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Thread: Bye Bye GPUs, hello PPUs

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    Pixel Abuser Spunkey's Avatar
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    Bye Bye GPUs, hello PPUs

    http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=21648

    Thats Physics Processing Unit to the uninitiated

    Not sure if this is alongside, or instead of a graphics card - but either way i can see this being a fairly big leap.

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    Senior Member Kezzer's Avatar
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    That sounds uber cool. Want to see some vids of it in action though. Since it was on a seperate card, i wonder if you can still have an SLi setup with one?

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    HEXUS webmaster Steve's Avatar
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    The answer is actually an add in card with either PCI Express or a PCI interface with up to 128MB of dedicated GDDR 3 memory that will take over all physics in the games.
    Well I'm going to say we'll still have GPUs, because a physics unit wouldn't do any of the shader calculations etc. It's about taking more load away from the CPU, not taking one thing off then putting another back on it.

    Look at games like HL2 - lots and LOTS of physics in it, so I'm sure they can make good use of it.

    Looking further ahead - what about a GPU with an on-silicon physics engine, or perhaps GPU and PPU on a single card?
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    Prize winning member. rajagra's Avatar
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    Interesting. Sounds great, shifting the modelling from CPU to graphics card (sorry, Physics, Processing Unit! )
    But I see no explanation of how they achieve a 200-fold increase in number crunching power (re number of rigid bodies handled) and still reduce heat output.
    If it was 3 months away I might hold back before buying a graphics card. As it is, I'll just dream of what my second-next card will be capable of.

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    Senior Member Kezzer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kez
    Well I'm going to say we'll still have GPUs, because a physics unit wouldn't do any of the shader calculations etc. It's about taking more load away from the CPU, not taking one thing off then putting another back on it.

    Look at games like HL2 - lots and LOTS of physics in it, so I'm sure they can make good use of it.

    Looking further ahead - what about a GPU with an on-silicon physics engine, or perhaps GPU and PPU on a single card?
    They could replace dual core GPU's with dual core GPU/PPU if you get my meaning. An SLi configuration of that would be fun to say the least

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    Pixel Abuser Spunkey's Avatar
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    More info in this PDF from Ageia's site. You're right Kez - it runs alongside the GPU.
    http://www.ageia.com/pdf/wp_2005_3_physics_gameplay.pdf

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    iMc
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    So to begin with is this chip gonna be released on its own card then if it works well ATi and Nvidia will be able to licence it to use on their own boards? Or will they have to develop their own versions?

    Also buy getting one of these it will add a bit more grunt to someones system...

    sounds like it will be a good upgrade if it isnt too pricey...
    Last edited by iMc; 08-03-2005 at 01:59 PM.
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    Moderator DavidM's Avatar
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    Probably try to license the tech (or buy them out) and include it within the gpu

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    Pixel Abuser Spunkey's Avatar
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    from what the Inq says they're planning to use nVidias model of selling the chips which OEMs will use to create their own cards. In which case, bar any design limitations and legal issues, i dont see why Manufacturer A couldn't make a card which has a GPU and a PPU in it... *drools*

    anyway, videos are definately needed

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    iMc
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    Yes in mucho need of videos!

    Sounds like my next Gfx card will have 2 processers on it
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    Senior Member Kezzer's Avatar
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    Also, let's just state, it's not really "Bye Bye GPU's" because GPU's will stay there, PPU's will just take over control of physics. Since the physics engine will be built into the chip you can simply control the physics of the game from the chip. Both the GPU and PPU will run along side each other

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    Photographer; for hire!! shiato storm's Avatar
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    to be honest it makes sense to 'free-up' the cpu a bit and have more done by a dedicated processor on the same card as the gpu, since they'll be sitting side-by-side transfer rates will not be hindered by distance (longer wires=longer time). I guess it'll be almost like stuffing a consol in the computer running independantly from the central processing commands of the rest of the machine.
    my only thought is would this require a different sort of motherboard? we've only jusrt seen the shake up of a well founded design with the introduction of PCI-e over AGP...i hardly see it in the graphics card mfr's best interests to go and creat ANOTHER new model based around a different sort of technology/conection on the mobo, so they'll have to stick with AGP or PCIe...but then that leaves the question of whether either technology is appropriate and we shouldn't actually be searching for a better way of transfering graphics info to and from the mobo. AGP and PCIe could merely be hinderances to any developing technology: 'glass ceilings' cannot surpass a certain speed/ability, requiring a massive shake up of how graphics are processed...
    after all there's no golden rule to say it has to be done one way or another.

    perhaps one day it'll all be done by a chip no different than the CPUs we all have. it just depends on how powerful you want it to be on which one you get...
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    Banned myth's Avatar
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    I see a future upgrade coming my way again! When the next big GPU is released (when is that gona hapen?) I'm gona go PCIe, and I'll be shure to pic one of these up!

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    Senior Member SilentDeath's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great idea, but also sounds VERY far away (probably a year atleast) from hitting retail cards.

    I think with a chip like this, we will see a lot of more complex physics in games.

    Im a but confused howit will work on the software side however. Most games have the physics hard-coded into the game engine - so it wont work with just any old game.. only those specially written for it..

    Also then there is the question/problem - what happens when multiple companys develop chips like this for use in games. Will the gamesplay thesame on different chips? I can imagine it could significantly alter how the game plays.

    I dont think there will be much problems with bandwidth. The lower speed pciex slots should be good enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by rajagra
    But I see no explanation of how they achieve a 200-fold increase in number crunching power (re number of rigid bodies handled) and still reduce heat output.
    Its to do with the instruction set of the chip. The more instructions, the more complicated it will be to program for.
    The less instructions - the more times they will have to be repeated to get the same effect.
    Also if more transistors are used, it should be quicker. Having more means that more complicated instructions can be added, or instead, more pipelines - as graphics cards have..
    Physics is very complicated, and so I guess it needs very complicated, optimised instructions
    Last edited by SilentDeath; 08-03-2005 at 10:53 PM.

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    HEXUS webmaster Steve's Avatar
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    The way I look at it SilentDeath is that it's not much different to Pixel Shaders.

    Hopefully we'll end up with a standard API.
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    Senior Member SilentDeath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kez
    The way I look at it SilentDeath is that it's not much different to Pixel Shaders.

    Hopefully we'll end up with a standard API.

    Hopefully.

    Remember this is only just in its referance stages.. theres no standard API and if games take 4 years to make.. dont expect any to support it any time soon...

    HOWEVER one good thing, this might make games a LOT quicker to develop. That I would like very much

    Also might make games harder to port from consoles.. but then I dont like most console games...

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