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ATI + PhysX ban: even Ageia PPUs are affected ?

with 14 comments

ppu_banned

Following Geeks3D report on that recent driver update disables PhysX hardware acceleration not only for Nvidia GPUs, but for Ageia PPUs as well (if non-Nvidia graphics card is present in the system) we’ve desided to perform small investigation.

Test methodology is simple enough: we’ll use certain sample from PhysX SDK 2.8.1 Build 13 to identify if Ageia PPU is working and initializing properly with different PhysX drivers on several systems with Nvidia and ATI GPUs.

Used PhysX System Software – 8.09.04 (last one with direct PPU support) and newest 9.09.0814 installed above 8.09.04 (PPU won’t be recognised on pure 9.09.0814 drivers)

GeForce System #1 – GTX275 + Ageia PPU

ppu_080904 ppu_09090814

PhysX driver 8.09.04                                                         PhysX driver 9.09.0814

GeForce System #2 – GTX295 + Ageia PPU (thanks to JeGX from Geeks3d)

physx-cloth--ageia-ppu-hw-mode-80904+9090814-geforce-gtx-295

PhysX driver 9.09.0814

As you can see, in both cases Ageia PPU was recognised properly by the system, and hardware acceleration is working too (test applications indicates that both scene and cloth simulations are running in hardware)

What will happen if we’ll try same scenario, but now with ATI GPU installed in the system ?

Radeon System #1 – HD4850 + Ageia PPU (thanks again to JeGX from Geeks3d)

physx-test-cloth-hw-mode-80904 physx-test-cloth-hw-mode-80904+9090814

PhysX driver 8.09.04                                                         PhysX driver 9.09.0814

Radeon System #2 – HD4870 + Ageia PPU (thanks to heuM from Overclockers.ru)

9090814

PhysX driver 9.09.0814

While working fine with ATI card on old 8.09.04 drivers, test scene is running in software on CPU, when 9.09.0814 drivers are installed. But Ageia PPU is identified by OS, and hardware acceleration was working with same driver set and Nvidia GPU in the system.

Therefore, we can definitely say, that PhysX computing capabilities of Ageia PPU cards are disabled with newest PhysX drivers when non-Nvidia GPU is present in PC configuration. (at least with driver set we’ve used)

Certainly, PPU installement base is very low and it can’t handle well recent PhysX games, but such Nvidia’s decision looks strange and short-sighted even for us.

Written by Zogrim

September 30th, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Posted in PhysX Drivers, PhysX Hardware

Tagged with , ,

14 Responses to 'ATI + PhysX ban: even Ageia PPUs are affected ?'

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  1. More and more steps to PhysX death!

      

    Alexandr82

    30 Sep 09 at 11:25 pm

  2. Doesn’t the screen from nVidia+PhysX driver 9.09.0814 also say “Software Cloth and Software Scene”, whereas with 8.09.4 it says “Hardware Cloth and Hardware Scene”.
    Or was the wrong screenshot posted?

      

    ghost_zero

    1 Oct 09 at 9:16 am

  3. No, screen from Nvidia GPU + Ageia PPU with 9.09.0814 says “Hardware Scene, Hardware Cloth”, while similar driver with ATI GPU + Ageia PPU – “Software Scene, Software Cloth”

      

    Zogrim

    1 Oct 09 at 12:56 pm

  4. Thanks Zogrim, you confirmed what I figured months ago. I am now officially boycotting Nvidia products forever. Even though Physx was not that impressive anyway, they still rendered a piece of hardware useless that I had purchased. Maybe someone could hack the drivers and re-enable the support with ATI cards but I doubt it’s worth anyones time and effort. It makes a nice paperweight now. You would think that either company, ATI and Nvidia would be looking for ways to make PC gaming more attractive in any way, and ease of backwards/forwards compatibility is one way of doing that.

      

    Nytevizion

    9 Oct 09 at 5:28 pm

  5. Oh this situation gets worse. The drivers after 8.09.04 do something that disables the detection of Ageia PhysX EVEN WITH OLDER NVIDIA GPUS!!!

    I’m running a BFG PhysX card with two BFG 7900 GTX OCs in SLI, and when playing GRAW 2 (for example) with the 8.09.04 drivers the game detects the PhysX card and I can access the AGEIA Island mission.

    If I install any drivers newer than 8.09.04, even though I can enable the PhysX card in the control panel and it resets properly and passes the extended diagnostics, GRAW 2 will not detect the PhysX card!

    Can anyone contact NVIDIA to see why they’re screwing their own customers?

      

    MutoidMan

    29 Oct 09 at 6:18 pm

  6. MutoidMan
    Have you tried to install newest PhysX drivers above 8.09.04, without uninstalling it ?

    And what with other PPU titles (Infernal, Stoked Rider, Warmonger, etc), are they working with newest drivers ?

    Also, PhysX drivers since summer 2008 are tricking GRAW2 to camouflage GPU as PPU (to get access to Ageia Island, for example), so maybe that’s the cause.

