BFG PhysX CardBFG PhysX CardThe BFG PhysX card isn't very large at all and won't cause any problems when it comes to installing in your system. The blue PCB is the same as we have seen on some BFG graphics cards in the past and the general layout of the card makes it look very much like a VGA card minus the fact that it has no output ports.
Comparing PhysX through ImageryTest System SetupProcessor(s): Intel Pentium 4 3.4GHz Extreme EditionMotherboard(s): Gigabyte GA-8N-SLI RoyalMemory: 2 X 1GB Kingmax DDR2 667MHzGraphics Card: ATI Radeon X1900XTX 512MBHard Disk(s): 4 x Hitachi 80GB SATA2 in RAID 0Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP1Drivers: ATI Catalyst 6.3 and DX9cWe have not reduced the in game image sizes so you can see all the detail possible. The enlarged images come in at 450k - 500k. If you are a 56k dial-up user, you may want to be a little patient. Getting the exact same screenshot is extremely difficulty especially since the only save feature available in GRAW (Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter) is the auto save one meaning you can't pick the exact same position each time.The issue of frame rate dropping has been discussed over multiple forums. While we cannot say 100% what driver they were using, the 25th of April 2006 driver we installed didn't find any major frame drops. The graphics card does have to render more with the PhysX card installed but it didn't put us in the position where we had to turn down features to get the same smooth feeling style of game play.Comparing through ImageryPlease note: the top shot is without the AGEIA PhysX card and the bottom is with.Our first comparison shot is one of the worst due to the timing being out the most between the two images. With that said though you can clearly see the excessive debris flying through the air. We are referring to the smaller pieces though, the first image you can still see the box exploding behind the smoke.
Comparing PhysX ContinuedComparing through Imagery ContinuedThis shot is taken at almost the exact same time with and without the card installed. You can clearly see the extra debris at the core of the explosion. You can also notice that you get the blur effect with the drum that has exploded due to them moving at such a high speed.
Final ThoughtsFinal ThoughtsSo here is the situation - You have had a look at the screen shots and still can't fully understand what it's doing for you. There are two really noticeable features that the BFG AGEIA PhysX card does for you.Firstly we have all the extra debris that gets flung through the air. This is there to simulate items like concrete being damaged in a blast. It makes the explosion look more realistic instead of just a big flame going up in the air.Secondly is the heat waves and this is something which is extremely difficult to capture. When you have a flame especially the size of the ones we generated, you get that blurry kind of haze due to the heat coming off it. The AGEIA card gives you this in game instead of a simple flame in the air again all with the purpose of taking gaming to the next level.The BFG Tech AGEIA PhysX card really does help take your gaming experience to the next level. Sure, we can understand that the level is a good jump in realism for a game like Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter but if this is a sign of what's to come over the next 6 - 12 months in PC gaming, you have something to be very excited about.The AGEIA PhysX card has very limited partners with BFG currently being the only one selling the card at the retail. ASUS are also supposed to be doing something but there seems to be nothing 100% yet.Cell Factor has also just become available to AGEIA owners and if you want to play this game, you will need one of these cards.The AGEIA PhysX card will only be as good as the games that follow and the initial list is looking pretty good. GRAW is a great game and there is a lot of hype for Unreal Tournament 2007. Throw these two games in with Cell Factor (which looks absolutely amazing from the initial trailers) and we think this card is going to be a must have but only you can decide if it's a must have for today or next week or whenever.Do you want to play GRAW how it is supposed to be played? Do you want to play the Cell Factor demo to experience true next generation gaming? If the answer is yes and you have some spare cash, pull that credit card out and order one from your closest BFG Tech AGEIA reseller.Finally we leave thinking about the performance hit that has been spoken about a lot. There is no doubt that the AGEIA card in GRAW does impact performance - the VGA card has to render more detail due to the AGEIA card. Losses as high as 20 frames per second have been spoken about but with that said, the Radeon X1900XTX at 2560 x 1600 didn't give us any major loss of FPS that affected our game play. The other thing is the PhysX in GRAW feels as it's been kind of taped on and not written from the ground up. When we get a chance to look at the card again we will try Cell Factor which is designed around the AGEIA technology to see just how it performs. This will give us a better indication of how future games will perform with this technology as it matures.
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