Author Archives: Benchmark Reviews

NVIDIA APEX PhysX: CPU vs GPU Efficiency

Benchmark Reviews tests NVIDIA APEX PhysX efficiency using Mafia II – compares CPU vs GPU performance.

According to the August 2010 Steam hardware survey, PC gamers prefer NVIDIA GeForce desktop video cards nearly 80% more than AMD/ATI counterparts. Great products have come from both GeForce and Radeon brands, yet based on this survey NVIDIA owns almost 60% of the entire graphics market compared to AMD’s 33%. Gamers might rely on NVIDIA’s hardware for its superior graphical processing power and affordable price point, but it’s their gaming technologies that have helped deliver complete market dominance (among Steam users). NVIDIA’s “The Way It’s Meant to be Played” is a trademarked slogan denoting a direct involvement in software development as much as they focus on hardware. When the Ageia PhysX software physics technology was purchased back in early 2008, that commitment sharpened NVIDIA’s growing double-edge sword. Adding 3D Vision only helped consummate their efforts.

In this article, Benchmark Reviews will demonstrate how far PhysX technology has come using the recently-released Mafia-II video game by 2K Games. In this single-player third-person action shooter developed by 2K Czech for 2K Games, players assume the life of World War II veteran Vito Scaletta, the son of small Sicilian family who immigrates to Empire Bay. Mafia II makes use of DirectX-11 extensions on 2K Czech’s proprietary Illusion game engine, which introduce NVIDIA APEX PhysX and GeForce 3D-Vision technology enhancements. NVIDIA’s APEX PhysX modeling engine adds new Destruction, Clothing, Vegetation, and Turbulence physics into games such as Mafia II. While adding PhysX support to a video game is nothing new for NVIDIA, allowing APEX PhysX features to be computed by the computer’s central processor is new territory. For this NVIDIA APEX PhysX: CPU vs GPU Efficiency demonstration, our tests compare GeForce and Radeon GPU’s against the Intel Core i7 CPU.

APEX PhysX Efficiency

This article isn’t intended to become a NVIDIA vs AMD topic, but it becomes impossible to avoid since ATI does not license PhysX. NVIDIA offers a free software development kit so CUDA drivers can be built for AMD products, yet all ATI Radeon graphics cards (up to the HD 5000 series) still do not compute PhysX commands. As a result, PhysX hardware acceleration is presently available only on GeForce GPUs. NVIDIA opened their PhysX platform to AMD and Intel processors in Mafia II, allowing hardware acceleration to be calculated my the system’s central processor. The narrative of this article is how well PhysX is processed by the CPU and GPU, and where the different GeForce Fermi graphics processors they stack up in regards to efficiency.

This is a guest article written by our content partners at Benchmarkreviews.com

Read on @ Benchmark Reviews

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Choosing the Best LCD Technology

LCD

This is a guest article written by our content partners at Benchmarkreviews.com

It’s a well-known fact that nearly all consumers purchase their monitor based on size and price alone. Like everything we shop for, it is human instinct to get as much as possible for as little as possible. So why should we bother ourselves with the details, and what difference could it possibly make? Most people aren’t even aware of the different construction processes used to produce the widescreen monitor that rests on their desks. Benchmark Reviews explores the various LCD monitor technologies used by manufacturers to produce computer monitors, and matches application to architecture for our readers.

After years of writing technical articles and product reviews for the computer industry, I have learned that visitors who read my articles don’t study them like a book. Instead, they want the condensed bullet-items and a conclusive summary. Unfortunately, you’ll have to read this article if you want to learn something from it. Here’s just a few of the items this article will discuss:

  1. How to choose the most appropriate LCD panel technology to suit your purpose
  2. How the size of a LCD monitor may have a negative effect on graphics performance
  3. Size doesn’t always matter, but resolution does

But before we get into the core of our purpose, let’s bring you up to speed with the topic at hand: LCD technology.

