XFX 9800GTX Plus Black Edition Review :: GeForce Power Pack

11-13-2008 · Category: Hardware - Video Cards

By Doc Overclock

I've talked about the ability of any GeForce 8 or higher card to run PhysX with a special driver. NVIDIA has recently launched their GeForce Power Pack which clearly demonstrates what PhysX can do. They update the GPP periodically with new drivers, new applications and game demos. NVIDIA now has updated the drivers and demos at least once since the first GPP was released last month.

The current version of the Power Pack includes the 177.92 drivers, Unreal Tournament 3 PhysX Mod, Badaboom media converter, Warmonger, the F@H client, the Nurien Demo, Metal Knight Zero Demo, the Great Kulu Technology demo and the Fluids Technology Demo. The current version is over 2GB in HDD space but includes a full game and is worth the download if you have a supported NVIDIA card.

For purposes of this review no PhysX driver was used in testing. Two of the tests have specific support for PhysX, 3DMark Vantage and Unreal Tournament 3, meaning that performance will be out of whack with PhysX enabled. The GeForce Power Pack driver enables PhysX by default but you can later disable it in the driver. PhysX enabling increased 3DMark scores by over 1000 points mostly on the CPU side as the graphics card score remains nearly the same.

The Folding at Home client is designed to have the computer do work units to help solve the problem of cancer. NVIDIA says their F@H client will do the work of several Intel CPUs and judging by the number of work units NVIDIA users have done this is true. The Nurien demo is of a new application for social networking that is being released in the near future. Metal Knight Zero is another game coming out with PhysX support.

Trying out the MKZ demo I was able to get a framerate of 16 fps on a single 9800GTX+without PhysX enabled. With PhysX enabled that framerate jumped immediately to 54fps. Offloading the physics to the graphics card can make a dramatic difference in games that support it. Note that this benchmark was run with a 3.2GHz QX9770 CPU from Intel, the fastest available one. The NVIDIA Rigid Body Fluids demo is a cool demo of hardware physics. The demo simulates 60000 particles flowing down like a flood. The demo runs at 3 fps on software emulation with a single 9800GTX+. Hardware mode allows the demo to run in 30fps throughout. Hardware physics can make a giant difference inside a game when it is enabled. SLI mode allowed the software mode to run nearly 3-4 fps throughout. Hardware mode had a frame rate of 36 fps throughout.

PhysX demo shots

XFX 9800GTX Plus Black Edition Review
XFX 9800GTX Plus Black Edition Review