Nvidia releases Graphics Plus Power Pack 3

Written by Ben Hardwidge

April 6, 2009 // 12:57 p.m.

Tags: #2 #3-graphics #angel #cuda #fallen #geforce #nvidia #pack #physx #plus #power #sacred #setihome #star #tales #vreveal

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.

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