Aright I have had a reader contact me directly on IM and we had a long but fruitless talk about this review. My MSN and ICQ contact is visible to everyone out there, so I can help if there is any question or be of service. but this does not mean that I can accomodate everyone who wants to voice their opinion, as a personal conversation with me is certainly not the right venue. All the reviews we post are backed up by results and we state our reasons for a score or award. This forum is for placing your opinion. I, much like all other staff members do this during their spare time and have real jobs and real lives which have nothing to do with Techpowerup.com, so I am not able or (TBH) willing to spend hours of my spare time discussing what is better, CPU or PPU for Physics.
As you are all encuraged, I will leave my opinion to this matter right here:
The person who contacted me has the firm believe that a multi core CPU can deliver just as great physics as this card, so there is no point in the additional 120€s the PhysX card costs. And that the performance hit for such effects is just to great.
We have seen a lot of games who utilize CPUs for Physics and they do so beautifully. But think of this:
- You get XX frames with a quad core CPU in a game run with CPU based physics turned on
- What if you could get exacly those XX frames on a dual core CPU in that game run without the CPU based physics turned on.
The price difference between the dual core and multicore CPU is still something you need to pay.
In all cases, the graphic still need to be rendered and you will have a performance drop in every case where physics parts (busted wood, blowing up stuff, bodies flying and bullets hitting) need to be rendered. So this has nothing to do with the fact WHAT PART OF THE PC CALCULATES the effects. These effects still are additional ones that need to be rendered.
We have seen many games that are only playable with some horrid hardware (for example: Gothic 3), while other games work grand on a broad range of systems.
So no matter what renderes the physics in games, there will be a performance difference if you can turn these effects on or off.
This basically removes the argument that the physics displayed do not warrant the frame drop.
The only reason you know that there is a drop with PhysX cards, is because you can turn off the effects of the card. Any game that gives you that option to turn off this additon no matter if it uses a PPU or CPU for such calculations will show a performance gain with the effects turned off.
The second argument is cost.
If you can theoretically achieve the same or better frame rate with all effects when using a Dual Core CPU and PhysX card or Quad Core CPU without the additional card, the price difference is still there. A Quad Core costs more than a Dual Core at same speed.
If such a theoretical game will ever exists which can utilize either the PhysX Card or a seperate core of the CPU, then this game needs to be ready for multi core. This means that a Quad Core CPU with a PhysX Card should deliver even better frame rates. Thus an addition of such a card in a high-end system is still warranted.
The last point I want to make:
If you have a PhysX capable game which barely runs fluid on your system, then it should come as no surprise that adding this card will tax the graphic card with further dispayed polygons and effects, which need to be rendered, thus reducing performance. This is just common sense, and as mentioned above, it does not matter what computates the effects, the GPU needs to render them in any case.
PS: There are surely a few spelling mistakes within this statement, I apologize for such in advance.