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NVidia Cripples PhysX "Open" API

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the semi-open dept.

Graphics 393

An anonymous reader writes "In a foot-meet-bullet type move, NVidia is going to disable PhysX engine if you are using a display adapter other than one that came from their company. This despite the fact that you may have an NVidia card on your system specifically to do this type of processing. 'For a variety of reasons some development expense, some quality assurance and some business reasons Nvidia will not support GPU accelerated PhysX with Nvidia GPUs while GPU rendering is happening on non-Nvidia GPUs.' Time to say hello to Microsoft dx physics or Intel's Havok engine."

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Havok (4, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598137)

Havok is a better engine anyway.

But that's the problem with corporate buyings anyway. Even if its kinda wrong to stop supporting the other platforms, they have every right to do so.

Re:Havok (3, Insightful)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598229)

Havok is a better engine anyway.

That may be the case but in the end we'll more than likely see corporate drama surrounding that effort as well.
I hate to say it but I think a DirectX option is the lesser of three evils.

Re:Havok (5, Funny)

Kratisto (1080113) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598333)

That's a new record for a Microsoft product. Lesser of two evils? Okay, occasionally. But a lesser of three!? There's hope for them yet!

Re:Havok (0, Offtopic)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598521)

Age of Empires was kind of fun.

Re:Havok (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598623)

Actually Windows Mobile is lesser than three of the evils too, as far as openness goes.. All iPhone, Symbian and Palm are quite closed.

Re:Havok (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29599019)

And Blackberry is pretty damn open.

Re:Havok (1)

Compholio (770966) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598591)

Havok is a better engine anyway.

That may be the case but in the end we'll more than likely see corporate drama surrounding that effort as well. I hate to say it but I think a DirectX option is the lesser of three evils.

What's wrong with OpenCL exactly?

Re:Havok (2, Insightful)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598711)

The Khronos Group

Re:Havok (1)

RabidMoose (746680) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598797)

OpenCL isn't a physics engine. PhysX, Havok, and dx physics all are.

Re:Havok (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29599027)

I'm fairly certain when people say DX physics they are talking about DX11's API for GPGPU and $PHYSICS_ENGINE running on it.

Re:Havok (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29598959)

It's almost an order of magnitude slower than the "native" gpu programming technology (CUDA, Brooks+).

Re:Havok (2, Informative)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598405)

I'm always impressed by Havok. Whenever I pick up a game that uses it I always smile as I know I'm going to enjoy the physics if nothing else.

This is a bonehead move from nVidia as they've essentially just killed PhysX.

Re:Havok (2, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598639)

I'm always impressed by Havok. Whenever I pick up a game that uses it I always smile as I know I'm going to enjoy the physics if nothing else.

This is a bonehead move from nVidia as they've essentially just killed PhysX.

Or, they're strengthened PhysX position and on the way their gfx cards too. When company buys some technology, its never without a reason.

Re:Havok (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29598967)

Yeah, but I have every right to stop being their customer as well. nVidia burned me twice in the last two years. Once on an m1330 laptop, where their chips were spec'd out wrong thermally, so they would basically melt themselves if OEMs followed nVidia's recommended cooling. nVidia worked hard to bury the issue, preventing people like myself from getting a legitimate replacement of the lemon we were sold. The other time, they REFUSED to add dual monitor support for desktop (not games, just DESKTOP) if you were running SLI on a 7xxx series graphics card. You could get it... if you upgraded to SLI 8xxx cards. Considering that the formerly excellent quality of their drivers is now in the gutter (and headed downhilll for a long time to get there), I saw no more reason to put up with them.

My desktop has an ATI graphics card now. My wallet did the talking, and it said "Fuck you, nVidia." The more shit they pull like this, I hope other people vote with their wallets as well. Punish this behavior: boycott nVidia.

Anti-trust? (5, Interesting)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598141)

Why is this not anti-trust? When you paid for the nVidia card to put into your machine why should its functions depend on whether or not a competitors hardware is present? What if Windows said uh-oh you have Linux installed on another partition, disabling Windows...

Re:Anti-trust? (2, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598193)

Look at it from a technical standpoint. They probably expected people (however wrongly) using PhysX to be doing so for games while using their card to render also. Throw a third party bit of hardware in there, and when the inevitable crash and burn go down, who is to blame? They don't know either... so they "solve" the problem by keeping you from ever being able to expose it.

