Feb 4, 2008

Nvidia To Add PhysX Technology To Its Chips

Nvidia plans to add Ageia's PhysX technology to its GeForce graphics chips.

Ageia is the maker of a chip called PhysX which makes killing and blowing stuff up in games more lifelike. It is essential for satisfying video gamers who are apparently well-acquainted with what really happens when you hit a fuel truck with an RPG. The processing power that is required to simulate events like explosions and smoke or fog is immense, so that a standalone chip for just that purpose was required to make the experience more realistic.

The graphics card for PC gaming and all three major gaming consoles; Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and the Wii use the PhysX chip. Developers have to write their games with the processor in mind to unlock the performance, and over 140 titles are available for consoles and PCs that support the PhysX technology.

Intel, AMD, and Nvidia are all working on chips that aim to carry the benefits of graphics processing, extremely fast processing of repetitive tasks with the flexibility of general-purpose PC processors. Intel's Larrabee project, AMD's Fusion project, and Nvidia's CUDA development are early steps towards that goal.

And now Nvidia plans to integrate the PhysX technology into one of its GeForce graphics chips, according to a spokesperson of Nvidia. This is a long-standing trend in chip design, where chips that used to occupy standalone roles for reasons of cost or complexity like PhysX wind up squeezing their way onto the main processor.


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