Graphics chip maker ATI used the world's largest gathering of graphics card makers to show that graphics chips can do more than make pretty pictures.
At the Computex trade show in Taipei today, ATI announced that it has developed software enabling its graphics cards to accelerate physics calculations, promising more realistic and immersive video games.
"This simply cannot be done with today's gaming platforms," said Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and general manager at Intel's sales and marketing group, during a demonstration of the technology.
The system uses physics code from specialist software house Havok. During the product launch, ATI demonstrated a system with three graphics cards.
Two cards were connected using the company's CrossFire technology, generating standard 3D graphics. The other card ran the physics software. The system will also work in a simpler configuration with a single graphics card.
"Imagine explosions so realistic that thousands of pieces of shrapnel blanket the area dealing damage to characters and objects nearby," said David O'Mear, chief executive at Havok.
"Imagine swirling mist and smoke so interactive that it washes behind you as your character runs through it. With the power of ATI GPUs and the ingenuity of the Havok FX engine, these are the type of in-game experiences gamers can expect."
ATI demonstrated the system calculating the motion of thousands of falling bricks. The company did not provide details of the games which could take advantage of the new technology.
Shortly after ATI's announcement, Intel, which faces competition from ATI's rival Nvidia in the chipset market, brought Rick Bergman, ATI's senior vice president of marketing, on stage again during a keynote address, to show off the CrossFire plus physics combination running on the newly announced 865 chipset and Core Duo 2 CPU.
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