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What's the deal with physx?

post #1 of 8
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I have always used ATI, but games keep coming out with 'physx' this and that. I have some noob questions...

1. So say you have 2 cards: 1 ati and 1 nvidia that are the same power, does the physx part of the nvidia card detract from the overall performance, compared to the ati card which doesnt have to make any design considerations for physx? For instance in a game where physx is not relevant.

2. How big is the improvement for a game that uses physx to a nvidia card vs an ati card?

3. Why do game developers make special design considerations for nvidia?

4. If the physx offers improvement in some games without sacrificing power in games that don't use physx, then why does anyone but ati cards?
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post #2 of 8
1. There are no design constraints for PhysX. NVIDIA develops PhysX to work on their GPUs; they would have to be completely idiotic to develop GPUs for PhsyX, considering what a tiny niche it is. NVIDIA cards likely aren't any different than they would be had NVIDIA never purchased PhysX.

2. Depends on the game. PhysX is largely eyecandy, sometimes things look significantly better, sometimes not so much. There is always a performance hit as well, again to varying degrees.

3. Because it's a selling point, and they get assistance/discounts from NVIDIA to do so.

4. Because in the 7+ years PhysX has been around, there have only been a handful of AAA titles that use it, and an even smaller number that use it to good effect without significant performance reductions. It's generally not enough of a factor to significantly skew the values of the cards.
Edited by Blameless - 8/21/12 at 7:34am
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post #3 of 8
1. Doesn't entirely make sense, but if you wanted a physx card then something like a GTX260 or a 275 is the best around, You can use a GT240 but you actually lose FPS if you match it with a GTX580 or above.

2. Physx makes things more realistic, like in batman: AA you got the flags to move in a lifelike way, this was done on the CUDA cores.

3. Probably because Nvidia pay them to do it, I have no idea.

4. Because some ATI cards do quite well, or the motherboard they have is only xfire compatible. To be honest if you have Physx running on a lower end card you can lose FPS. I had a GTX570 with a GTX275 for physx, in mafia II I lost around 20FPS with just my GTX570 in there with physx on high.

Comps

P.S actually it wasn't nvidia who developed Physx, it was Ageia who designed a developed a card for it, Nvidia baught the tech and moulded it into their cards.
post #4 of 8
AMD/ATI users can use a mod to allow them to use PhysX with a Radeon series card.

PhysX is mostly eyecandy/e-peen.
post #5 of 8
Question #2 answered-


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=thCWFXVCH3A#t=24s

'nuff said biggrin.gif
:25 seconds in is where the fun starts.
Edited by dph314 - 8/21/12 at 7:45am
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post #6 of 8
What that video doesn't show is that PhysX can cut FPS in half in Batman: AA.

Now the real question is, if the exact same effects were implemented via other means, would the performance hit be better or worse than with PhysX?

Of course, this is a moot point for PhysX titles.
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post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blameless View Post

What that video doesn't show is that PhysX can cut FPS in half in Batman: AA.
Now the real question is, if the exact same effects were implemented via other means, would the performance hit be better or worse than with PhysX?
Of course, this is a moot point for PhysX titles.

True,

but you can offset that with a GTX275 biggrin.gif although that's up to around £90 wasted just for physx, even though I did it.... But that was to show my e-manhood to be honest... lol

At least I admit it.
post #8 of 8
Yes, it's a highly debated topic.

Now, obviously it should only be used on capable systems or with a dedicated card. But most graphical implementations are demanding one way or another, not much eyecandy usually 'free'. So if you have the means to turn it on, then you'll be rewarded handsomely in games where it actually makes a difference, Arkham City being one of my favorite implementations of it.
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