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 Post subject: BFG Physx card is $195.99 at Newegg and there's a $40 rebate
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 9:57 am 
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DBB Ace
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If you've been considering one of these but felt the price was too high, then here's your chance to get one on the cheap.

BFG Tech Physx Processing Unit at Newegg

Rebate form at Newegg

The rebate is good until 10/15/2006.

I just ordered one; $155.99 (after the rebate but before shipping and NJ sales tax) is a heck of lot more paletable than $299.99, and I'll be ready for CellFactor: Revolution and any of the Unreal Engine 3-based games coming next year.

Please note that this is a PCI card, and they will be announcing the availability of a PCI-E card on the 12th. I didn't wait for PCI-E for three reasons: First, Ageia said there is no performance advantage and that this is basically to enable people who don't have open PCI slots (or any PCI slots) to install the card. Second, my only PCI-E 1X slot is between my two GPUs (one of which is blocking a PCI slot) and I don't think the PPU would fit, but I do have one remaining open and clear PCI slot that I can install the PPU card in. Third, the price is right.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:20 am 
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still too expensive by alot.

benchmarks to date have yet to show any improvement over just letting the CPU handle physics - most cases showed a reduction in performance without any visible improvment in physics.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 2:05 pm 
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fliptw wrote:
still too expensive by alot.

benchmarks to date have yet to show any improvement over just letting the CPU handle physics - most cases showed a reduction in performance without any visible improvment in physics.


x2, and dont forget, it will drop performance on your video card with all the extra particles it wants to render


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 2:10 pm 
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fliptw wrote:
still too expensive by alot.

benchmarks to date have yet to show any improvement over just letting the CPU handle physics - most cases showed a reduction in performance without any visible improvment in physics.


No no no, it has nothing to do with benchmarks, as Ace points out the game will demand more of the system and run slower. It has to do with eye candy. Maybe "game dependant" physics will eventually run on a PPU, but for now they will be on the CPU to ensure consistency. Since you can't predict the behavior difference between two different PPUs, a game could be completely OK on one but have totally different reactions on another.

The point of having a seperate physics processor is to have cooler looking explosions and smoke effects (and ideally water at some point). Stuff that would take forever to calculate on the CPU can all be done seperately and in parallel on the specialized PPU.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 2:32 pm 
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Great - you mean I can pay $150 for a piece of stuff that does nothing except consume power and works in about 3 games I don't even play!

EXCELLENT :P

Lemme make a bet with anyone here: There'll be no such things as a physics card in anyone's PCs in 5 years from now.

That goes for dual graphics cards too. That whole SLI/Crossfire thing is just stupid shiz designed to separate you from larger amounts of cash.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 2:45 pm 
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Mobius wrote:
Great - you mean I can pay $150 for a piece of stuff that does nothing except consume power and works in about 3 games I don't even play!

EXCELLENT :P

Lemme make a bet with anyone here: There'll be no such things as a physics card in anyone's PCs in 5 years from now.

That goes for dual graphics cards too. That whole SLI/Crossfire thing is just stupid shiz designed to separate you from larger amounts of cash.

I'll bet you one physics card that there will be.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 3:03 pm 
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Mobius wrote:
Lemme make a bet with anyone here: There'll be no such things as a physics card in anyone's PCs in 5 years from now.

by this time, enough money will have been made from selling seperate physics cards to people who just have to have them and they will already have started to implement physics in GPUs, if they didn't already.
just like 3D-acceleration back in the middle of the 90's.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 3:43 pm 
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Whoops, thought I split it. Oh well.. Mod -- feel free to split the thread at the 2nd post back into the Tech Forum.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 11:49 pm 
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You won't see dedicated PPU cards for much longer.

I predict that multi-core CPU's will eventually have dedicated circuitry for handling physics simulations and the ilk.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 12:06 am 
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fliptw wrote:
You won't see dedicated PPU cards for much longer.

I predict that multi-core CPU's will eventually have dedicated circuitry for handling physics simulations and the ilk.


This is what I predict happening too though I don't believe it'll require dedicated support within the CPU, doing the job in software and spreading it over as many CPU cores as needed will work just as well:

http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2828&p=3

While the PhysX card did provide something of a boost in all cases, the effect was greatest when only a single core is used.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 12:33 am 
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Intel's upcoming Quad-Cores have something call PNI(Penryn New Instructions), basically the newest revision of SSE... I wonder that they'll do?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 9:20 pm 
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fliptw wrote:
Intel's upcoming Quad-Cores have something call PNI(Penryn New Instructions), basically the newest revision of SSE... I wonder that they'll do?