Re:Anti-trust? (3, Interesting)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598597)

I gave up on Nvidia when they screwed over my 3D glasses setup; I'd gone through all the trouble of maintaining my rig with an NVidia graphics card, because their occasional driver updates for the stereoscopic driver still made my old VRStandard rig (coupled with a 120Hz-capable CRT) run well.

Lo and behold, their latest set "only" works either with the Nvidia-branded "Geforce 3D Vision" glasses and a short-list of extra-expensive "approved" 120-Hz LCD's, or else red/blue anaglyph setups. No reason for them to cut off older shutter glasses setups except to force people to buy their new setup if they wanted to continue to have stereoscopic 3D.

So add the PhysX thing in and we can chalk up two strikes for Nvidia. My new card when I updated my computer this summer was an ATi (no point wasting the $$$ on a Nvidia). One more strike and I won't bother going back to them ever. Boy am I glad I didn't buy that second-hand PCI PhysX board the other day...

CRT? Are you from the past? (1, Interesting)

Rix (54095) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598855)

You really can't blame them for dropping support for CRTs. If you can even buy them anymore, you'd have to be insane to want to.

Re:CRT? Are you from the past? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29598977)

I still use a 22" CRT I bought years ago for $800. What, I should throw away a perfectly good monitor and buy an LCD because you'll stick your nose in the air?

Re:CRT? Are you from the past? (3, Insightful)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29599039)

No, but you can't blame a company for not wanting to support outdated technology.

That's like complaining that Microsoft won't release security updates for Windows 98. Sure, some people are still using it, and it might work perfectly well for them, but that doesn't mean MS is evil for not patching it.

Re:Anti-trust? (3, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598217)

Worse than that even, this is using your strength in one industry segment (physics acceleration) to support sales of an arguably different segment (graphics acceleration).

Re:Anti-trust? (4, Informative)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598299)

Worse than that even, this is using your strength in one industry segment (physics acceleration) to support sales of an arguably different segment (graphics acceleration).

Which is nasty and unethical to be sure, but it's not illegal unless it can be legally shown that Nvidia is a monopoly. It's amazing to me how many slashbots don't understand this distinction.

I'm pissed at ATI for dropping binary support for FGLRX for Linux kernels later than 2.6.29, and was considering getting an Nvidia GPU in my next laptop, but now it looks an awful lot like Intel is getting my $50....

Re:Anti-trust? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598547)

Which is nasty and unethical to be sure, but it's not illegal unless it can be legally shown that Nvidia is a monopoly. It's amazing to me how many slashbots don't understand this distinction.

Is there another hardware-accelerated physics computing system that we are not aware of?

Re:Anti-trust? (1)

k_187 (61692) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598741)

Its not illegal to have a monopoly of your own product. And yes there are.

Re:Anti-trust? (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598753)

Yes. ATI. Various custom providers. General purpose CPUs. Supercomputers.

It's laughable to claim NVidia has a monopoly on anything.

Re:Anti-trust? (1)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598853)

Ray-traced footguns, perhaps?

Re:Anti-trust? (3, Informative)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598603)

Getting a bit off topic, but I like the direction ATI is taking recently with Open Source. Long term, I think they will be the better choice for Linux.
In a recent test at Phoronix (http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=amd_r600_r700_2d&num=1 [phoronix.com] ) the OS driver already offered better 2D performance over the binary one :-)

Re:Anti-trust? (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598881)

Better 2D performance?!?!? Are you actually serious?

You mean, OSS drivers are outperforming crappy binaries in an area that was well covered in 1990?!?! It's like I've died and gone to heaven! I might even be able to watch a flash video full screen!?!?!

I'm a Linux junkie. But this state of affairs for video drivers just has me feeling a bit cranky.

Re:Anti-trust? (2, Informative)

mikeee (137160) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598829)

I'm pissed at ATI for dropping binary support for FGLRX for Linux kernels later than 2.6.29, and was considering getting an Nvidia GPU in my next laptop, but now it looks an awful lot like Intel is getting my $50....

It was my understanding they had only dropped updated support for older cards (R500?), which are pretty well supported by the OS driver these days anyway, now that ATI is publishing specs again. Am I confused?

Re:Anti-trust? (1)

vga_init (589198) | more than 4 years ago | (#29599055)

If you are just putting down $50, does it even matter at that point what vendor you buy from? How about S3?

Re:Anti-trust? (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598323)

This phrase "anti-trust", I don't think it means what you think it means.

How are they leveraging a monopoly to gain unfair advantage in a marketplace?

To me it seems more like NVIDIA has finally realized that they *can't* use it to gain unfair advantage so they're dumping it.

Re:Anti-trust? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29598327)

Why is this not anti-trust?

Because the market share is too low. Many companies employ product tying.

Re:Anti-trust? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29598345)

It is an anti-trust issue if they have a monopoly on physics hardware acceleration (and they themselves do claim to be the de-facto standard) and they then tie graphics processing to physics. So yes it might be a classic case of product tying to leverage a dominant market position and it may be illegal. Someone would have to file a complaint over it though.

It sure stinks for NVIDIA to do this. If it was a technical issue to do with driver conflicts and stability that would be more reasonable and there may be a component of that in this decision, but it undermines the whole case for GPGPU acceleration and they could have let users experiment without the hand holding. It stinks.

Re:Anti-trust? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598467)

Why is this not anti-trust? ...

Because nVidia doesn't have a monopoly in the video card market.

Re:Anti-trust? (1)

stocke2 (600251) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598935)

they wouldn't need to have a monopoly in the graphics card market, so long as they had monopoly in the physics rendering market.

I dont know if they do and am not saying it is illegal, just pointing out that it could be even though they don't have monopoly in video cards.

Re:Anti-trust? (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598689)

Then you would be advised to stop using Windows if it's such a problem for you. Just because a company does something you don't like doesn't automatically make it an antitrust issue. It simply means you choose something else as a customer.

Windows pretty much already ignores anything other operating systems installed, happily overwriting the MBR as needed.

Re:Anti-trust? (2, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598721)

What's to say they won't release a more expensive dual or quad GPU card with no video output, at a higher cost (profit margin)? This sort of move indicates that's what they're planning on doing. Buying single core cheaper video card units might cannibalize that market.

Re:Anti-trust? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29598781)

No more like Apple defining what hardware can run their OS, but nice try.

As an ATI card owner (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29598153)

Good riddance.

Truth (4, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598183)

'For a variety of reasons some development expense, some quality assurance and some business reasons Nvidia will not support GPU accelerated PhysX with Nvidia GPUs while GPU rendering is happening on non-Nvidia GPUs.'

At least he was 33.3% truthful.

But... (5, Funny)

nicc777 (614519) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598199)

...will it my $TERM faster?

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29598291)

But who was phone?

Re:But... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29598449)

I think you accidentally the verb.

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29598789)

You an entire $TERM?

Just in time! (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598227)

I was about to start using it, this announcement has saved me a lot of wasted effort.

Re:Just in time! (2, Interesting)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598725)

I don't see what the big deal is. They currently only support their cloth simulation on the GPU, so whether or not GPU is being used doesn't affect rigid body physics at all. Havok is ridiculously expensive and they've dropped GPU support for their HavokFX system. I wouldn't discount PhysX based on this announcement alone unless all you care about is cloth.

Can someone explain this more clearly? (1)

Rix (54095) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598251)

Was Nvidia previously offering a software framework that could run on any GPU, but now only supports their own? Can ATI (or anyone else) not implement the standard in their own drivers?

Re:Can someone explain this more clearly? (4, Informative)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598331)

It is no standard. PhysX was an API made by a company (Ageia) who wanted to cell physics acceleration cards. Their cards never sold well, but the free beer software libraries were used by a number of people (the libraries supported CPU execution as well). Then NVIDIA bought them and ported the thing to run on their GPUs. So I see this ending up like the 3Dfx Glide API for 3D graphics - some historic games used it, such as Mechwarrior, but no one uses it anymore.

Re:Can someone explain this more clearly? (4, Informative)

Unit3 (10444) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598393)

No. The framework would only run on their GPUs. However, you could have one of their cards in the system to do purely physics calculations, and then use a competitor's card to do the actual display and 3d rendering. They've now disabled this, so if your monitors are connected to, say, and ATI card, you can no longer use the Nvidia card in your system for physics processing.

Before you discount this as an unlikely scenario, consider motherboards with onboard NVidia chipsets. These are usually underpowered for full time duty, but are perfectly suited to being used for physics calculations while a more powerful ATI card in the PCI-E slot does the graphics rendering. This is actually a fairly likely setup these days, and NVidia has just said they're going to block it.

