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New System Build. What to do with open Exp Slots?

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July 18, 2008 2:27:40 PM

My new Quad Core gaming build is in the mail from Newegg. I have ordered 50% of the build thus far.

Order Number two is going to be dual HD4870 ATI graphics cards.

Order Number three is going to be several smaller odds and ends. These odds and ends include two expansion cards. I'd like some advise on how I should fill my expansion slots.

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After I Crossfire my dual HD 4870's, I will have one open PCI-E 1.0 slot and one regular old PCI slot.

My motherboard comes with a SupremeFX PCI-E sound board that supposedly supports Dolby Digital 7.1.

After I use this card, I will decide if I want to replace it or not.

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The other slot open on my motherboard will most likely end up with an Ageia PhysX card in it. And this leads me to my question.

Should I get a PCI PhysX card and a PCI-E soundboard? or visa versa? I have read that placing a PhysX card into a PCI-E slot can screw up clock speeds on your bus, while a PCI PhysX card is Isolated from your GPU(s).

On the other hand, PCI is slow as dirt so this seems counter intuitive.

Additionally, placing a sound board into a PCI-E slot seems like a waste of a fast slot. Even the best sound cards are perfectly capable of running fine in a regular PCI slot, yes?

Please Advise...

- Witt
July 18, 2008 2:37:16 PM

Why would you get a PhysX card? They aren't supported in many games right now, and PhysX should be supported by your GPU's before games really start to use it at all.
July 18, 2008 2:55:55 PM

cjl said:
Why would you get a PhysX card? They aren't supported in many games right now, and PhysX should be supported by your GPU's before games really start to use it at all.


Actually, Ageia PhysX is supported by about 100 games in one way or another.

Many new games are using a lot of PhysX functionality, pushing the technology to new levels. The new Unreal Tournament release for example, has extensive use of Ageia PhysX technologies. The PhysX functionality is also embedded inside the Unreal game engine itself. This means that any future game release using the new Unreal engine will support a vast assortment of PhysX bells and whistles...

When you consider that Unreal is one of the "Big Four" game engines ( Half-Life, Doom, FarCry, Unreal ), and you combine that with the fact that Nvidia has begun to integrate the PhysX functionality into thier GPU's....

I don't think PhysX cards are going away anytime soon.

Therefore, if I am building a brand new dream gaming rig @ $3000 bucks.... Why would I not add a PhysX card?

- Witt
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July 18, 2008 3:29:37 PM

number 1,nvidia now owns physx,2,you can always input the physx driver.
OTOH,if you really want to spend $3k,well then what's a few $$ for a little card,y'know you do not have to fill all those slots,oh BTW,check out the onboard hi def 8 channel sound,you might be pleasantly surprised,i know that i was,have phun,,.:>)
July 18, 2008 4:03:39 PM

dokk2 said:
number 1,nvidia now owns physx,2,you can always input the physx driver.
OTOH,if you really want to spend $3k,well then what's a few $$ for a little card,y'know you do not have to fill all those slots,oh BTW,check out the onboard hi def 8 channel sound,you might be pleasantly surprised,i know that i was,have phun,,.:>)


Yeah... I have not built a PC in quite some time. The last one I put together was a Pentium 3 @ 500 Mhz...

Bought a Pentium 4 @ 3.2 Ghz (Sony Vaio) After that... WHEW! I regretted that decision.

This Asus motherboard's onboard sound isn't actually onboard. it's a PCI Express 1.0 card that simply comes with the motherboard. I'm hoping that it performs well. I will soon find out. It should arrive in about 2 days. :lol: 

As for the PhysX card... Man, you guys just don't like em huh. LOL

dokk2 said:
number 1,nvidia now owns physx,

To me, that simply means ATI cards will never have PhysX built into them. If I choose ATI (To avoid the Nvidia SLi Motherboard chipset problems) I gotta get a PhysX card if I want the full functionality.

dokk2 said:
2,you can always input the physx driver.

This is true... However, running this sort of thing in software mode will drop my framerate a bit. My fear is being forced to drop my screen res with future games.... I will have a 25" LCD widescreen monitor. It has a native resolution of 1920X1200 pixels... If you drop screen res below an LCD's native res, you loose picture quality fast. I'm not sure I want PhysX running in software mode slowing me down a year from now.

dokk2 said:
OTOH,if you really want to spend $3k,well then what's a few $$ for a little card

That is EXACTLY the way I look at it. :kaola: 

- Witt
July 18, 2008 5:10:40 PM

Quote:
To me, that simply means ATI cards will never have PhysX built into them. If I choose ATI (To avoid the Nvidia SLi Motherboard chipset problems) I gotta get a PhysX card if I want the full functionality


They will. Im fact they already run PhysX with modified drivers. And Nvidia is supportindg ATI with development.
Read theese two articles:
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/nvidia-physx-ati,news-28598.html
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/nvidia-ati-physx,news-28687.html
You Really don't need dedicated card for PhysiX at the moment. If You have Quad core CPU game will run 1-2 cores, software PhysiX on another core and You still have 1-2 cores left to handle other tasks like OS, sound,network ect.
And soon PhysiX will run on video cards, Nvidia cards starting from 8000 series(8800) and Radeon 4800 series cards. Spend Your money elsewere even if You have too much money
July 18, 2008 5:13:11 PM

Just checked - actually Physix is expected to run on 2900, 3800 and 4800 series Radeon cards not only 4800.
July 18, 2008 5:32:46 PM

Something to think about.

PhysX on GPU will work great. GPU's have way more then enough power for it, but when a game taxes the gpu heavily the PhysX may actually take away from the gpu's overall graphics power.

This would depend on the game.

Unreal 3 was not build for extensive PhysX use. It has support for it and most of the PhysX use is done with extra maps added to the game. Other games that use the engine will choose if they want to use PhysX or not.

With Nvidia owning the PhysX technology it can be said that games will start to use it more. Nvidia has a lot of pull or push in the industry(Maybe a bit too much).

In the end, with a $3000 budget there is not reason not to toss one in to the system. then your video card will not have to share the load of PhysX and running the game.

Lets just hope Nvidia keeps up with the drivers and does not just leave the card for dead.
July 18, 2008 5:34:58 PM

Very interesting stuff!!

- Witt
July 18, 2008 5:48:24 PM

PhysiX is not advanced enough at the moment that it could not easily be run on one core of cpu. Now think about this - for now You can easily you run PhysiX on CPU and year or couple later You can get a new video card to to run 3d and use Your old 8800, 9800, GTX or HD 2900,3800,4800 to do Physix
!