I've been looking for benchmarks and reviews on this subject but so far I've only found a few old articles and forum posts that don't really replicate my situation.
What I have:
o/s: XP SP3
mobo: Asus p5n32-E 680i SLI
cpu: Intel e8400 3ghz
ram: Kingston 3gb (2x 1gb + 2x 512mb) pc6400 800mhz
video: Asus 8800 GT 512mb
psu: Antec TruePower Trio 550w
hdd's: two WD Raptors 74gb, one Seagate 640gb
sound: Creative X-Fi platinum
What I want to do, or wondering if I should even try, is adding a second video card to use as a dedicated physx card. Just a cheap one, something in the range of ~$50 or less in nVidia's 8xxx or 9xxx series.
Judging from nVidia's list here: http://www.nzone.com/object/nzone_physxgames_home.html I have at least some games (a few on my things-to-buy list) that are officially supported for the ageia hardware acceleration. And certainly that list will continue to grow. But sadly, my favorite game series (Call of Duty) doesn't seem the slightest bit interested in supporting this technology.
Of course my other options are to try to find another 8800gt to SLI, or buy a newer better card and then relegate my current 8800 to dedicated physx. But both of those routes require spending more than twice as much money as I'm currently willing to...and they may be pushing my PSU (which is probably 3 yrs old now) too close to it's limits for comfort.
I also wonder just how good of a card is needed to be a solid performing physx card? I've heard that mid-range or higher video cards are overkill for such duties, so I can only assume that a low-end card would be fully adequate.
Constructive thoughts, answers and opinions would be greatly appreciated. If you can show me sources to back up any claims, i.e. benchmarks or other credible reviews, that'd be great. Thanks.
I see no problems with getting a cheap, even used, card for PhysX but I have read here, there can be slowdown issues, particularly when added to a less than very fast GPU (all those extra particles have to be rendered after all).
Why not look on Craiglist or E-bay for a used 8800GT? That way you can compare SLI against PhysX and see which is the better option.
I'd recommend looking for another cheap 8800 gt as well. That PSU should be able to handle it and it will give you a good boost in performance, PhysX or not. A quick look on ebay shows them going for $70 something.