Analysis: PhysX On Systems With AMD Graphics Cards

How To: His Majesty, Radeon The Fifth, And The PhysX Squire, GeForce

Preface to the PhysX Hybrid Solution

We devote this part of the article to those who use a Radeon as their main graphics card, but still want to enjoy hardware-accelerated PhysX. As of this writing, our methods here work just fine. Refer to the links below, however, because as Nvidia releases new driver updates, new versions of this hybrid solution tweak will have to be released as well.

This dodgy game with Nvidia unfortunately only has one losing side: the users. It makes commercial sense for Nvidia to exclude its competitors through driver limitations, but the company’s economic welfare might not be the biggest concern for AMD users who desire the admittedly impressive benefit of PhysX.

System Requirements

Swipe to scroll horizontally
OSWindows 7 x86 or x64
PhysX-Enabled Graphics CardGeForce 8800 GTS 512, 9600 GT, 9800 GTX, GT 240, GTS 250, GTX 260, GTX 285, GTX 460, GTX 470, or GTX 480
GeForce Driver Version258.96
OtherAt least one free PCIe x4 slot

A primary graphics card has to be used as the image output device. With version 1.04ff of the tweak, the dedicated PhysX graphics card no longer needs to be connected to a monitor. Among other benefits, this frees more resources for physics calculations. The graphics card does not have to be SLI-capable, but check your PSU to confirm that it can output sufficient power.

The Software

You can get the latest tweak from Download and information. The necessary drivers and PhysX downloads are offered by the respective manufacturers’ Web sites. We haven't offered a direct link to the tweak for two reasons: the continuous driver updates will make the link obsolete, and we respect the work of the developers enough to link to the original source.

The Installation

The procedure:

  • Shut down the computer and unplug the power
  • Plug in the Nvidia card that will be used for PhysX
  • Start up your computer
  • Install the appropriate drivers from Nvidia and AMD
  • Check and install the appropriate version of PhysX (see the list)
  • Download the appropriate version of the tweak (Windows 7, 32- or 64-bit)
  • Extract the files from the RAR archive
  • Run the tweak as Administrator (right-click the file and choose “Run as Administrator”)
  • Reboot your computer

Switching modes via the CMD file:

  • The relevant files are in the subdirectory
  • Run the desired function as Administrator

That’s it. You can now test PhysX with GPU-Z or Fluidmark. Enjoy running PhysX and AMD Radeon cards at the same time! Even if the overhead and additional power requirements are somewhat disturbing, it's quite worth it.

Important Notice

Every time you install a new version of the graphics driver or PhysX, you will have to apply the tweak again. Only the currently-tested version is compatible. We take no responsibility for any overload of components or the future operation of the tweak. This is a guide, not a recommendation.

  • eyefinity
    So it's basically what everybody in the know already knew - nVidia is holding back progress in order to line their own pockets.
  • Emperus
    Is it 'Physx by Nvidia' or 'Physx for Nvidia'..!! Its a pity to read those lines wherein it says that Nvidia is holding back performance when a non-Nvidia primary card is detected..
  • It looks like the increase in CPU utilization with CPU physX is only 154%, which could be 1 thread plus synchronization overhead with the main rendering threads.
  • eyefinity
    The article could barely spell it out more clearly.

    Everyone could be enjoying cpu based Physics, making use of their otherwise idle cores.

    The problem is, nVidia doesn't want that. They have a proprietary solution which slows down their own cards, and AMD cards even more, making theirs seem better. On top of that, they throw money at games devs so they don't include better cpu physics.

    Everybody loses except nVidia. This is not unusual behaviour for them, they are doing it with Tesellation now too - slowing down their own cards because it slows down AMD cards even more, when there is a better solution that doesn't hurt anybody.

    They are a pure scumbag company.
  • rohitbaran
    In short, a good config to enjoy Physx requires selling an arm or a leg and the game developers and nVidia keep screwing the users to save their money and propagate their business interests respectively.
  • iam2thecrowe
    The world needs need opencl physics NOW! Also, while this is an informative article, it would be good to see what single nvidia cards make games using physx playable. Will a single gts450 cut it? probably not. That way budget gamers can make a more informed choice as its no point chosing nvidia for physx and finding it doesnt run well anyway on mid range cards so they could have just bought an ATI card and been better off.
  • guanyu210379
    I have never cared about Physics.
  • archange
    Believe it or not, this morning I was determined to look into this same problem, since I just upgraded from an 8800 GTS 512 to an HD 6850. :O

    Thank you, Tom's, thank you Igor Wallossek for makinng it easy!
    You just made my day: a big thumbs up!
  • jamesedgeuk2000
    What about people with dedicated PPU's? I have 8800 GTX SLi and an Ageia Physx card where do I come into it?
  • skokie2
    What is failed to be mentioned (and if what I see is real its much more predatory) that simply having an onboard AMD graphics, even if its disabled in the BIOS, stops PhysX working. This is simply outragous. My main hope is that AMD finally gets better at linux drivers so my next card does not need to be nVidia. I will vote with my feet... so long as there is another name on the slip :( Sad state of graphics generally and been getting worse since AMD bought ATI.. it was then that this game started... nVidia just takes it up a notch.