SLI And Physics???
Just when you thought NVIDIA has reached the limit in the features they can cram into their GPUs, they come up with a new trick up their sleeves - SLI Physics!
Yes, believe it or not, NVIDIA intends to have physics processing offloaded from the CPU to their GPUs. This will increase the work being done by their top GPUs which are already CPU-limited and reduce their performance dependency on the CPU.
Ultimately, NVIDIA hopes this will drive up demand for their high-end GPUs. Of course, NVIDIA is emphasizing on SLI configurations for this feature. Hence, the name SLI Physics.
With effects physics offloaded to the GPU, NVIDIA says this will allow effects physics to be applied on a more massive scale, with thousands of objects interacting.
In addition, game programmers will be able to add even more visual effects, like debris falling down, smoke and fog that swirl as you walk though them, etc.
Although this feature is still in development, NVIDIA have been working with Havok on this new feature in their new Havok FX engine. In fact, Havok and NVIDIA will be showing off the SLI Physics feature in a proof of concept demo at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2006.
Of course, Havok only makes the engine. But as NVIDIA points out, many game developers use their engine. Currently, Havok is the only engine developer that NVIDIA has worked with on the SLI physics feature, but you can be sure NVIDIA will be casting their nets further out eventually.
Now, let's take a closer look at how SLI physics will work.