Monday, October 5th 2009

Hack Released to Enable PhysX on Windows 7 with ATI GPU Present

For NVIDIA's PhysX technology, it has been a roller-coaster ride since NVIDIA's acquisition of the technology, and its makers. As much as PhysX quickly became one of the important selling-points of NVIDIA's consumer graphics line GeForce, it also had its small share of controversy, linked to market dynamics more than anything. With the technology's port to the GeForce GPU, enthusiasts fancied having the freedom of choice with a primary GPU that is dedicated to rendering 3D graphics, and a second GPU that is just about powerful to assign as a dedicated PhysX GPU.

Although having a powerful ATI Radeon GPU aided by a less-powerful NVIDIA GeForce GPU for PhysX was possible on Windows XP, the succeeding Windows Vista restricted this, by making sure two active display drivers couldn't coexist. Windows 7 removed this restriction, but before you could rejoice, NVIDIA quickly released a driver-level code with its 186 series drivers, that disables NVIDIA PhysX altogether when a GPU from another vendor is coexisting and enabled, even an IGP for that matter. If that wasn't bizarre enough, with the latest drivers, you can't even pair an Ageia PhysX PPU card with an ATI Radeon GPU going about its business. To the rescue comes a soft-modder's nifty bit of software that overrides this restriction from NVIDIA's drivers, so you can use dedicated GeForce PhysX cards on machines with ATI Radeon primary GPUs again. The corrective driver patch comes from tech portal NGOHQ.com community member GenL.

The patch, which you can download here, has been successful so far going by community members' feedback. It lays to rest any argument NVIDIA would like to make about how using dedicated PhysX cards with primary GPUs of your choice (which happen to be an ATI Radeon) would be the end of the world, other than of course, market-dynamics.

Speaking of which, here's NVIDIA's statement on why dedicated PhysX accelerators ought not to work with GPUs from other vendors: "PhysX is an open software standard any company can freely develop hardware or software that supports it. NVIDIA supports GPU accelerated PhysX on NVIDIA GPUs while using NVIDIA GPUs for graphics. NVIDIA performs extensive Engineering, Development, and QA work that makes PhysX a great experience for customers. For a variety of reasons - some development expense some quality assurance and some business reasons NVIDIA will not support GPU accelerated Physx with NVIDIA GPUs while GPU rendering is happening on non- NVIDIA GPUs."Source: NGOHQ
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111 Comments on Hack Released to Enable PhysX on Windows 7 with ATI GPU Present

#2
Jakl
oo a Primary ATI card with a nVIDIA PhysX card for secondary... ooo Interesting
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#3
kenkickr
Does it still require having two monitors or dual video inputs on your monitor to setup?
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#4
aquariuz
Well, Nvidia's somewat being "selfish" by restricting the ability of using their lower end card with other GPUs, but I guess it makes some kind of sense. They're afraid of losing against ATI, especially with the release of the 5800 series. Thank god for modders out there to come to the rescue :rockout:

This won't really be an issue for me, assuming Fermi (GT300) will defeat 5800 ATI. In that case, I will stick with Nvidia. If Nv fails to impress me, n the rest of the world, then ATI it shall be, n I extend my thanks to those awesome modders out there. :toast:
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#5
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
It all leads back to ATi's flat out unwillingness to support PhysX running natively on their hardware. If they had just put forth a little effort back when nVidia was extending the olive branch, PhysX would be running on ATi hardware without the need for a secondary nVidia GPU at all, and we wouldn't be in this situation.
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#6
aquariuz
So wait, who actually owns Havok physics? is it in control of ATI or Intel?
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#7
kenkickr
by: newtekie1
It all leads back to ATi's flat out unwillingness to support PhysX running natively on their hardware. If they had just put forth a little effort back when nVidia was extending the olive branch, PhysX would be running on ATi hardware without the need for a secondary nVidia GPU at all, and we wouldn't be in this situation.
Wasn't ATI working with Havok until Intel purchased Havok? Yes they were.
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#8
Flyordie
However, ATi is still working with HAVOK on it all... right now, both companies hate Nvidia, so working together to oust them from the market will be beneficial...

The downside is- once Nvidia caves in... it will just be Intel vs ATi in the GPU market.
Posted on Reply
#9
mandis
If that wasn't bizarre enough, with the latest drivers, you can't even pair an Ageia PhysX PPU card with an ATI Radeon GPU going about its business...
That can't be legal...

Can they do that???
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#10
suraswami
by: ShRoOmAlIsTiC
it works, im using it
So if I enable the onboard 8200 vga and install NV drivers + this patch, I can use it for PhysX along with my 4850 GPU in W7?
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#11
mdm-adph
by: newtekie1
It all leads back to ATi's flat out unwillingness to support PhysX running natively on their hardware. If they had just put forth a little effort back when nVidia was extending the olive branch, PhysX would be running on ATi hardware without the need for a secondary nVidia GPU at all, and we wouldn't be in this situation.
Well, maybe if Nvidia would opensource PhysX, they would. "Olive branch" my ass.

As is, it's a proprietary standard. There's no incentive for any hardware company to use PhysX, if it's always going to be under Nvidia's control. Even if ATI did license it, Nvidia would probably ensure it only worked best on *their* hardware -- what would be the point?

