Nvidia Smokes 3DMark Thanks to PhysX


Mountain House (CA) - Nvidia’s released two powerful weapons with its GeForce 9800 GTX+ graphics card: The company can now compete against AMD’s brilliant Radeon 4850 graphics card on price and the company finally has an answer to ATI’s dominance in 3DMark benchmarks. You can bet the farm on Nvidia claiming the highest scores in the physics discipline.

We were able to get a first impression of the PhysX performance of Nvidia’s latest cards by using the company’s ForceWare Rel177.39 drivers and an executable file named PhysX 8.06.12.exe. We found that the new ForceWare driver has serious installation problems and the software felt a bit rushed to us although since our initial tests, Nvidia has corrected the problems.

Aside from that hiccup, Nvidia appears to have a jewel on its hands. The results we saw in the CPU Test 2 - Crash’n’Burn Physics discipline were impressive. So, how much more physics horsepower does the GPU deliver in physics than the CPU?

Our Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 clocked at 3802 MHz delivered a CPU score of 15,005, which jumped to 42,436 using a single GTX 280 card. With two GTX 280 boards, we got 42,374 CPU marks, and three GTX 280 boards resulted in a CPU score of 41,387.

The decreasing score of the 2-way and 3-way SLI configurations are not surprising, as PhysX uses only one GPU and currently isn’t multi-GPU scalable. So, the lower score should be expected, especially since the SLI bridge is taking its toll: CPU cycles are consumed because of the synchronization between two or three cards. Additionally, there is an increased saturation of PCI Express bus.

It is interesting to note the overall 3DMark score. Compared to the preceding driver, the GTX 280 performance index jumped by 2000 3DMarks (17%) for a single-card configuration. With two cards, the performance index jumped by a massive 5343 3DMarks. This is an astonishing 25% increase from one driver version to the other.

However, Triple-SLI showed that even our 3.8 GHz CPU limited the capability of the GPUa - since one CPU apparently cannot feed all three GPUs. We witnessed a performance increase of only 17% compared to CPU-only physics.

Nvidia’s new PhysX driver delivers a higher score only in Performance mode, while the Extreme mode is predominately GPU bound, which means that the impact of a faster CPU is limited.

Nvidia promised that it will deliver PhysX API compatible with all GeForce 8 and 9 cards in July. For now, PhysX only works on the GeForce models GTX 260, 280, 9800GT, 9800GTX, 9800GTX+ and 9800GX2.

  • grieve
    Nice, good news from the Nvidia corner.
  • dmacfour
    Yeah and how many games can use PhysX? Two?
  • nachowarrior
    i think it's nice, but it's still synthetic. It'll likely be like any other new tech introduced into the field... and will take several generations to actually be useful. I'll save my money untill it may or may not be useful... and with only one video card company owning it... i doubt that game developers take full advantage of it... with any luck havoc will either be fast enough, or cheap enough, or easy enough for developers to keep pushing physics based games farther without worrying about hardware... this essentially throws the 3dmark score down the toilet IMO.
  • lopopo
    It's always the same crap nowadays. You would think that after such a long time the computer industry would realize that it's cohesiveness and standards which create a healthy marketplace. It's cohesiveness of standards that makes possible USB and PCI. How does this apply to this article? Look up how many games have some physics support and how many others fake them. Without software whats the point?
    This segment of the economy (computers/software)needs to have a road map as a whole, or else it's just more of the same: Quad core processors with SMT when most programs don't even scale well to 4. Build a SLI/CF rig but drivers don't scale as they should. Best of all the USB 3.0 fiasco.
  • nachowarrior
    agreed lopopo, see my statement about form factors using "atx" and "micro atx" as eg's
  • caamsa
    Like I give a rats a$$ about a 3D mark score. Now how about a review of the new 4850. I am sick of hearing about Nvidia all the time.
  • NarwhaleAu
    I'd be impressed if Nvidia released this 6 months ago instead of the day after the HD4850 smoked the 9800GTX.
  • goonting
    Nvidia Smokes! Nvidia Cuda! Nvidia GTX 2XX! wow 3 in a row
  • techguy911
    some of the game that physx supports:

