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Old 06-22-2010, 08:36 PM   #1
CsThm
 
 
 
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Valve + PhysX / GPU acceleration support

Will start from the beginning.

Some time ago I did notice something strange with Source engine related to various computers. As I found out - no mater how good/new computer I bought - I still couldn't manage to get a stable FPS in source games.

Later I found out that on loktop from 2005 year I am getting higher and more stable fps than on computer from 2009 year. So I started getting deeper and deeper into this.

And what I found out was:
Source games aren't even pushing my CPU up to 40 before they drop fps (that is with multi-core support enabled). The only logical explanation what I found to this was that video driver cannot handle so much of information. But how come? GeForce 260GTX must and should be perfect and extremely smooth for source engine...

So I started looking deeper into this, disabling all of the quality futures and special effects on the Nvidia driver, and found out something what was right in front of me. Nvidia GeForces have an extra function to make game smoother and fps rate higher. That one is called the GPU acceleration. Sure, it doesn't work for many of the games (I assume - don't really know much about it), but it still is a fantastic feature. So I wonder, does source engine support this feature?

After some testing I also discovered Nvidia GeForce feature called PhysX, what is directly related to GPU acceleration (if not the same thing).

Here are some examples of PhysX feature of Nvidia GeForce and what this feature is capable of:
Water Demo Tessellation
Nvidia physx demo, what it does and why
And those who have Nvidia card with PhysX support (you can check you'r video card information over here to find out does it support PhysX/GPU acceleration), can try to download PhysX Screensaver and see the difference in performance when switching "Simulation type" in "settings" from "Hardware" to "Software". Just don't forget to enable "Enable FPS display". The first number you will see is the actual FPS, and the second number is how much CPU it is using. You will notice that while using "Hardware" setting, your FPS are higher, and CPU usage is less. That is because all the video calculations are allowed to be done by GeForce and not the program itself (at least that is how I can explain it - didn't found so much information about it).

I am saying all of this because, this is the only logical reason what I can think of, why source games have so small FPS on Nvidia drivers.

So in conclusion, if I am right about all of this, it would be really nice if valve could actually include support in their source engine for PhysX / GPU acceleration.

However everything what I just wrote is just my guess, so if I'm wrong there is no need to flood/spam it!
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:54 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CsThm View Post

So in conclusion, if I am right about all of this, it would be really nice if valve could actually include support in their source engine for PhysX / GPU acceleration.

However everything what I just wrote is just my guess, so if I'm wrong there is no need to flood/spam it!
i dont think that VALVe would put Physx GPU acceleration in there games because they are CPU dependent which adding Physx for GPUs would defeat teh purpose of that. Also it seems that VALVe dosnt like to pick sides of the graphics card spectrum so they dont just allow some features to a few people.
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:55 PM   #3
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Can I get your specs on the old hardware compared to the new "loktop" (heh).
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Old 06-22-2010, 09:02 PM   #4
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Directcompute would be a better choice.
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Old 06-22-2010, 09:03 PM   #5
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Sorry, I think you're off on this, some games Like HL2/Ep1/Ep2 do have physics engine like Havok, but it's more to do with CPU than GPU. I don't understand your point about not getting 'stable FPS' in games, I can run L4D2, HL2 series with Cinematic Mod, Portal, and just about every Source game @5760x1200, max ingame setting + max AA/AF and still get FR in 'lows' of 100s to highs of 300fps depending on the game. A good CPU helps, and I have my C2Q @3.9ghz.....other than driver issue, no a single Source game that I play has this stable FPS, unless you'd want to nitpick and say that I get low 100s to 300fps being unstable. BTW, that wide variation in framerate covers a number of Source games. Like HL2 Ep2, I see ~100fps to 200fps when I play the game, CSS VST gives me a max of 299.x fps.

Also, I believe Valve is more for Havok, and perhaps OpenCl/DirectCompute with DX11 hardware onwards....PhysX is proprietary and works only on nV cards. I don't think Valve would want to restrict themselves to this one physics engine. Besides, Valve is big enough, and rich enough, to NOT be swayed by nV's 'rewards' for going PhysX unlike some other game developers.
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:19 PM   #6
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PhysX is dying rapidly and nobody gives a crap about it but a very minor group of people. I;d prefer not to see further support for a crappy dying platform. If Nvidia hadn't of gobbled it up i'd be on board, however Nvidia has drove it into the ground.
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Old 06-22-2010, 11:38 PM   #7
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This post reads like a bad attempt at viral marketing by Nvidia.

Valve would like its software to run equally well on every customer's computer, so I'm sure they wouldn't use a proprietary physics engine that gives Nvidia customers an artificial advantage over ATI customers.

