AGEIA Driver Panel and Demo
Once the BFG PhysX card is installed and the drivers are loaded, an Ageia tray icon is loaded. Those who are installing Ghost Recon ADvanced Warfighter will be forced to install the Ageia drivers and this panel regardless of whether a PhysX card is present or not. Clicking this icon on the sytem tray reveals a driver menu with a series of four general tabs.
Although many would assume that the PhysX driver panel is strictly for the PhysX card itself, the image above illustrates that is not the case. Even with the discrete physics card removed from the system entirely, the same menus can be accessed and all appropriate PhysX engines are available.
With the card installed, the user can move to the next tab and run a series of diagnostics to troubleshoot any current issues they might be having. In total, there are 120 unique tests the card must run to complete these diagnostics. Unfortunately, no detailed information regarding the specifics of each test has been made available by Ageia.
Somewhat surprisingly, the large amount of real estate dedicated to PhysX demonstrations is nearly empty with only a single demo occupying space. This "Box" demo is a very basic demo where the user can shoot a ball at a series of colored boxes which each have their own physics applied to them. This test can be run using the PhysX hardware or in software mode should a PhysX card not be present.
For those who paid upwards of $250, seeing a series of bland boxes being hit by a ball is disappointing to say the least. In all fairness, the demo is small in size and very unassuming so expectations must be realistic. Regardless, people should be given a more dramatic demo to help justify the cost of their new hardware as there are only a handful of games which can even use the PhysX processor at this time.
With the upgradable nature of the PhysX PPU in mind, we are a bit surprised to not see any driver tab listing functionality history. As new optimizations are made and new functionality released, it would be convenient to have a list of what changes have been implemented. In future cases where a user might have issues with a particular game, they can verify that they are using the appropriate drivers/software and that the proper solution is installed.