Batman: Arkham Asylum: GPUs, CPUs, And PhysX Performance

Benchmark Results: High Detail, PhysX On High, And A Dedicated PhysX Card

We paired a number of secondary GeForce cards with the GeForce GTX 260 in order to see what dedicated PhysX processing can provide. Let's start with the Normal PhysX setting at 1280x1024 and then at 1920x1200:

These results are very useful. Note how the average frame rate takes a large hit as resolution is increased, but the important minimum frame rate remains high. This is excellent news. Now, let's increase PhysX detail to the High setting:

The minimum frame rates stay somewhat constant, despite the change in resolution. Also note that the minimum frame rate stays fairly constant regardless of the dedicated PhysX card used, except for the GeForce 9500 GT, which is struggling a little.

What have we learned from this? Primarily, the GeForce GT 220, a card that doesn't appear to be very powerful on its own, becomes a force to be reckoned with as a dedicated PhysX processor, definitely offering the most bang for the buck when compared to more expensive GeForce models.

On a final note, while it's not officially supported as such, we have heard stories about people purchasing GeForce cards to work as dedicated PhysX GPUs when paired with Radeon graphics cards. This can only be done on Windows XP and Windows 7, as Windows Vista does not have the capability of running two graphics drivers at the same time. Keep in mind that 186 and newer GeForce driver versions will not allow for this functionality, as Nvidia has unfortunately disabled PhysX co-processing when working in tandem with a non-GeForce graphics card.

  • burnley14
    Excellent article as usual, Mr. Woligroski. Keep up the good work!
  • Kohlhagen
    I just bought an ATI 5000 series card.. can i use my second PCI-E slot with the nvidia 220 to support physX? (i doubt it because AMD/Nvidia GPUs together cause driver issues)
  • curnel_D
    Don--it's almost as though the game is artificially capping performance at a set level, and is then using only the CPU resources it needs to reach that level. On the Core i7, PhysX is using fewer resources than it does on the Phenom II. This would make sense if there was an artificial performance cap, as the i7 has shown to outperform AMD's architecture.With Nvidia pushing proprietary API's like CUDA and PhysX, they're at a point where these things are some of the largest selling points of their products.

    With this in mind, and given Nvidia's past Anti-Consumer business practices, I think we can all expect to see a lot more of this kind of thing in the future with TWIMTBP games.
  • 2shea
    @ kohlhagen: with an ati 5000 card you probably won't need that second card if you don't play on the highest resolution.
  • nzprogamer
    im a big fan of amd and im planing to buy the xfx 4850 in the weekend but the gts250 just add another $5-10 i think i will buy the GTS-250. come on ATI
  • anamaniac
    Wow... that's pathetic. This game should have the words stamped on it: Nvidia only!
  • noob2222
    Interesting find on the CPU useage with ATI cards. It would appear that Nvidia programmed Physix not to unload programming to the cpu, instead forcing it to the GPU only. Just a speculation since it is thier option.
  • sohei
    this game runs great on any hardware but but , nvidia is just nvidia
    why you sell a game to all the people when is just for nvidia cards ?
    that.s why i love google.... google sell free things, nvidia is the opposite
  • JeanLuc
    NPD numbers show this game as currently being one of the least popular PC games - 92nd in fact.

    Nice article BTW, it's sad that the developers were paid off by Nvidia to drop support of AA on AMD cards (in game menu AA support that, there is a work round for ATI cards) as this shows just how morally bankrupt Nvidia is these days.

    And just for the record this isn't a case of AMD not 'supporting developers' as Nvidia would lead you to believe. Never mind the fact it can be enabled via a hack, Richard Hubby from AMD has uploaded an email he got from the developers of Batman Arkham Asylum saying there would be lawsuit if they changed to games code to enable game menu support of AA on ATI cards.
  • sohei
    when you benchmarked intel cpu you use turbo feature? tom