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AMD to pair CPUs, GPUs with Intel's physics tech

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AMD is partnering with Intel to improve the way its graphics chips can handle physics and other scientific calculations.

Well, sort of. AMD's actually working with Intel subsidiary Havok, which the chip giant acquired last year. Havok operates separately from Intel to develop its Havok FX physics processing API, which allows developers to code up such algorithms to run on GPUs rather than CPUs.

It's main rival was Ageia, developer of a similar API and a dedicated chip, PhysX, to run the calculations. Ageia, however, is now part of Nvidia, which is understandably playing down PhysX while promoting Ageia's software technology as a way of running physics calculations on its own GPUs.

All this stuff is going to run on discrete graphics chips, so it makes more sense for AMD to partner with an Intel company, which isn't competing with it - yet - in the discrete GPU market.

The partnership will ensure that Havok FX can take full advantage of the idiosyncracies of AMD's Radeon GPU architecture and of its x86 processors.

Games, in particular, are increasingly incorporating algorithms that can model complex interactions between players and the worlds they inhabit. Traditionally, these calculations have been handled by the CPU, but they're better suited to the GPU's parallel-processing design, which whizzes through them while the general-purpose CPU would struggle.

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