By Tony Smith
Nvidia is developing a standalone games physics processing card, motherboard maker Asus has let slip. Announcing a new mobo equipped with three PCI Express x16 slots, the Taiwanese firm said the third connector was specifically for "Nvidia's upcoming Physics card".
The revelation comes days after it emerged ATI will be likewise pitching its graphics chip technology as a co-processor for compute-intensive scientific and engineering applications, not just games physics.
Both Nvidia and ATI have been eyeing the opportunities physics processing offers to help them sell more graphics cards for some time. This year, both firms have allied themselves with Havok, the games middleware company that's developed a games physics API that can accelerate physical effects calculations on the GPU.
GPUs aren't far from the point where they'll be able to deliver fully photorealistic imagery at high resolutions and high framerates. As such they're going to need new markets for their parallel processing technology. Scientific and financial modelling calculations are obvious markets to aim for, alongside game physics.
Asus' P5N32-SLI Premium/WiFi-AP motherboard was designed, the company said with Nvidia's Quad SLI in mind, and two of the boards' three PCI-E slots are intended for two dual-GPU GeForce 7950 GX2 cards.
The board is based on Nvidia's nForce 590 SLI chipset for Intel processors - the P5N32 is a Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme compatible product - and has four DIMM slots for 533, 667 or 800MHz DDR 2 SDRAM. ®