BFG Ageia PhysX Physics Card

Article Index

Test System & Ageia Box Demo


HotHardware's Test System
More than enough horsepower

Hot Hardware Testbed

  • Athlon 64 FX-53
  • MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum SLI
  • 2 x 1GB Corsair XMS3500LL Pro memory
  • 512MB ASUS Radeon X1900 XTX
  • 8x DVD+/-RW
  • 120GB Western Digital 7200RPM Hard Drive
  • Onboard 10/100/1000 Ethernet
  • Onboard Soundblaster LIVE audio
  • NVIDIA nForce 6.7 drivers
  • ATI Catalyst 6.4 drivers
  • Ageia 2.4.3 Beta
  • DirectX9.0C
PhysX System Requirements
Physics Costs  Money

Minimum System Requirements

  • CPU running at 1.4GHz or Higher
  • 128MB of System RAM
  • Microsoft Windows XP, Home, Pro, or Media Center
  • CD or DVD-Rom Drive
  • 20MB Available Disk Space
  • Minimum 300W Power Supply
  • Vacant PCI 2.0 slot or higher
  • Discrete Graphics Card that Supports DX9 Shader Model 2.0 or Higher

Looking at the minimum system requirements for the BFG PhysX processor, we see a few small surprises. The first surprise is with regards to the Operating System, which limited to Windows XP Pro, Home, or Media Center. Those who are using another variant of Windows or are a fan of Linux do not have any options for a discrete physics processor as there is no driver support for these operating systems at this time. The same is true for early adopters of 64-bit Windows or Mac users who have a newfound interest in PC hardware thanks to their new Intel platforms. Hopefully, Ageia will be able to quickly expand their development team so they can get the appropriate drivers out to address these various operating systems.

The second requirement which may surprise some is the need for a discrete graphics card that support DX9 and Shader Model 2.0 or higher. Although this might seem like common sense to most, there are surely a handful of consumers that will try to pair a $250 PhysX PPU with a budget graphics card. Obviously, the additional overhead of the advanced physics and associated extra graphics detail will need to be managed by the CPU and GPU. Should you be gaming with a graphics card that does not meet the minimum requirements, you would be far better off spending $250 on a high quality graphics card and you should direct your attention to Hot Hardware's graphics card reviews for more information.


Performance Comparisons with Ageia's Box Demo
Details: http://www.ageia/

Ageia: Driver Panel Box Demo
Nested within Ageia's driver panel is a small demo in which the user can send a ball crashing into an orderly stack of colored boxes. For our testing purposes, we used Fraps to measure the framerate as we sent ten successive balls through the stack of boxes. Runs were compiled with the BFG PhysX enabled and disabled with the average scores from the runs illustrated in the plot below.


Considering the fact that this benchmark was created by Ageia as a technology demo to showcase the performance of their PhysX hardware, it is no surprise to see that the discrete PPU is able to best the software-driven efforts of the CPU. Although each configuration shares the same maximum framerate, there is a considerable gap in performance for both the average and minimum framerates. Without any detailed knowledge into the structure of this demo, we must be somewhat cautious in drawing any conclusions regarding the performance advantage the PPU might have over a CPU.

Tags:  PhysX, BFG, Car, physics, card, Ageia, ICS, AG, AR

Related content