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FashionFish

Decided it was time for a little PhysX experiment

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Fallout 4 forced me to face the inadequacies of my two little SLI'd GTX 560 Ti's so I decided to replace them with one monster of a GTX 980 Ti. What a difference. Who knew you could see out through the windows of those skyscrapers that litter downtown Boston?

 

Freeing up the 560s got me thinking about setting one up as a dedicated Physx card. A little research seemed to indicate the majority felt this would be a bad idea. Some felt it couldn't hurt and a minority recommended it. I had to try for myself.

 

Using FluidMark, I benchmarked three config settings using just the 980 in the system. Resolution was set to 2560 x 1440, AA to 4x and all other FM settings were left at the default.

 

PhysX set to Auto:

FPS = 70

SPS = 70

 

PhysX set to the 980

FPS = 70

SPS = 69

 

PhysX set to the CPU:

FPS = 71

SPS = 71

 
A little bit better using just the CPU as the PhsyX processor but not enough of a difference to justify taking the nVidia setting off of Auto mode. I then installed one of the GTX 560's and changed the nVidia config to dedicate PhysX processing to the 560. Here's what happened:

 

PhysX set to 560:

FPS = 44

SPS = 44

 

The only benefit was about a 20 degree C lower temp on the 980 as it really wasn't doing anything except displaying the graphics from the particle generator. Lesson learned? I have two 560's to sell :)

 
Back to the lone 980.
 
 

 

post-72403-0-52396200-1459983722_thumb.jpg

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From my experience using older cards for physx is worse than the CPU. The new card is just waiting for the information from the older geforce (physx) card, resulting in low fps. I got even weirder results with SLI and a dedicated Physx card. In this case Titan SLI with a GTX 770, which gave me 5fps less than just leaving it on auto with no 770 installed.

 

So if you want a dedicated physx card, either you need something powerful enough not to slow down your main card or just go SLI.

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I agree. When this card starts slowing down with new games, one option will be to add another one for SLI. I know there's a few holes in my experiment but it does show that the 560 would have been very likely to cause the bottleneck you just described.

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I never actually took the time to run the benches myself (because I was lazy), but I assumed what you described would happen for the simple reason that tech has progressed. Even though the 980Ti has to work a little harder to handle both graphics and PhysX, it's so far ahead of the 560, that it can do both and still come out ahead. The only way I can see a dedicated PhysX card actually improving things when it comes to gaming would be if the card was the same as the card you're using for graphics, but then at that point, why wouldn't you just SLI?

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Exactly. There's no real reason to not just go SLI. I also don't think the games that support PhysX are really pushing the technology. Is PhysX going to be a long-term feature or is it dying?

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Its not going away anytime soon. Nvidia Gameworks which is basically Physx with extra things is only getting stronger with more features. Though games like Witcher 3 uses the CPU for Gameworks instead of the GPU. Maybe higher compatibility since it was on the consoles too which are AMD based.

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Did they ever patch Fallout 4 with SLI support? I haven't kept up with it but it didn't have it on launch.

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Did they ever patch Fallout 4 with SLI support? I haven't kept up with it but it didn't have it on launch.

 

They were supposed to, but I gave up on my 780 SLI setup and ran the Titan X only.  The 780s just couldn't do 4K, and it felt like SLI was never working.

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Yeah, after owning a GTX 690 for a few years I've kinda written off SLI. I ran in to too many games not supporting it properly or one of the cards not being fully utilized. Never again!

Edited by blacksails23

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Hmm, had lockups with FA4 but thought that was just due to older video cards. Haven't had an issue since I went with one 980. I know the last patch added PhysX weapons debris whatever that is. I didn't notice anything new in that space.

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