Nvidia releases PhysX support for GeForce graphics cards
The programmability of graphics chips is constantly increasing, so that as well as 3D graphics, they can now be used for other calculations. Graphics chip manufacturer Nvidia has now taken this development to the next level with its GeForce Power Pack. The significantly greater computing power, compared to standard x86 processors, of the up to 240 shader units in Nvidia GPUs allows elaborate physics effects to be implemented in computer games and faster video encoding.
The package, which is up to 2.1 Gbytes in size, includes the WHQL certified GeForce driver 177.83 and the PhysX system software 8.08.01, which allows GeForce 8, GeForce 9 and GeForce GTX 200 series graphics cards to be used for physics calculations using CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture). The GPU processes 3D rendering and physics alternately. Where more than one graphics card is installed, one can be assigned as a dedicated PhysX card.
The software collection also includes games and tech demos, including a full version of first person shooter Warmonger and the long available Extreme Physics mod pack for Unreal Tournament 3, which contains maps extended with additional physics effects. The trial version of Elemental's Badaboom video encoder is reputedly able to reformat videos up to 18 times faster than a CPU.