      

    Zogrim

    29 Oct 09 at 6:34 pm

  7. I love it! I always get a laugh out of these folks that cry when they’re trying to get exclusive PhysX support that is only officially supported on Nvidia cards on ATi cards. They cheap out and try to get something for nothing, and when it doesn’t work, they cry like a 5 year old and yell out “boycott”.

    I tried to tell some hardheads this on another forum. They were all hyper about “Oh wow, I can get free PhysX on my ATi card here’s how!!!!” and when I tried to warn to them about the fact they were fixing to watse their money, they just spammed the thread with useless fanboy trash, and I literally laughed my tail off at them. I KNEW what was coming, becasue i was beta testing the Nvidia drivers that were coming, and knew it was gonna block illegal users attempting to use unsuppoted hardware.

    None of them listened, and what’s so hilarious is that they are on that forum right now crying about it. One stupid SOB even is RMA’ing a card he could’ve ran physics on, and is keeping the buggy POS he had, when he could canned the crap card and kept his Nvidia card that supported it! God that’s stupid! Not only is he gonna loose PhysX, he gonna waste his money on shipping on top of that! hahahahah

    Sometimes I swear that stupidity is a contageous disease.

      

    JackDaniels

    12 Nov 09 at 12:28 am

  8. What people like Jack, here, don’t understand is that PhysX is an “open” format; it was not too long ago Nvidia tried to make AMD look bad for refusing to enable PhysX on their cards (of course, the software license stated that any card capable of using PhysX must comply with CUDA standards; which is why Nvidia’s cards drag behind in stream processing, the architectural requirements for CUDA chug and don’t belong in massively parallel RISC architectures).

    Furthermore, if I buy a Nvidia card – why should I not be able to run PhysX on it? Because the graphics card running with it is not an Nvidia? An Nvidia card is, effectively, CUDA hardware – what Nvidia did is do more than disable PhysX – they disabled CUDA. If I paid money to buy a card that runs CUDA, and now I cannot use it because of another product choice of mine – I’d be pretty upset, too.

    Nvidia’s stated reasons for this are pure public-relations jibber-jabber. PhysX runs completely independent of graphics in its own abstraction layer – it is a CUDA-based program, an architecture and standard designed to be used in a number of scientific and data-intensive operations with parallel computing.

    In short – there is no technical basis for disabling CUDA when an ATI card is present. The only errors people would notice would be the fault of CUDA, or the specific driver of the card (Nvidia or ATI) with graphics rendering (whether or not CUDA was being run) – or the developer of the program.

    It’s rather simple – Nvidia has shown that, like Mac, they do not like you using their hardware with hardware that is not theirs. That’s fine. Like Mac, they can take some 15% of the market share (if that), and I’ll be glad to not give them my money.

    Is it a boycott? No – I just would like to choose products from a company that does not have a history of turning their hardware off if they don’t like the hardware in the socket next to it.

    Even with Nvidia’s rumored plans to port PhysX to OpenCL (and thus make this whole effort pointless) – it still makes it clear that Nvidia is not beyond attempting to strong-arm (not a reference to the ARM processor) the market in their favor (like Sony’s BetaMAX). That just puts a bad taste in my mouth in general. Will I ever purchase a product from Nvidia again? In all likelihood – I will. I just realize that, in the foreseeable future, Nvidia is not where I want to place my consumer-power. I am sure they will shape up – but until they do, it’s not wise to purchase their products.

      

    AT3 "Aim"

    12 Nov 09 at 1:36 am

  9. Open? PhysX is most definitely NOT an open format, and if Nvidia is smart they’ll keep it that way. There is no reason at all for them to make it an open format. Doing so would be very stupid thing to do. That’s one of the mnay things that makes buying an Nvidia card a smart move, and giving the competition that would be like putting money in their pocket.

    I have no issues at all with PhysX because I run a card that supports it.

    The bottom line is this. If you want Nvidia PhysX support then buy an Nvidia card that supports it.

    In my case, I have one at the present time that will be moved over into my 3rd slot for PhysX, and when the new DX11 cards come out, I will be buying 2 of those, and I have 2 Blue 16x slots ready for them.

    Aw, and the comment about the stream processing power and the coimpute power is hilarious considering that my current card doubles the performance of ANY ATi card in GPU folding, GPU compute, and all (not a few, but ALL) of my enginerring, and flow dynamic runs. That means it gets work done in 1/2 the time it would take ATi’s best try to do. That’s not benchmarks, that’s real world.

    It’s just common sense that you don’t butxcher a rig with 2 incompatible cards, and 2 different companuies drivers that were never designed to work together, and if you do, then you’ll get exactly what you deserve…a rig that don’t work.