Read on @ Benchmark Reviews

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G.SKILL 2133MHz DDR3 Pi-Series Memory Kit

G.Skill

This is a guest article written by our content partners at Benchmarkreviews.com

Enthusiasts and overclockers are always looking for the components that can provide the most bang for the buck. An inexpensive processor can often be carefully tweaked to yield performance that’s superior to a more expensive version. Likewise, many video cards can realize substantial performance improvements with manual adjustment of the voltage and clocks on the card. With memory, however, there’s typically much less headroom: your DDR3-1333 memory may not run reliably at 1600MHz, even with looser timings. If you want really fast memory, you’re going to have to pay for it. Benchmark Reviews has run tests on a number of high-speed memory kits from the likes of Corsair, Crucial, Kingston, Patriot, OCZ, and others, and these reviews offer a wealth of information you can use to educate yourself on the subject.

G.SKILL is a relatively recent entry into the high-end memory market, and they’re going up against established brands like Corsair, Mushkin, and Crucial in a very competitive marketplace. They’re arguably more focused, though, since their only products are memory (desktop and laptop memory, as well as SSDs).

Computer memory is somewhat of a commodity these days: memory modules with a given specification will perform pretty much identically with other modules with similar specifications. How will G.SKILL distinguish their product from others in the market? We’ll see in the following pages.

Although the memory controller built into Intel’s Socket 1156 processors only supports DDR3-1333 speeds officially, any enthusiast knows that there’s more than a bit of overclocking headroom there. DDR3-1600 memory is increasingly common, and recently a number of memory vendors have upped the ante even more, with DDR3-2000 and higher speeds becoming available. G.SKILL has entered the enthusiast memory market with a broad selection of high-speed and low-latency memory kits, and Benchmark Reviews tests their new DDR3-2133 memory kit (F3-17066CL7D-4GBPIS) to see what kind of performance benefits it will yield when overclocked.

Read on @ Benchmark Reviews

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GeForce GTS 450 Video Card Review

This is a guest article written by our content partners at Benchmarkreviews.com

NVIDIA recently earned its reputation back with the GF104 Fermi-based GeForce GTX 460; a video card that dominated the price point even before it dropped to $179 USD and completely ruled the middle market. Priced to launch at $129, the NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 packs 192 CUDA cores into its 40nm GF106 Fermi GPU and adds 1GB of GDDR5 memory. Benchmark Reviews overclocked our GTS 450 to nearly 1GHz, and even paired them together in SLI. NVIDIA expects their new GTS 450 to compete against the Radeon HD 5730 at 1680×1050, but we learned from GTX 460 there’s usually more performance reach than they suggest. Since the price to performance ratio is critical to this entry-level segment, Benchmark Reviews also tests the NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 1GB against the more-expensive Radeon HD 5770 using several of the most demanding DirectX-11 PC video games available.

The majority of PC gamers either use 1280×1024 or 1680×1050 monitor resolutions, which are considerably less demanding than the 1920×1200 resolution we test upper echelon graphics solutions at. Set to these less-intensive screen resolutions, middle-market video cards are capable of reproducing the same high quality graphics that top-end products do at the higher resolutions. Sure, the game engine matters, but it’s the display resolution and post-processing effects that impact performance most. This is what makes a product like NVIDIA’s GeForce GTS 450 so relevant to gamers. Of course, the massive overclock it accepts certainly helps to further sell this product into higher price segments.

Read on @ Benchmark Reviews

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Mafia-II Video Game Performance

This is a guest article written by our content partners at Benchmarkreviews.com

Mafia II PerformanceMafia II is a single-player third-person action shooter developed by 2K Czech for 2K Games, and is the sequel to Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven released in 2002. Players assume the life of World War II veteran Vito Scaletta, the son of small Sicilian family who immigrates to Empire Bay. Growing up in the slums of Empire Bay teaches Vito about crime, and he’s forced to join the Army in lieu of jail time. After sustaining wounds in the war, Vito returns home and quickly finds trouble as he again partners with his childhood friend and accomplice Joe Barbaro. Vito and Joe combine their passion for fame and riches to take on the city, and work their way to the top in Mafia II.

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