Ageia PhysX PPU

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PhysX processing triangle
"Gaming Power Triangle", as stated by Ageia

Ageia PhysX PPU (Ageia PhysX, Physics Processor Unit, PhysX processor) - dedicated microprocessor (PhysX chip) designed to perform physics calculations, located on expansion card for PCI and PCI-e slots. Developed by Ageia company, shipping has started in May 2006.

Ageia PhysX cards were capable of running physics simulation (through PhysX SDK physics middleware) in hardware mode, reducing load on CPU or providing more performance. However, specially designed applications and games were required to see notable effects from Ageia PPU usage.

In 2008, as Ageia was aquired by NVIDIA, hardware engineering group was shut down. PhysX cards are not manufactured anymore, they are not supported by recent PhysX drivers and PhysX SDK 2.8.3/2.8.4/3.x (and games build on those SDKs).

Contents

Specifications

PhysX Chip
PhysX Chip
PhysX Chip early revision
PhysX Chip - earlier revision


Capabilities

Ageia PhysX cards are capable of running whole PhysX SDK scene in hardware (while NVIDIA GPUs support hardware acceleration only of certain features - cloth, fluids and softbody), thus offloading calculations from CPU.

Mirror's Edge and PhysX - CPU usage
CPU load in Mirror's Edge, with PhysX effects calculated on PPU
Mirror's Edge and PhysX - CPU usage
CPU load in Mirror's Edge, with PhysX effects calculated on CPU

Such ability makes PPUs usefull even in common PhysX SDK based games without additional hardware affects (CPU PhysX games), but performance boost will be nominal. Games specially optimized for PPUs are required to see actual advantage.

In addition, PPUs were good at particles and cloth physics simulation, outperforming fastest CPUs at the time.

PhysX cards

Ageia PhysX cards were available in several variants from following manufacturers:

ASUS PhysX P1

  • PPU: Ageia PhysX 100, 533 Mhz
  • RAM: 128 Mb GDDR3, 738 Mhz
  • Memory bus: 128-bit
  • Interface: 32-bit PCI 3.0
  • Power: 4-pin molex
  • Software bundled:
  • Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (GRAW Edition only)
  • CellFactor: Combat Training (GRAW Edition only)
  • SwitchBall Demo
  • Asus Driver CD

PCI-E version was available only for OEM

ASUS PhysX P1 card

ASUS PhysX P1 card

BFG PhysX

  • PPU: Ageia PhysX 100, 500 Mhz
  • RAM: 128 Mb GDDR3, 738 Mhz
  • Memory bus: 128-bit
  • Interface: 32-bit PCI 3.0
  • Power: 4-pin molex
  • Software bundled:
  • Hangar of Doom (Demo CD)
  • BFG Driver CD

PCI-E version was available only for OEM

BFG PhysX card

BFG PhysX card

ELSA Phynite X100

  • PPU: Ageia PhysX 100, 500 Mhz
  • RAM: 128 Mb GDDR3, 738 Mhz
  • Memory bus: 128-bit
  • Interface: 32-bit PCI 3.0
  • Power: 4-pin molex
  • Software bundled:
  • Cellfactor: Revolution

ELSA Phynite X100 card

ELSA Phynite X100 card

DELL W056C

  • PPU: Ageia PhysX 100, 500 Mhz
  • RAM: 128 Mb GDDR3, 738 Mhz
  • Memory bus: 128-bit
  • Interface: PCI-E x1
  • Power: 4-pin molex
  • Software bundled: N/A

OEM only version of Ageia PhysX card, manufactured by DELL, originally designed to be bundled with DELL XPS 630 systems.

DELL XPS 630

DELL-W056C

DELL E1

  • PPU: Ageia PhysX 100M, 533 Mhz
  • RAM: 128 Mb GDDR3, 738 Mhz
  • Interface: MXM
  • Low power consumption (~10W)

Special mobile version of Ageia PhysX card, released only as part of DELL XPS M1730 Laptops

DELL XPS M1730 Notebook

Mobile PhysX card

Games with PhysX PPU support

Cellfactor: Combat Training
Cellfactor: Combat Training - one of most impressive PPU PhysX games

16 games, augmented with PPU optimizations and supplementary physics effects, were released during life cycle of Ageia PhysX cards. Most remarkable of them are:

Full list of games with PPU PhysX support

Ageia PPU in current PhysX reality

It is not recommended to use Ageia PhysX PPUs in any modern systems - they are not supported by recent GPU/CPU PhysX games and have insufficient performance, compared even to low-end NVIDIA GPUs. Not to mention problems with PhysX Drivers older than version 8.09.04.

However, if you're still interested in installing Ageia PhysX card (to play old PPU PhysX games, for example) into your system, you can refer to this guide, that will allow you to use Ageia PPU with latest PhysX Drivers.

In addition, we recommend you to familiarize yourself with following guides:

Other Notes

See also

External links


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