ATI's Rene Froeleke has Kindly answered some questions we posed about ATI's venture into Physics Processing for GPU'sOC3D: Do ATI see physics processing as something that they will be developing in the foreseeable future? Or is this something you see more as a long-term solution?
ATI: As mentioned by Wil in the interview with Firingsquad that you refer to below, we are actively working with all major physic engine suppliers to enable them to take advantage of the processing power of our GPUs. While I can’t comment on when these engines will become available and when games using this engine will hit the market, it is certainly something that is worked on right now.OC3D: With 3 (4 if you include the Multiple Core CPU's) solutions to the graphics market does ATI feel that we will be able to reach an industry standard with physics processing anytime soon? Overclock3d feels that having this many types of processing for Developers to write for will lead to a big split in the market, which is not always a good thing for customers.
ATI: A game developer will usually license a physics engine, and the abilities and programmability of this engine will be the standard for the game(s) that he develops. One major differentiation (and certainly a major selling point for the engine supplier) will be the flexibility of this physics engine, i.e. can it take advantage of dual-core CPUs, can it take advantage of GPU accelerated physics, and of course how good is it in detecting the installed hardware and balancing the workload across the different math units that are available and supported in the system.OC3D: We were extremely interested in the Comments by Will Willis to Firing Squad (here). He commented on the possibilities of using an X1900XTX for graphics processing and (for instance) a much cheaper X1600 taking the part of the PPU. This certainly seems an interesting solution and our readers would be very interesting to hear more.
ATI: There really isn’t much more to say. The X1600 packs a lot of shader power combined with very efficient dynamic branching, so it would be very good at calculating physics and could consequently be used as a physics processor. We have actually showcased a similar set-up during our X1800 launch event, where one GPU was used as a physics processor and the other GPU was used for graphics.