AMD has considered buying Ageia

Written by Tim Smalley

November 22, 2007 // 1:14 p.m.

Tags: #acquisition #ageia #amd #ati #buying #card #gpu #graphics #havok #intel #nvidia #physics #physx #ppu

At an event in Poland last week, AMD said that it has considered buying Ageia, the company that really raised the awareness of in-game physics when it released its PhysX PPU add-in card in May 2006.

Richard Huddy, AMD’s head of worldwide developer relations, said that “we’ve had that discussion, yes,” when asked about the possibility of buying Ageia. “It’s a discussion that goes around every three months – someone turns to me and says ‘why don’t we buy Ageia?’ and I go through the arguments about why we should and why we shouldn’t.”

The problem for AMD is that Ageia will probably command quite a high asking price, and given the fact that AMD is still heavily in debt following the $5.4 billion purchase of ATI last year, the company probably won’t be able to afford it. It’s likely to not be the only company involved in a potential acquisition and Huddy said he wouldn’t be surprised if the same discussion had gone on at other players in this market, including archrivals Nvidia.

Ever since Intel announced its intentions to buy Havok, we have been asking AMD, Intel and Nvidia what they each think will happen to GPU physics. Intel told us that it didn’t expect things to change once the acquisition was completed, but AMD seems to think otherwise, as it was widely reported yesterday that the company believes GPU physics is dead.

“From Intel’s point of view, there is no reason why they would want to have that physics supported on the GPU any further, so all those conversations [with Havok] have ground to a halt,” said Huddy in an interview with CustomPC.

This came as a surprise to us, especially considering the fact that Valve’s Source engine is using GPU-accelerated physics in some capacity in Half-Life 2: Episode Two. This is a game that AMD is backing, as the game comes free with many AMD ATI Radeon graphics cards today, and there’s ATI logos plastered through the game’s options menu, which state that the game plays better on ATI hardware.

Do you think this would be a good move by AMD, or even another company in the market? Maybe one of the console vendors could snap up Ageia, since its SDK is currently freely available to all platforms. Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

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