NVIDIA has been keen to tell anyone who'll listen that you get a whole lot more from an NVIDIA GPU than just gaming frames per second, so it comes as no surprise to find the first press releases to comes out of NVISION 2008 bigging up PhysX and CUDA
The problem PhysX has always faced is that there aren't many games written to utilise the added physics processing capabilities it offers. So when NVIDIA announces a game is coming out with PhysX technology in it, what it's really saying is "You see? It is worth having!"
The game in question is called Shattered Horizon and it's made by Futuremark Games Studio, whose head - Jukka Makinen - had this to say: "Shattered Horizon has a real space setting that offers gameplay, tactics, and freedom of movement that cannot be found in any other shooter. PhysX is essential in helping our game designers create a realistic and fun zero-gravity combat experience."
It looks like the fact that the game is played in a zero gravity environment is expected to demonstrate all the cool extra effects and gameplay you get with PhysX. NVIDIA says that PhysX is already included in over 140 titles shipping for consoles and the PC.
CUDA is a programming environment designed to improve the ability of the GPU to do things other than run games. NVIDIA says its GPUs have contributed over a petaflop of processing power to Standford University's Folding@home efforts.
Folding@home is a distributed computing application in which people volunteer their PCs to help calculate the zillions of ways in which proteins can shape themselves in order to better understand how they work. A petaflop is a thousand trillion flops.
NVIDIA's point is that it took a mere 11,370 of the total active processors used in the project to achieve this figure compared to 208,268 CPUs running Windows, which managed a mere 198 teraflops. So hurrah for GPUs and CUDA.
"Applications like Folding@home are just the beginning, every day we are seeing more and more examples of computing problems that are benefitting from CUDA and our GPU technologies," said Michael Steele, GM of visual consumer solutions at NVIDIA.