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CPUs to outperform NVIDIA GPUs in PhysX

post #1 of 9
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Last year i had a Q9550 running at 4.0Ghz. Having no NVIDIA GPU in my system, PhysX ran on my CPU in games such as Mirror's Edge. The performance was horrible though, even on Core2Quad platform with 2x1066Mhz 5-5-5-15 memory. Mostly it ran fine unless there's some glass shattering or heavy fog present. I observed that FPS drops as low as 3-4 when bullets shattering the glasses so yeah it was completely unplayable.

In 2011 i made the switch to LGA 1366 with i7 950 and successfully overclocked it to 4.2Ghz. Recently i gave the Mirror's Edge another go to see how i7 compares to Core2Quad in terms of PhysX calculations. I saw that it runs better but framerate was still below the magical 30FPS value. (In some cases as low as 10, in previously mentioned glass shattering scenes)

So my question is this: It's a known fact that i7 2600K performs and overclocks much better than a i7 950. Would a 4.5Ghz 2600K processing the PhysX calculations be enough?

It's even gonna get better with X68 platform. We're going to get 4 channel memory, 8 core 16 threaded CPUs as capable as i7 2600K in terms of overclockability. How do you think these chips would perform in PhysX calculations? Are we going to get rid of the NVIDIA GPUs as dedicated PhysX precossors?

P.S. I forgot to mention the Bulldozer XD.
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post #2 of 9
My experience is that no matter what OC I'm at, once I hit PhysX on in Mafia II I lose about 50% FPS instantly. I had an i7 920 at 4.0 at the time and 2x5870s. The i7 2600k @ 4.5ghz is fast but I don't think you'll see smooth frames with that of an Nvidia GPU.
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post #3 of 9
I think that eventually PhysX will go away and everything will be done through DirectX and the CPU. It's just a matter of time.
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post #4 of 9
Not until Physx goes multi threaded.
And that'll likely never happen, obvious reasons.

Futuremark switching to Bullet/opencl could be a clue as to the direction of game physics.
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post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by grunion;12715264 
Futuremark switching to Bullet/opencl could be a clue as to the direction of game physics.

Microsoft sets the pace for PC (and Xbox) game development these days, not Futuremark. Given that Microsoft is not endorsing openCL (or even part of the openCL consortium for that matter) I doubt it will gain any significant application in gaming titles *IF* Microsoft improves DirectCompute in DX12. Time will tell. wink.gif
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post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by grunion;12715264 
Not until Physx goes multi threaded.
And that'll likely never happen, obvious reasons.

Futuremark switching to Bullet/opencl could be a clue as to the direction of game physics.

So if PhysX go multi threaded then today's processors can be as efficient as NVIDIA GPUs?
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post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nautilus;12716230 
So if PhysX go multi threaded then today's processors can be as efficient as NVIDIA GPUs?

possibly... but then you have to wait for multi threaded GPUs from Nvidia first.
    
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post #8 of 9
They won't be as efficient at lots of the types of calculations done in PhysX because GPUs are naturally very good at these specific calculations, vastly better than CPUs which are designed for lots of different instructions.

That said, I think you could get near the level of physics detail seen in the current PhysX games if they were specifically coded to run on the CPU and multithreaded; the PhysX API is (obviously) pretty well optimised for Nvidia GPUs and not for CPUs (due to the marketing reasons behind this).

Looking at current physics software like Havok, in some of their tech demos they can achieve the same visual impact running on the CPU (the physics looks to be about as accurate as PhysX). Although this hasn't been implemented in games yet, as you still need a pretty good CPU to run it.

I love games with good physics, for me it adds a whole new level of immersion when objects or environments react how you would expect when interacting with them. I just wish game developers would push this more, especially non-PhysX implementations, as I have a powerful CPU sitting there (nearly all games I play don't load my CPU more than about 20% max across all cores...frown.gif ), and I don't want to buy and power an extra GPU just to calculate the PhysX that Nvidia implements
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post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by grunion;12715264 
Not until Physx goes multi threaded.
And that'll likely never happen, obvious reasons.

Futuremark switching to Bullet/opencl could be a clue as to the direction of game physics.
Bingo.

I really think the Bullet Physics Engine is the future of game physics.

On the core, they are the same guys that first worked on AGEIA before being bought by NVIDIA, but their strategy this time around is completely different.

First, they are set on releasing a lower level API to developers so they can innovate on their own (instead of giving them a pretty much set API through SDKs), this will result in devs adding much more content to their game physics, instead of just eye candy and non game changing physics.

Second, the Bullet Physics Engine is also effectively open to a wide variety of GPU hardware from different hardware manufacturers, meaning that NVIDIA GPUs will be 100% compatible with this tech (which is awesome since the Bullet Physics Engine is being developed by AMD).

But in reality, what will either make or break this tech is the adoption by next generation Consoles (whether or not they will have OpenCL compatible GPU hardware).

If they do, then it looks as though gaming physics might actually start to really take off in the future.
Edited by SlackerITGuy - 3/13/11 at 11:41am
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