Upgrade your knowledge of gaming hardware!
Don't know your ATA from your SATA from your SCSI? Not sure what makes PCI Express so "express", SLI so sly, or why some think AGEIA PhysX will be the next big thing? We're here to help! Everything looks good on the box, so before you spend skads of money on dubious tech, take a look at the Ten Ton Hammer "Terms of Gaming Graphics" to see what's past and what lasts!
AGEIA PhysX - Old-timers like me remember when i486 motherboards offered a "math co-processor" slot, supposedly designed to free the main processor to concentrate on logical tasks, which would thereby boost system performance on applications which utilized floating point arithmetic (like CAD and, er...the number of bristles on Robo-Hitler's mustache in Wolfenstein 3D). Physics Processing Units (PPUs - its just fun to point at someone and say "PPU!") are a little like math co-processors for graphics cards, and right now, AGEIA PhysX has the consumer PPU market cornered. AGEIA PhysX is hardware- or software-based physics acceleration which works in tandem with your CPU and graphics card (GPU). Physics co-processing allows vast numbers of objects to move and interact with each other on-screen without clogging up resources better suited to rendering graphics and computing game logic. PhysX is an emerging technology in the summer of 2006, and two MMOGs (City of Villains and Warhammer Online) have announced that they will support AGEIA PhysX. While software emulation allows limited use of AGEIA optimization, a PPU (which fits into a standard PCI or PCI Express slot) is required for "true" physics acceleration.
Get the lowdown on these gaming hardware tech terms at Ten Ton Hammer!