Personal computing discussed

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computron9000
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Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:43 pm

A lot of this discussion is similar to the stuff people said when the first add-in 3d accelerator came out (Monster 3D). I was really excited when it came out and bought it. Physics seems like the next add-in card necessity. It depends on how games implement it and if all the big titles bite. If they do, gaming machines WILL eventually need to have one (just like you NEED a 3-d accelerator).
 
Voldenuit
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Thu Mar 30, 2006 5:56 am

Never getting one. Even if I would get one, it would be one that used an open standard instead of a proprietary API.

People who bring up Monster 3D keep forgetting that 3dfx died when they were unable to compete with robust implementations of D3D and OpenGL (proper OpenGL support, not just GLQuake).

Physics on GPUs sound interesting, especially if nv or ati could figure out a way to let us use old grafx cards as dedicated physics units. After all, the GPU is probably the most frequently upgraded component in a PC gamer's rig. And it would esssentially lock in your user base to your product line, since I doubt they would ever let you use a Radeon for physics and a GeForce for graphics (opr vice versa).
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Dyn0mutt
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Thu Mar 30, 2006 6:34 am

I want one but i have no free PCI slots, guess i'll have to wait for a PCIe part which shouldnt be too long hopefully.
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Thu Mar 30, 2006 7:45 am

I am undecided in my next build regarding a PPU...

I dont really game a huge amount but I would say the realistic game physics would be more important that out right visuals as it would make the whole envirnment 'feel' more real.

But it would only be worth while in my mind if you has an amazing graphics card and I normally aim for mid range as i feel its gived me decent performance at decent money....

Mind you, my current rig is so out of date anything would be a step up...
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Krogoth
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Thu Mar 30, 2006 8:18 am

Voldenuit wrote:
Never getting one. Even if I would get one, it would be one that used an open standard instead of a proprietary API.

People who bring up Monster 3D keep forgetting that 3dfx died when they were unable to compete with robust implementations of D3D and OpenGL (proper OpenGL support, not just GLQuake).

Physics on GPUs sound interesting, especially if nv or ati could figure out a way to let us use old grafx cards as dedicated physics units. After all, the GPU is probably the most frequently upgraded component in a PC gamer's rig. And it would esssentially lock in your user base to your product line, since I doubt they would ever let you use a Radeon for physics and a GeForce for graphics (opr vice versa).


Nvidia and ATI's current method is a psuado-hardware approach. They are using the extra pixel shader units on their GPUs to do physics through drivers. At best, it help reduce the CPU burden. At worse, it will just give extra eye candy effects not real physics.

A seperate PPU is much faster and frees both CPU and GPU from physics calculations. It is very likely, that ATI and Nvidia engineers are already making their next generation graphics card (post R600/NV50) to have hardware-level PPU features. I suspect it will first come out has a seperate chip or die on the same package as the GPU like Smithfield, Presters. When die shrinks become small enough then ATI and Nvidia might simply add PPU onto the GPU die.
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Buub
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Thu Mar 30, 2006 2:08 pm

Voldenuit wrote:
People who bring up Monster 3D keep forgetting that 3dfx died when they were unable to compete with robust implementations of D3D and OpenGL (proper OpenGL support, not just GLQuake).


I don't think that's accurate at all. Voodoo worked fine with Direct3D.

3Dfx died because they over-reached. They bought a company and got into the board-making business, not content with just making GPUs. Then they over-promised and under-delivered in the Voodoo 5/6 era. This was at the same time nVidia was gaining strength.

Questionable choices sunk them. nVidia bet on hardware transform & lighting, letting the GPU do more complex tasks, even if it burdened it a bit. 3Dfx bet on cinematics like the T-Buffer, motion blur, etc.

What all that has to do with the emergence of physics processors I don't know.
 
Stripe7
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Thu Mar 30, 2006 2:30 pm

I play mostly strategy games, which I think will have minimal use of the PhyX card. If used in the RPG game I play Guild Wars, I may consider it.
 
computron9000
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Thu Mar 30, 2006 5:04 pm

3dfx died but their implementation of an add-in 3d accelerator lives on in a new combined 2d & 3d form (nVidia, ATI, Matrox etc.). In fact, 3dfx was absorbed by nVidia back in the day when they bought them up.

I can easily imagine a similar future for the Physics PU, particularly since ATI and nVidia are such fierce competitors. It's just going to take widespread adoption by game developers to get one of them to pull the trigger. I imagine both companies are just waiting for market acceptance and product refinement before buying up a PPU manufacturer, at this point.

Why wouldn't nVidia or ATI want to short-cut the development process and gain market share (rather than lose it), by buying these guys out?

There are some big variables and different routes of course, but that is what 3dfx has to do with this. Eventually, I think PPU will become standard; early adopters will pay a higher price and gain less results, but long-term I'm thinking this is going to be a necessity to have in any proper gaming rig.
 
imtheunknown176
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Thu Mar 30, 2006 5:39 pm

I think Krogoth255 is right about gpu based physics being mainly "eye candy." GPU and PPU based physics will more than likely coexist for several years. Most people think that they are the same thing. GPU physics are going to be mainly for one-way interactions (brushing against foliage, flying through a cloud of smoke) while PPU physics are for two-way interactions (you blow something up and a chunk of it hits you in the stomach doing X amount of damage and sending your body flying back Y feet). Here's a link to the article: http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060322-6436.html

Personally, I would rather buy a PhysX simply because my current GPU, a 7800gt, would probably have a hard time running physics calculations in addition to its usual load. I have a feeling that unless I own a $400 card or SLI, the GPU physics will cause too much showdown. Just because nVidia says that it will work on 6/7 series cards doesn't mean that it will work well. Hopefully GPU manufacturers will start integrating PPUs into their graphics cards to make the "eye candy" run faster.
 
Stranger
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Thu Mar 30, 2006 6:47 pm

I think people underestimate the GC manufactures ability to update the API. While I know that currently its only a one way thing but it seems reasonable that if physics started really taking off they're goign to improve it. All I really want is an end to terribly rendered water that is most clearly just a bunch of moving textures. Waterfalls just arn't as impressive when they're like that.
 
mdfrncs
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Tue Apr 04, 2006 1:53 am

Personally, I care less about the eye-candy then about actual physics processing - when stuff blows up/gets shot at, I expect other stuff to get damaged and possibly also blow up. I hate it when you shoot at things and it just changes colour a bit.

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