Nvidia Adding PhysX Processing to Existing GPUs Next Week, Developers Line Up with Support

Hardware manufacturer Nvidia is set to add PhysX support to several lines of its graphics cards on August 12, according to Tech Report.

Nvidia GeForce 8, GeForce 9, and GeForce GTX 200-series cards will support the new physics acceleration initially.

PhysX began as Ageia Technologies' attempt at a dedicated hardware physics processor. The idea of an expensive physics processing card never took off, and Nvidia purchased Aegia in February of this year, announcing that it would directly incorporate Aegia's technology into its line of cards.

Game support for PhysX includes released titles such as Epic's Unreal Tournament 3. Users can download the free PhysX Mod map pack, a collection of three UT3 maps that show off special effects such as twirling tornadoes and particle-based hail.

Nvidia claims that PhysX support is also being added to upcoming projects like EA DICE's Mirror's Edge, Creative Assembly's Empire: Total War, and Gearbox's Aliens: Colonial Marines and Borderlands.

Early benchmarks predictably indicate that turning on the flashy PhysX effects will cost users several frames of performance.

For a look at a PhysX-enabled UT3 map, check out the video below. [videofeature]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkfVoWiCU3w[/videofeature]

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 6, 2008 1:59 PM

    what exactly does this do to games? There a youtube video or something?

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      August 6, 2008 2:00 PM

      ^^Same question here.

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      August 6, 2008 2:03 PM

      more rolling barrels

    • reply
      August 6, 2008 2:04 PM

      we're adding some more info and a video in a few minutes.

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      August 6, 2008 2:04 PM

      Improves your frames per second. Instead of your processor taking on the challenge to render the physics the card will render it taking less stress on your processor for more frames.

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        August 6, 2008 2:15 PM

        This is the opposite of true. It will slightly reduce your framerate because part of the GPU will be doing physics work. However, it will allow you to run orders of magnitude more physics operations during the game.

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          August 6, 2008 2:35 PM

          Not to mention, more physics objects usually means more graphics horsepower is required to render all those extra boxes/barrels/trash.

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            August 6, 2008 2:38 PM

            it's kinda misleading to say either, yeah. physx + same amount of physics would = better framerate than before, but generally physx enabled means there's a LOT of extra stuff happening that will drag it right back down again.

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          August 6, 2008 2:38 PM

          I mean, if you ran with the added physics, but no GPGPU, your computer will have lower fps.

          Technically, and scientifically he is correct. All things constant, including amount of physics, given sufficiently high physics, it will improve your frames per a second.
          Technically, you're true too, all things constant, including frames per a second, will *support* more physics at that frame rate.

          But the goal is to have a specific frame rate, and as many features as possible, so your post is perhaps more important.

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      August 6, 2008 2:36 PM

      It all depends on what you have now.

      Running these with most games now wont increase or decrease your fps, because barely anything uses physX.

      But in physX enabled games, it will increase your FPS compared to playing it using software physics, but decrease your FPS when compared to playing with physX disabled. No idea how it compares to running the game with a dedicated physX card.

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        August 6, 2008 6:55 PM

        I think the idea is that you use your OLD video card as the PhysX card, instead of buying a completely separate card for that task.

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