TechSpot

Nvidia cuts PhysX if AMD card is present

By Matthew
Oct 2, 2009
  1. Nvidia has cut the cord on folks who are using its GPUs to accelerate PhysX effects alongside an AMD card. Nvidia's newer drivers deny the ability to use hardware PhysX acceleration unless your GeForce is handling the graphics as well. A forum post on NGOHQ shows an email explanation from Nvidia's Customer Care, which lists a variety of causes for the decision, including "development expense," "quality assurance," and "business reasons."

    Read the whole story
     
  2. CrisisDog

    CrisisDog TS Rookie Posts: 54

    Not really news for me, they've disabled PhysX even for the older Ageia cards a long time ago if you had anything other than a Nvidia GPU along with the card. Went around in circles for a month before they admitted to it at third level support. I got Mirror's Edge working with my ATI and Ageia cards only by using the very first PhysX driver that Nvidia provided under their logo. Unfortunately, that driver kit is about two years old now and looks like it doesn't support the new Batman game. Bummer...
     
  3. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 853   +11

    Yes I can blame them. You bought the graphics card. Its your property. You should be able to use it in any fashion you want, including running it side by side with their competitor.
     
  4. They own the software, they can make it work/not work with whatever they want it to.
     
  5. Seems counterintuitive to me. Why deny themselves some extra sales?
     
  6. tengeta

    tengeta TS Enthusiast Posts: 632

    Pretty sure Microsoft was just told they couldn't their stuff work anyway they want, so no, Nvidia doesn't get a free slip.
     
  7. "Yes I can blame them. You bought the graphics card. Its your property. You should be able to use it in any fashion you want, including running it side by side with their competitor."

    Agreed. But how many people know how to write their own custom drivers for their hardware? And how many of those who can will share their drivers with others having a multitude of system configurations?

    It is only proper for a company competing with another to support only their own products. Unless you want Nvidia to charge more for their cards because they have to develop drivers and software that is compatible with their competitors?
     
  8. TJGeezer

    TJGeezer TS Enthusiast Posts: 385   +10

    This is is what happens when a corporation puts its own agenda ahead of its users. It could backfire on them.

    It's kind of a cop-out to say they can design for any hardware they want. Yes, that's true, but note that they had to actively exclude another company's specific hardware. That's not writing code for the customer, it's writing code for the corporate agenda, and to hell with the customers.

    Seems to me like an unhealthy attitude toward the customer and unwise marketing strategy. In an age of open standards, attempts to lock customers into your specific hardware demonstrate poor corporate judgment.
     
  9. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,286   +232

    *sigh*
    I can't believe how falsely entitled people seem to believe they are these days...
    nVidia owns PhysX, outright, they paid BIG money for the entire package. That means, in a business decision, they decided that PhysX was a good fit with their company, to help them earn revenue, so they made the investment. Now, they don't want to let other graphics cards (which they cannot control) to run PhysX on an unsupportable platform. If there is a problem with the PhysX engine compatibility with this 3rd party card, who do you think will be the target of the whining and lamenting? Who do you think will be expected to remedy the situation? Who do you think will have to pay for the (possibly massive) support structure and reprogramming of the PhysX engine every time the other graphics card players make changes to their hardware and/or driver software? Seriously, who?

    Think before you start complaining about a company "putting it's own agenda ahead of its users" please. They are NOT putting an agenda before THEIR users, they are simply making sure that THEIR users (who have purchased THEIR hardware) get the priority, and the perks for buying an nVidia product. That's part of the game, a product has to have things that give you a reason to buy them, in this case the PhysX engine is a bonus. It is NOT by any means an inalienable right that every PC user can claim. You choose ATi, you lose out, and have to make due with the Havoc engine. The end. Period. End of debate.
     
  10. freythman

    freythman TS Enthusiast Posts: 124   +10

    God I love Nvidia. They're just so kind
     
  11. Nitroburner77

    Nitroburner77 TS Rookie

    Vrmithrax, Mac vs PC, PS3 vs Xbox, ATI vs nVidia. You're a fanboy. If another company makes a product that supports the standard that PhysX purportedly follows, it is their choice. This is purely a matter of trying to force ATI and other graphic card users to switch to nVidia. Nothing more. Let's see what happens to PhysX when industry standards are implemented into DX11.
     
