Friday, March 20th 2009

AMD to Demonstrate GPU Havok Physics Acceleration at GDC

GPU-accelerated physics is turning out to be the one part of specifications AMD is yearning for. One of NVIDIA's most profitable acquisitions in recent times, has been that of Ageia technologies, and its PhysX middleware API. NVIDIA went on to port the API to its proprietary CUDA GPGPU architecture, and is now using it as a significant PR-tool apart from a feature that is genuinely grabbing game developers' attention. In response to this move, AMD's initial reaction was to build strategic technology alliance with the main competitor of PhysX: Havok, despite its acquisition by Intel.

In the upcoming Game Developers Conference (GDC) event, AMD may materialize its plans to bring a GPU-accelerated version of Havok, which has till now been CPU-accelerated. The API has featured in several popular game titles such as Half Life 2, Max Payne II, and some other Valve Source-based titles. ATI's Terry Makedon, in his Twitter-feed has revealed that AMD would put forth its “ATI GPU Physics strategy.” He also added that the company would present a tech-demonstration of Havok technology working in conjunction with ATI hardware. The physics API is expected to utilize OpenCL and AMD Stream.

Source: bit-tech.net
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226 Comments on AMD to Demonstrate GPU Havok Physics Acceleration at GDC

#1
DarkMatter
Mussels said:
I dont see any logic behind that.

If intel makes it x86, then AMD can run it, via can run it, etc.
If they make it GPU capable, then at least they're getting paid for it in royalties.
It's not about who, but how. If Intel makes it x86 it will happen two things:

1. That it will never reach the heighs that GPU physics would reach. GPUs are always going to be faster (at number crunching) than any x86 based CPU/GPU for the same die area and power consumption. In any case you would need to buy an Intel GPU or AMD start making them, because CPUs will never hold enough power into them. It's not cost effective to add so many ALUs into a CPU, when most of the times they will be idling. And high-end on die GPUs so that you don't need a discrete one (hence the ALUs would be working most of the time), will never happen, because of thermal constraints.

2. Because of the growing importance of physics in games if Havok is used and it is x86 based, the better gaming solution would be an Intel GPU, because at Graphics+Physics it would be faster, although it would be lagging far behind at pure graphics, and would also be lagging in physics if Havok wasn't used and true GPUs from Nvidia and AMD could take advantage of PhysX instead of being forced to adopt Intel's path.

Not to mention that I think it's time for everybody to open the eyes and see that AMD has nothing to do against Intel when it comes to x86, it's ages ahead and I don't think AMD will ever catch on. They will continue being competitive because that's what most benefits Intel, but will never be ahead again.
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#2
TheMailMan78
Big Member
DarkMatter said:
It's not about who, but how. If Intel makes it x86 it will happen two things:

1. That it will never reach the heighs that GPU physics would reach. GPUs are always going to be faster (at number crunching) than any x86 based CPU/GPU for the same die area and power consumption. In any case you would need to buy an Intel GPU or AMD start making them, because CPUs will never hold enough power into them. It's not cost effective to add so many ALUs into a CPU, when most of the times they will be idling. And high-end on die GPUs so that you don't need a discrete one (hence the ALUs would be working most of the time), will never happen, because of thermal constraints.

2. Because of the growing importance of physics in games if Havok is used and it is x86 based, the better gaming solution would be an Intel GPU, because at Graphics+Physics it would be faster, although it would be lagging far behind at pure graphics, and would also be lagging in physics if Havok wasn't used and true GPUs from Nvidia and AMD could take advantage of PhysX instead of being forced to adopt Intel's path.

Not to mention that I think it's time for everybody to open the eyes and see that AMD has nothing to do against Intel when it comes to x86, it's ages ahead and I don't think AMD will ever catch on. They will continue being competitive because that's what most benefits Intel, but will never be ahead again.
Thats a LOT assumption and a pessimistic view on your part Dark. Almost everything happening points to just the opposite of what you just said. A year ago people were saying AMD was done for and buying ATI was a huge mistake. Now look where we are.
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#3
DarkMatter
TheMailMan78 said:
Thats a LOT assumption and a pessimistic view on your part Dark. Almost everything happening points to just the opposite of what you just said. A year ago people were saying AMD was done for and buying ATI was a huge mistake. Now look where we are.
And where are we?? Phenom II has a hard time even competing with Intels 2 years old hardware that had been sandbagged to begin with. Now Intel's Nehalem is somewhere 30% faster clock for clock and even with the restrictions they have put in place to hold back overclocking they still overclock like a charm. The die area of Nehalem is the same as that of Phenom 2, so it's actually cheaper to produce for Intel because of their much bigger fabs. If Intel wanted or needed, they could make anything from creating much faster Nehalems to lowering the price to a lower point than AMD if they trully required that.
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#4
TheMailMan78
Big Member
DarkMatter said:
And where are we?? Phenom II has a hard time even competing with Intels 2 years old hardware that had been sandbagged to begin with. Now Intel's Nehalem is somewhere 30% faster clock for clock and even with the restrictions they have put in place to hold back overclocking they still overclock like a charm. The die area of Nehalem is the same as that of Phenom 2, so it's actually cheaper to produce for Intel because of their much bigger fabs. If Intel wanted or needed, they could make anything from creating much faster Nehalems to lowering the price to a lower point than AMD if they trully required that.
Wow the R&D behind Nehalem must have been free then. As for the Phenom II having a hard time competing I think you better research thier intended performance bracket. The Phenom II is mopping the floor with Intel. Its an overachiever when it comes to games also. In gaming it goes toe to toe with the i7. I wont even go into ATIs end of things. So yeah we are FAR better off than we were a year ago. The future looks bright!
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#5
DarkMatter
TheMailMan78 said:
Wow the R&D behind Nehalem must have been free then. As for the Phenom II having a hard time competing I think you better research thier intended performance bracket. The Phenom II is mopping the floor with Intel. Its an overachiever when it comes to games also. In gaming it goes toe to toe with the i7. I wont even go into ATIs end of things. So yeah we are FAR better off than we were a year ago. The future looks bright!
There's a time when you have to come back to reality. AMD is better now than one year ago, but I don't see the bright future you talk about. I want to see it, but I'm too realist for that.

I'm sorry for you, really. Just out of curiosity, how much did you pay for those stocks? I was close to buy 4000€ in AMD stock around 18 months ago for $7-8 or so I think, and I'm so happy that I didn't... uff I dodged that one by a hair. :ohwell:
Posted on Reply
#6
TheMailMan78
Big Member
DarkMatter said:
There's a time when you have to come back to reality. AMD is better now than one year ago, but I don't see the bright future you talk about. I want to see it, but I'm too realist for that.

I'm sorry for you, really. Just out of curiosity, how much did you pay for those stocks? I was close to buy 4000€ in AMD stock around 18 months ago for $7-8 or so I think, and I'm so happy that I didn't... uff I dodged that one by a hair. :ohwell:
:laugh: Any stock right now is shot. However I've been buying into all kinds of things. 5 years from now people are going to be kicking themselves. Patience is key. Stocks never reflect the moral of a good company. Only negative press. Right now AMD is producing some great press. If this continues stocks will rise. How do you think Apple survived?

FYI me owning a part of AMD has nothing to do with my views. I used to own an 8800 on my old gaming system ;)
Posted on Reply
#7
Wile E
Power User
TheMailMan78 said:
Wow the R&D behind Nehalem must have been free then. As for the Phenom II having a hard time competing I think you better research thier intended performance bracket. The Phenom II is mopping the floor with Intel. Its an overachiever when it comes to games also. In gaming it goes toe to toe with the i7. I wont even go into ATIs end of things. So yeah we are FAR better off than we were a year ago. The future looks bright!
The Phenom is not mopping the floor with Intel. You need to double check that. The only thing it really keeps up with Intel in is encoding and gaming. And it only keeps up in gaming because current titles are limited by the gpu, not the cpu. AMD is still behind clock for clock. It's only equal in some tasks. To put that into perspective tho, they are now just starting to catch up to a 2 year old design. Compared to i7, Phenom II loses everywhere.

Yes, AMD made a step in the right direction, and they are now competitive in their bracket, but I doubt they'll pass Intel up in performance any time in the next couple of years. Intel has a much larger R&D budget.
Posted on Reply
#9
ShadowFold
Well that's kinda cool. I want to see some videos of this destruction tho :D
Posted on Reply
#10
Wile E
Power User
I think nVidia should port Physx to use OpenCL.
Posted on Reply
#11
DarkMatter
I don't see anything in that link, just PR. I thought there would be a video there. I have seen the videos in Havok's page though and are not impressive at all. I'll stay with PhysX thank you.
Posted on Reply
#12
FryingWeesel
DarkMatter said:
Also DX11 or OpenCL doesn't change anything. Nvidia can and will adapt PhysX to DX11/OpenCL when Win 7 launches too. Remember that it took them 3 months to adapt PhysX to CUDA. It won't take much more to adapt it to any other API.

And maybe I'm wrong, but when that happens, it's going to be very interesting, because Ati cards will be able to play PhysX, with AMD's permission or without. The only requirement for PhysX will be a card capable of running DX11 compute shaders then and AMD cards will do so. It will matter very little if AMD wants PhysX on their cards or not, unless they do something shaddy, they will not be able to prevent that.

The one that will win this game is the one that gets better support now and IMHO that's PhysX at the moment.
yeah, PhysX is getting better support and is being used far more then havoc, mostly because intel dont really want gpu enhanced phisics they want to keep everything on the cpu.

i dont see it taking them that long honestly, i would bet nvidia is already working on the project maby only a couple people but fact is if they get started early they can put it out either early or on the day dx11 is avalable.

also from what i have read this is NOT TIED TO dx11 shaders, so you wont have to replace your 8800+ or hd2k+ card to use it(hell even the x1900/1950 are acctualy capable of this kinda work)

The prospecs is exciting to me, if only both companys would grow up and realise they need to team up against intel (main company driving this "keep everything on the cpu" BS)

IF ati/amd and nvidia could work togather in at least a limmited fassion they could take some of the wind out of intels sails, i mean it wouldnt be perfect but at least amd/ati and NV onboard could be used as a ppu, think about it, again not "optimal" but if all boards had onboard that could support physx(780/790gx and nvidia equivlants),

blah......just blah!!
Posted on Reply
#13
soryuuha
DarkMatter said:
I don't see anything in that link, just PR. I thought there would be a video there. I have seen the videos in Havok's page though and are not impressive at all. I'll stay with PhysX thank you.
You see Havok video or HavokFX video?
Posted on Reply
#14
FryingWeesel
Wile E said:
I think nVidia should port Physx to use OpenCL.
I would bet you they are already working on it, if havoc can run on openCL then nvidias gonna want a peice of that action and the ability to have their physx do the same thing and work on the same hardware.

I would bet you start seeing other phisics engines moving to support opencl as well, it just makes sence to support it if avalable.
Posted on Reply
#15
Wile E
Power User
FryingWeesel said:
I would bet you they are already working on it, if havoc can run on openCL then nvidias gonna want a peice of that action and the ability to have their physx do the same thing and work on the same hardware.

I would bet you start seeing other phisics engines moving to support opencl as well, it just makes sence to support it if avalable.
That's my take on it. But I get this feeling it won't happen. nvidia really likes to lock their technologies to their hardware for some reason. Presumably to help their hardware sales. I'm hoping that Physx doesn't provide enough hardware demand that they have no choice but to port it over to OCL.
Posted on Reply
#16
FryingWeesel
well, nvidia wants physx to be top dog, they where even trying to help those people make a port for ati cards(the one that turned out to be vaporware)

for nvidia pushing physx would have no downside really, even if its allowing support over opencl, their cuda based implementation would be more optimzied anyway, after all they own the engine, they could make sure it just runs better on their cards then on opencl based cards.
Posted on Reply
#17
Wile E
Power User
FryingWeesel said:
well, nvidia wants physx to be top dog, they where even trying to help those people make a port for ati cards(the one that turned out to be vaporware)

for nvidia pushing physx would have no downside really, even if its allowing support over opencl, their cuda based implementation would be more optimzied anyway, after all they own the engine, they could make sure it just runs better on their cards then on opencl based cards.
Yeah, that's a way to look at it too, i suppose.

I will say, Physx is actually one thing I miss about owning an nv card. But then again, I really like GRAW and GRAW2 a lot.
Posted on Reply
#18
Mussels
Moderprator
Game devs will have a simple choice

Nv physx, that only works on G92 and newer cards

Havok, that works on ATI cards (2k and up)

Now its a tough choice - comes down to whatevers easiest to code, or cheapest to use. If one of them goes openCL and becomes viable on both brands, that engine takes the lead - no alienating your customer base.
Posted on Reply
#19
FryingWeesel
Mussels said:
Game devs will have a simple choice

Nv physx, that only works on G92 and newer cards

Havok, that works on ATI cards (2k and up)

Now its a tough choice - comes down to whatevers easiest to code, or cheapest to use. If one of them goes openCL and becomes viable on both brands, that engine takes the lead - no alienating your customer base.
um, from what i reammber g80 card can now run physx(any cuda compatable card can) so even older 8800's can support physx.

as to havok vs physx, they both got their flaws and advanteges, as i have said b4, As I understand it nvidia is giving physx away
http://developer.nvidia.com/object/physx.html
infact they are!!!

physx has gone "licence free" this makes it more attractive to developers then havok thats owned by intel and thus requiers them to get a licence from intel to use/support it.
Posted on Reply
#20
Mussels
Moderprator
G80 and up!

screwup on my part, i was getting confused because i've been using coreAVC, and its G92 and up.
Posted on Reply
#21
FryingWeesel
A little info/show of what hardware physx can do.
http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-275-review-test/7

Ambient Occlusion
http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-275-review-test/6

AO perf hit in games i have tested it in has been pretty low on my 8800gts 512mb as long as im using the 185.66 drivers, older drivers the hit was higher, would guess that the perf hit will go down even more as the drivers mature more :)

WoW for example looks amazing with AO enabled, shadows acctualy are NICE, NwN2 looks better, as well as some other older games I have tested.
Posted on Reply
#22
TheMailMan78
Big Member
Whatever happen to this? I have yet to see any GPU accelerated physics on ATI.
Posted on Reply
#23
Mussels
Moderprator
TheMailMan78 said:
Whatever happen to this? I have yet to see any GPU accelerated physics on ATI.
nothing really.

at a guess, game devs are holding off til ATI and Nv have working Direct compute/openCL drivers
Posted on Reply
#25
TheMailMan78
Big Member
Mussels said:
nothing really.

at a guess, game devs are holding off til ATI and Nv have working Direct compute/openCL drivers
Lord knows when that will be.
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