The Video Game Physics Blog

HD 6970 + Dedicated GT 430 Hybrid Physx Mini Review

If you have been thinking about getting a cheap NVIDIA card as a dedicated PhysX card to go along with your AMD video card you may want to check out this HD 6970 + Dedicated GT 430 Hybrid Physx Mini Review thread over at hardforums. Hardforum member N1GHTRA1N has done a very in-depth review and benchmarking of his AMD HD 6970 with both a NVIDIA GT 430 and GTX 460 as dedicated PhysX card using the Hybrid 1.04ff patch. Several other forum members have added benchmarks from their hybrid PhysX setups and added more information. If you are using an AMD GPU and thinking about getting a cheap NVIDIA card for PhysX then i suggest you read through this entire thread, it has some great information.

From N1GHTRA1N’s HD 6970 + Dedicated GT 430 Hybrid Physx Mini Review:

Overall the GT 430 matches up well and does allow you to enable Physx in Physx titles when playing with an AMD graphics card. There is a pretty big performance hit compared to having Physx disabled but in all cases frame rates were still playable. There is a pretty substantial upgrade when comparing Physx On with the GT 430 added, it made the difference of being playable or not. The GTX 460 does show it’s extra power compared to the GT 430, you will get a few extra FPS using the GTX 460, I noticed between 2-5 FPS increase in most games tested after “upgrading” to the GTX 460. It is also worth noting that the EVGA GTX 460 1GB FTW edition is heavily overclocked out of the box, I ran this card at the factory defaults of 850/1000 which may account for the additional FPS scored, as well as some of the additional power usage. I can only guess, but I would think using a stock clock speed GTX 460 would result in slightly low FPS and slightly lower power draw. There is potential that the FPS performance of a stock clocked GTX 460 could be identical to the GT 430, however the power usage will always be lower on the GT 430. Remember the stock speeds for a GTX 460 is 675/900 and the GT 430 I used is 700/800 which the GTX 460 I used is 850/1000.

With all things considering I think the GT 430 is a very good solution if you must have Physx support with a AMD card. The results are playable frame rates with Physx enabled, something AMD can’t do on its own. If you decide to go with a higher GPU like the GTX 460 you may get some extra performance, it is a very small 2-5fps but there is some performance increase. It is difficult to say if this is due to the extra clock speeds, 256-bit memory bus (compared to 128-bit GT 430), or the extra CUDA cores (336 vs 96). The bottom line is that I cannot justify the cost of a GTX 460 when you consider the minimal increase in performance compared to the GT 430, especially if you value power consumption and case temperatures. The GTX 460 will most certainly require extra power and generate extra heat, this costs you extra money on your electrical bill. The GT 430 is also available in a large variety of single card solutions, the GTX 460 does have some single slot designs but they are expensive and add extra heat due to a poorer cooling solution.

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Latest Next-Generation Xbox Rumors Point to AMD GPU inside

An interesting rumor has surfaced this past week that Microsoft is developing two next-gen Xbox 720 consoles. According to the rumor on TECHSPOT, Microsoft “is said to be developing an entry-level system as well as a true next-generation hardcore gaming console.” What is important to us for the future of physics is the reports that this Next-Generation Xbox will be using an AMD GPU. It was reported this past summer that AMD will be the GPU choice on all three next generation consoles with another report surfacing a few weeks later that the next-generation Xbox would use an AMD Fusion Bulldozer variant APU. Now French site Xboxygen is reporting that Microsoft will announce the hardware specifications for this next-generation console at CES in January. The site is also reporting that the new Xbox will use a hex-core CPU with 2GB of DDR3 RAM and an AMD GPU for the graphics processor.

The news that the next-generation Xbox will be using an AMD GPU is important to us because this would mean an uncertain future for GPU PhysX. If these rumors turn out to be true, we could see PhysX ported to OpenCL or run strictly on the CPU, both of which would be good for gamers as more developers would take advantage of PhysX and we could see an end to the need for hybrid PhysX setups and GPU accelerated PhysX features that do not run on AMD GPU’s.

We are excited about the next-generation consoles either way in hopes that with more powerful hardware we start to see more developers make games with more physics features on a larger scale.

Rumor: Microsoft developing two next-gen Xbox 720 consoles
Report: Next-gen Xbox details at CES, hex-core CPU inside

Next Generation Console Rumor Update: Xbox Will Use AMD Fusion Bulldozer variant APU

I was pretty excited this past week to hear the rumor from hardocp that AMD will be the GPU choice on all three next generation consoles. This is pretty big news for game physics as it puts NVIDIA and the future of PhysX in a tough spot. Now hardocp is reporting that that the CPU in the next-gen Xbox may be an AMD Fusion Bulldozer variant APU instead of the reported IBM cell processor. Not only is this a huge win for AMD if it is true but it could also mean a HUGE win for video game physics. If a Bulldozer Fusion APU with integrated Radeon graphics was used as the main CPU and paired with a discrete GPU, it could possibly leave the on-board GPU to be used exclusively for OpenCL physics processing.

From [H]ardOCP:

We reported earlier this month in our “E3 Rumors on Next Generation Console Hardware” article that Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox would likely be sporting a new IBM cell processor, although we did suggest that was not written in stone. We are hearing this week that AMD has very likely locked up the whole shebang with a Fusion Bulldozer variant APU. This of course will be a huge win for AMD.


Rumor: AMD will be the GPU choice on all three next generation consoles

With news starting to surface about the next generation consoles, rumors are starting to surface about the hardware specs that they will use. It was recently announced that the successor to the Nintendo Wii, the Wii U, will use an AMD Radeon GPU for its graphiscs. Rumors are also starting to fly that Sony will start production of PS4 at end of 2011 for a possible 2012 release. If all of this is true then there is no doubt that development is well underway on these next-generation consoles and there is a good bet that the preliminary hardware design has already been laid out. Now [H] has posted an interesting article about rumors that have surfaced from E3 2011 on the next generation console hardware that these consoles will use and according to HardOCP, “Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony, are looking very much to be part of Team AMD for GPU”.

If this is true that AMD GPUs will be used for all of the next generation consoles then this could possibly spell certain doom for PhysX or force NVIDIA to port it OpenCL or make it CPU accelerated only. Since GPU accelerated PhysX requires a CUDA capable NVIDIA GPU there would be no way for developers to implement GPU PhysX into their games on consoles that use AMD GPUs. They could always use the CPU Accelerated PhysX like it is done now with many titles but with NVIDIA continuing to push GPU accelerated PhysX for games this will no doubt means an uncertain future for PhysX.

From E3 Rumors on Next Generation Console Hardware:

What looks to be a “done deal” at this point is that AMD will be the GPU choice on all three next generation consoles. Yes, all the big guns in the console world, Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony, are looking very much to be part of Team AMD for GPU. That is correct, NVIDIA, “NO SOUP FOR YOU!” But NVIDIA already knew this, now you do too.

Read the rest of the article at [H]ardOCP.

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