     
  12. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,286   +232

    Sorry, fail, Nitro... I use ATi exclusively, have for years, and am in love with the new 5890, but (im)patiently waiting for the dual GPU version before I grab one. So what does that do for your theories now, huh? The fact is, nVidia owns PhysX outright, and can choose when, and if, they allow whoever they want to use it. If I was nVidia, I'd be keeping it for myself to give another edge in a VERY competitive marketplace, but I would also NOT want to have tons of "your crap doesn't work" technical support issues due to 3rd party hardware incompatibilities - at least with their internal GPU products, they can handle their own internal hardware/software.

    It's really basic common sense and a tiny morsel of business intelligence. What you (and those others who seem to feel entitled to PhysX no matter who owns it) seem to miss, is that MONEY WAS PAID FOR THE TECHNOLOGY. nVidia makes absolutely NOTHING on an ATi card that can run PhysX when it is sold. To give an invested technology away is absolutely, irrevocably stupid and would probably completely piss off their shareholders. Don't ever forget, this is a business, and I can virtually guarantee that if ATi was the one that owned PhysX, we'd be seeing this same argument with just the sides switched.

    You guys might as well be pissing and moaning about Norton not just giving away its virus scanning technology to anyone that wants it, or Apple for making iTunes use proprietary formats that don't work flawlessly on every single personal media player on the market... Whether we like it or not, business is business, and if people can't make money, they won't BE in business. Imagine what the video card market would be like if it was just a 1 pony race (either nVidia or ATi)... You can bet that the regular MASSIVE upgrades and enhancements to GPU technology would not be coming at anything close to the breakneck speeds that they are coming now... No reason to push to win, if there's only 1 racer.
     
  13. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,286   +232

    Slight edit... Make that the 5870 I'm in love with, got ahead of myself (and current technology, apparently - it appears too much caffeine can make you leap forward in time).
     
  14. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,286   +232

    Sales of what? If they support PhysX on ATi cards, they are selling their competitor's product, not their own. That would be a pretty bad business move there, don't ya think?
     
  15. pgbsamurai

    pgbsamurai TS Rookie Posts: 27

    Vrmithrax your argument has a small flaw. This is not about running Physx on ATI cards. This is about running graphics on an ATI board while running physx on an nVidia board. Having both pieces of hardware on one machine. What nVidia is doing is writing code to disable physx effects running on nVidia gpu's if it detects an ATI card as well. While not supporting the hardware conflicts this might entail is understandable, flat out disabling the functionality because your competitor's hardware is present seems more like anti-competitive business practices.
     
  16. you missed an important point. its not support for PhysX on ATi that people are complaining about. NVIDIA is not letting people run PhysX on an NVIDIA card if the ATi is the primary card running the game. so yes NVIDIA are shooting themselfs in the foot, in that, IF ati have a faster card and people want to use it for graphics someone who might afford to buy an nvidia card along side to handle the graphics now cant. And further more which is making me more angry is that people who bought their card are now being forced to either stick with them or to just throw away their current card. Its unfair in my humble opinion.
     
  17. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,286   +232

    Oh, I got the basic point of it... But my point is that, from a support and compatibility standpoint, the mixing of cards and then trying to make sure a proprietary software package like PhysX would work in some mixed-pair combination could become a burden for nVidia, but nobody seems to care about that. If you have an ATi card as your primary output, and an nVidia card also on-board (which seems weird, why not go one or the other, so you can SLI or Crossfire?), then who do you think will get the flak when some incompatibility between 2 completely different GPU types with different graphics drivers doesn't process PhysX correctly? Even if you take the whole sales pitch into account, in many ways nVidia are just protecting themselves from a possible crapstorm of support nightmares. Who are we to tell them that they MUST support a 3rd party's hardware configuration, and keep up with that outside company's driver and hardware changes, as well as their own? It's their software, they should be able to choose what platform configurations they choose to support. Or do they not get the same rights as all of the other PC hardware companies in existence? As much as I dislike some of nVidia's practices, I can't find fault in their actions in this case.

