Mutli-Core or PPU or Both

Discussion in 'Games' started by thoff, Aug 19, 2005.

  1. thoff macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2005
    Before AMD and Intel released their dual-core processors I remember reading about a company Developing a physics processing unit (Aegiea??). In the interviews and articles it seemed that this would help with explosions, destructible environments and other inprovements. However, I remember reading about how multi-core capable games would use the second core for pretty much the same functions. I haven't heard anything new about the Physics Processing Unit for some time, but the are numerous articles about the difficult transition to multi-core gaming. Did multi-core processors effectively kill the PPU before it even started? Do you think there would be a place for a dedicated PPU in a multi-core system?

  2. alex_ant macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2002
    All up in your bidness
    The trend in the industry over the past years/decades has been integration. FPUs used to be external, now they're internal, MPEG-2 decoders were on dedicated PCI cards when DVDs first came onto computers, now their functionality is taken over by the CPU. Having separate chips handle different functions can be faster, but it's way more expensive to design and to manufacture. It also makes software development more complicated. If CPUs were having major difficulties handling physics in games and if it were not foreseeable that this situation would change, then maybe a PPU could catch on, but as it is, I don't see it happening.
  3. Hydra macrumors regular


    May 25, 2004
    Asus is ready to manufacture those cards but there's still no software out that supports it so they won't release it just yet. The new Unreal engine might be the trigger when it arrives. It's far more powerful than a dualcore CPU in what it does but still dunno if PPU can get popular enough to really break through.
  4. applekid macrumors 68020

    Jul 3, 2003
    Yeah, UT2007 is supposed to one of the major games that supports the PPU. And Aspyr is backing it, so it'll be sure to see support on the Mac, too ;)
  5. GFLPraxis macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Yeah, the Unreal 3 Engine supports the PPU; that includes Unreal Tournament 2007, Gears of War, and any other game that uses it.
  6. ravenvii macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    Yeah, the trend's to merge the functionalities of various components into one, usually the CPU. But there's one example that most definitely ain't following that trend: graphics cards. Who's to say the PPU wouldn't be like the GPU?
  7. Eric5h5 macrumors 68020

    Dec 9, 2004
    Do you think there's a place for a dedicated graphics card in a multi-core system? The answer is the same. Considering that a PPU is about 20 TIMES faster for physics than a general-purpose CPU, I'd say hell yes. I think they're really going to need some demos and a game or two to show this thing off, because a lot of people don't seem to get it.

  8. GFLPraxis macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    I'd love to see a single PCIe card with a GPU and a PPU on it. After all, they're already talking about dual core GPU's...

    But I find that unlikely.

    Alternatively, how about gaming motherboards with PPU's built in? Otherwise, just make them seperate cards, it'd just be a pain to have to have one slot taken by a PPU and one taken by a GPU, losing two slots.

    To be honest, I would rather see, oh, say, Sony, dump the Cell processor (or strip off some of the SPE's and reduce the clock speed to make it very cheap) and just put a cheaper processor for AI and game data, and a PPU for physics. It'd probably work better, since the Cell sucks for AI and is good at physics, but a PPU would be better.

    Maybe Nintendo will use a PPU? Hopefully?

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