October 3, 2009:
Here are two important updates about NVIDIA PhysX and ATI Radeon story:
- ATI + PhysX ban: even Ageia PPUs are affected ? @ PhysXInfo
- AMD comments on NVIDIA dropping PhysX support when ATI hardware is present @ Icrontic
This news seems to confirm a fact I noticed few weeks ago when I did some PhysX tests with the very-upcoming GeeXLab. When an ATI Radeon graphics card is installed and used for graphics rendering, the hardware PhysX acceleration is disabled by NVIDIA drivers. The news says that only users who have an NVIDIA card installed for PhysX and an ATI card for graphics are affected.
Since the release of 186 graphics drivers NVIDIA has decided to disable PhysX anytime a non-NVIDIA GPU is present in the same PC.
The source of this news comes from NGOHQ where we can read this:
Ill explain why this function was disabled.
Physx is an open software standard any company can freely develop hardware or software that supports it. Nvidia supports GPU accelerated Physx on NVIDIA GPUs while using NVIDIA GPUs for graphics. NVIDIA performs extensive Engineering, Development, and QA work that makes Physx a great experience for customers. For a variety of reasons – some development expense some quality assurance and some business reasons NVIDIA will not support GPU accelerated Physx with NVIDIA GPUs while GPU rendering is happening on non- NVIDIA GPUs. I’m sorry for any inconvenience caused but I hope you can understand.
NVIDIA Customer Care”
But how Ageia PhysX PPU owners are affected?
I’ve just done some tests with PhysX FluidMark, a Radeon HD 4850 for graphics rendering and an Ageia PhysX card for PhysX acceleration. Here are the results (benchmark settings: fullscreen, 1280×1024, 60 seconds, no AA):
- Radeon HD 4850 (Catalyst 9.10 beta) + PhysX in software mode: score = 627 points
- Radeon HD 4850 (Catalyst 9.10 beta) + PhysX in hardware mode (runtimes 8.08.01 + Ageia PPU): score = 1176 points
- Radeon HD 4850 (Catalyst 9.10 beta) + PhysX in hardware mode (runtimes 8.09.04 + Ageia PPU): score = 1175 points
- Radeon HD 4850 (Catalyst 9.10 beta) + PhysX in software mode (runtimes 9.09.0814 + Ageia PPU): score = 630 points – I didn’t manage to enable hardware mode!
- Radeon HD 4850 (Catalyst 9.10 beta) + PhysX in software mode (runtimes 9.09.14 + Ageia PPU): score = 634 points – I didn’t manage to enable hardware mode!
From this test, Ageia PhysX card is not supported anymore from 9.09.0814. PhysX runtimes 9.09.0814 are the same generation than ForceWare 186.xx…
Conclusion: seems all cards that can accelerate PhysX (GeForce and Ageia PPU) are disabled when a Radeon is present if you use latest NVIDIA drivers (ForceWare or PhysX).
Not cool! Not cool at all!