    Me, I'm rooting for AMD's open-source physics engine initiative. It would eliminate all of this debate, as the playing field would be leveled.
     
  18. I cant believe what just happened to me this morning. I got a new 6 disk cd changer installed in my truck yesterday. So today I put 6 of my favorite cd's in and low and behold, none of them would play. I called Alpine, the manufacturer of the cd changer to see if they could help. This is what they told me:

    "We apologize sir, however, Sony/BMG has implemented a new policy to help protect their investment, their music cd's will not play if there is another music cd present."

    If this sounds like a joke to you, well, it is. Just like Nvidia.
     
  19. Darnit, my Alpine was supposed to be a Sony :(

    But im sure you all get my point.
     
  20. If I pay 300 dollars for a video card that supports PhysX. It better do it! Whether I have an ATI, NVidia or Intel graphics chip. If you have a motherboard with an NVidia chipset you expect it to work with an ATI card. If you buy a an AMD processor you would expect it to work with an NVidia graphics card. And if I choose to run my 300 dollar NVidia card as just a PhysX board then as it is an advertised feature, it should work. Or they need to put a disclaimer on all their boards and provide compensation for those of us who already spent the money. PhysX will probably go by the wayside since they already have issues getting game companies to support it in GPU. OpenCL and its associated technologies should be more attractive to game developers since its one less licensing expense for the studio. But then again, DirectX is still here and theres licensing fees for it too.
     
  21. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,184   +177

    I hope the bad publicity bites nvidia for what they have done. They aren't really in a strong position anymore to dictate terms like this and alienating a market segment hopefully will hit them in the wallet.
     
  22. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,286   +232

    If you pay 300 dollars for that video card, you should probably do a bit of research before plunking down those hard earned dollars. nVidia IS PhysX now, and PhysX is embedded in their graphics processing drivers, as part of the PRIMARY video display system. You can add a second nVidia card and have it do the lion's share of the processing, but as far as I've ever seen, it was always worded this way: "Add a SECOND nVidia card to do your PhysX calculations" and such. Just because they have acquired PhysX and rolled it into their GPUs doesn't mean they ever expected people to buy an nVidia graphics card and basically use it as a newer version of an Aegia dedicated PhysX card, it was always intended to be utilized in an nVidia graphics environment. This announcement and move to limit the PhysX applications has just cemented the concept, to protect them from issues that might stem from mix-and-match sets. That, and to push sales of their cards, of course.

    I tend to settle for ATi in Crossfire running the Havok engine, rather than some bastardized hybrid system where I'm using 2 different GPU types - software physics doesn't care as much what platform(s) you run it on. And as you say, PhysX will likely become obsolete in the long run, particularly if AMD's open-source physics engine initiative catches on.
     
  23. you're misunderstanding the scenario. I dont execpt anyone to buy a nvidia card just for physx along side and ATi, but consider current owners of NVidia cards. Card gets a bit old, time to upgrade and unless you're religious about your vendor you're gonna buy the best option for the best price. As it is right now I guess that would be an ATi card at least until gt300 comes out, we'll see. now if NVidia didnt flat out disable support for physx unless its the primary card, they can still use it to do physx instead o just throwing away a pretty expensive piece of hardware. Which is fair and it is what you expect. As for Nvidia having to deal with mixed enviroments, yes of course they do, its part of the support they have to provide Vrmithrax, there will always be new scenarios, what if Microsoft release and update that breaks something in nvidia driver, they just disable the feature cause well its not a supported scenario? this is no different. if their driver has issues running physx or anything else for that matter unless card is in primary mode, its a bug that requires fixing end of story.

    This seems different only cause we're talking about competitors and the same hardware. Would you think the same and keep the same stence if instead of another ATi card the problem would be if the computer has a certain sound card? I bet not this is no different.

