1. Welcome to TechPowerUp Forums, Guest! Please check out our forum guidelines for info related to our community.

The Dedicated PhysX card FAQ - Read this before asking any questions!

Discussion in 'Graphics Cards' started by erocker, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Messages:
    39,795 (13.19/day)
    Thanks Received:
    14,175
    Please thank Newtekie1 here:
    The Dedicated PhysX card FAQ - Read this before a... as he put half of this FAQ together. :toast:

    In the past few weeks I've seen a lot of topics popping up asking the same questions about dedicated PhysX cards, so I figured I'd try to answer some of the most common ones here.

    What dedicated PhysX card should I get?

    Probably the most popular question about PhysX cards seen here.

    If your main graphics card is an nVidia card, the simple answer is you don't need a dedicated PhysX card, and shouldn't buy one. Here is why. With the GTX400 series cards, they are already powerful enough to handle the PhysX calculations by themselves. They do not take a performance hit from the PhysX calculations. That isn't to say they won't have lower FPS when PhysX is enabled, but the lower FPS is caused by the extra graphical rendering power needed to render all the extra particles and fragments added to the scene by PhysX, not the PhysX calculations themselves. Now, if you are using something lower than a GTX460 a dedicated PhysX card might help take some load off the main GPU. However, the money would be better spent on a second GPU for SLi than on a dedicated PhysX card.

    If your main graphics card is an ATi card, then something very weak will be good enough. Generally anything with 64+ shaders will do the job just fine. The GT240 seems to be a very popular card, as is the GT430. You don't need anything more powerful than that. PhysX actually takes next to no GPU power to do the calculations.

    Will a dedicated PhysX card boost performance in every game?

    Absolutely not! It is a common misconception that because essentially every game uses some kind of physics engine, that a dedicated PhysX card will boost performance in every game. It is important to not confuse physics in general with PhysX. PhysX is just another physics engine that is only used in certain games. And while the list of games that use PhysX is somewhat large, the list of games that use hardware accelerated PhysX is rather small, something like 15 games. So only 15 games actually use the graphics card for PhysX to begin with, and of those 15 only something like 5 or 6 are real well known blockbuster games.

    Can I play a PhysX game without an nVidia graphics card?

    Of course! However, you will not get the high end PhysX effects, which essentially amounts to nothing more than eye-candy anyway. I've played every one of the big PhysX titles, and I can say they are just as enjoyable without the PhysX eye-candy as with. You will also still have physic in the game. The reasons is PhysX offers a software option that isn't as detailed as the hardware accelerated options, and this option is actually what is used in most of the PhysX games on the market. This is why the list of games that use PhysX is 40-50 games long, but the list of games that use hardware PhysX is only 15 games long. Software PhysX is pretty on par in terms of capability with the other software physic engines available today, such as Havok. And it is also available to everyone, with no need for an nVidia graphics card in the system. This is why it is more appealing to game developers than the hardware accelerated PhysX.

    This software PhysX option should not be confused with option to run the hardware accelerated PhsyX on the CPU. Those are two totally different things. The software option to PhysX runs the calculations on the CPU, but it also tones down the amount of calculations done dramatically, with a lowered visual effect obviously. Running hardware accelerted PhysX on the CPU does not tone down the amount of calculations, and hence performs extremely poorly when run on the CPU, making the game pretty much unplayable.


    Can you run a dedicated nVidia GPU along side a primary ATi graphics card?

    Yes. Although not officially supported, there is a simple to apply hack that allows this. You can read how to do it here:

    Things you need


    For Installation:
    -ATi/AMD drivers: www.amd.com

    -Nvidia drivers (use 258.96's): www.nvidia.com

    -1.04ff PhysX mod: http://www.ngohq.com/graphic-cards/17706-hybrid-physx-mod-v1-03-v1-04ff.html <--Not needed if Nvidia card is the main video card output

    For Testing
    -GPU-Z: http://www.techpowerup.com/gpuz/

    -FluidMark: http://www.ozone3d.net/benchmarks/physx-fluidmark/ (Latest version does not work, try an older version)

    -3dMark Vantage: http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/3dmarkvantage/download/

    -A video card for video output (ATi or Nvidia)

    -A PhysX supported video card for PhysX. This can be the 8 series (G92) and up.

    Installation


    Install ATi/AMD/Nvidia (main video) card and drivers.

    -Already done this? Good! Move on to the next step.

