It was probably only a matter of time before someone snapped up physics chip maker Ageia - and it was unlikely to be takeover-scarred AMD. Nvidia has reached agreement to take over the company and control its PhysX software. Intel bought physics house Havok last year.

"We can now bring GeForce-accelerated PhysX to hundreds of millions of gamers around the world," said Nvidia chief Jen-Hsun Huang of the move, the obvious conclusion being that the company will use the technology within its own cards.

Ageia's independent PhysX cards haven't exactly set the world alight, but the company has had rather more success behind the scenes. According to a joint statement from the companies, over 140 PhysX-based games are shipping or in development on the PC, Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii.

The statement also claims 10,000 registered and active users of the PhysX SDK.

Like graphics, physics processing is made up of millions of parallel computations. Nvidia's 112-processor 8800GT can process parallel applications up to two orders of magnitude faster than a multi-core CPU.

"The computer industry is moving towards a heterogeneous computing model, combining a flexible CPU and a massively parallel processor like the GPU to perform computationally intensive applications like real-time computer graphics," says Huang.

No figures for the deal have yet emerged, but the statement implies that more details will become clear during Nvidia's quarterly earnings conference call on 13 February.