      

    JackDaniels

    12 Nov 09 at 3:09 am

  10. oh myster daniels… u are soooo smug about yours greeeaat green card…
    like all nvifia fanbojis you dont see what is the point of discussion here, and turns the cat by tail.

    im glad im not living in your ‘reality’

      

    its

    13 Nov 09 at 3:09 pm

  11. Open? PhysX is most definitely NOT an open format, and if Nvidia is smart they’ll keep it that way.

    It’s “open” – free for anyone to use in their program as per the license agreement. Perhaps my terminology was a bit incorrect – but Nvidia was backing efforts for ‘crackers’ to get PhysX to run on ATI cards.

    It was merely a matter of enabling CUDA on ATI cards – which wasn’t that big of an issue.

    I have no issues at all with PhysX because I run a card that supports it.

    So does ANYONE with an Nvidia GPU that supports CUDA (the 8 series and up). Or if they have an old Ageia PPU (like myself).

    It’s not like these people are getting “free” PhysX – they have a card that the software is DESIGNED to run on. It’s not like trying to hack ATI drivers to get ATI to run CUDA (and thus, PhysX).

    The bottom line is this. If you want Nvidia PhysX support then buy an Nvidia card that supports it.

    Funny thing – I do have a card that supports it sitting on the shelf next to me, part of a build that I upgraded later – it’s an old 8600 card.

    I bought it.

    I did have plans of using it to run PhysX alongside a newer card. However, I was planning on making that new card an ATI/AMD card, because those cards have rather universal performance advantages, as well as better streaming support.

    But now, if I want that PhysX support… I HAVE to buy another Nvidia GPU – or get a hacked driver.

    However, that’s all okay – PhysX is a dying platform. It’s a shame as it has a huge head-start over most of its competition – but it will lose due to poor marketing strategies (like this).

    I just wonder if my PPU will support OpenCL in the future – it hardly compares in raw performance to the behemoth GPUs out there, but it is far more powerful than your average CPU when it comes to such tasks, so it would be nice to help out with scientific computing.

    In my case, I have one at the present time that will be moved over into my 3rd slot for PhysX, and when the new DX11 cards come out, I will be buying 2 of those, and I have 2 Blue 16x slots ready for them.

    That’s nice, until Nvidia decides that their newer cards aren’t selling well enough and start disabling older generations of cards with PhysX.

    Aw, and the comment about the stream processing power and the coimpute power is hilarious considering that my current card doubles the performance of ANY ATi card in GPU folding, GPU compute, and all (not a few, but ALL) of my enginerring, and flow dynamic runs.

    Oh?

    What programs are you running?

    Since many programs are optimized for either CUDA or AMD Stream, and you are an Nvidia fanboy, I can only assume you use CUDA-optimized programs.

    It’s much like graphics and how some applications prefer Nvidia machines and some prefer ATI – since the two release different SDKs with different code to accomplish the same thing – it gets a little hairy when you’re running a game designed to take advantage of ATI on Nvidia, and vice-versa. These are usually worked over pretty well in driver updates and patches to the specific program.

    The problem with Nvidia’s architecture is that it is too bulky. Stream processing is RISC computing – the smaller your instruction set, the more individual processing units you have, and the more unified your memory, the better.

    t’s just common sense that you don’t butxcher a rig with 2 incompatible cards,

    But they are not incompatible cards. They are different – but you are using them for two completely different tasks – each of which they were designed for.

    and 2 different companuies drivers that were never designed to work together,
    Though no one reported difficulties running PhysX beside ATI cards.

    It’s not like we’re trying to run dual-monitors with an ATI card on one and Nvidia on another – though I’ve never heard of many problems from the areas of the market that dabble in such unholy chimeras, either. That’s mostly an OS issue, and both XP and Seven support it.

    and if you do, then you’ll get exactly what you deserve…a rig that don’t work.

    That theory is not supported by real-world observation, unfortunately.

      

    AT3 "Aim"

    17 Nov 09 at 10:09 am

  12. Gentlemens, don’t you think that our forum is more appropriate place for your discussion ? At least, it’s more suitable for such massive messages

      

    Zogrim

    17 Nov 09 at 10:52 am

  13. since when did any graphics cards become incompatible with each other?

    arent they both certified PCI – e cards, and until latest driver releases were “compatible” ?

    i have 8800GT, and will upgrade to ati 5870, as ati cost / performance decimates any nvidia chip. its a shame nvidia removed the ability for me to use 8800GT as a physx card, as im less likely to buy another nvidia card in the future.

    not that i care less about brand tbh. its just a dull circuit board in a box to me. but it does suck that it doesnt work due to a marketing choice, and theres little we can do about it except hope a coder hacks drivers.

    it is very concerning that people think ati + nvidia are “incompatible”, mindsets like that will make PC’s into a one horse race – and that’d be a shame.

    i suppose nvidia are counting on the general population being too stupid too notice, if they come to conclusions like that gladly!

      

    blackstar

    10 Jan 10 at 8:01 pm

  14. its a shame nvidia removed the ability for me to use 8800GT as a physx card
    You can use Hybrid PhysX mod

      

    Zogrim

    10 Jan 10 at 8:33 pm


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