    I obviously dont know the details so I cant really say, but this is one of two things in my opinion:

    Either NVidia are trying to keep a strong hold on its current customers and using this to deter its current customers from jumping ship

    Or they have a bug in their driver system and they dont want to fix it.

    both are unexceptable in my opinion I have always owned a nvidia card but i think its time to switch if they're gonna stay playing these games, this feels like blackmail and I dont stand for it.

    I understand they may be some issues and in some cases it might be unstable but you dont fix that by disabling everything!
     
  24. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,286   +232

    Again, I am not misunderstanding the scenario... Maybe I should boil it down to basics: If you want PhysX, you need a "pure" nVidia graphics system. If you want to throw a wildcard ATi into the mix, nVidia wants no part in any possible support nightmare scenarios, so PhysX is disabled. Period.

    I've done my share of programming (including drivers) so I can attest firsthand to the fact that it is often a microscopically fine line you are running, and hoping that nobody throws a curveball at you by changing THEIR drivers in such a way that it affects you too. nVidia (and ATi for that matter) has enough work to do just always keeping up with the general trends and constant advancements, to stay in step with current performance in terms of drivers and technical issues. What most people saying "nVidia sucks" on this thread seem to not get is that nVidia is not responsible for issues that might stem from mixing and matching wildly different GPU hardware. But you all seem to think they should be. If you put an ATi card into the mix, you have now created a hybrid situation, it is no longer an nVidia graphics system, so you have voided your option to run PhysX. It's amazing to me how people just expect companies to support stupid crap that they don't NEED to support, just because those people feel they are entitled to it. Who pays for all the extra time, research, programming, and support for that endeavor? You expect nVidia to just give away any profits they might make so small percentage of their customer base can be mollified in case they MIGHT want to do something a certain way that is, by its very definition, a nonstandard configuration?

    The sound card comparison is ridiculous, that is apples and oranges. This is a situation where you have 2 pieces of hardware that do the same job, but use 2 totally different driver sets, and have any number of possibilities for conflict between the 2 platforms.

    You say they possibly have a bug in their system, but in reality it's not a bug, they just didn't waste the time to develop, adjust, and maintain their applications to benefit THEIR COMPETITORS. Yes, hardware gets dated and needs updating, but you always have a choice, and in this case your choice is to stay with nVidia if you want PhysX, or go with ATi and lose that option. It's not rocket science, but it IS business, and nVidia is playing it smart. As I have said before, I may not agree with nVidia's practices (in fact I almost never do), but this one I can't fault.

    Oh, and "you don't fix that by disabling everything!" Really? Come on, they are disabling PhysX, a (currently) seldom-used piece of GPU-intensive code that has been cobbled into their driver system to run on their hardware, rather than forcing you to buy an expensive physics processing card (hey, but let's not give them any kudos for THAT part). That's it. But, by all means, over-dramatize it by saying it is "everything" and join the doomsayers... heh
     
  25. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,286   +232

    Sorry, just have to address this

    As opposed to an expensive ATi card you might be replacing, which gives you exactly nothing extra and you would just throw away. Double standard there, I'd say.

    Again, this is MASSIVELY different, but nobody seems to get it. If, as you say, Microsoft releases an update that breaks something in the nVidia driver, well they will fix it - they have a team that does nothing BUT fix and update their driver on those occasions where updates and changes affect their GPU drivers and performance. But, what if MS updates something that breaks the ATi driver enough to affect the PhysX interaction? Now nVidia is responsible for fixing THEIR driver to compensate for their COMPETITOR's driver shortcomings? Or are they supposed to just take over and program ATi's drivers for them, to make sure it all works? See, there is a huge component that nVidia has absolutely no control over in this equation, which is how the ATi (as the primary graphics engine) will interact with their stuff. And, you can guarantee that if the PhysX isn't working in this situation, they will be the ones getting the griping and support requests. Even if they point back at ATi as the culprit, most people who don't understand the complexities involved won't listen and pull the "well what do they have to do with YOUR software?" card. It's a support nightmare in the making, why not just eliminate the possibility?
     
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