The whitepaper on SSE4 mentions nothing specifically about the new instructions being good for speeding up physics calcualtions, so I'm guessing they won't do much for physics or else Intel would be trumpeting the fact.

However, I have seen some posts from people who apparently know their math, and they think that some of these new instructions will be good for physics. Time will tell.

I find it interesting that there are pictures of an ASUS mobo with a third PCI-E x16 slot which ASUS says is specifically for "Nvidia's upcoming physics card." If this is true, it goes a long way towards validating Ageia's position that you need a dedicated processor for physics calculations. If Nvidia's solution just amounts to adding a third graphics card - hence the graphics card-required PCI-E x16 slot, and not any other kind of PCI-E slot - then it still won't be good for anthing more then making visuals look more realistic; in other words, there still won't be any interactivity like what the Ageia PPU makes possible.

Has anyone else found it kind of ironic that Nvidia and ATI have been saying that if you have an SLI/Crossfire setup then you can use one of the cards for physics and the other for the graphics, eliminating the need for a purpose-built physics card? If one of the cards you bought for graphics is now only processing physics (or maybe splitting its cycles between graphics and physics), doesn't that make it a dedicated physics card, crippling your SLI/Crossfire setup? That's not an optimal solution IMO, and it seems Nvidia has backtracked and also thinks so, or we probably wouldn't be seeing that third PCI-E x16 slot.

I don't know who's going to win this physics format war, but it's increasingly obvious that Ageia is going in the right direction with a dedicated physics processor.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 10:35 pm 
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Did you actually take a look at the figures in the AnandTech article? They show that adding a second CPU core gives you a bigger boost in physics calculations than a dedicated PPU (bear in mind too that they're running the exact same calculations on both the PhysX card and the dual core CPU). If that's the case today with two cores, imagine what'll it'll be like tomorrow with four or, looking even further ahead, the 80-core behemoth Intel recently announced.

If AGEIA had been able to deliver the PhysX PPU a few years ago when it first announced it (when dual core wasn't even on the horizon and SMP meant spending huge amounts of money on equipment more suited to servers and high-end workstations than gaming PCs) then perhaps things may have been different but as it is now, I honestly believe the days of the dedicated PPU are numbered.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 11:58 pm 
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Admiral LSD wrote:
Did you actually take a look at the figures in the AnandTech article? They show that adding a second CPU core gives you a bigger boost in physics calculations than a dedicated PPU (bear in mind too that they're running the exact same calculations on both the PhysX card and the dual core CPU). If that's the case today with two cores, imagine what'll it'll be like tomorrow with four or, looking even further ahead, the 80-core behemoth Intel recently announced.

If AGEIA had been able to deliver the PhysX PPU a few years ago when it first announced it (when dual core wasn't even on the horizon and SMP meant spending huge amounts of money on equipment more suited to servers and high-end workstations than gaming PCs) then perhaps things may have been different but as it is now, I honestly believe the days of the dedicated PPU are numbered.


Sure I read the Anandtech article; but you have to take into account that the current crop of games is using the PPU merely for relatively simple special effects, not for serious interactivity. The PhysX API is not just for the PPU. It's a physics API like Havok that can be used unaccelerated, so it's designed to run the more simple physics effects well without a PPU.

Have you seen the CellFactor: Revolution trailer? Combat Training is neat for an early tech demo, but Revolution is supposed to dig deep and begin to show what the PPU can really do. In fact, they are keeping some of the levels 'dumbed down' so that people without a PPU can play, but there are levels that you simply can't play if you don't have a PPU.

I suppose this will all be settled once CellFactor: Revolution, and more importantly, Unreal Tournament 2007 are released. If the parts of CF:R that require a PPU are really compelling, and if UT2007 really makes good use of the PPU, then the PPU will most likely gain much wider acceptance; especially since so many games are being made with the latest Unreal Engine.

Buying an Ergodex DX1 was taking a chance, but it turned out to have been worth every penny. With any luck, the PPU will also turn out to have been a good purchase. If not, I made a mistake buying the card, whoopdi-do. At least I didn't pay $300.00 for it.

Anyway, the original purpose of this thread was to inform people who were interested in a physics card that there is (still) a deal to be had, that's all.


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