Personally, I agree with others who have pointed out this must be an anti-trust issue. Intel and Microsoft have both been fined heavily recently for doing exactly this kind of anti-competitive behaviour.

Re:Can someone explain this more clearly? (5, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598765)

Its anti-consumer, but that doesn't trigger an anti-trust charge, they don't have a monopoly.

Why does everyone scream like its illegal when a company does something they don't like? Unless they are king of the hill and using their powers to force others into capitulating with them, its not an issue for the courts. You don't have to buy nVidia. You don't have to use PhysX. You don't have to buy a Voodoo 3 card. Sure a game may only support one of the above, but thats not something that justifies going after nVidia unless they owned the market.

Re:Can someone explain this more clearly? (3, Informative)

Old97 (1341297) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598805)

Microsoft and Intel are monopolies. Nvidia is not. You also can't designate a company as a monopoly by narrowly defining some market niche either. Barriers to entry for the market in question are also a consideration. It's not an issue here. If you are not a monopoly than you can engage in a broader set of behaviors. What got Microsoft in trouble is that they continued their anti-competitive behavior after they gained their monopoly and attempted to leverage their existing monopoly to gain unfair advantages in other markets, i.e. web browsers. If Apple had done that it would have been perfectly legal because they don't have a monopoly. If Microsoft had not had a monopoly what they did to Netscape would have been legal.

Re:Can someone explain this more clearly? (4, Insightful)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598819)

How can it be anti-trust if (a) they aren't a monopoly, and (b) they are disabling their own hardware ?

If they caused the ATI card to not function then I could understand it, but a secondary function on their own card ?

Re:Can someone explain this more clearly? (1)

Tom9729 (1134127) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598469)

No, PhysX is (and was) only ever hardware accelerated on Nvidia/Ageia hardware. Before you could add a second (Nvidia) card to your system and use it for PhysX. All this announcement is saying is that people using AMD as their primary GPU can no longer do this.

Re:Can someone explain this more clearly? (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598763)

I could have done that? I had no idea

Bite the... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29598271)

bullet [bulletphysics.com]

Good luck with that (5, Insightful)

Flowstone (1638793) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598273)

First they scoop up PhysX and try to create a market for PPUs. Now the only way PhysX is ever going to get any use is out of pure coincidence. Not the smartest move for Nvidia to make when Ati/AMD is on their heels with a new line of cards.

Nope... (2, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598795)

PhysX was trying to make a market for PPUs (and relatively failing). nVidia bought them up to make the technology another marketing bullet point for their GPU parts, not to sell GPU parts as mere physics calculations. Sure, they'll take the business as it comes incidently, but they have no interest in anything that could remotely be construed as putting something other than their role as a graphics adapter vendor first.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598823)

And by on their heels you mean having better performance at 1/2 the cost?

I don't see the problem (1)

bonkeydcow (1186443) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598307)

I guess it never occurred to me to spend hundreds of dollars on a graphics/physics card only to not use one of the primary functions. I have an nvidia card, I don't notice the physics stuff, doesn't seem to make a difference anyway.

Closing the Architecture (3, Insightful)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598363)

Heres some thoughts on the meaning of this. The PC is an open-architecture, you are free to put whatever you want into your machine. If nVidia can dictate what their hardware works with then they are effectively creating a "nVidia-Approved" list of hardware. First step down the slippery slope of closing the PC's openness. In the software world an equivalent would be Windows refusing to connect to network shares that were based off of Samba or the other way around a Windows box refusing connections from Linux machines. Standards apply to hardware as well as software and if any manufacturer gets away with an "approved" list then the platform as a whole will eventually suffer for it.

Re:Closing the Architecture (2, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598413)

windows is an "approved list of hardware". Ever tried to run DirectX under anything else?

OpenGL3 is the first time that companies are breaking away from windows.

You can't keep a PC closed forever because it's bad for business.

Re:Closing the Architecture (4, Informative)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598635)

OpenGL3 is the first time that companies are breaking away from windows.

It seems like OpenAL was the first. Creative have been visibly pushing it now that Vista's forced-software-only sound API has made their sound cards pointless.

