Performance and Conclusions
For our testing I used the following system:
- Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 dual-core @ 2.93 GHz
- NVIDIA nForce 680i motherboard
- 2GB DDR2-800 memory
- NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB
- Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi
- BFG PhysX 128MB card
After contacting AGEIA about it, they said that putting in a quad-core CPU would help things out quite a bit. This got to wondering about the CPU utilization in our own system.
CPU Usage – Non-PhysX Map
CPU Usage – PhysX Map, No PhysX PPU
CPU Usage – PhysX Map, PhysX PPU
Obviously from these results, if the PhysX engine is multi-threaded along with the UE3 engine, then adding a quad core CPU would have a positive result on performance. But not all gamers that might be considering an AGEIA card have quad-cores and thus this performance hit is a bit of a letdown.
New PhysX Card Pricing
In timing with the release of the UT3 mod pack as well as the Warmonger game release, AGEIA has worked with their partners and resellers to start selling PhysX cards for as low as $99 after mail-in rebate. The BFG PhysX PPU is going for $144.99 with a $45 rebate at Newegg.com getting you to that magical <$100 price point. Considering the initial price of these cards was $250, this new price level should be a BIG plus for AGEIA as they fight for what’s left of the PC physics market after Havok’s purchase by Intel.
The UT3 PhysX mod pack is a big win for AGEIA and their hopes of getting PhysX hardware in as many PCs as possible. The two levels that AGEIA released aren’t the most amazing things we have ever seen out of the mod community and the performance hit our test system took even with the PhysX card installed definitely raised an eyebrow. Overall though, the additions to real-world game play were interesting enough to warrant a call to arms for creative level designers. The idea of releasing a tool kit that will allow gamers to easily create their own content that utilizes the technology is also a brilliant idea and will hopefully get some of the more diligent AGEIA fans off their butts making some even more inventive and original content based on UT3.
AGEIA is still a long way from convincing the masses that they need a discrete physics card, but lower prices and higher-quality content are the steps required for its adoption.
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Be sure to use our pricing engine to find the best prices on the AGEIA PhysX products and games: