ATI sceglie di percorrere, a suo modo, la strada tracciata da Ageia con la sua PPU PhysX: con il comunicato stampa di seguito allegato e mediante alcune demo tecnologiche, benchmark e documentazione esibiti al Computex 2006, il chip-maker canadese ha infatti ufficializzato l'introduzione di una nuova soluzione tecnologica in ambito gaming, che è finalizzata a fornire "reale fisicità" ai giochi e un livello di simulazione notevolmente superiore rispetto a quello ottenibile oggi, sia con i propri che con i prodotti della concorrenza.
L'idea di ATI consiste nell'utilizzare una configurazione CrossFire "asimmetrica" 2 + 1 che prevede l'abbinamento al setup CrossFire canonico, ovvero costituito da due video card trazionali, di una terza scheda grafica, dedicata esclusivamente alla gestione della componente fisica dello scenario 3D mentre il rendering degli oggetti resta a carico delle prime due. In alternativa, con ovvia riduzione delle prestazioni, ATI ha previsto una configurazione 1 + 1 in cui il sistema CrossFire viene sostituito da una singola board.
L'effetto netto di questo approccio è l'incremento esponenziale degli oggetti presenti nella scena grafica, che il produttore afferma di poter gestire in real-time fino alla soglia delle 30.000 unità.
MARKHAM, CANADA and COMPUTEX, TAIWAN, Jun 6, 2006 (CCNMatthews via COMTEX News Network) -- ATI Technologies Inc. (TSX:ATY)(NASDAQ:ATYT) is loosening the ties that bind gamers to their physical realities by immersing them in a simulation more complete than anything they've seen before. The 'boundless gaming' experience is created by combining the rendering horsepower of two ATI graphics cards with a third devoted to modeling the environment. This asymmetric CrossFire configuration fuses the best looking, highest performing graphics available with physics performance beyond anything available on a PC before(1). Added to the Intel® Core™ 2 Duo platform, it introduces 'boundless gaming' to the world on the highest performing PC platform ever conceived.
Traditional PC games face two principal constraints: they're sometimes CPU-bound, limited by how much the processor can handle; or they're sometimes GPU-bound, limited by the amount of information the graphics cards can process. The same processing limitations also impact how well games can imitate reality. Today, ATI is breaking down those barriers. ATI's CrossFire™ X1900 multi-GPU solution in combination with Intel Core 2 Duo processors effectively address both the CPU and GPU-bound scenarios producing the best image quality and performance in games, while a single ATI GPU works to deliver realistic physics. The result is 'boundless gaming'.
ATI physics lets developers deliver true-to-life representations of reality in games, thanks to the superior parallel processing architecture of ATI's Radeon® X1K GPUs. The Radeon® X1900 XTX is one the highest performing physics processor available today, delivering a whopping 360 Gflops of processing power(1). Gamers will be able to enjoy scenes with 20,000 to 30,000 distinct objects that can now be accurately simulated and rendered at real-time frame rates, providing a more immersive experience.
CrossFire offers gamers a choice of physics configurations rather than being locked into symmetrical setups. This flexible architecture allows asymmetrical configurations as unlike cards can be used for physics processing in both 1+1 and 2+1 setups where one or two graphics cards are used for game rendering, while another card is used for physics. This open architecture accommodates all gamers, whether they want to use a high-end graphics card for physics, or a mainstream card.
Driving physics on the GPU, ATI also announced today that it is working with the leading middleware provider for the game industry in Havok. Havok FX™ is the brains behind the brawn of ATI's GPUs, helping to deliver the most immersive game experiences yet. Using Havok FX, developers can enable more convincing environments that include richer, more detailed explosions, smoke, debris, fluids, and cloth.
"By unleashing Havok FX on ATI GPUs, we're opening the door for some of the most compelling game experiences ever seen," said David O'Meara, CEO, Havok. "Imagine explosions so realistic that thousands of pieces of shrapnel blanket the area dealing damage to characters and objects nearby. Imagine swirling mist and smoke so interactive that it washes behind you as your character runs through it. With the power of ATI GPUs and the ingenuity of the Havok FX engine, these are the type of in-game experiences gamers can expect."
To further simplify the CrossFire gaming experience, ATI has ramped up the CrossFire certification program to make it easier for gamers to recognize what products are CrossFire-ready. To ensure compatibility of components, and strong performance for CrossFire systems, over 90 products have been tested and certified since the program's inception in March. Gamers can find the most up-to-date list of CrossFire certified components, including graphics cards, motherboards, power supplies, and memory, at www.aticrossfire.com.
"The addition of physics to the CrossFire platform, and the continuing evolution of CrossFire is based directly on the feedback of hardcore gamers - CrossFire is not ATI's platform, it's gamers' platform," said Godfrey Cheng, Director of Marketing, Platform Technologies, ATI Technologies Inc., responsible for ATI's CrossFire strategy. "Asymmetrical physics support, broader certification, and untouchable overclockability are a direct result of gamers' input. CrossFire will continue to evolve to be more open, flexible and easy to use without sacrificing performance, and it starts with boundless gaming."
Source: ATI Press Release