Re:Closing the Architecture (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598673)

you are correct. I meant for graphics, but I didn't really think about that with openAL. Thank you for the correction.

oh well (4, Informative)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598391)

physx seemed nice until they tried to close source it. Does Nvidia have anything left this round? Bad Yields [semiaccurate.com] , physx being stupid and abusive when disabled (it only uses 1 cpu core when on AMD for example [driverheaven.net] instead of even all threads). Not to mention their crippling of batman as well. [hardwarezone.com.sg]

So what's left for Nvidia? I don't see a whole lot.

Re:oh well (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598561)

Actually a lot.
They have the ION platform which is much better than what Intel supplies for netbooks and nettops.
They have hardware flash acceleration coming.
They used to have the best Linux drivers but I have not been keeping up with ATI's progress with their closed source drivers or the open source drivers that people are working on with the specs that ATI released.
And they have a lot of mindshare and support from game makers. I just hope that Nvidia gets heading back in the right direction. It is good to have both nVidia and ATI in the GPU space. And it would be even better if they worked out interoperability for things like Flash, video decoding , video encoding and physics.
OpenCL baby. Come on ATI and show use that we don't need NVidia. I want an Atom/ION smasher from you as well as GPU support for Physics and Video encode and decoding and make it work for Linux while your at it.

Yes I know what a cyclotron is so the joke was intentional.

Re:oh well (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598657)

ion still is only par for par with ATI's integrated products. Not worse, not better. I like the tegra solutions they have had but you know, that's not exactly a huge growing business sector yet (although it could become one).

they are rapidly losing "mindshare" behind closed doors, because people aren't liking the results of physx and it's impact on sales.

Hardware flash acceleration? That's not unique to Nvidia or a solution to anything that exists. Nobody wants flash, it's going out of style.

OpenCL? ATI and intel have it too. Thus?

All I see there is Ion. Trying to shove Nvidia cards into the console market is not about to succeed either as ATI is quite entrenched.

Re:oh well (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598899)

I want flash on my iPhone, because iMobileCinema is nice but it isn't flash

Re:oh well (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598993)

that has nothing to do with the hardware acceleration and 100% to do with adobe not releasing it yet. My G1 is waiting for the same thing.

You do realize even with hardware acceleration it's not exactly going to run flawless, right? It will, of course, kill your battery life though.

Re:oh well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29598761)

Or, in this batman thing, the technology to optimize AA is by nvidia and that's why they disable it on ATIs...

Re:oh well (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598787)

uh, no. If they had done this with their graphics card alone it would be fair. Go read the article. "We were able to confirm this by changing the ids of ATI graphics cards in the Batman demo. By tricking the application, we were able to get in-game AA option where our performance was significantly enhanced."

Re:oh well (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598773)

Yeah, they're _doomed_ because of the massive backlash from the 50 people in the world who would give a shit about this limitation. Doomed I tells ya!

Re:oh well (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#29599045)

that argument has been around since about 1990. If that is the best you can do, that's a pretty sure sign nvidia's fucked.

What are they trying to do? (2, Interesting)

H3lldr0p (40304) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598417)

Stop things like this [anandtech.com] from working?

Key word: "reportedly" (1, Insightful)

SheeEttin (899897) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598427)

There's a word in the article headline conveniently omitted from the Slashdot headline. That word is "reportedly"
Seriously, guys, can't we get any kind of standards here?

That aside, this is a pretty stupid move. If this news is accurate, I don't doubt a lot of users are going to be pretty vocal.
On the other hand, if they had made it work, but be horribly broken in the presence of an ATI/AMD graphics cad, they could easily blame it on something completely opaque to the user and get away with it. (cf. manufacturer graphics drivers on Linux.)

Re:Key word: "reportedly" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29598535)

Haven't you realized that Timothy is KDawson's apprentice?

Re:Key word: "reportedly" (5, Informative)

The Moof (859402) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598739)

From the NVIDIA PhysX FAQ [nvidia.com] :

Can I use an NVIDIA GPU as a PhysX processor and a non-NVIDIA GPU for regular display graphics?
No. There are multiple technical connections between PhysX processing and graphics that require tight collaboration between the two technologies. To deliver a good experience for users, NVIDIA PhysX technology has been fully verified and enabled using only NVIDIA GPUs for graphics.

Cracked wide open (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29598435)

It'll get cracked
It'll get used
If it breaks,
they wont be to blame.

Locked in you say?
No Way!

my last (1)

markringen (1501853) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598457)

my last nvidia card 4 sure! i hope intel's larabee is going to kick nvidia to pulp :P

I don't get it.. (1)

log0n (18224) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598461)

I know nothing about PhysX other than what I've gleaned from the article..

