Feeds

Ageia PhysX physics accelerator chip

Very special effects?

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Review Accelerating game physics is a hot topic for gamers. The concept of using add-on hardware - be it GPU or even a new kind of dedicated physics processing unit (PPU) - to speed up physics calculations that would otherwise have to run on the CPU is back at the forefront of developers' discussions...

The idea isn't new - games middleware and individual developers have already been making CPU-hosted physics calculations go faster by multi-threading their game engines and letting game physics run alongside other parts of the engine. Multi-core CPUs will really help this technique.

Havok, a physics middleware developer, recently announced Havok FX, which performs game physics calculations on a Shader Model 3.0 graphics processor. As far as PPU acceleration goes, there is currently only one vendor out there. Ageia, a Californian start-up fresh from a round of venture capital and new employee hires, not only has a PPU design in production but it's selling the product too.

Ageia PhysX chip

Recently shipping in high-end systems from a range of mostly boutique vendor systems, Ageia's PhysX PPU even has support in a few games. Worth a peek, then?

I've recently spent time with a board and a couple of supported games, and there's some data worth sharing with you. First, let's look at the PhysX PPU itself and see what it's capable of. Ageia's silicon is made by TSMC in Taiwan, on a 130nm process. Measuring 14 x 13.5mm and comprising around 125m transistors, the chip appears to be clocked in the range 250-266MHz or 500-533MHz.

PhysX is ahead of Havok FX in what it can accelerate. The PhysX PPU is able to process more than just large-scale collision or 'effects' physics via its API. There's support for limited fluid dynamics simulations, vehicles (wheel, torque and tire simulation), object raycasting and more, which the PPU can fully or partly accelerate, with Ageia moving more onto the hardware as time goes by.

At its core the chips is just a wide parallel-stream processor with a command core - sometimes called the control engine - to run it all and a memory controller to move data onto and off of the chip during processing.

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Leaked pics show EMBIGGENED iPhone 6 screen
Fat-fingered fanbois rejoice over Chinternet snaps
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
True optical zoom coming to HTC smartphone cameras
Time to ditch that heavy DSLR? Maybe in a year, year and a half
Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'
Now THAT'S what we call a proper new feature
Leaked photos may indicate slimmer next-generation iPad
Will iPad Air evolve into iPad Helium?
Feast your PUNY eyes on highest resolution phone display EVER
Too much pixel dust for your strained eyeballs to handle
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.