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BFG's AGEIA PhysX PPU Action Accelerator Card Review

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: BFG Tech

The BFG PhysX Card and Power Consumption

As the primary retail distributor of AGEIA PhysX processors, BFG Technologies will be selling cards in Best Buy, CompUSA and other brick and mortar as well as e-tailers.  The packaging that you'll be finding is pretty unique.

In the shape of a triangle, the packaging plays off heavily on the 'triangle of PC processing' marketing scheme that AGEIA has created. 

The front flap folds down to show you the card itself as well as a lot of marketing material on why you definitely need to buy this card.  Interestingly, there is mention of an 'Action Accelerator' and is the first time I have heard this term. 

On the back of the packaging, the green sticker on the right hand side indicates that currently supported titles for the PhysX processor are City of Villains, Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter and Bet on Soldier.

Inside the box you'll find the BFG branded PhysX card, one power cable splitter, a quick install guide (the full manual is on a CD) as well as drivers and a demo CD that has the Hanger of Doom level on it to play around with. 

The Card

The BFG AGEIA PhysX card is basically a reference design, and the specifications are spot on with what we expected.  Here are the specs:


>> Processor Type: AGEIA PhysX
>> Memory Interface: 128-bit GDDR3 Memory Architecture
>> Memory Capacity: 128MB
>> Peak Instruction Bandwidth: 20 Billion Instructions/sec
>> Sphere-Sphere Collisions/sec.: 530 Million Max
>> Convex-Convex (Complex) Collisions/sec.: 533,000 Max
>> Bus Technology: 32-bit PCI 2.3 (3.3v & 5v support)

Taking a closer look at the card really doesn't show any new information, as we have seen these cards in close quarters before.

Click to Enlarge

The silver heatsink has a blue light in the fan for those gamers with modded windowed PCs, and it adds a nice touch to the feel of the card.  The power adaptor on the card is a standard 4-pin Molex connection and is required for use of the card.  There are no external connections on the face plate of the PhysX PPU.

Underneath the heatsink you can find the PhysX PPU and the memory chips that make up the 128 MB of on-board GDDR3 memory running on a 128-bit memory controller.  It runs at 733 MHz (1466 MHz DDR) and totals just under 12 GB/s of total memory bandwidth. 

Even now, AGEIA hasn't discussed the clock speed of the PPU chip itself, though AGEIA is claiming 20 billion instructions per second.  What does that work out to exactly in terms of physics applications?  According to the AGEIA white paper distributed with the review units, it is capable of 530 million sphere-to-sphere collisions per second or 533 thousand convex-to-convex complex collisions per second.  Built on 0.13 micron processor technology at TSMC, the PhysX PPU consists of 125 million transistors.

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