Nvidia is preparing to roll out full support for hardware accelerated physics on its high end graphics cards including the 9800 & 200 series. New beta drivers which enable this functionality can now be found using the advanced driver search tool. Version 177.39 installs PhysX drivers that will enable the graphics card to emulate Ageia hardware. Physics acceleration is part of Nvidia’s new CUDA initiative aimed at convincing gamers that graphics hardware is more capable and valuable then CPU’s. Games of note that currently support PhysX include Gears of War, Mass Effect, Rainbow Six Vegas, and Unreal Tournament 3. The list of supported titles is expected to grow exponentially as Nvidia rolls this feature out to older hardware in the coming months.
Installing beta drivers is risky business, and for most games the payoff just isn’t worth the risk. But for savvy users who wish to push ahead anyway Nvidia has partnered with Midway to take full advantage of PhysX acceleration in Unreal Tournament 3. To see PhysX is all it’s glory, users must download and install the Extreme Physics Mod from its nzone gaming site. The Extreme Physics Mod makes Unreal Tournament 3 the first title to offer unique game play to owners of compatible hardware. A complete list of titles that support PhysX can be found on Wikipedia , however, aside from Unreal Tournament 3 the benefits at this point should prove to be little more then a slightly easier ride for your CPU.