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Monday 10th March 2008

Nvidia offers PhysX support to AMD / ATI

Posted at: 4:28am 10th March 2008 by Ben Hardwidge

Nvidia confirms its commitment to making PhysX an open standard for everyone

Nvidia PhysX

After Nvidia’s CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang, said that Nvidia planned to provide PhysX support in CUDA, many people (including us) thought this meant that Nvidia planned to keep PhysX all to itself. However, the company has confirmed that it’s going to stick by its guns, by making PhysX a free API that’s available to anyone.

Nvidia’s director of product PR for EMEA and India, Luciano Alibrandi, told Custom PC that ‘We are committed to an open PhysX platform that encourages innovation and participation,’ and added that Nvidia would be ‘open to talking with any GPU vendor about support for their architecture.’

As well as this, Alibrandi also promised that the free PhysX SDK would continue to be available to game developers. ‘We plan to continue supporting all key gaming platforms, including the PC and all next-gen consoles, with free PhysX binaries,’ said Alibrandi. He also added that Nvidia planned to make this a ‘continually improving set of tools in an open development platform that encourages leading-edge partners to extend the PhysX eco-system.’

Nvidia is currently working on implementing PhysX into its CUDA language, which is supported by all GeForce 8-series GPUs. When this is ready to go, Alibrandi said that owners of these GPUs will ‘simply need to download the CUDA PhysX drivers from Nvidia,’ and that ‘hardware acceleration will then be transparently supported for applications making use of the PhysX SDK.’

Nvidia plans to support PhysX in a number of ways, and Alibrandi says that these ‘could include both single and SLI based options.’ He also confirmed that Nvidia’s relationship with Havok is now over, saying that ‘we are 100 per cent focused on enabling CUDA-based GPUs to accelerate PhysX processing.’

If you’re one of the rare owners of a PhysX card, then you’ll be pleased to know that Alibrandi also confirmed that Nvidia would ‘continue to support the PhysX processor as demand dictates,’ although he said that CUDA-enabled GPUs would ‘outperform the PPU,’ Interestingly, when we asked if Nvidia would finally reveal the details of the inside of the PhysX chip, he replied: ‘Maybe.’ Ageia was very secretive about the inner workings of the PhysX chip, and we’d love to know what was inside it.

Either way, it looks as though there’s hope for AMD / ATI getting a bite of the GPU PhysX pie after all; the guys at AMD just need to decide whether they want it.

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PhysX Hardware Description

What's the inside of the PhysX hardware look like? Basically, it's a lot like a Cell processor. http://www.blachford.info/computer/articles/PhysX1.html While this article is based on some older patents, how the chip is set up is basically the same. After digging through a good deal of the newer ones, I agree that the broad overview presented in this article are the same. While Ageia never officially confirmed that this is what the PhysX hardware looks like, all of their patents agree, and there have been some non-official confirmations.

Comment by cougar at 3:32pm 12th March 2008


intel wouldn't share it so that would render that worthless anyway...

Comment by NikoBellic at 4:22pm 11th March 2008

Well, I said it at the time and nobody listened. It would not be possibel for Nvidia to keep physis to thier own hardware when Intel have havok. Intel could have released thier own physics api and the public one would quikly become doinant, rendering nvidias investment worthless.

Comment by NotFred at 2:30pm 11th March 2008

So this will basiacally render my PhysX Card worthless as all my physx will be processed on the GPU!? That sucks and thats £100 down the drain. Still nice to know I can still have Physx though and I can take out the Physx card saving me some money on my electric bills.

Comment by CPC_RedDawn at 12:35pm 11th March 2008

It was garunteed to happen

i said before when Nvidia first bought out Physx that, if they wanted it to take off it would have to be available to all hardware manufacturers including ATI and if it is available to all HW manufacturers then game devs will start developing for it obviously

Comment by NikoBellic at 10:44pm 10th March 2008

expect something very strange happening this year 3 way fight ummmm i dont think so... someone is going down

Comment by megapig at 8:39pm 10th March 2008


Indeed, but think about how many poeple choose 1 GPU (or 2 ATI cards) because of the proven performance increase Intel chipsets provide. With nVidia pushing SLI and alot of decent GPU's being quite affordable (2 9600GT's or 8800GT's are a good alternative to a single, super expensive Ultra or GTX) they could provoke alot more people into going SLI if they allow us to use it with an Intel chipset mobo.

Comment by D_Cypher at 6:35pm 10th March 2008

Is this Nvidia's way of countering Intel and Havok? I suppose this move is designed to stop Intel dominating the physics market and therefore reducing sales for Nvidia.

Comment by l3v1ck at 6:18pm 10th March 2008

I suppose. It'd all depend on how much they would gain in graphics cards market compared to how much they would loose in mobo market. If they could increase support of SLI and get game developers using it then it would be brill.

Comment by Cerberus_xiii at 7:08pm 10th March 2008

lol, I don't think that'll be happening any time soon. They will make much more money with having SLI a propriatry standard then with having PhysX as one. Just think of how much they would lose, its been proven that intel CPUs perform better on intel chipsets than on nvidia. There probably wouldn't be much of a reason for buying an nvidia chipset for an intel CPU if they gave SLI license away.

Comment by Cerberus_xiii at 5:51pm 10th March 2008

Good start

Now they just need to back down and give Intel the SLI licence we all want them to have. :p

Comment by D_Cypher at 5:45pm 10th March 2008

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