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Ageia PhysX Available

Posted on June 7, 2006 by Jon Bach

Puget added the Ageia PhysX card to our line yesterday, you can configure it into your gaming computer at https://www.pugetsystems.com/configgaming.php !

Here's a great mini-review from William:
The newest expansion card on the proverbial block, Ageia's PhysX card is designed to do for physics what modern video cards have done for 3D video game graphics. The idea is that having a separate card to handle physical interaction between a computer user and his or her virtual environment will allow for more realism in gameplay, without overloading a computer's main CPU.

In our testing, we have encountered a few ways that this card is being used in games today. First, there are games (like Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter) where it is simply used to make things like explosions and weapons fire more detailed. Second, there are games where some physics calculations are handled by the CPU normally, and having a PhysX card takes a bit of that load off in the hopes of increasing performance. And third, there are some games coming (notably Cell Factor) that are designed around the idea of interacting with objects in the environment and will require a PhysX card to be present in a system for them to run at all.

There are some things to keep in mind when considering whether to purchase a PhysX card:

1) Most important, and perhaps one that many people are not aware of, is that with more objects moving around in games there will be more things for a video card to do. Consequently, it may be necessary to get a better video card in order to play a game that uses the PhysX card at the same frame rate as one that doesn't use it.

2) The PhysX card, like any component in a computer, puts out heat. It is very similar to a video card in this respect, and even comes with a small heatsink and fan. This means that a system with a PhysX card will run slightly hotter than an identical system without, and is something to take into consideration when you are choosing what case and mods to purchase. During some testing time here in or office we decided to see if we could liquid cool these cards, and sure enough a standard video card waterblock fit right on. This is great news for anyone looking to buy a top-of-the-line gaming rig, especially in our custom TJ07 setup.

3) Similar to point #2 above, having a PhysX card also causes a system to use more power than it would otherwise. Our preliminary testing indicates about a 10-20W increase in overall system power draw. This isn't going to be a huge deal for most people, but if you would already be nearing the limits of a power supply then it might be a good idea to step up if you choose to get a PhysX card.

4) Lastly, there is the space issue. A motherboard has a limited number of PCI slots, and depending on the choices you make about video cards, sound cards, and other accessories there may not be room to fit a PhysX card in your system. If you are concerned about this, or if you want to have a lot of expansion cards in your computer, be sure to speak with one of our customer service reps so that you can be sure everything will fit properly.