Golem said:Computer Games - The next generation consoles are due to start coming out within a year. Is it too late for AGEIA's technology to be implemented in their console plans?
Curtis Davis - We cannot be in all of them, because some of the designs are already locked in.
There is only one design surely locked for a 2005 release and that is Xbox 2/Xenon.
Both PlayStation 3 and Revolution are due to release later: from 3 to 6 months later.
They are talking about design not locked in: I'd doubt Xbox 2 is not locked in given we are in mid march and they are about 6 months away from launch date.
This would tell me that AGEIA is courting the console developers to use its technology, but so far only SEGA licensed both the SDK and the chip.
Licensing the SDK does not mean licensing the chip, so we will have to examine all the AGEIA related announcements very carefully.
Nintendo could be very well using this PPU for Revolution: it would make their design a little bit less flexible (it would e more limted in how to use this PPU than how other consoles use their own CPU's), but it will allow Nintendo to save money on the main CPU design while still being very competitive in terms of in-game physics. The main CPU could be a simplier single core solution like the PowerPC 970 or maybe a 1 core configuration like the "rumored" PowerPC 980 (which would be very similar to the PowerPC 970, but it would support Simultaneous Multi-Threading: appearing as more than one logical CPU to the OS). Not getting into the masive multi-threaded mess would simplify programming for Revolution.
It would be easier to program for sucha unit because the Physiscs API would map very well to a specific processor (AGEIA's PhysX chip) and it would be easier to for programmers to understand how much physics processing will impact their game: they will know how fast they can feed the PPU, how fast the PPU sends results back and how many types of calculations it can do.
I do think Revolution would get the most benefit from this processor (it is a gaming-unit, not a set-top box trying to do diverse multi-media tasks): remember they do try to go for relatively high sustained/minimum performance and ease of programmability.
Think about this:
Revolution specs (by Panajev):
2.5+ GHz PowerPC 970FX by IBM.
1 PhysX PPU by AGEIA.
128-256 MB of DDR-II or high-speed 1-T SRAM running at 25.6 GB/s (I am giving them bandwdith with PlayStation 3 although GameCube shippe with the lowest peak main RAM bandwidth: having less than 256 MB of main RAM will make ports to Revolution quite difficult IMHO so I would lean towards 256 MB or something odd like 192 MB, but still closer to 256 MB than 128 MB).
Custom 400-550 MHz R500 based GPU from ATI (fast, yet more conventional design compared to Xbox 2'S GPU) with 16 MB of on chip e-DRAM.
Support for G.O.D. 2 (Blu-laser based optical format) and G.O.D. 1 (GCN's 1.5 GB disc)
Built-in WiFi 802.11 Access Point (DS and GameBoy Next connectivity) and 10/100 Mbps Ethernet port.
New controller design with motion sensors and gyroscope technology with mini-touch screen (about 2'' diagonally and supporting a max of 4096 colors out of a palette of 65K colors) integrated.