PhysX previews

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chizow

Diamond Member
Jun 26, 2001
9,537
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Originally posted by: aka1nas
Originally posted by: chizow
The most mind-blowing tidbit I picked up from those articles was this from Tech Report:

Nvidia counts 70 million GeForce 8 and 9 users so far, which is probably quite a bit more than the installed base for PhysX cards.
That's an insane number of DX10 capable unified shader architecture parts out there. To put that into perspective, PS3/Xbox360 installed user-base is something like 12 and 18 million respectively.

Otherwise, the previews did a great job showcasing how much PhysX could help improve gameplay and how GPU-acceleration could drastically improve performance. The idea of being able to use older cards as PhysX GPUs is particularly intriguing. Especially this comparison that showed the impact of various combinations including mix and matched pairs:

FiringSquad's PhysX SLI comparison
I wonder how many out of that number are 8400s and 8500s in OEM boxes? Those only have 16 shaders, so I doubt they will handle PhysX that well.
I'm pretty sure that's why PhysX isn't enabled for all 8 and 9-series GPUs even though they're all supposed to be GPGPU/CUDA capable. As for the % of low-end compared to mainstream or better gaming parts, I think its actually a good chunk of that, maybe as high as 40-50%.

AMD Game! Slide

From AMD's slide using data compiled by the Gamer's Alliance, they estimate some 65 million mainstream and enthusiast parts with ~90 million DX9 or above discrete GPUs for 2008. Given NV's 2:1 market dominance over ATI in the discrete GPU market and the lack of any real competition prior to RV770, its pretty safe to say 40-50 million of that 65 million is NV G80/G92/G94 which all offer similar, solid gaming performance and good PhysX support at lower resolutions in the previews we've seen so far.
 

taltamir

Lifer
Mar 21, 2004
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Originally posted by: bunnyfubbles
No, the problem is that they're pimping Physx as a major selling point when for most users it isn't going to be something practical. What we really need is the possiblity of offloading physics processing to a secondary card much like what AGEIA had in mind from the beginning, and what ATI had in mind with Havok FX. If I can upgrade my video card to do most of its work processing video, and keep my old video card to handle physics processing (a plan that dates back a few years, it just has yet to be put to practice), then I'll be interested. Until then BFG is correct - games are going to keep increasing in complexity and processing demand, and I'd think even wager that standard resolutions will increase with the advent of OLED, GPU technology certainly isn't going to pass up software development to be able to have the luxury of do-it-all single GPUs...not when they've already been playing catchup with titles like Crysis.

While it is impressive how much faster the GPU can be over software physics, it just isn't practical at the moment.
They already have the ability to offload physX to a second card, and the reviews say it works really REALLY well. Right now there is a bug where you need to plug the secondary card to a monitor for it to work. but they are working on that.
And havok has zero GPU capabilities. it is 100% CPU and as such does not compete with physX (just how UE3 does not compete with physX, it is an engine that has nothing to do with it). A better analogy is to say that havok is like the wii, while physX is like a PC/Xbox360/PS3. The first is targeting a different market.

Also, physX is now an open standard and is being ported to AMD cards, havok is a licensed engine.
 

JACKDRUID

Senior member
Nov 28, 2007
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looks great! seems like 2x 9600gt is the sweet spot for physix enabled system. does AMD cards have all the hardware required for physx?
 

taltamir

Lifer
Mar 21, 2004
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yap. the hardware requirements for physics is having stream processors. in other words, every DX10 or above card can run physX.

oh, and the mobo chipset doesn't matter. you can put two nvidia cards in an intel mobo, they would not SLI, but you can run one as a dedicated physX card and one as a video card. and they can be different cards.

