|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 Video Card Performance|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Tuesday, 09 November 2010|
Page 18 of 21
NVIDIA APEX PhysX Enhancements
Many of the latest video games are being developed with new graphical enhancement technologies in mind, such as APEX PhysX and 3D-Vision Surround. Each of these NVIDIA-developed technologies are designed to work their best on GeForce desktop graphics solutions, and only the most powerful GPUs can make the special effects stand out in full glory. While a single GeForce GTX 580 has enough power to enable all of the quality settings to their highest levels with APEX PhysX enabled, adding a second video cards for SLI opens up the possibilities for higher frame rate performance and excellent 3D-Vision performance.
Mafia II is the first PC video game title to include the new NVIDIA APEX PhysX framework, a powerful feature set that only GeForce video cards are built do deliver. While console versions will make use of PhysX, only the PC version supports NVIDIA's APEX PhysX physics modeling engine, which adds the following features: APEX Destruction, APEX Clothing, APEX Vegetation, and APEX Turbulence. PhysX helps make object movement more fluid and lifelike, such as cloth and debris. In this section, Benchmark Reviews details the differences made with- and without APEX PhysX enabled.
We begin with a scene from the Mafia II benchmark test, which has the player pinned down behind a brick column as the enemy shoots at him. Examine the image below, which was taken with a Radeon video card configured with all settings turned to their highest and APEX PhysX support disabled:
No PhysX = Cloth Blending and Missing Debris
Notice from the image above that when PhysX is disabled there is no broken stone debris on the ground. Cloth from foreground character's trench coat blends into his leg and remains in a static position relative to his body, as does the clothing on other (AI) characters. Now inspect the image below, which uses a GeForce graphics card with APEX PhysX enabled:
Realistic Cloth and Debris - High Quality Settings With PhysX
With APEX PhysX enabled, the cloth neatly sways with the contour of a characters body, and doesn't bleed into solid objects such as body parts. Additionally, APEX Clothing features improve realism by adding gravity and wind effects onto clothing, allowing for characters to look like they would in similar real-world environments.
Burning Destruction Smoke and Vapor Realism
Flames aren't exactly new to video games, but smoke plumes and heat vapor that mimic realistic movement have never looked as real as they do with APEX Turbulence. Fire and explosions added into a destructible environment is a potent combination for virtual-world mayhem, showcasing the new PhysX APEX Destruction feature.
Exploding Glass Shards and Bursting Flames
NVIDIA PhysX has changed video game explosions into something worthy of cinema-level special effects. Bursting windows explode into several unique shards of glass, and destroyed crates bust into splintered kindling. Smoke swirls and moves as if there's an actual air current, and flames move out towards open space all on their own. Surprisingly, there is very little impact on FPS performance with APEX PhysX enabled on GeForce video cards, and very little penalty for changing from medium (normal) to high settings.