Here We Go Again: Modders Reenable ATI/NVIDIA PhysX Combination

Last week, we covered NVIDIA's decision to disable PhysX support if the NV drivers detect the presence of an ATI product. Jump ahead seven days, and the utterly predictable has happened—end-users have found a way around NVIDIA's lockout and have re-enabled the one-two punch of ATI graphics and NVIDIA PhysX. Quick, kids: Can any of you guess what happens next?

Over at NGOHQ, forum member Regeneration is claiming that the NVIDIA drivers published after the 185.85 WHQL series (this includes 186.18 through 191.07) also disable Ageia's original PPU add-on board if a non-NVIDIA GPU is installed. We've yet to see concrete proof that this is true; if you're one of the handful of people who own an Ageia PPU and don't mind testing it, let us know what the results are. Presumably, even if this is occurring, it's a bug—removing functionality on what amounts to another company's product is ballsy, even for the boys in green.

Disabling ATI cards is one thing, turning this puppy off is something altogether different...

The market's quick correction to NVIDIA's ATI driver lockout could pit the two sides in a constant game of one-upsmanship that NVIDIA is virtually certain to lose. There are ways for the manufacturer to assert control in the short term, such as requiring a specific driver to play a newly released game, but there's no way to maintain that lock long-term unless the company is willing to spend additional resources constantly plugging the holes the online community will be gleefully drilling into the company's "CUDA only" requirement. We understand why NVIDIA wants to keep PhysX to itself, but all the wishing in the world won't build a hack-proof driver. For now, the company has two options: Accept reality, and spin the option as a value-added feature (thereby pumping up PhysX and possibly encouraging its adoption), or battle the modders tooth and nail.

More Fermi. Less fighting.