Friday, May 12, 2006

Physics and Graphics

So.. AGEIA bring out a new idea - a year ago - where you have dedicated hardware for modelling physics. Similar reaction to when the first 3D accelerators were introduced. Who would buy specific purpose hardware where games were the only real place for them to be used. How frivolous!

Of course, the environment is different now, what with quad SLI and all, but still. Then ATI (I think) pointed out that a lot of physics calcs could be done with Shader 3.0 hardware. Graphics hardware.

Now I thought, "surely the Shader 3.0 hardware is going to be busy shading pixels?". My point being that you would have to sacrifice the dedication of the graphics hardware to do the physics. Robbing peter to pay paul as they say. I can see how putting the physics chip on a graphics card would be a winner - excepting of course the size of the bloody things already. And anyway Asus have gone ahead and made a card, and there is Physx support in games already. So it looks like it is going to happen. And why not really? Games are an entertainment medium unlike any other, and immersion is key to the enjoyment of any game after gameplay. And good graphics and physics help immensely.

But back to that ATI idea... Using Shader 3.0.

My mobo has an AGP slot, and a PCIe. I chose this because my current graphics card is AGP, and my next one will be PCIe. But ultimately, I am going to have a card that can support Shader 3.0 doing nothing once I employ a spanking new card. I mean, I cannot run them SLI for example, and I am not going to be playing games on two machines. Oh perhaps if Vista comes out and I want two windows machines and Vista is worth a damn, then it might get used I suppose. But that spare processing power can be used in the same machine.

So. My thinking is that you can open the world to hardware physics to a wealth of people by simply using their old Shader 3.0 cards to do the physics while their new card runs the graphics. It is subgenius I tell you.

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