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     After the CPU, the GPU, here is the PPU
      Posted on 09/03/2005 at 00:03 by Marc - source: LeGreg
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    Ageia Technologies just announced the world's first dedicated Physics Processing Unit (PPU), the PhysX. As explained in the denomination, this chip is specialized in calculations related to physics engines.

    It works with the physic engine Novodex made available to several companies such as Ubi Soft for their next games: Epic Games for Unreal Engine 3, Big Huge Game for the next RTS or even Kylotoon for Bet On Soldier. This engine isn’t exclusively hardware accelerated, it also works via the CPU and is multithreaded. The Novodex engine isn’t only available for PC, but also for consoles. The PPU advantage is to discharge the CPU from physic calculations, and give it more time to work on other tasks and mainly to work with a lot more objects that interact with each other. Figures announced are impressive and to be taken in account carefully. Ageia says that it is possible to manage 30,000 objects able to interact with their environment.

    With the release of dual core processors, however, computers will have more power available for this type of calculations, which currently represent 16% of the CPU load according to Ageia. In order for the PPU to bring a real and flagrant improvement, an important support for developers could be necessary with for example games advanced physical engine versions when the PhysX chips is detected. It might take some time to see this type of improvements as games will have to be developed from the beginning with this chip in mind.

    For the time being, it is TSMC, one of Ageia’s investors, which will handle the chips production. No other information has been communicated on a possible console with the PhysX chips and no other partner has been announced for additional computer cards. The company plans to release PCI and PCI Express x1 boards this summer.


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