Dedicated PhysX GPU - Recommendations?

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Dedicated PhysX GPU - Recommendations?

Postby Leprekaun » Sun Dec 23, 2012 6:30 am

Hi all. I've been enjoying all the Nvidia goodness of my GTX 660 :) but I would like to run games like Batman: AA / AC and Mafia II with PhysX. The GTX 660 runs it ok but I don't get the 60FPS I'm looking for when running the benchmarks. As far as performance goes, I can run most of my games at max detail, 1920x1080 with 16xQAA and 16xAF fine so I don't think I'd need to go with SLI and besides, I've read countless reviews about the infamous micro-stutter when running 2 GPUs together (my GTX 660 only supports 2-way SLI) so if I can avoid that, I'd prefer to do so. My question now though is this, what kind of GPU should I get for dedicated PhysX processing? I was thinking that I could get a GTX 460? I can find it for a reasonable price or I don't need that much power for a dedicated PhysX card? Like I said, I'd like to run max PhysX and still maintain a minimum of 60FPS throughout so can anyone tell me what would be the cheapest GPU I can get that will allow me to do that? Thanks.
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Re: Dedicated PhysX GPU - Recommendations?

Postby Hammer_Time » Sun Dec 23, 2012 9:45 am

Ever since nVidia bought Ageia ( makers of Phyx sw ) and incorporated it into their driver, the need ( and power ) of recent nVidia has made the addition of a dedicated PhysX card quite a low priority for most gamers. Only games that actually use PhysX ( such as Batman series etc. ) will take advantage of it. The gains depend on how strong the dedicated card you use is of course:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/33897 ... physx-card

Whats up guys. So I have a i5 2500k and EVGA GTX 590 setup. I started playing Batman AC and it's amazing. With max setting and tesselation at max @ 1920x1080 my framerate is 78fps average. But when I turn on PhysX on high my FPS plummet down to @ 48FPS average. And yes I can tell a huge difference with FPS in 40-50s and locked at a constant 60fps with Vsync enabled. I guess the 590 just spoiled me because I won't except playing anything less that 60fps now, it's gorgeous.

So I'm planning to pick up a dedicated PhysX card. Anyone know what is the lowest card I can get by with PhysX on high and still producing a high FPS with my 590? I've been googling for some benchmarks but no luck. I know there arnt a lot of games but use PhysX but Batman AC PhysX are to badass to play without. Thanks.

BTW PSU no problem, I got a 1050w.


All of those except for the gts 450 are very terrible cards for dedicated physx. A old 8800gt will cream any gt430/440 any day of the week except for power consumption.

Best in slot for dedicated physx is general for most a 8800/9800gt or a gts450 single slot. For dual slot a 9800gtx+ or gtx260. The older architecture has more 32bit floating point unit performance per clock and per unit than Fermi. The main advantage that most users will see is unlinked core and shader clocks allowing you to downclock the core when desired and focus more power on the shader core alone. A very good 9800gtx+/gts250 can top the shader out at 2.1ghz. Last but not least nvidia seams to have designed the physx drivers to not fully load the card so only a certain % of the cpu can be used making cards with higher shader counts and clocks better for physx than others.

Minimum for dedicated physx that is Fermi is basically a GTS450, they have high enough shader count with decent clocks to make it fairly good for another year or two as a dedicated physx card. For retro a 9800gtx+ or gtx260 is better. Anything more than those cards isn't going to give you as much of a bang for the $$ and power used.


http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/showt ... ?p=2569470

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray_Rogers2109

Would I really need more shaders if I don't have anything connected to the ports on the PhysX card? As stated I'm buying the Sapphire 6950 2GB with the 6970 bios switch as stated. It'll be my main graphics card. I don't think I'll even buy the PhysX card until after I buy the monitor.
So Sapphire 6950/unlocked fully to 6970 will be the main card and nVidia will just be for PhysX.

The reason I suggest a card with more shaders is because nVidia likes raising the requirements. When the first released PhysX for their cards(after buying Ageia) there wasn't a minimum shader requirement. Then they made the minimum 16 shaders, then they raised it to 32 shaders sometime in the last year(I forget when). I wouldn't be surprised if they up it again to 64 shaders in the near future. So while 48 shaders will technically do now, I'd go with something with more just in case.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray_Rogers2109

Okay I looked at the program files and features with the start menu. Says I have PhysX version 9.10.0513 Should I still need a dedicated GPU for PhysX though? Asking before I install the GPU in my system specs tomorrow (hopefully it'll arrive then).

You do not need a PhysX card to use PhysX. Games that use PhysX will run in "Software" mode if a PhysX card is not detected. The physics details of the game will be run on the CPU and the physics details will be lowered so it doesn't overload the CPU. The quality without a dedicated PhysX card is equal to what you would get with other software physics engines, such as Havok or Bullet. Some games allow you to actually increase the physics details back to their full levels even when running PhysX on the CPU, however framerates tend to suck due to PhysX never being designed to run on a CPU.


http://www.geforce.com/hardware/technology/physx/faq

Which graphics cards can accelerate NVIDIA PhysX?

