Friday, July 4th 2008

Radeon PhysX Creator: 'NVIDIA Offered To Help Us', 'Expected More From AMD'

In a dramatic turnaround of events, NGOHQ.com, the creators of a special system software that allowed users of the ATI Radeon graphics accelerators to use proprietary features of NVIDIA graphics accelerators such as GPU-accelerated version of the NVIDIA PhysX game physics API, claim that in fact NVIDIA wanted to help them with this effort. On June, the 26th we had covered reports of the said outfit improvising a driver after proving that NVIDIA's proprietary GPGPU architecture, CUDA was flexible enough to work on a ATI RV670 graphics processor.

The NVIDIA PhysX API has gained immense popularity with the industry off late though the standard itself is not very recent, with the former Ageia having been in the industry for a while before its takeover by NVIDIA. The recent popularity surge of this API owes to the fact that PhysX processing plays a significant role in affecting the scores of the 3DMark Vantage benchmark, where a certain CPU test routine evaluates the computer's physics processing abilities. This gives users of the latest line of GeForce graphics accelerators an advantage over their Radeon counterparts since they get a significant increment in the benchmark score. The PhysX API functions as a CUDA application on GeForce, where the GPU's shaders are used by the process to process physics. With NGOHQ.com being successfully able to modify CUDA to function on ATI GPUs, it was only a formality to run any CUDA application on it, the PhysX process included. NGOHQ.com has gone on record saying that enabling PhysX support on Radeon cards is not particularly difficult, and might not be much be a technology problem but an issue of corporate dynamics.

The team sought support from AMD in the form of a Radeon HD4800 series sample, so they could work out a similar solution for it, but AMD rejected it telling it wasn't a venture worth investing product samples and PR information on, clearly a case of them downplaying the issue to evade possible action from NVIDIA on supporting the use of its proprietary technologies in violation of license agreements. After being denied support from a company they were banking the most on, they were left to their own plight against NVIDIA who have a history of an aggressive business model, even more so after it was known NGOHQ.com may have reverse engineered drivers, a clear violation of the EULA.

The dramatic turnaround of events has caused a little more than a ripple across the industry, the team at NGOHQ.com now claims that NVIDIA actually offered help to them and that they want to strengthen the industry position of CUDA as a viable competitor to Intel and its processing technologies. This follows news reports of a high-ranked officer at Intel downplaying the rising popularity of CUDA and effectively counter the competitive physics API, Havoc, which uses CPU to process in-game physics. The team goes on to use phrases such as "it seems they are giving us their blessings" to highlight their appreciation for the company.

What's beneath this green sugar-coat of an M&M bean? Clear corporate agenda at play. NVIDIA gets away with the higher moral ground in the issue, of having come in support of a small outfit trying to work on technologies that enhanced their competitor's, while in reality all AMD must have wanted was to stay away from IPR headaches at a time when a reinvigorated Radeon line is going head on against GeForce, the way NGOHQ.com portreys their approach looks more like they shied away from a challenge, in their views.With inputs from NGOHQ.com
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41 Comments on Radeon PhysX Creator: 'NVIDIA Offered To Help Us', 'Expected More From AMD'

#2
X-TeNDeR
Can it be, that NVidia is aiding these efforts, in order to push physx deeper into the gaming scene? if ATI cards could run it too, it might have more grip in the market. as long as NVidia call the shots, ofcourse.

Indeed, games :)
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#3
Megasty
Well obviously ATi should take no part in this in fear of being swamped by NV. NV may want to better promote CUDA in this way but don't they have more important things to do in light of recent events. Anyway, all the better for us.
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#4
TheGuruStud
Maybe Nvidia is trying to push out Intel. It would be a smart move if you ask me and good for both companies.
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#5
vojc
god for Nvidia, they will make mor agea supported games ;)
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#6
Cold Storm
Battosai
I'm just glad that this isn't going to be like the Creative issue a while back.. Work with one another for the same goal. Then we will see how good these companies can be!
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#7
[I.R.A]_FBi
So I, ati is going to knowingly support a faction that is breaking my biggest competitor's EULA?