http://www.driverheaven.net/ar...articleid=122&pageid=5

They have got videos with physX on and off, and interpreting the results.
In UE3 the explosions are the same, but they get more FPS with physX, in ghost recon they show two movies, one of clothe tear effects, underwhelming, really not impressive.
the other though, shows how items, like fences, can be broken up exactly where you hit them, without physics you shot it X times and the whole thing explodes.
With physX they and the AI as well would go, shoot it at specific points to break off the planks in a way that they could shoot through it, and get some cover / hiding from the non damaged portions. which is first order physics, and what every reviewer said they wanted to begin with.. ("we expected first order physics, using the environment for greater immersion, not a few more particle effects with the same in game behavior" - every reviewer ever)
 

quadomatic

Senior member
May 13, 2007
993
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Originally posted by: Wreckage
I think the downloadable PhysX software pack is a nice bonus. Comes with a full game. Now I just need to find a cheap copy of UT3
UT3 is either $10 or $20 at Target, depending on your store.

While this does show how great physics processing is on graphics cards as compared to CPUs, we're probably not going to see really amazing physics effects in games until ATI has some kind of hardware physics processing support.

Can someone explain to me what CUDA is? I really have no clue. I also don't understand how it is that gfx cards are used for physics processing.

Thanks

UPDATE: I read the CUDA page on wikipedia, which pretty much explains how it is that PhysX calculations are done on NVidia cards.

Does ATI have any kind of equivalent to CUDA and PhysX? Whatever happened to Close-to-Metal?
 

Nathelion

Senior member
Jan 30, 2006
697
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In the future, there will not be standalone PPU cards, no. You may be able to use a second GPU for that though, as mentioned.
 

Elcs

Diamond Member
Apr 27, 2002
6,278
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Ohhhh, I upgraded to an HD4870 from an 8800GT...... I doubt that'd work :) Im not sure the two would play fair.

I do recollect seeing an ATI hacked PhysX driver or at least a screenshot pertaining to ATI PhysX being enabled.

The results are positive. I like the progress made :)
 

aka1nas

Diamond Member
Aug 30, 2001
4,335
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Originally posted by: quadomatic


UPDATE: I read the CUDA page on wikipedia, which pretty much explains how it is that PhysX calculations are done on NVidia cards.

Does ATI have any kind of equivalent to CUDA and PhysX? Whatever happened to Close-to-Metal?
Last time I looked at it, ATI only offered CTM on their HPC cards(I.E. their equivalent to the Tesla line).
 

quadomatic

Senior member
May 13, 2007
993
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Originally posted by: aka1nas
Originally posted by: quadomatic


UPDATE: I read the CUDA page on wikipedia, which pretty much explains how it is that PhysX calculations are done on NVidia cards.

Does ATI have any kind of equivalent to CUDA and PhysX? Whatever happened to Close-to-Metal?
Last time I looked at it, ATI only offered CTM on their HPC cards(I.E. their equivalent to the Tesla line).
ic...well I guess it wouldn't really matter if ATI even had a GPGPU solution...there isn't any hardware accelerated Physics solution except PhysX.

Too bad Intel bought Havok and cancelled Havok FX...bastards.
 

s44

Diamond Member
Oct 13, 2006
9,427
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Originally posted by: quadomatic
Does ATI have any kind of equivalent to CUDA and PhysX? Whatever happened to Close-to-Metal?
CUDA itself is being ported to ATI.

If you can use *any* CUDA-capable hardware for this, why not the integrated graphics on certain mobos? Get some use out of those things.
 

spittledip

Diamond Member
Apr 23, 2005
4,480
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Originally posted by: IsLNdbOi
Ok, so I have a 9800GX2 in my single PCIe 16x slot. I do have PCIe 1x slots. Can I use a PCIe 1x card to do the PhysX stuff?
I was wondering the same thing.