All GeForce 8 series graphics cards and above with at least 256MB of local onboard graphics memory and at least 32 cores will be able to accelerate NVIDIA PhysX. If you intend to use an NVIDIA supported graphics card as a dedicated Physx card, the other graphics cards in the system must also use an NVIDIA GPU.


A dedicated video card for Physx has been tested before. My memory of the results was hazy but basically if you're running anything from a GTX560Ti above, you'll see reduced performance by doing it. It's best to leave the Physx work to the main GPU itself. There was a very slight increase in performance with lower end Nvidia cards like the 450.


Basically, unless you have an older video card ( GTX 460 or lower ) then there are very slim gains to be had by using a dedicated videocard for PhysX. Your GTX 660 card is so strong relatively speaking that even paired with an 8800 GTX ( or better ) card for PhysX, you won't notice a "huge" improvement in performance, although there are some gains to be had... at the expense of added power consumption heat and noise of course...remember these gains are only to be had in actual PhysX games like Batman, Mafia II and a handful of others...

You would have been better off to buy a GTX 660 Ti card instead of the cheaper 660 and not worry about a dedicated PhysX card as shown above. You are still welcome to try it of course but don't be shocked if it does not give you huge gains... Ideally you or a friend has an old 8800 or 9800 GTX card laying around that you can pop in and test before buying such a card, to see if it is worth the trouble or not...

If the card you use for PhysX is too low in performance, it will cripple your 660's performance as shown in this video ( GTX 580 paired with 8600 and better cards ):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbww3dhzK0M

He recommends minimum GTX 550 ( or better ) to pair with a strong primary card like the GTX 580 ( similar performance to your 660 card ). So if you decide to go ahead with this, make sure you put a DECENT card in there or it will slow down your 660...

Here is a trick to try that might save you buying a PhysX card...turn off AA completely ( or just use nVidia's FXAA mode if the game offers that option, it has very small performance hit compared to "regular" AA ) since you are running the game at such a high resolution ( 1920x1080 ). If I play a very demanding game on my GTX 560 Ti card at that resolution and notice any ingame slowdowns, I simply turn off AA as it is not needed at such a high res ( you can not see any aliasing , or so little it is basically unnoticeable ) to increase my FPS performance. So before you go out and buy a dedicated PhysX card, try turning off AA completely ( or use FXAA mode only ) and see if that increases your performance to a satisfactory level... happy gaming!
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Re: Dedicated PhysX GPU - Recommendations?

Postby Leprekaun » Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:40 am

Thanks Hammer_Time :). I would have gotten a 660 Ti but it was just too much money for me :(. I had a budget of £200 so the 660 Ti was above that (current price: £232). Thanks for the video, it's good to know that too slow a GPU and it will hinder performance. Looking at prices of a GTX 560 Ti, I've concluded that it's DEFINITELY not worth it. Cheapest I found on eBay for a 560 is €170 which is nearly the same amount of money I spent on my GTX 660. I guess I'll just consider going SLI in a few months time when Nvidia start to introduce the GTX 700 series, that way the 600 series will be phasing out and be cheaper.
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Re: Dedicated PhysX GPU - Recommendations?

Postby Leprekaun » Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:50 am

Something I'm finding quite strange though are the FPS differences in the Mafia II benchmark with PhysX compared to Linus in the video. He's getting an average of 49.7 FPS, I'm getting just above 30FPS and I'm running at the same core speed as he was and with 16GB of RAM, doesn't make any sense to me :/.
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Re: Dedicated PhysX GPU - Recommendations?

Postby TAViX » Mon Dec 24, 2012 1:21 am

Anything about 30fps is perfect for me. Just look of consoles, most of titles are capped at 30fps and nobody is complaining.
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Re: Dedicated PhysX GPU - Recommendations?

Postby Hammer_Time » Mon Dec 24, 2012 8:08 am

Leprekaun wrote:Thanks Hammer_Time :). I would have gotten a 660 Ti but it was just too much money for me :(. I had a budget of £200 so the 660 Ti was above that (current price: £232). Thanks for the video, it's good to know that too slow a GPU and it will hinder performance. Looking at prices of a GTX 560 Ti, I've concluded that it's DEFINITELY not worth it. Cheapest I found on eBay for a 560 is €170 which is nearly the same amount of money I spent on my GTX 660. I guess I'll just consider going SLI in a few months time when Nvidia start to introduce the GTX 700 series, that way the 600 series will be phasing out and be cheaper.


I agree, it is not worth it for very tiny games in only a few PhysX enabled games...

Adding another 660 for lower price in the future makes the most sense if you need more performance.

BTW , did you try turning off AA completely to increase your FPS ? I can barely tell the difference with AA on or off at high res of 1920x1080
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Re: Dedicated PhysX GPU - Recommendations?

Postby Hammer_Time » Mon Dec 24, 2012 8:21 am

Leprekaun wrote:Something I'm finding quite strange though are the FPS differences in the Mafia II benchmark with PhysX compared to Linus in the video. He's getting an average of 49.7 FPS, I'm getting just above 30FPS and I'm running at the same core speed as he was and with 16GB of RAM, doesn't make any sense to me :/.