    Install Nvidia (PhysX) card and drivers

    -Install Nvidia card into empty PCI-E slot

    -Turn on the computer

    -Install Nvidia drivers. When the installer asks you to restart, open and apply the 1.04ff PhysX patch, then restart. <-- Not needed if Nvidia card is the main video output


    Making sure it works


    Upon restart, PhysX should be enabled. There is no place to go to enable or disable PhysX other than uninstalling the 1.04ff Patch. GPU-Z should tell you that PhysX is enabled. Try using Fluidmark to see if it performs/works like it should with a PhysX card. Of course, now is a good time to actually use your PhysX card and enjoy it. Games like Mafia 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Unreal Tournament 3, Mirror's Edge and others are good places to start.

    *This has not been tested with the latest Nvidia WHQL drivers (will be soon)
    *It is possible that some of Nvidia's newer GPU's such as the GT430 (GF108) will not work yet. (GF100/104 work.)
    *Please post your benchmarks, suggestions, etc. using your dedicated PhysX card. We can then see what some good combinations are and how much of a PhysX card we really need. I will be soon testing a GT240 vs. a GTX460 in different games and benchmarks.
    *Please post your benchmarks, suggestions, etc. using your dedicated PhysX card. We can then see what some good combinations are and how much of a PhysX card we really need. I will be soon testing a GT240 vs. a GTX460 in different games and benchmarks.

    Please feel free to add any comments or suggestions to make this guide better.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2010
  2. theonedub

    theonedub habe fidem

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2009
    Messages:
    7,165 (3.58/day)
    Thanks Received:
    3,717
    Probably just mention that the 1.04ff patch is only for those using ATI Nvidia mash ups.
     
    erocker says thanks.
    Crunching for Team TPU
  3. animal007uk

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,239 (0.60/day)
    Thanks Received:
    283
    Location:
    Warwick, Warwickshire, England
    I don't think i will ever do the ati/nvidia combo or ever use physx but thanks for this post erocker its a lot easyer to follow than most.
     
  4. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Messages:
    39,795 (13.19/day)
    Thanks Received:
    14,175
    As of right now, do not use the latest Nvidia drivers. Didn't work and I am currently having problems uninstalling...

    258.96's are working fine. Latest FluidMark doesn't seem to work with this at all as it only recognizes the main video card.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010
    JD15 says thanks.
  5. RuskiSnajper

    RuskiSnajper

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,608 (0.78/day)
    Thanks Received:
    231
    Location:
    slovenia , europe
    Is physx possible on only ATI ?

    Because some people and also webshit websites are posting whole guides for making this work but it's more of a bougus since i know the hakced FF drivers are only for a combo , so .. .well . any more info if that's really possible.

    furthermore the "software physx" when you just install it while having an ATI card , is there a hacked "software" layer that actually mkes pyhsix work on CPUs (removed de-optimization on CPUs)
     
  6. animal007uk

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,239 (0.60/day)
    Thanks Received:
    283
    Location:
    Warwick, Warwickshire, England
    no its not possible on just ATI cards as physx is an nvidia thing.
     
  7. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Messages:
    39,795 (13.19/day)
    Thanks Received:
    14,175
    The system used:
    [​IMG]

    GT 240 Vantage CPU test:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    GTX 460 Vantage CPU test:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Mafia 2 and Batman:AA are installing now.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010
    JD15 says thanks.
  8. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Messages:
    39,795 (13.19/day)
    Thanks Received:
    14,175
    Mafia 2 & Batman: Arkham Asylum

    Both games on maximum settings 1920x1200 PhysX set on high.

    Batman:AA GT 240
    [​IMG]

    Batman:AA GTX 460
    [​IMG]


    Mafia 2 GT 240
    [​IMG]

    Mafia 2 GTX 460
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010
    hardcore_gamer, Magikherbs and JD15 say thanks.
  9. JD15

    JD15 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2010
    Messages:
    57 (0.04/day)
    Thanks Received:
    18
    Location:
    Woodward, OK
    This needs stickied!
     
  10. phobias23

    phobias23 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Messages:
    307 (0.17/day)
    Thanks Received:
    18
    Location:
    Havana City,Cuba
    +100% Erocker, great thread!! and nice tests. Physx for Ati & Nvidia, this can help a lot everyone who expect using physx.
     
