So, price info has been coming out for the BFG PhysX card. It should cost around $350. I am still not sure if I will be buying one of these or not. In a way, it seems somewhat pointless to buy a physics card. With today’s dual core processors and GPUs, I don’t see any problem with calculating physics on the CPU & GPU. Two processors with 4 threads are enough in my opinion, especially considering most game engines are still single threaded.
Then there is the issue of support. The PhysX cards only work for games that run AGEIA’s physics middleware. How many games will actually use it? Havok is by far the most commonly used physics middleware and if anything its support is growing. It is also worth mentioning that Havok has been talking about physics processing for the GPU for a while now. To me, it sounds like a much better idea then having a separate PPU for physics. I find it hard to suggest buying a physics card that will only work on select games. Can you imagine buying a video card that only worked on games that ran in OpenGL?
Then there is the fact that AGEIA’s physics middleware runs perfectly fine on the CPU. So you don’t even need the card to play games that use it. I would suggest waiting a good long time before buying one. I would like to see how much support this card actually gets, and how much of a performance boost you will actually find on a game running on dual cores.
One thing is for sure though, the demos do look sexy (just not $350 cool) and I am willing to bet those demos can run fine on a dual core processor if it took advantage of it. You can view one of the demos below. If it looks interesting, a slightly different (and a little bit cooler) high resolution version of that video can be found here.