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Nvidia releases Graphics Plus Power Pack 3

Nvidia releases Graphics Plus Power Pack 3

Dark GDK has released the source code for this PhysX screensaver, so that you can play around with it yourself.

Coinciding with the release of Nvidia’s new 185-series ForceWare drivers comes the latest Graphics Plus Power Pack, which is the first pack that’s been released since December 2008. As with the last two packs, this pack features a few demos and patches that show off Nvidia’s GPGPU CUDA technology in action, through both PhysX effects and general apps.

The pack includes the CUDA-compatible SETI@home client for those of you who want to add your graphics card’s computing power to search for aliens. There’s also a very pretty PhysX screensaver from the guys at Dark GDK, which features a rolling ball hitting various hard objects and cloth banners, which you can customise to display your own pictures. As well as this, Dark GDK has also made the source code for the screensaver available, along with instructions on how to mod it, so that potential PhysX programmers can have a play with it.

Next comes the 2.40 patch for Sacred 2: Fallen Angel, which adds hardware PhysX support to the full version of the game. The new PhysX effects include physically simulated wind, footsteps, ground debris, spell particles and force fields. Two downloads are available here – one to update the game from version 1.0 (837MB), and one to update it from version 2.34 (206MB).

Thirdly, the pack also contains a demo of MotionDSP’s vReveal http://www.vreveal.com/, which says “features an adaptation of the “CSI-style” video enhancement technology behind MotionDSP’s “Ikena,” the high-powered forensic software used by law enforcement and intelligence agencies.” It basically enables you to enhance low-resolution or poor quality video files, but while this can be done on the CPU, Nvidia says that it’s five times faster using a CUDA-enabled GPU.

Finally, you also get Star Tales; a new social networking game that features GPU PhysX effects. Nvidia says you can think of it as “The Sims online with Unreal Tournament 3 level graphics and GPU-accelerated physics.” The PhysX effects particularly help out with the clothing animation effects on dancers in the game, who were modelled using motion-capture technology. According to Nvidia “this is the first game of its kind to achieve this level of physical and graphical realism on consumer hardware.”

If you fancy trying out the pack for yourself, then you can download it now from here. You’ll need a CUDA-capable GPU in order to run the software, such as a GeForce 8800-series GPU or above. Will you be downloading the latest Plus Pack, and are you interested in seeing any of the software described above? Is ATI missing a trick with its lack of PhysX support, or are you still unconvinced about PhysX? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

6 Comments

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DXR_13KE 6th April 2009, 15:39 Quote
still no love for ATI... :(
Saivert 6th April 2009, 20:59 Quote
If ATI had a good solution like CUDA to begin with they too would receive a lot of love. I know about their Streams technology but what has that been used with anyways? Or is it just the marketing engine that is NVIDIA that is better to push their own tech?
wuyanxu 6th April 2009, 21:10 Quote
i've had this pack since 185.66. physX screensaver is cool to show off, but who would want it to eat away at your electricity bill when your computer is idling?
TomH 6th April 2009, 21:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saivert
If ATI had a good solution like CUDA to begin with they too would receive a lot of love. I know about their Streams technology but what has that been used with anyways? Or is it just the marketing engine that is NVIDIA that is better to push their own tech?
I thought they were more interested in supporting OpenCL via Stream. Nvidia seem more involved with their own tech (CUDA) than OpenCL. Though IIRC, Nvidia were considering porting PhsyX to run on OpenCL.

I'm fairly certain the Nvidia cards support OpenCL though.. I suppose as soon as OpenCL is accepted (and prevails over CUDA in Nvidia's eyes) there'll be a level playing field.

At the minute, it's all a bit 'me me me me' marketing.
Sebbo 7th April 2009, 02:23 Quote
i think nVidia has the better spin team of the two, hence CUDA's larger uptake. That and they mention CUDA and PhysX every bloody chance they get.

it would surely be possible to port the screen saver to Stream or OpenCL (or DX11 even), except you still need a physics solution that runs on the graphics cards somewhere (just because the screensaver's source code is available doesn't mean PhysX's is).

also, after a quick look at the .zip file, there are a couple of other things you need to mod the screensaver:
A purchased copy of DarkPHYSICS (download the Dark GDK Update - 26th November 2008)
A copy of MOLEBOX Pro (available from www.molebox.com)
so not so easy for others. Given that much of the provided source are the classes for each object type, and the code for running the screensaver itself, it's probably easier for some people to start from scratch (minus the physics api) in OpenCL or DX11 than gathering all the SDKs required for this screensaver.
Chocobollz 7th April 2009, 12:48 Quote
I personally have tried the MotionDSP's vReveal and I would say that it's not that impressive. I've tried it on my desktop machine with a Pentium 4 631 @ 3.6 GHz (w/ HT) and a Geforce 8400 GS @ 650/1500/350 MHz (core/shader/mem respectively) and with GPU-acceleration, I only get about 2 fps, instead of 5-6 fps with CPU-only acceleration.

I'm quite unsatisfied with that result, I know that it's only a Geforce 8400 GS but I think it should be way faster than a 3.6 GHz Pentium 4. If we're looking at its specs, it was a cards with 16 SP clocked at 1.5 GHz each so it should be translated to about 24 GHz of raw processing power. I know it can't be calculated like that but well at least I'm trying. :p

But I do think that CUDA is a good way to stretch the power of our GPUs into other areas other than for gaming. And for that reasons is why I going to NVIDIA this time, after my 6 years with ATI. I hope ATI could catch up with NVIDIA and beat them for sure! :-) I hope with the coming of DirectX 11, ATI could provide us the same functionality and versatility NVIDIA has offered.
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