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The builds continues on.. PhysX Card?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 17, 2010 7:13:46 PM

Getting a new rig together.. Intel based with Nvidia components. Currently, I have one GTX580 (arriving today) and another within the next 30 days for SLI. Would there be ANY benefit at all to a dedicated PhysX card? I can pick up a used 8800GT for like 50 or 60 bucks.
November 17, 2010 7:31:04 PM

probably not, unless you have plenty of spare cash, if you already had and older card like the 8800gt it'd be worth it though
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November 17, 2010 7:43:08 PM

Nope.
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a b Î Nvidia
November 17, 2010 8:06:12 PM

Don't bother unless you are using it for MPEG encoding but if you are then you will notice a difference. A friend of mine ended up using two GTX295 and a 9800gt just for that purpose but if only for gaming then stick with what you got. Just save your cash.
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a c 404 Î Nvidia
November 17, 2010 8:58:19 PM

Your question is if there would be ANY benefit to adding a dedicated PhysX card. The answer is yes. On PhysX enabled games you will gain, roughly, 25% fps versus a single card doing all the work. (For one review, I saw that a GTX460 playing Mafia 2 on High PhysX settings went from 34 fps to 47 fps with a dedicated GTX275 added.)
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2010/09/03/ma...

With a GTX580 SLI system, the percentage improvement won't be as much, but it will make a difference. Whether 160 fps vs. 190 fps (or whatever) is worth it on a few games, that's up to you.

Oh, just to add, I have heard that the 8800 series does not make a very good PhysX add on card.

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a c 81 Î Nvidia
November 17, 2010 9:08:27 PM

I own a lot of games, and only one uses PhysX. The Nvidia control panel already will swap my 2nd 470 into dedicated PhysX mode when needed. This is plenty for the only physX game I have, and likely plenty of power for you now.

You can always try it with just the 2 580's, and see how it performs.
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a c 404 Î Nvidia
November 17, 2010 10:09:37 PM

bystander said:
I own a lot of games, and only one uses PhysX. The Nvidia control panel already will swap my 2nd 470 into dedicated PhysX mode when needed. This is plenty for the only physX game I have, and likely plenty of power for you now.

You can always try it with just the 2 580's, and see how it performs.

You would not want to have one GTX580 (or 470 for that matter) for graphics and one as a dedicated PhysX card. You (both) will get better performance if you let your SLI'ed cards perform both graphics and PhysX. The gain for SLI in framerate outpaces the gain from having only one card do graphics and another identical card doing dedicated PhysX.
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a c 81 Î Nvidia
November 17, 2010 11:30:22 PM

17seconds said:
You would not want to have one GTX580 (or 470 for that matter) for graphics and one as a dedicated PhysX card. You (both) will get better performance if you let your SLI'ed cards perform both graphics and PhysX. The gain for SLI in framerate outpaces the gain from having only one card do graphics and another identical card doing dedicated PhysX.


That would depend on the game. Some games actually require a dedicated card for higher PhysX settings (Dark Void for example). If PhysX is used sparingly, then you may be right. If it's used a lot, you'd be wrong.
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a c 404 Î Nvidia
November 18, 2010 1:33:10 AM

bystander said:
That would depend on the game. Some games actually require a dedicated card for higher PhysX settings (Dark Void for example). If PhysX is used sparingly, then you may be right. If it's used a lot, you'd be wrong.

I think you have a point. Metro 2033 and Maria 2 have some pretty advanced and intensive PhysX when on High settings.

Here's roughly how I look at it:
200 fps for SLI - 25% for PhysX = 150 fps
100 fps for single + 25% for PhysX = 125 fps
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a c 81 Î Nvidia
November 18, 2010 7:10:50 PM

17seconds said:
I think you have a point. Metro 2033 and Maria 2 have some pretty advanced and intensive PhysX when on High settings.

Here's roughly how I look at it:
200 fps for SLI - 25% for PhysX = 150 fps
100 fps for single + 25% for PhysX = 125 fps


As it seems, you don't have an option to have it do run SLI and PhysX at the same time unless you have 3 cards in SLI. Nvidia only gives you these options:
Auto-Select - which automatically picks one of your cards to become the dedicated PhysX card.
Card 1 - which will cause card 1 to be the physX card.
Card 2 - which will cause card 2 to be the physX card.
CPU - which will cause there to be no GPU accelerated PhysX.

After you select one of those options, you can also check a box to dedicate one of the cards to PhysX, which disable SLI until you uncheck it.

There is no option to allow you to have SLI and use PhysX acrossed both cards. It just doesn't exist.

Edit: After further testing, it appears we both misunderstood how it actually works. When the Nvidia control panel picks a card to run PhysX on, it does only use the 1 card for PhysX, but it also allows it to help SLI if there is left over power.
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November 18, 2010 8:06:02 PM

So if there are 3 cards in the system, you can use 2 in SLI and one dedicated for PhysX then correct? I would assume the Nvidia control panel will just allow you to choose the 3rd card for PhysX. I don't think I'll be doing it this way, but it will be good to know.
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a c 81 Î Nvidia
November 18, 2010 8:20:39 PM

There are 2 basic ways you could do this.

Either you have 2 in SLI and one dedicated to only PhysX, or you can have 3 in SLI and one of the cards will use it's power towards PhysX and help with SLI if there is left over power.
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a c 404 Î Nvidia
November 18, 2010 8:36:23 PM

Today's PhysX article did say that the 8800 does an adequate job as a dedicated PhysX card.
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a b Î Nvidia
November 18, 2010 8:38:59 PM

17seconds said:
Today's PhysX article did say that the 8800 does an adequate job as a dedicated PhysX card.


As it has for the past couple of years and will remain that way for another two more years. The G92 is on the top of my favorite gpu list.
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November 18, 2010 8:42:46 PM

bystander said:
There are 2 basic ways you could do this.

Either you have 2 in SLI and one dedicated to only PhysX, or you can have 3 in SLI and one of the cards will use it's power towards PhysX and help with SLI if there is left over power.



Gotcha.. That is different than I pictured it. The way I pictured it would be like this. I have 3 cards total installed. Two would be 580's connected via SLI cable for use as the main GPU's. Then there would be the third, dedicated physics card, not connected with the SLI cable, whose use would SOLELY be to process PhysX and that setting would controlled via the Nvidia control panel. I guess the major difference would be that I didn't realize that the 3rd card would need to be connected via SLI.

Thanks for the clarification.. It's prob not worth it then.. The two cards I think would be adequate. The more I play with the one card, the more it's confirmed.. The card really is a kick ass performer.
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a c 81 Î Nvidia
November 18, 2010 9:00:16 PM

dimurof82 said:
Gotcha.. That is different than I pictured it. The way I pictured it would be like this. I have 3 cards total installed. Two would be 580's connected via SLI cable for use as the main GPU's. Then there would be the third, dedicated physics card, not connected with the SLI cable, whose use would SOLELY be to process PhysX and that setting would controlled via the Nvidia control panel. I guess the major difference would be that I didn't realize that the 3rd card would need to be connected via SLI.

Thanks for the clarification.. It's prob not worth it then.. The two cards I think would be adequate. The more I play with the one card, the more it's confirmed.. The card really is a kick ass performer.


Oh, well, if you chose to get a non 580 for your 3rd card, then what you thought would work fine. It just might not be worth the extra cost when 2 cards can do it.
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