And licensing issues have nothing to do with Nvidia's dick move of not allowing PhysX to work on a secondary Nvidia card if you were running a main ATI card.

That's just greed, coupled with a fair amount of butthurt. :laugh:

by: mandis
That can't be legal...

Can they do that???
They certainly can -- PhysX is Nvidia's own proprietary standard. All the more reason for no one to use it.
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#12
Wile E
Power User
nVidia's excuse may be that they can't guarantee everything will run properly with a different vendor's card doing the primary rendering, but that doesn't constitute disabling the adapter. It constitutes simple not offering support for those setups.
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#13
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
wait wait wait, i thought the ati crowd said physx is a joke and a marketing scheme. so why hack it for ati cards...
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#14
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: mandis
That can't be legal...

Can they do that???
It has happened. Those ASUS/BFG Ageia PhysX cards won't work (with recent drivers), if the drivers see an ATI GPU. As for legality, NVIDIA can do what it wants with its hardware/software.

by: Easy Rhino
wait wait wait, i thought the ati crowd said physx is a joke and a marketing scheme. so why hack it for ati cards...
EPeenmarkVantage
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#15
shiny_red_cobra
NVidia are such fuckers for adding these restrictions, unfortunately they own PhysX so they are allowed to put whatever restrictions they want...
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#16
mdm-adph
by: Easy Rhino
wait wait wait, i thought the ati crowd said physx is a joke and a marketing scheme. so why hack it for ati cards...
No one's hacking it "for ATI cards" -- they're hacking it so that it can work with the Nvidia cards they already bought, but just use as secondary physics processors.

Get it? This kind of shit is the kind of reason why ATI has never bothered to use PhysX.
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#17
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
by: mdm-adph
No one's hacking it "for ATI cards" -- they're hacking it so that it can work with the Nvidia cards they already bought, but just use as secondary physics processors.

Get it? This kind of shit is the kind of reason why ATI has never bothered to use PhysX.
right, but the ati crowd thinks physx is a joke and a marketing sceme. so why even bother with any of it?
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#18
Roph
Doesn't nvidia see that these antics only make OpenCL more attractive?

And I imagine that's the same reason ATI would turn down PhysX, and it looks like the right decision. As somebody pointed out in another thread, Nvidia aren't giving themselves the best image as far as being able to govern and control a standard is going.
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#19
Steevo
This thread will be some NV users battling to the end for their green goblin juice, ATI users laughing about the clever way a driver can be minpulated to defeat the joke the lock out was anyway. The people who don't know or care and don't use it will shrug and either get pissed at NV for the crap they pull, or just leave the thread.



So, someone is in the lead already with defending NV, others are following up with the "why ATI sucks" arguments, red users are already laughing and some are preparing for another heated battle of red VS green.
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#20
erocker
by: Easy Rhino
wait wait wait, i thought the ati crowd said physx is a joke and a marketing scheme. so why hack it for ati cards...
It is. Game developers taking it on and putting it to use is the reason.
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#21
theubersmurf
by: newtekie1
It all leads back to ATi's flat out unwillingness to support PhysX running natively on their hardware. If they had just put forth a little effort back when nVidia was extending the olive branch, PhysX would be running on ATi hardware without the need for a secondary nVidia GPU at all, and we wouldn't be in this situation.
I'd be curious what invida charges for licensing cuda/physx. Probably a ton, it's bad enough that they license havok...Had this situation gone well in the beginning, both Ageia and Havok would have remained independent and licensed to either GPU company. With the invidia logo on the hardware...I'm sure it's an arm and a leg, Havok is no better probably, but it's better established than Physx.
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#22
air_ii
by: newtekie1
It all leads back to ATi's flat out unwillingness to support PhysX running natively on their hardware. If they had just put forth a little effort back when nVidia was extending the olive branch, PhysX would be running on ATi hardware without the need for a secondary nVidia GPU at all, and we wouldn't be in this situation.
I don't know who to believe - you or Dave Hoff...

[quote="DaHoff]While it would be easy to convert PhysX from CUDA to OpenCL so it could run on our cards, and I've offered our assistance to do this, I can just imagine PhysX will remain that one app that doesn't ever become open.[/quote][QUOTE=Flyordie, post: 1581117"]However, ATi is still working with HAVOK on it all... right now, both companies hate Nvidia, so working together to oust them from the market will be beneficial...

The downside is- once Nvidia caves in... it will just be Intel vs ATi in the GPU market.[/quote]I don't think they're working to oust them. Oust PhysX - yes, NV - no, as OpenCL is aimed to run on all capable hardware...
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#23
mdm-adph
by: Easy Rhino
right, but the ati crowd thinks physx is a joke and a marketing sceme. so why even bother with any of it?
I don't give a damn why they're doing it. :laugh: Probably 3D Mark Vantage E-penii scores like bta said.

But the fact that Nvidia, in a classic dick move, has stripped away functionality from products that people have already bought should make anyone angry, no matter what side of the ATI/Nvidia divide you sit on.

Seriously, if it's not, it's really really hard not to look like just an apologist.
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#25
EastCoasthandle
by: Easy Rhino
right, but the ati crowd thinks physx is a joke and a marketing sceme. so why even bother with any of it?
I wouldn't classify those with AMD card for rendering and a nvidia card for physx as part of those who do not. This IMO is a different group of consumers.
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