If you buy an nvidia card to do some headless gpu grunt work, they will disable the functionality to do that unless the work is being shown through another nvidia card?

The displaying of the work is pretty much superfluous to the work being done, and they've already made their money on selling, support, etc the PhysX card.

Err?

ATI and Nvidia (1)

SScorpio (595836) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598473)

Has anything changed with Windows 7 where you can run an ATI and Nvidia card at the same time? I know you could in XP, but I found out the hard way you couldn't in Vista. It was something to do with the new driver model.

I was trying this over a year ago to get dual monitors working while having SLI enabled under Vista. The recommended solution was to use an ATI card for the secondary output since the Nvidia drivers wouldn't see it and disable your ability to use SLI. When I tried to load the ATI drivers I couldn't get them to detect the card when the Nvidia cards were already active. I ended up being able to use a lower end Nvidia card which solved my problem.

Re:ATI and Nvidia (1)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598599)

This doesn't have anything to do with multiple graphics cards (except insofar as you have two cards capable of rendering accelerated graphics in the machine). A card set up purely as a PhysX processor isn't using the WDDM (the Vista/Win7 display driver architecture) pathway, which requires the same driver for all graphics cards. The non-Physx card used for graphics owns that pathway, and the Physx card runs independently. The Physx card is like a RAID or USB add-on card; there's no real limit to how many you can run at once.

The restriction exists (rightly or wrongly, I don't care about passing judgment here) both as a performance and stability hack (drastically increased GPU multitasking requires a scheduler and memory manager, and it's harder to write one that works across heterogeneous cards), and to aid in "protecting" HD content by having a single video path that is tightly controlled. Since the PhysX card isn't rendering anything, the restrictions don't apply.

Weird to begin with (2, Interesting)

dagamer34 (1012833) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598477)

Who on earth has a graphics card from two different manufacturers? Regardless though, it means they've directly tied PhysX to their hardware, and I just don't care for them anymore. ATI all the way baby!

Re:Weird to begin with (2, Insightful)

BlueToast (1224550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598573)

When I shop for a video card, I don't care if it is ATI or NVIDIA as long as the choice I am making is cost effective. I would much rather spend my money on the card that is cheaper for the same performance -- which happens to be ATI in this case. Originally I was going to pair an 8800GT with an ATI card for Windows 7, but this news blows. NVIDIA should straighten up and get over their emotional attention whoring. They won't get my money now unless they grow up.

Re:Weird to begin with (1)

bananaquackmoo (1204116) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598617)

+1 to this comment if I had it to give. Seriously, who has a graphics card from two different manufacturers?

Re:Weird to begin with (2)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598867)

Somebody with an integrated NVidia GPU on the motherboard and an ATI vidcard in a PCI-X slot. The motherboard chip would normally just be sitting there sipping power and wasting board real estate; in theory, running PhysX on the otherwise idle mobo GPU would offload physics calculations from either the display adapter GPU (more frames per second) or the primary CPU cores (more frames per second).

Re:Weird to begin with (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598925)

Meh I'd pay $40 to add PhysX support to games

Proprietary APIs (3, Interesting)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598485)

I'm currently avoiding PhysX due to the fact that the license requires that credit be given to nVidia/PhysX in any advertisement that mentions the advertised product's physics capabilities. It's a real shame, because I hear that PhysX has pretty robust physics implementation.

The current state of physics acceleration reminds me of the days when hardware-accelerated 3D graphics (except for high-end OpenGL stuff) were only supported through manufacturer-specific APIs. Hopefully, DirectX physics will be good enough that PhysX will ultimately become mostly irrelevant to game developers -- I'm just not convinced that Microsoft can pull it off.

Re:Proprietary APIs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29598857)

They did it for rendering, no?

You recommend against proprietary APIs and yet.. (3, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598921)

You express a desire for an API from Microsoft to become dominant?

PhysX doesn't matter because Nvidia is doomed (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29598509)

Between the full stack (CPU+Chipset+GPU) provided by AMD and the full stack that will be Intel (with Larrabee in 2010) Nvidia has no future in either Chipsets or GPUs. Any other outcome is a bet against integration and in electronics integration always wins.

Good thing too; both Intel and AMD are vastly more open (at least recently) with their hardware.

