Game Developers Conference 2006 - Physics and Gaming
ATI, Intel, Dell and Final Thoughts
ATI's Physics Demonstrations
AGIEA and NVIDIA weren't the only ones talking about and demonstrating their support for hardware physics acceleration; ATI had a section of their booth dedicated to it as well. If you haven't read my article on the physics that ATI had to show that was up earlier in the week, please head on over to get all the detail on their claims. They believe that their GPU will outperform NVIDIA's in real physics simulation and the Havok FX add-on.
I have included a video file here that shows the various physical demos running on the ATI architecture below.
Click to Download Movie
ATI - Physics Demo
This video goes through multiple physics demonstrations running on ATI's hardware. The first is a particle demo that starts with 124,000 particles on screen and goes all the way up to 900,000 as I drag the right tool bar up the side. The second demo shows a piece of cloth on a table that is blowing is varying angles and speeds of wind. The third demo looks at animations of character models that is not really indicative of physics performance but on the pixel shading power of the R580. Finally we have a Mandelbrot application running side by side on the GPU and CPU to see the difference in frame rates as these patterns are built dynamically.
Intel Continues to Boast with Conroe
After a detailed look at Conroe at IDF just a couple of weeks ago, Intel continues to demonstrate the performance levels that Conroe is going to be bring to PC gaming. You should check out both our performance preview of Conroe as well as my detailed look at the new Core architecture to get a solid background.
At GDC, Intel addressed the lingering issues that many readers called them out on during the first wave of Intel versus AMD side by side comparisons. This time around, Intel upgraded the motherboard to the Asus A8R32-MVP and updated to the latest BIOS. Not really to our surprise, the performance results remained largely unchanged from those that we saw at IDF. The new AMD test results are within 1% of the original ones, putting more weight behind the Intel numbers.
It looks like the summer processor wars are going to be very exciting.
Alienware and Dell
As you are probably already aware, Dell has officially announced they have acquired the boutique high performance system builder Alienware. The original in a small breed of system builders that build the top performing, highest priced machines you can build for PC gaming, Alienware's buyout was announced during an impromptu Dell and Epic Games meeting.
As far as they have announced so far, Alienware and Dell will remain completely separate entities and operate on their own accord. This has some interesting effects on the market including the fact that Dell now sells AMD-based systems. As time goes on we will see if the merger makes any dramatic impact on a niche market that sells incredibly high performance gaming machines.
My first GDC was dominated not by new visual quality changes in the industry, but by physics acceleration coming soon to a PC near you. How exactly that feature will be getting there, and with whose software and hardware in your box is still a hot debate. As the weeks pass and we get more time to play with AGEIA's cards in a real-world gaming situation and more support is gathered for Havok FX on both NVIDIA and ATI GPUs, PC Perspective will definitely be keeping its readers informed on all aspects of this gaming revolution.
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