so far. As soon as we receive a comment from AMD, we will update this article.

We are in touch with Badit and as soon as we receive a PhysX_on_AMD run-time we can use we will provide you an update. At least right now it appears that one guy from Israel is changing the face of GPU-accelerated physics, giving developers a choice what physics API to use for next-gen gaming titles.

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  • 0 Hide
    one-shot , July 8, 2008 4:33 PM
  • -7 Hide
    blackened144 , July 8, 2008 4:40 PM
    Im not trying to flamebait here, but I wonder how AMD would respond if it was the other way around?
  • 0 Hide
    eklipz330 , July 8, 2008 4:52 PM
    this is pretty amazing... i wonder whats gonna happen with the HAVOK physics now...
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , July 8, 2008 5:25 PM
    ^ exactly.. havoc is owned by intel and nvidia is taking all steps necessary to make intels trip into the gpu world as hard as possible
  • 0 Hide
    Niva , July 8, 2008 5:47 PM
    Good move by nVidia!
  • -2 Hide
    agentvertigo , July 8, 2008 5:55 PM
    I hope Badit is getting serious pay, cuz messing around such heavy politics could cost him way more than he's getting. Nvidia loves him for showing up the blue and green teams. But big blue(not IBM) in turn could screw him over, and he won't know it. Sometimes being the nice know-it-all does'nt pay off. I'd rather get payed for chopping my own hand off, than be called brave and adventurous. Is that last word spelled ok?
  • 2 Hide
    garydale , July 8, 2008 6:27 PM
    This is something where FOSS makes a lot of sense. NVidia and AMD/ATI can have their own way of doing things, but if they open up the interfaces, then each API can compete and let the market decide. Moreover, it opens the possibility that smaller hardware vendors can enter the market with their own processors without having to build a full-fledged software system around them.

    Hopefully AMD, which has been fairly supportive of the FOSS community, will give Badit support too. I'd like to see AMD/ATI software work on NVidia cards too.
  • 3 Hide
    blackwidow_rsa , July 8, 2008 6:27 PM
    Don't you think nvidia is only doing this so that physx can get more developer support and push out havoc in the industry? I'm not complaining, intel already has too large a foothold in the electronics market.
  • 6 Hide
    aevm , July 8, 2008 6:31 PM
    Works for me. If both ATI and nVidia support PhysX then game developers will be a lot more likely to use it. This is good for everybody - ATI. nVidia, game companies, gamers.
  • 1 Hide
    cliffro , July 8, 2008 7:04 PM
    aevmWorks for me. If both ATI and nVidia support PhysX then game developers will be a lot more likely to use it. This is good for everybody - ATI. nVidia, game companies, gamers.

  • 1 Hide
    goonting , July 8, 2008 8:20 PM
    but dont you think having PhysX solely will make things more expensive in the long term?
  • 3 Hide
    aevm , July 8, 2008 8:44 PM
    Well, it's not a monopoly situation IMO. Anybody can live without PhysX support, so prices will have to be reasonable or the thing won't sell.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , July 8, 2008 8:46 PM
    sounds like the directx and openGL war all over again. Amd would be stupid to fight this. With the 4870 at the price point that its at, and being able to run both the havok and physX API. I can see lots of sales coming from this deal. also this just might make intel's venture into the gpu market that much harder.
  • 2 Hide
    invlem , July 8, 2008 9:02 PM
    Not a bad move on nVidia's part, they're looking at the future.

    Even if they lose out to ATi this current graphics generation, they know full well they can come back again next generation with a competitive product.

    The problem is Intel, if Intel manages to cut nVidia out of a large proportion of the physics acceleration market right now, they'll have an easier time pushing havoc when larabee shows up. By allowing ATi cards to run physx, nVidia has just opened 100% of the gaming community to physx accelerated gaming. .

    It doesn't take long for gaming developers to jump on new technology... If they know that everyone will have that tech in their systems of course.
  • 2 Hide
    bf2gameplaya , July 8, 2008 10:42 PM
    As a gamer I am happy with Havok, it doesn't make my games run any worse and I have come to expect rag-doll physics. Some of the most unexpectedly fun game experiences have been with Havok'ed corpses..Far Cry, Oblivion.

    PhysX has had no meaningful game insertion yet, let alone hundreds of Havok titles. Also the technology may be fundamentally flawed for on-line play: Try transmitting all that gamestate data over your internet connection.

    Until we have magic internet, PhysX will be limited to single play or small 2 man matches on a LAN.

    Good luck PhysX, you have your work cut out for you if you wish to overtake Havok.
  • -1 Hide
    harrycat88 , July 9, 2008 1:06 AM
    I don't think it's a good ideal for AMD to jump on the PhysX bandwagon so quick. Since Intel has such a foot hold on CPU sells, all Intel would have to do was lower the prices on the CPU's and that would put the hurt on AMD's CPU market share to the point they would go so fare in debt that they couldn't recover from it.
  • 1 Hide
    master9716 , July 9, 2008 1:07 AM
    I dont think you guys understand how shocking this has to be ! lol. Nvidia payed a lot of money to buy Physx. Now If crysis ran on physx lower end cards would also run it smoother . Heres the big part. IF BOTH ATI AND NVIDA RUN PHYSX THEN MOST DEVELOPERS WOULD PROBABLY JUMP ON THE BANDWAGON . So much for Valves super elite multicore particle engine.
  • 0 Hide
    master9716 , July 9, 2008 1:09 AM
    Bad part is that no one would care what cpu they have if everyone runs on physx wich your right might hurt AMD . Hmmmm what is Nvida planing the death of AMD? wow this is a good conspiracy going on
  • -1 Hide
    doomsdaydave11 , July 9, 2008 3:06 AM
    I smell foul play...
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , July 9, 2008 3:37 AM
    this smells fishy
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