Re:PhysX doesn't matter because Nvidia is doomed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29598981)

Between the full stack (CPU+Chipset+GPU) provided by AMD and the full stack that will be Intel (with Larrabee in 2010) Nvidia has no future in either Chipsets or GPUs. Any other outcome is a bet against integration and in electronics integration always wins.

Good thing too; both Intel and AMD are vastly more open (at least recently) with their hardware.

lol

not a problem (2, Interesting)

poly_pusher (1004145) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598511)

Techspot [techspot.com] AMD has been working hard to develop Open Physics. Furthermore Bullet Physics has been shown running on Cuda. So that sounds to me like doom for physx...

Crazy (2, Insightful)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598529)

It's kind of crazy that this is even going to get attention. This is only going to affect people using PhysX (which requires an nVidia GPU at the moment) with an ATI card for rendering. I'm sure the two people with this configuration are going to be crushed. Yes, I realize more than 2 will have a mix of cards, and 2 is probably a bit of a low guess, but only a handful are going to actually be affected by the lack of PhysX support for the config, so please, let's not get all in a huff about it. From a support perspective, I can understand where nVidia is coming from. This could be a true support nightmare for them.

Re:Crazy (1)

anti-NAT (709310) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598833)

So would supporting people with non-Nvidia keyboards, cases, HDDs, motherboards etc. ... (get the point?)

Soon irrelevant anyway (4, Insightful)

perrin (891) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598533)

Once the big game engines and physics libraries get generic support for GPU programming through OpenCL, this will all be pretty moot anyway. From what I can tell, the bullet physics library is already developing this, and I am sure closed source competitors are doing that as well. Relying on anything that will only run on a single vendor's hardware is just a losing business proposition (unless that vendor pays you for it, which I guess is how PhysX got going).

Bullet Physics for the Win! (4, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598691)

http://www.bulletphysics.com/ [bulletphysics.com]

I don't have any affiliation with the project other than I've used it in my homegrown game engine that has never left my hard drive. It is however rather easy to use. When I was looking for a physics engine, Bullet turned out to be the best license, code base, and documentation set out there for no cost.

Havok is better anyway... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29598729)

According to a game console dev I know, he said that PhysX is pretty buggy as it is and pales in comparison to the superior Havok engine. On top of that Havok already works on many architectures.
If this report is true, this one more nail in the coffin for PhysX.

THIS JUST IN! (3, Funny)

Tanman (90298) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598747)

Nvidia releases announcement that they will no longer provide free driver support to ATI for interaction between Nvidia hardware and ATI competing hardware. Notes that software APIs are available for ATI to pay for and release their own damn drivers.

NEWS AT 11!!!

Nothing wrong with this ... (-1, Troll)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598859)

Even though it was definitely not a trivial task to make both ATI Catalyst or Nvidia ForceWare drivers or Nvidia PhysX system software work on the same system at the same time in order to run graphics rendering on ATI Radeon and PhysX on Nvidia GeForce or Ageia PhysX physics processing unit, some people could still use such a configuration.

So by admission of the arthur of the article, it takes hacking to do in the first place, to even get the devices to play nicely ... so rather than listen to a bunch of people who want to try this never supported configuration (I seriously doubt ATI would give you tech support if you asked them with this configuration either), they are just going to prevent it completely.

As a developer, I understand entirely what they are doing. Rather than allow people to do something half assed and get complaints about it, they'll just remove the functionality completely and cut down on support costs, regardless of how trivial /. thinks they are.

This effects a statistically irrelevant number of people anyway, not everyone can have their way. I'd love to run FreeBSD on an 8 bit AVR microcontroller, but the FBSD project doesn't seem to think its worth the effort ... nor does anyone want to make Linux work on it (Lack of an MMU puts a dent in anything sane) ... I should go after Linus and JKH for anti-trust!%@!^#$^!@#^!@#^!@#6

my god shut up you freaking whiner douchebags

Re:Nothing wrong with this ... (1)

ViViDboarder (1473973) | more than 4 years ago | (#29598975)

A bigger issue is that Nvidia bought PhysX and was the one offering support for standalone PPU cards. These were sold to be used with Nvida or ATI GPU cards. Nobody told the ATI user they chouldn't buy the PPU cards.

Then Nvidia decides to break their system and render this worthless... Sounds like poor support for their customer base to me.

Of course, if the scenario that I described above is not what's actually going on, then never mind. :P
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