BFG To Produce Physics GPU

By Justin Mann on September 2, 2005, 4:00 PM
The primary function of any modern video card, true since the idea of hardware acceleration first came to market, is to take load off the CPU. If the CPU is tied up doing very intensive graphics computations, it has less time to execute the rest of the game or other program being run. In the late 90s, beefier 3D was the primary focus of video cards, and the two standard APIs used today, OpenGL and Direct3D, reflect this. Cards supporting native functions would be able to take over for the CPU. In the games of 2003 and beyond, physics have taken an increasing toll on the CPU. Half Life 2, Battlefield 2, and similar games have complex physics engines that require beefy processors. What if the video card could take over some of those functions as well? BFG wants to do just that, by producing a video card that will handle not only graphics processing, but physics processing as well. The company' will be using the Ageia physics processor in their 'PhysX' line. Even competitors to BFG are supporting this, which lends credibility to BFG's claim of physics processors becoming just as common as standard GPU's. It seems these cards will be standalone, not having to be coupled with video cards, but time will tell. We may end up having a Voodoo-2 style situation where you must couple it with a video card. Time will tell, but this is great news and shows good improvement.

User Comments: 3

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spike said:
3d taken from the cpu. a few years on, processors are loaded heavily with physics.Physics taken from the CPU - how long will it be before the CPU ends up loaded too heavily with the code of the game itself? Freeing up the CPU just makes room for developers to either code badly, or to code well and just use more of it. When this happens, where will the next graphics jump come from? Sure, it's good news, but will the effects last? Is anybody looking seriously at ways of improving graphics processing OTHER than transferring work from the CPU to the card? there's only so far this road can be travelled.OK, I'll admit it, I'm feeling picky and pedantic and just downright odd today.
Soul Harvester said:
The point is that a game developer can optimize his code specifically for the standard APIs knowing that as long as the person has a good video card that it will play good. It doesn't encourage developers to code badly - Exactly the opposite. It encourages them to use standard APIs to get good performance and good quality. No one is going to play a game that is horrendously slow even on new hardware. What do you mean by "lasting" ? Have not the effects of hardware 3d acceleration "lasted" ? Or do you think that the graphics engines used in modern games are nothing better than those from 2001? I see this as positive, all the way around.
spike said:
OK. I think I understand a little better - I got it wrong.What I meant by 'lasting' was with reference to how long it will take before any benefits this technology will have before it's cancelled out by more intensive games - I think that's flawed logic though - that's the entire point I guess.
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