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BFG PhysX and Performance Updates - New Drivers tested
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Old 17th May 2006, 12:13   #1
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BFG PhysX and Performance Updates - New Drivers tested

Last week, we took a first look at the new PhysX add-in physics accelerator from AGEIA. After our article was published, AGEIA released an update to their driver that addresses some of the framerate issues in Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. While our main focus this time around will be on BFG's retail part, we will explore the effectiveness of this patch and go a little further in-depth with the details behind our performance analysis.
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Old 17th May 2006, 12:38   #2
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Playing the CellFactor demo for a while, messing around in the Hangar of Doom, and blowing up things in GRAW and City of Villains is a start, but it is only a start. As we said before, we can't recommend buying a PPU unless money is no object and the games which do support it are your absolute favorites. Even then, the advantages of owning the hardware are limited and questionable (due to the performance issues we've observed).
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Old 17th May 2006, 12:55   #3
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let's wait one year, John, then reevaluate
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Old 17th May 2006, 13:31   #4
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make that 2-3 years. Unreal Engine 3 will have no gameplay/world-physics support for this card.

a second GPU as Physics calculator is no good, as even SLI/CF rigs can easily be VGA card bottlenecked once you turn up AA/AF/resolution, so that GPU won't have time to do Physics calcs.

the future might very well be Dual/Quad core and using the extra CPU power do increase physics calculations, lower risk for game developers as Dual Core CPUs are now widely available, so their product will run as intended on many systems without any risk of betting on the wrong "horse"; remember Quake 1 port to Creative's 3D Card? that one sold some of their cards, but turned out it was no good, looked worse than 3DFX, had less support and eventually faded away.

the only way that PhysX card can become popular and useful if they work together with Microsoft and Intel/AMD to get support in the next DirectX installment. DirectX would do the physics calculations on the dual core CPU if no PhysX card is detected, and if there is one, it will offload it towards it, freeing up CPU cycles.

that way game developers can write a game without having to incorporate support for a specific piece of hardware; it won't be "as good" a solution for PhysX ($$$$ wise) as the DirectX implementation should be open-source so other people can make their own product line, and bring out competing Physics calculator cards.

So again, 1 year is not enough, make that 2-3 and then we'll re-evaluate; before that time, spending $300 on a PCI card which decreases FPS considerably is impossible to recommend. And that Cellfactor demo has some issues to, I saw a movie demo where you very obivously see a small pause right before a large physics impact (e.g.: shooting grenade in barrels).
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