jigga plz.
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#8
Kreij
Senior Monkey Moderator
From my post on 6-26 when this was first announced ..
I'm not so sure that Nvidia will make a big fuss about it.
The fact that it can be used on ATI cards or any others is a feather in their cap, not a detriment.
If they allow it, the open source community will hail them as heroes of the cause.
Looks like they agreed with me :D
Posted on Reply
#9
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Maybe on the opensource, or EU. Who knows, maybe an year or so down the line, EU would have slapped anti-competition charges against NV? As for CUDA, while the compiler that's part of the SDK is derived from an open-source Open64, everything else (binaries...libs...headers...) are proprietary, you can haz dem for free nao but no source code given to you (of everything).
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#10
InnocentCriminal
Resident Grammar Amender
Well written btarunr, I enjoyed reading that.
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#11
TheGuruStud
by: InnocentCriminal
Well written btarunr, I enjoyed reading that.
Go easy on him. He's lucky his brain can even type after two bottles of wild turkey last night. :laugh:
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#12
InnocentCriminal
Resident Grammar Amender
HEH HEH HEH!

Even better, good man!

:rockout:
Posted on Reply
#13
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Are we missing the fact that it's also NV's long-term strategy of pushing CUDA against AMD FireStream and AMD's own GPGPU architecture? I would add that to the basket.
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#14
dark2099
I hope that now since NVidia has offered to help NGOHQ with their quest, maybe ATI/AMD will step up and get on board again since with NVidia seemingly being ok with the venture they won't press any charges.
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#15
[I.R.A]_FBi
The fact is not that they want it to run on amd cards fro the "greater good" but they want to corner the market in essense cause if it runs on both cards they will become a standard and push out havok
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#16
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
PhysX's biggest competitor is Intel's solution, so it only makes sense that nVidia would want to help promote their technology in any way possible, even if that means helping to get it running on ATi's hardware. It's a good move by nVidia, IMO.
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#17
adrianx
so in the clear future will not see any driver with ageia support for ati :)

if nvidia want to help ati (this is strange), I think the nvidia have same interest in that.

I don't see the nvidia working for free to improve the AMD/ATI products.

Also, read about the AMD and HAVOK agreements about the physics accelerations on the HD cards. So I believe that cost same money from AMD.
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#18
InnocentCriminal
Resident Grammar Amender
I can't help but see ATi as the clear winners here. They're supporting Havoc and nVIDIA aren't bothered about PhysX working on their cards. Brilliant!
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#19
EastCoasthandle
Based on Nvidia's politics regarding DX10.1 I don't see AMD/ATI being so gracious as to support Cuda. But time will tell.
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#20
WarEagleAU
Bird of Prey
I dont really see the point in all of this. Who cares if AMD/ATI didnt want to violate some licensing. I Think that is smart. Boo hoo for not throwing us a freaking bone here.
Posted on Reply
#21
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: WarEagleAU
I dont really see the point in all of this. Who cares if AMD/ATI didnt want to violate some licensing. I Think that is smart.
That's an important explanation behind not sending samples to NGOHQ.com, as if they couldn't afford it themselves for $199.

by: WarEagleAU
Boo hoo for not throwing us a freaking bone here.
Syntax error.
Posted on Reply
#23
Bundy
by: eidairaman1
i smell a big rat.:shadedshu
So do I. What is next? AMD backing Phys-x? Has Nvidia got a fancy chipset in waiting that can further capitalise on CUDA? Maybe they are positioning themselves in preparation for Nehalem?
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#24
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
They're have trouble with Intel in doing that AFAIK
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#25
mixa
More like NVIDIA was behind it since the start?I don't rly belive they just "made it work".
How come noone made AVIVO work on NVIDIA cards?I know I know its a different thing but its either they reverse engineered the drivers or more likely someone "gave" em already working ones.Its good that AMD/ATi didn't get the bite and haven't involved in any way since they are over the top again.
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