That is weird since a GTX 580 and GTX 660 ( non-Ti ) are roughly equivalent in performance:

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2012 ... ,2932.html

3DMark 11 "P" score

GTX 580 : 6240 marks

GTX 660 : 6480 marks

So they are basically equivalent , at least in 3DMark11 synthetic benchmark...

In Mafia II benchmark with PhysX disabled:

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2012 ... ,2953.html

08 - Mafia 2 DirectX 9 [B] Performance
1920x1080, AA, AFx8 Shadows medium, Geometry medium Ambient Occusion on, no PhysX

GTX 580: 76.7 fps

GTX 660: 75.5 fps

( they don't do the Mafia 2 benchmark with PhysX enabled, but just showing you both cards are roughly equivalent in this game... ).

So I dunno why the discrepancy between the scores shown in that youtube video and your own system... some in-game setting perhaps? Also, have you gone into the nVidia Control Panel and have you adjusted global 3D settings there for performance or quality? That can have a huge impact on game fps... ambient occlusion, etc etc....play around with the settings...
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Re: Dedicated PhysX GPU - Recommendations?

Postby Leprekaun » Mon Dec 24, 2012 1:30 pm

I tested my system using the settings used on Tom's Hardware. I got a 64FPS average with my GTX 660 :(. I've tried 3 different driver versions (305.20 (came with my GTX 660), 306.97 and latest, 310.70) There is no noticeable difference between all of them (1-2 frames). I've tried setting everything in the control panel to performance but it didn't make the +10FPS difference. Something I was wondering about though, are those tests being performed on an OCed CPU? I know that for me, generally, I get around 10FPS more with my CPU running at 4.02Ghz in most games than using stock 3.42Ghz. Also, I noticed that if I enable all my AA and AF and Ambient Occlusion etc. in the Nvidia control panel and disable all those settings in Mafia II, I get very high frame rates (90+ FPS) so I don't know why that is. Is the AA and AF in Mafia II software based, hence the low frame rates?
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Re: Dedicated PhysX GPU - Recommendations?

Postby Hammer_Time » Mon Dec 24, 2012 3:10 pm

Ah, I forgot , you had to put your Phenom II cpu back down to stock speed ( 3.4 Ghz ) to avoid the instability you experienced at 4 Ghz...

They are using Intel quad, have to check the clockspeed and too lazy to look it up right now, but most likely running it above 3.4 Ghz ... so that might explain why they are getting much higher fps than you are in Mafia II benchmark as you noticed yourself when pushing your cpu to 4 Ghz... Mafia II is poorly coded so that is another factor as well... I would chalk it up to the different cpu architectures and clock speeds and nVidia control panel settings....the reason why you get very high frame rates with AO and AA in nVidia CP and with it disabled ingame is because the Mafia II game preferences happen to override the nVidia control panel settings for Mafia II ...
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Re: Dedicated PhysX GPU - Recommendations?

Postby Leprekaun » Tue Dec 25, 2012 7:42 am

I tried OCing my CPU back to 4.02Ghz, it made no difference at all in Mafia II. Are you sure that Mafia II would negate my Nvidia CP settings? I can definitely see some image smoothing with AA/AF enabled in CP in Mafia II, as well as Batman: Arkham Asylum.
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Re: Dedicated PhysX GPU - Recommendations?

Postby Hammer_Time » Tue Dec 25, 2012 7:01 pm

Weird... not sure, I don't play Mafia II here myself so can't verify any of this on my own pc... I was just passing on comments other people have made about this game on the web which may or may not be true...

I guess you will have to get another 660 card in SLi to really get the FPS improvement you want in Mafia 2...you mentioned that you get very high frame rates ( 90 fps + ) if you disable AA and Ambient Occlusion etc in the game settings ( but not in nVidia CP ). So it appears the game settings override the nVidia CP settings obviously.. sorry about saying the reverse is true before, obviously it is not true for Mafia 2 game...had read that somewhere previously...

But if you really want all the eye candy cranked to the max in Mafia 2 at HD resolution then you will have to get another nVidia card for SLi, preferable another 660 card sometime in the future.

Have you played Black Ops 2 yet? Fun fps and looks pretty good on my GTX 560 Ti card, all eye candy maxxed out at 1920x1080 ( DX9 engine so the hw requirements are much lower for this game than they are for Mafia 2 which is why I can max everything out and still get decent smooth gameplay in Black Ops 2 8) ).
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Re: Dedicated PhysX GPU - Recommendations?

Postby Leprekaun » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:54 pm

Actually, I suspect you may be right :). There is no way I can achieve 90+ FPS with full AA/AF :D, Mafia II just is too demanding, plus, like you said before, it isn't well optimised so it wouldn't get those high frame rates. I'll definitely plan for SLI later.

I actually got COD:MW3 recently :) when it was on sale (got it for €12.12 on G2Play.net :)) but I had never played the COD: MW or BO games before MW3. I'm still in the process of organising my files on my PC but I plan on enjoying MW3 for a while :). I'm sure BO2 is good but personally, I prefer modern weaponry which is why I got MW3 instead of BO2.
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