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

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

  1. ZenZimZaliben

    ZenZimZaliben

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    So I just picked up Batman on the steam sale for $10.00. Which prompted me to install my 8800GTS G92 512Mb. I think everything worked except for Vantage, which is a known issue.

    It did say I got: Physics Test 152.84 operations/s
    Fluidmark = 310

    Just installed Metro 2033. Even though it says this game uses Physx my 8800GTS never went above 15% usage in the game (played for about 2 hours). Batman uses it much more, as high as 60% in some areas. Maybe I haven't hit a physx intense scene yet in Metro 2033...

    It is totally worth it to install a dedicated Physx card if you are playing games that use this and you have a ATI card (especially if you have an old nvidia card laying around. 8800GTS (G92) and above... I believe anything after and including the G92 core is physx capable.)

    http://www.nvidia.com/object/physx_new.html
    http://developer.nvidia.com/object/physx_good_company.html
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010
  2. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    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.

    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: How To: Use a Dedicated PhysX Card

    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.
     
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  3. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Nice guide Newtekie! Any chance that I could just merge my PhysX card setup guide into this one for one complete guide? Let me know. :toast:
     
  4. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    Sounds like an awesome plan to me!:toast:
     
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  5. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Somehow it merged into my thread instead of the other way around. Left a link in the OP so people can thank you for your effort. :toast:
     
  6. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    Thats cool, now the first post just needs a little cleaning up since the link in my part for installing PhysX with ATi doesn't work. So if you just move the instructions up into that part, and it will make more sense.
     
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  7. suraswami

    suraswami

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    Is dedicated PCI PhysX (think its Ageia?) card still usable for this purpose instead of an NVidia card for people who have boards with only one PCIE 16x slot and using it for ATI graphics?
     
  8. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Done. :)

    It will work, though the specifications of the old PhysX cards aren't up to snuff for today's standards.
     
  9. 20mmrain

    20mmrain

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    You know I just wanted to shoot this out there. I picked up for real cheap a 220GT and was going to sell it to a customer of mine. But instead they didn't end up taking it off my hands. SO I am currently using it for a Dedicated PhysX GPU. With my two XFX Radeon 6870's. Besides adding some extra heat to the case.... it is working out pretty well.

    I will post some benches when I get up tomorrow. But you know I just wanted to throw that out there in case someone is looking for a cheap solution to PhysX. While it won't do as well as a 9800GT or a 8800GTX or even a 240GT or 430GT the EVGA 220GT is working out wonderfully.
     
  10. micropage7

    micropage7

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    i have GTX 470 and i have 9600GT, will it give me any benefit if i use 9600GT as dedicated physx or its enough i use stand alone GTX 470 for physx and graphic?
     
  11. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    Read the first post, it tells you the answer.
     
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  12. Magikherbs New Member

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    Hi all.. I have a XFX Alpha Dog 8800gt on the way hehe.. only 35 bucks:D

    Good job erocker:pimp: and newtekie1 :respect:

    Peace
     
  13. Magikherbs New Member

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    Physx engaged .. I think lol

    I think I'm missing something here heh...

    8800GT solo run
    [​IMG]

    HD 5750 w/ Physx = lower score !:eek:
    [​IMG]

    I forgot to run the patch before the reboot, so I uninstalled the 8800GT and did it right. My only other bump is this GPU-Z error. I re-installed the 10.12 CCC ocl package without uninstalling them first, but the error persists.

    [​IMG]

    If I wipe out all Ati software and redo, is it safe to make the 8800GT my main display and do it ? Or, do I need to uninstall the Nvidia drivers aswell.

    XFX love :p
    [​IMG]

    Peace

    Update.. Cpu Z says the 8800GT is in the main slot ??
    http://valid.canardpc.com/show_oc.php?id=1560488
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2010
  14. sliderider

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    I only have one PCIE x16 slot, can I use something like a Sparkle 9500GT PCI for a PhysX card or is the PCI bus too slow? There are also 8400GS cards in PCIe x1, but I don't think they have enough SP's to be of any use.
     
  15. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    Yes, you can use a PCI card for PhysX.

    However, a better solution might be to get an inexpensive normal PCI-E x16 card and modifying it to fit a PCI-E x1 slot. This thread details the process: HD4350, a PCI-E x1 Slot and a Dremel (Tons of Pic...

    That way you can spend something like $60 on a GT430 with 96 Shaders and be safe. The 9500GT would be powerful enough to run PhysX, but it only has 32 Shaders, which is the bare minimum. It would suck if nVidia raised the minimum again and you found yourself stuck with a useless 9500GT(the minimum used to be 16).
     
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  16. sliderider

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    Unfortunately I can't seem to locate a GT430 that is single slot. They all have massive coolers on them (why the hell do you need a big cooler on a 430 anyway?) and I don't have the room as my x16 slot is right next to it.
     
  17. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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  18. mrsemi

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    I'm wanting to try the physx hack but pretty broke as of late. I noted min shaders recommended is 64 which is twice of the 8600gts I have laying around. Would the effects be lessened or likely to fail or do you think it could still pull it off?

    Never mind, I read up a little, someone said 32 is bare min. I'll give it a go, it'll have it's on x16 lane I'd think if the card could run physx on its own it should be able to do it as its only function.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2011
  19. sliderider

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    The issue I think is in the drivers. The original Aegia PhysX card was a lot lower spec than the cards that are still supported in the latest drivers so you can't use them anymore. So while you may have a card that supports an older specification of PhysX, you'd have to use an old driver with it and even then the games you want to use it with might not like it.
     
    mrsemi says thanks.
  20. mrsemi

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    Hmm, in that case I'll look for something more worthwhile. Thanks
     
  21. sliderider

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  22. Magikherbs New Member

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    That should do... the most I would pay is $40 or $50 if in mint condition. For a little more, a new 9800GT can be had...

    Test before you buy.. and watch the temps. Single slot 88/9800gt's can get warm..
     
  23. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    The 8800GT/9800GT makes a great PhysX card.
     
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  24. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Indeed! I have one myself and am going to be comparing a GTX 580 w/PhysX config to a GTX 580 + 9800GT w/PhysX config.
     
  25. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    I'll be interested in your results. When I did the same experiment with my GTX470 and a 9600GT I found no difference in performance.
     
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