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.
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