Thursday, June 12, 2008

AMD Working on Intel’s Physics Havok

AMD and Intel are rarely to be found in friendly talk. But this time, AMD is in talks with Intel to integrate “Havok FX” physics in its ATI graphics chips which is AMD-Intel-Love meant to improve realism in games and physics calculations in scientific applications. Intel last year acquired physics technology company Havok, and AMD plans to use its API inside GPUs.

AMD, like Intel has plans to have integrated CPU+GPU processors, but plans to use Havok physics in discrete graphics. The main competitor in the physics processing technology is Ageia, which was acquired by Nvidia. With two different technologies for physics, AMD decision to use Havok has important implications for game developers as well as scientific application developers. Nvidia has been pushing Ageia’s Physx technology to game developers and AMD was starting to feel lost. Today’s discussion about AMD using Havok gives AMD an advantage and its called Intel marketing. Intel will be using Havok inside its CPU+GPU Larabee and developers will be magically tilted towards using Havok because of Intel’s large market share.

The official announcement about how much AMD has to give Intel for the technology is still not out, but surely good money will change hand. Physics will definitely play an important role in the future of GPUs, either in games or general purpose computing. Along with ray-tracing, Intel is betting a lot on physics for the future of advanced computing and HPC. AMD has lots of room to maneuver, since it can switch between GPUs and CPUs with good ease. Lets wait and see how everything falls into place!!

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