Speculations on Ageia's future

By Justin Mann on
What's the story with PhysX? We've heard a lot about Ageia's brainchild of future gaming, but seen it action very little. If you're lucky enough to own a PhysX card and a compatible game (the few that are), you probably enjoy it very much. Even ATI and nVidia see enhanced physics as having a huge impact on gaming and, thusly, the video card market. However, some think that PhysX just isn't enough. The results from the benched games seem to paint a bad picture for PhysX. Though, truthfully, I must disagree that it is useless. Of most interest to me was the very linear increases regardless of what type of GPU was used, showing that perhaps as a whole the games themselves aren't offloading much to the PPU:

It is clear from the reported scores that there isn't much difference in the performance with and without the card. Of course this is better than having the scores with the card enabled lower than those with the card disabled, as was the case in the Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter results in the last article. But still, this is not good news for Ageia. The Shader Model 2.0 Radeon X850XT was obviously rendering the scenes using a lower code path, but the results were the same. No matter what card we put into that test platform, we came up with the same 2-3 frames per second difference.
I can agree, however, that the market as a whole wasn't ready for PhysX. Developers weren't ready to start optimizing for hardware physics and system builders weren't ready to start pitching another expensive addition to the desktop market. Is Ageia failing? I certainly hope not, as the concept of PhysX is a marvel. We may see all physics moved onto the GPU, or dual/tri-GPU cards handling physics separately as ATI desires. Regardless, Ageia does need to come up with some clever marketing fairly quick.

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