I am guessing that there will be an option for people to disable physx in-game? A lot of us do not have SLI or Crossfire motherboards, and have no intention of ever getting them. I like the idea, but again, i don't like the idea of 2 video cars, unless I can get some low-power dinky one to stick in a 1x slot.
 

taltamir

Lifer
Mar 21, 2004
13,576
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Originally posted by: Nathelion
In the future, there will not be standalone PPU cards, no. You may be able to use a second GPU for that though, as mentioned.
the larrabee is a 10 core x86 card that uses software to do directX stuff... and intel's charts showing it merging with CPUs... so... fusion.

In the future you will have flops cores (gpu like) and CPU like cores and probably something in the middle too, and they will be accessible by all programs, games and others.

Originally posted by: s44
Originally posted by: quadomatic
Does ATI have any kind of equivalent to CUDA and PhysX? Whatever happened to Close-to-Metal?
CUDA itself is being ported to ATI.

If you can use *any* CUDA-capable hardware for this, why not the integrated graphics on certain mobos? Get some use out of those things.
You can indeed use intergrated mobos, nvidia even said so.
CUDA is nvidias implementation. AMD has its own.. physX runs on TOP of cuda, or AMDs thing... CUDA is a fancy name for running C code on the GPU. you can run ANYTHING that is programmed in C on it. physX, video encoding, even an operating system! (with some work).
 

ccubed

Member
Jul 4, 2008
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I'm just now working through the articles, but I'll ask anyway, does this change anyone's opinions on GPU solutions for the foreseeable future? Is a combo of Nvidia cards looking better than the ATI cards as a result? I was planning on a Radeon HD4850, but now I'm waffling towards a combo of an 8800 GT (strictly for PhysX) and maybe a 9600 GT.
 

taltamir

Lifer
Mar 21, 2004
13,576
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two 8800GT make more sense the a 9600GT... since the 8800GT is cheaper and faster.
it slightly ups the value of nvidia cards IMAO, but it is hard to tell by how much. and the potential to port it to AMD cards... and most of these games dont even appeal to me...

So, no. I ended up with a GTX260 though because it was actually CHEAPER then the 4870, and has excellent eVGA warranty. But if a quality AMD brand like gigabyte, MSI, or ASUS had a 4870 cheaper then the GTX260 was when I bought it...
 

btdvox

Member
Jun 8, 2005
193
0
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This is just funny...
Why is Physx a big deal now?
It was crap before itll prob be crap now....
No one uses it and no one barely will...
Also it cuts over 30-35 % frames?
 

btdvox

Member
Jun 8, 2005
193
0
0
Originally posted by: Raider1284
Originally posted by: deerhunter716
Software PhysX is worhtless this shows as it take so MUCH FPS away, lol What a waste.
wtf are you talking about?! The framerates were almost always tripling when enabled Phyx. How is getting three times the framerate a waste?! did you even read the articles?

how about this real world test, enabling physx gives over 400% INCREASE in fps http://www.elitebastards.com/h...charts/ut3-tornado.png
LOL You obviously werent reading...but Tornado Level is a PHYSX level...So there showing what it is to use CPU vs GPU i nthat level. If you play on a normal level- and see those benchies you'll see you loose over 30-40% frames....from 60 to 35...
 

JACKDRUID

Senior member
Nov 28, 2007
729
0
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Originally posted by: btdvox
This is just funny...
Why is Physx a big deal now?
It was crap before itll prob be crap now....
No one uses it and no one barely will...
Also it cuts over 30-35 % frames?

Physx has always been a big deal, we just didn't have the technology to be able to run it affordably until now.

30-35% fps cut is nothing when compare to the 99.99% fps cut wthout it.
 

Keysplayr

Elite Member
Jan 16, 2003
21,209
50
91
Originally posted by: btdvox
Originally posted by: Raider1284
Originally posted by: deerhunter716
Software PhysX is worhtless this shows as it take so MUCH FPS away, lol What a waste.
wtf are you talking about?! The framerates were almost always tripling when enabled Phyx. How is getting three times the framerate a waste?! did you even read the articles?

how about this real world test, enabling physx gives over 400% INCREASE in fps http://www.elitebastards.com/h...charts/ut3-tornado.png
LOL You obviously werent reading...but Tornado Level is a PHYSX level...So there showing what it is to use CPU vs GPU i nthat level. If you play on a normal level- and see those benchies you'll see you loose over 30-40% frames....from 60 to 35...


