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Analysis: PhysX On Systems With AMD Graphics Cards

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qubit

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#1

Rarely does an issue divide the gaming community like PhysX has. We go deep into explaining CPU- and GPU-based PhysX processing, run PhysX with a Radeon card from AMD, and put some of today's most misleading headlines about PhysX under our microscope.

The history and development of game physics is often compared to that of the motion picture. The comparison might be a bit exaggerated and arrogant, but there’s some truth to it. As 3D graphics have evolved to almost photo-realistic levels, the lack of truly realistic and dynamic environments is becoming increasingly noticeable. The better the games look, the more jarring they seem from their lack of realistic animations and movements.

When comparing early VGA games with today's popular titles, it’s amazing how far we’ve come in 20 to 25 years. Instead of animated pixel sprites, we now measure graphics quality by looking at breathtaking natural occurrences like water, reflections, fog, smoke, and their movement and animation. Since all of these things are based on highly complex calculations, most game developers use so-called physics engines with prefabricated libraries containing, for example, character animations (ragdoll effects) or complex movements (vehicles, falling objects, water, and so on).

Of course, PhysX is not the only physics engine. Up until now, Havok has been used in many more games. But while both the 2008 edition Havok engine and the PhysX engine offer support for CPU-based physics calculations, PhysX is the only established platform in the game sector with support for faster GPU-based calculations as well.

This is where our current dilemma begins. There is only one official way to take advantage of PhysX (with Nvidia-based graphics cards) but two GPU manufacturers. This creates a potential for conflict, or at least enough for a bunch of press releases and headlines. Like the rest of the gaming community, we’re hoping that things pan out into open standards and sensible solutions. But as long as the gaming industry is stuck with the current situation, we simply have to make the most of what’s supported universally by publishers: CPU-based physics.
The gaming industry really needs something like a "DirectPhysics" or "OpenPhysics" standard. It can't come soon enough.

Tom's Hardware
 

Solaris17

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#2
o boy here we go.
 

erocker

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#3
Meh, without PhysX it really doesn't take anything away from the game. With it, it adds a little but it's not important. I don't know why we need a Tom's Hardware article about it, since there are plenty of threads on this forum with people's guides (myself included) and input on doing this.

Either way this topic has been hashed and rehashed way too many times. If you want to discuss it, go find one of the countless threads in the Video Cards forum to do so.

Thank you.
 
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