    Game Title Developer Platform
    2 Days to Vegas Steel Monkeys PC
    Adrenalin 2: Rush Hour Gaijin Entertainment PC
    Age of Empires III Distineer Studios PC, Mac
    Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs Distineer Studios Mac
    Alpha Prime Black Element Software PC
    Auto Assault Net Devil PC
    Backbreaker Natural Motion TBA
    B.A.S.E. Jumping Digital Dimension Development PC
    Bet on Soldier: Blackout Saigon Kylotonn Entertainment PC
    Bet on Soldier: Blood of Sahara Kylotonn Entertainment PC
    Bet on Soldier: Blood Sport Kylotonn Entertainment PC
    Beowulf Ubisoft PS3, X360
    Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War Koei PS3, X360
    Captain Blood Akella PC, X360
    Cellfactor: Combat Training Artifical Studios, Immersion Games PC
    Cellfactor: Revolution Artifical Studios, Immersion Games PC
    City of Villains Cryptic Studios PC
    Crazy Machines II FAKT Software PC
    Cryostasis Action Forms PC
    Dark Physics The Game Creators PC
    Desert Diner Tarsier Studios PC
    Dragonshard Atari PC
    Dusk 12 Orion PC
    Empire Above All IceHill PC
    Empire Earth III Mad Dog Software PC
    Entropia Universe MindArk PC
    Fallen Earth Icarus Studios PC
    Fury Auran Games PC
    Gears Of War Epic Games PC, X360
    Gluk'Oza: Action GFI Russia PC
    GooBall Ambrosia software Mac
    Gothic 3 Piranha Bytes PC
    Gunship Apocalypse FAKT Software PC
    Heavy Rain Quantic Dream PC
    Hero's Jorney Simutronics PC
    Hour of Victory nFusion Interactive X360
    Hunt, The Orion PC
    Huxley Webzen, Inc PC, X360
    Infernal Metropolis Software PC
    Inhabited island: Prisoner of Power Orion PC
    Joint Task Force Most Wanted Entertainment PC
    Kuma\WAR Kuma Reality Games PC
    Magic ball 3 Alawar Entertaiment PC
    Mass Effect BioWare PC, X360
    Medal of Honor: Airborne EA Los Angeles PC, X360
    Metro 2033 4A Games PC
    Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire BEC PS3
    Monster Madness: Battle for Suburbia Artificial Studios PC, X360
    Monster Truck Maniax Legendo Entertainment PC
    Myst Online: URU Live Cyan Worlds PC
    Open Fire BlueTorch Studios PC
    Paragraph 78 Gaijin Entertainment PC
    Pirates of the Burning Sea Flying Lab Software PC
    PT Boats: Knights of the Sea Akella PC
    Rail Simulator Kuju Entertainment Ltd PC
    Red Steel Ubisoft Paris Wii
    Rise Of Nations: Rise Of Legends Big Huge Games PC
    Roboblitz Naked Sky Entertainment PC, X360
    Sacred 2 ASCARON Entertainment PC
    Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened Frogwares Game Development Studio PC
    Showdown: Scorpion B-COOL Interactive PC
    Silverfall Monte Cristo PC
    Sovereign Symphony Ceidot Game Studios PC
    Sonic and the Secret Rings SEGA Wii
    Speedball 2 Kylotonn Entertainment PC
    Stalin Subway, The Orion PC
    Stoked Rider: Alaska Alien Bongfish Interactive Entertainment PC
    Switchball Atomic Elbow PC
    Tension Ice-pick Lodge PC
    Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter GRIN PC, X360
    Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 GRIN, Ubisoft Paris PC, X360
    Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas Ubisoft Montreal PC, PS3, X360
    Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent (multiplayer) Ubisoft Shanghai PC, X360
    Tortuga: Two Treasures Ascaron Entertainment PC
    Two Worlds Reality Pump PC
    Ultra Tubes Eipix PC
    Unreal Tournament 3 Epic Games PC, PS3, X360
    Unreal Tournament 3: Extreme Physics Mod Epic Games PC
    Warfare GFI Russia PC
    Warmonger: Operation Downtown Destruction Net Devil PC
    W.E.L.L. Online Sibilant Interactive PC
    Winterheart's Guild Zelian Games PC, X360
    WorldShift Black Sea Studios PC
  • SykaSirKits
    I personally believe that 3 way SLI is stretching it in terms of a typical PC enthusiast, even for a power user or custom PC builder. Right now the driver and software support doesn't warrant such a purchase or ridiculousness. It makes more sense, to me at least, to work on producing a better SINGLE graphics card capable of the same, if not more feats, than multiple ones stringed together in some "ganged" configuration sharing almost the same bus lines. I have to say although I am an avid NVidia fanboy, I have little experience with ATI cards (except for my desktop which is 2 years old and has an ATI radeon XPress 700 card which was "state of the art" at the time). What the future will bring, in terms of SLI, is really a question of who's willing to support such extravagant hardware configurations.