Well...... Yeah! How else can you run Physx?

If somebody wants Physx, there are 4 ways you can run it.
1. CPU
2. Nvidia GPU
3. Nvidia GPU + GPU
4. Nvidia GPU + PPU
And then of course there is option 5. Do not run Physx.

Example of running HeatRayPhysx vs. HeatRayNorm

AMD Athlon 4600X2 (Low End System)
2GB DDR2
9800GTX+ (Mainstream GPU)
1280x1024
I actually prefer running these tests on lower end systems because it gives a good idea of what a minimal system is capable of.

HeatRayPhysx: Min:20 Avg:28.07 Max: 39

HeatRayNorm: Min:26 Avg:56.88 Max:79

Sure, you lose some serious FPS, but you also gain some serious game immersion. Try not to leave that little tidbit out.
This is a low end system (CPU wise), so expect higher fps all around with a higher clocked Phenom or C2D system with the same GPU.
 

gramboh

Platinum Member
May 3, 2003
2,207
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My take is yes, you will get a performance hit using PhysX on an NV GPU versus not, so whether it is worth it or not depends on how much PhysX improves the game experience. I haven't played around with it much yet, but I think it is worth it as long as the avg FPS remains high enough.

I certainly won't complain for a 'free' feature. Of course if a lot of games start using PhysX at a level designed for a single GPU NV solution, a lot of ATI users will be pissed off (and rightfully so, I would be).
 

taltamir

Lifer
Mar 21, 2004
13,576
6
76
Originally posted by: btdvox
Originally posted by: Raider1284
Originally posted by: deerhunter716
Software PhysX is worhtless this shows as it take so MUCH FPS away, lol What a waste.
wtf are you talking about?! The framerates were almost always tripling when enabled Phyx. How is getting three times the framerate a waste?! did you even read the articles?

how about this real world test, enabling physx gives over 400% INCREASE in fps http://www.elitebastards.com/h...charts/ut3-tornado.png
LOL You obviously werent reading...but Tornado Level is a PHYSX level...So there showing what it is to use CPU vs GPU i nthat level. If you play on a normal level- and see those benchies you'll see you loose over 30-40% frames....from 60 to 35...
no, you will not loose 30-40% of performance on a non physX level, that is plain dumb.
Do you loose 20-30% of performance when using a card that has the CAPABILITY to do AA16x even though AA is disabled in that game? likewise, the deal with physX here is that it can do what it did before on the CPU (new levels of interaction) at 4x the frame rate. Is it 2/3s the frame rate of having those interactions off? yes, but without this it was 1/6th the frame rate.

EDIT: Actually its not a dumb assumption if you mistakingly think that physX uses the GPU instead of the CPU. you would be wrong about that assumption. PhysX uses the CPU + GPU at the same time.

PhysX vastly increases frame rate when done on the GPU + CPU (it uses both), which allows you to also increase the effects of it, to the point where frame rate goes back down. That is actually a good thing if the new frame rate is playable, because you just scored some AMAZING new graphics and interaction features.
 

Keysplayr

Elite Member
Jan 16, 2003
21,209
50
91
Originally posted by: gramboh
My take is yes, you will get a performance hit using PhysX on an NV GPU versus not, so whether it is worth it or not depends on how much PhysX improves the game experience. I haven't played around with it much yet, but I think it is worth it as long as the avg FPS remains high enough.
Exactly right.

 

taltamir

Lifer
Mar 21, 2004
13,576
6
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physX currently only works with nvidia cards.
Supposedly it is being ported to ATI cards, by a third party (NGO), who is receiving assitance from both nvidia and AMD.
 

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