  11. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Messages:
    20,029 (6.15/day)
    Thanks Received:
    6,094
    Awesome thread! I'll do some testing with my GTX470 and 9600GT and GTX460 as dedicated cards to see if they help anything.
     
    erocker says thanks.
    Crunching for Team TPU 50 Million points folded for TPU
  12. Krony

    Krony New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Messages:
    288 (0.12/day)
    Thanks Received:
    59
    Location:
    England
    Hi, i was looking at GTX 580 with 9800GTX+ as physX, would an Antec 850 quatro be enough to power both ?
     
  13. CrackerJack

    CrackerJack

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2007
    Messages:
    2,707 (1.08/day)
    Thanks Received:
    450
    Location:
    East TN
    Hey Erocker, how many fps did you get before enabling PhysX? Wonder if the increase is worth picking up a GT 240. But another question is, Can you still use CUDA? Or is this just a PhysX mod... The PhysX would be nice but now that CS5 supports CUDA.. like every other video editors. I wonder if I can use my 4870 as main and GT 240 as PhysX/Cuda.
     
  14. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Messages:
    39,795 (13.19/day)
    Thanks Received:
    14,175
    In non-PhysX games there's a 0 fps difference. See posts 7 and 8 otherwise. CUDA doesn't work in this configuration, only PhysX.
     
    CrackerJack says thanks.
  15. CrackerJack

    CrackerJack

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2007
    Messages:
    2,707 (1.08/day)
    Thanks Received:
    450
    Location:
    East TN
    Understand there wouldn't be a increase in non-PhysX games. I was refering to PhysX off in Mafia 2. Cause in your screenshot of PhysX on: GT 240 30.8fps and GTX 460 35.3fps. I was wonder what was or is the fps if you turn PhysX off.
     
  16. aba123 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    Messages:
    3 (0.00/day)
    Thanks Received:
    0
    Guys, i was able to install both the drivers + mod. When i open the gpuz, its detecting both the gpu (5800+8800) . It's showing PhysX enabled with 5800. Is PhysX actually enabled now? I am not able to run fluid mark. It crashes . Which version of Fluidbench mark should i install ? Also , what are the ways that i can verify whether PhysX is set ?

    Thanks
     
  17. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Messages:
    39,795 (13.19/day)
    Thanks Received:
    14,175
    Yes, PhysX is enabled. Use FluidMark 1.0 to test. The best test of course is using a game that uses PhysX such as Batman AA, etc. You should also get an increased CPU score in 3DMark Vantage.
     
    aba123 says thanks.
  18. aba123 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    Messages:
    3 (0.00/day)
    Thanks Received:
    0
    Ok. I am not able to see the boot screen. Display appears only when windows desktop shows up. What do i do?
     
  19. JD15

    JD15 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2010
    Messages:
    57 (0.04/day)
    Thanks Received:
    18
    Location:
    Woodward, OK
    Reverse which slots you're using for each card.
     
  20. mario1984 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2010
    Messages:
    3 (0.00/day)
    Thanks Received:
    0
    i bought a PC from http://www.buildyourbox.co.uk/
    it already had 2 x 6850 but they didnt have a Physx option
    it was a Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R motherboard
    is there room for a Physx card and which card would be best. I was looking at a GTS 450?
     
  21. CrackerJack

    CrackerJack

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2007
    Messages:
    2,707 (1.08/day)
    Thanks Received:
    450
    Location:
    East TN
    ATi doesn't use Physx.. only Nvidia
     
  22. TotalChaos

    TotalChaos New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    Messages:
    737 (0.21/day)
    Thanks Received:
    590
    I had a GTX 460 running with my Asus 5850 for a few days and finally said screw it. Yes it works but the games I play dont often rely on PhysX. It did give a decent boost to Vantage but i was disappointed with the Mafia II results i achieved. I went back to just my 5850, using the second card just didnt seem worthy.
     
  23. AmigaWolf New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2010
    Messages:
    10 (0.01/day)
    Thanks Received:
    0
    I have a Question, i have a ASRock X58 Extreme3 MB with 2x PCI-E 2.0 16x slots and 1x 4x slot, and i have 2x Geforce GTX 460 1GB in SLI, now can i use a Geforce GT 430 in my PCI-E 2.0 4x Port as PhysX Card?
     
  24. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Messages:
    20,029 (6.15/day)
    Thanks Received:
    6,094
    You don't have to bump every PhysX related thread. Just one will get you an answer usually, or even better, create your own thread asking your question.:toast:

    Welcome to TPU!
     
    Crunching for Team TPU 50 Million points folded for TPU
  25. AmigaWolf New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2010
    Messages:
    10 (0.01/day)
    Thanks Received:
    0
    Ok thanks for the info.
     

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guest)

Share This Page