Besides, Valve is pretty committed to using Havok.
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Old 06-23-2010, 12:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GirlPower23 View Post
PhysX is dying rapidly and nobody gives a crap about it but a very minor group of people. I;d prefer not to see further support for a crappy dying platform. If Nvidia hadn't of gobbled it up i'd be on board, however Nvidia has drove it into the ground.
I agree but physx is not dead or dying it's just more software now than hardware!

Yeah all you Nvidia ppl jump up and down! You have hardware! Nvidia killed Ageia's Physx, it would have done far better as a stand alone card not integrated on NV gpu's, this left software developers with a hard choice to back one and not the other!

With ati card's kicking nv for price and performance the developers turn to software physx to support both!

Havok play's a big part in software physx witch in now in Intel's hand's! Ouch !
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Old 06-23-2010, 12:29 AM   #9
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If anything I'd be begging Valve to change source to Bullet physics. Superior to both Havok and PhysX
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Old 06-23-2010, 12:57 AM   #10
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source engine has never been an issue for me personally cant say I have tried the new multicore rendered version as yet!

What I would really like to see Is Nvidia bring out a stand alone ppu for Physx and fix some of there hardware limitation's

Or even better Intel develop a card for Havok physx!
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Old 06-23-2010, 01:52 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by borg_7_of_9 View Post
source engine has never been an issue for me personally cant say I have tried the new multicore rendered version as yet!

What I would really like to see Is Nvidia bring out a stand alone ppu for Physx and fix some of there hardware limitation's

Or even better Intel develop a card for Havok physx!
Develop a card for prerendered physics? Or am I missing out on something here?
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Old 06-23-2010, 02:05 AM   #12
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I consider myself lucky now, I recall looking high and low for an Ageia PPU card a while back (if mem serves, Asus had a PPU card), around the time nV took over Ageia. I could not find one so I gave up the idea. So glad I hadn't found one since nV totally dropped support for it.....heck, had I found one, I can't imagine how I'd feel buying a paper weight.
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Old 06-23-2010, 02:11 AM   #13
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Develop a card for prerendered physics? Or am I missing out on something here?
I think you may have missed something!
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Old 06-23-2010, 04:20 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by CsThm View Post
I am saying all of this because, this is the only logical reason what I can think of, why source games have so small FPS on Nvidia drivers.
GPU acceleration is a feature that allows you to stick highly parallel tasks normally done on the CPU to run on the GPU. So less load on the CPU, more load on the GPU. The opposite of what you want.

Current physics calculations are handled by HAVOK on the CPU. Moving them to PhysX on the GPU would mean ATI owners could no longer play Source games and again, more load on the GPU. The opposite of what you want.

If you're not getting smooth consistent FPS on a GTX260, something is wrong with your hardware or the way it's configured. The problem isn't with the Source engine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by borg_7_of_9 View Post
Nvidia killed Ageia's Physx, it would have done far better as a stand alone card not integrated on NV gpu's, this left software developers with a hard choice to back one and not the other!!
No, it left Software Developers with the choice of supporting something with a 70% marketshare (Nvidia's GPU marketshare) minus the non-Physx capable card in the mix vs supporting an independant with 1% to 5% marketshare, if they ever sold so much cards. If Nvidia hadn't bought them, ATI would have. If neither bought them, one of them would have acquired it in a bankruptcy sale.

There's a simple lesson to be learned from 30 years of gimmicks for PC games. If your product doesn't work out of the box for the majority of games, it's going to fail.

Last edited by Washell: 06-23-2010 at 04:29 AM.
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Old 06-23-2010, 10:35 AM   #15
CsThm
 
 
 
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If you're not getting smooth consistent FPS on a GTX260, something is wrong with your hardware or the way it's configured. The problem isn't with the Source engine.
Well, it's actually my friends computer (my is 9800GT and instead of 3.0GHZ x4, I have 2.33GHZ x4, and of course I'm also having the fps issue with Source engine), but that's not the point. This issue happens only on Source engine. Call of Duty MW2 or Dirt2 for example has more advanced engine what uses way more details and polygons than Source, but yet, comparing FPS, source engine lags as if it needs video card from 2020 year to actually play the game smoothly. But that was just an example. Generally everything goes on my friends computer just perfectly - no lags, stable constant high fps... But Source engine is the only thing what has preference issues regardless to the fact that computers on what it runs are way above recommendations. Cause CPU aren't at the very top of it - only logical explanation is video cards.

And seriously, how many of you with computers from 2008-2009-2010 do experience constant fps what are higher than 270? The answer is no one, but if somehow someone does experience this, than it's most probably cause of setting everything to the lowest details, and using special FPS configs, and your computer is most probably a loktop. Am I right?
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