Nvidia responds to AMD’s PhysX criticisms

Written by Alex Watson

January 21, 2010 // 12:50 p.m.

Tags: #aegia #amd #multicore #nvidia #physx #richard-huddy

We recently had the chance to interview Richard Huddy, AMD’s Worldwide Developer Relations manager. Our chat ranged over general topics such as DirectX 11, PCs vs consoles, and working with various game developments.

Huddy also addressed, at length, AMD’s rival, Nvidia. He had sharp words for Nvidia over its conduct concerning GeForce-only anti-aliasing in Batman: Arkham Asylum, saying, “I totally hold in contempt... the appalling way they added MSAA support that uses standard DirectX calls... and locked it to their [GeForce] hardware knowing it would run just fine on our [Radeon] hardware.

While Huddy had some limited praise for Nvidia’s PhysX, he also criticised the way Nvidia has developed the tech since buying its creator, Ageia. Huddy said that “when they [Nvidia] bought Ageia, they had a fairly respectable multicore implementation of PhysX. If you look at it now it basically runs predominantly on one, or at most, two cores. That's pretty shabby! I wonder why Nvidia has done that... because the company doesn’t care about the consumer experience it just cares about selling you more graphics cards by coding it so the GPU appears faster than the CPU.

Nvidia posted a response on its company blog yesterday, written by Nadeem Mohammad. He refuted the accusation that Nvidia has deliberately made PhysX less multi-core friendly: “ I have been a member of the PhysX team, first with AEGIA [sic], and then with NVIDIA, and I can honestly say that since the merger with NVIDIA there have been no changes to the SDK code which purposely reduces the software performance of PhysX or its use of CPU multi-cores.

He goes on to say:

This is yet another completely unsubstantiated accusation made by an employee of one of our competitors. I am writing here to address it directly and call it for what it is, completely false. Nvidia PhysX fully supports multi-core CPUs and multithreaded applications, period. Our developer tools allow developers to design their use of PhysX in PC games to take full advantage of multi-core CPUs and to fully use the multithreaded capabilities.

While Nvidia is known for its combative stance towards rivals, and isn’t afraid of a bit of smack-talk, Mohammad’s post is crisply written and calmly refutes the allegations, pointing out that 3DMark Vantage “ can use 12 threads while running in software-only PhysX.

Convinced by Nvidia’s response? Or are you still inclined to believe AMD? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

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