BFG Ageia PhysX Physics Card

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Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter


Performance Comparisons with Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter

Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
Easily one of the most highly anticipated titles for 2006, UbiSoft's latest addition to the Ghost Recon franchise has been receiving a great deal of attention due to its native support for Ageia's PhysX physics processor. For our testing purposes, we used the official demo and ran the opening sequence at a resolution of 1280x1024 with all image quality settings maximized. In order to avoid any GPU bottlenecks and accurately identify the performance impacts of either using or not using the PhysX PPU, we did not enable FSAA or AF. The framerate was measured as the character made its way to a stationary vehicle and proceeded to exhaust his supply of hand grenades with explosive results.

Click Thumbnail for Animated Comparison

Looking at the animated comparison illustrated in the image above, we can quickly see the results of using the BFG PhysX card in this title. Unfortunately, the differences are less than earth shattering as there is nothing more than some added debris. This additional debris looks exactly the same regardless of the material being destroyed and appears to be using the same model just at different angles and viewpoints. Granted, it does increase the level of realism in the game as objects are destroyed in a much more convincing manner. However, we are certainly not seeing justification of a $250 or more purchase.

Click Thumbnail for Animated Comparison

We witness the same scenario when we shoot a few grenades at the upper floors of a building. This view gives us an excellent perspective on the differences in debris between the scene rendered with and without the BFG PhysX card. Again, we do prefer the increase in realism when using the PhysX processor versus the lack of debris when the card is not present. However, we are firmly convinced that this higher level of physics would be entirely possible on either a dual-core or fast single-core processor. For one reason or another, the higher physics setting can only be activated when the PhysX PPU is installed and detected.

Certainly those who just spent upwards of $250 on a brand new discrete physics processor will be a bit surprised to see that their maximum, average, and minimum framerates all dropped compared to the results they saw with no PhysX hardware. Granted, the scenes using the BFG PhysX card were full of more debris and detail which further burdened the system. However, given the relative simplicity of that debris, we would be very curious to see how the CPU would perform using the same physics settings. Despite our best efforts and attempts to modify XML files, we could not enable this higher quality physics setting when the Ageia PhysX hardware was not installed and enabled.

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

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