HD 6970 + Dedicated GT 430 Hybrid Physx Mini Review

N1GHTRA1N

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So I decided to test out using a Hybrid Physx solution. My system is in the sig and I've added a GT 430 1GB card with 128-bit memory bus. These are the results I've scored so far. Is it worth while? I haven't decided yet. What do you think?

All results are at 1920x1200 with MAXED game settings. AMD 11.10 Preview 2 and NVIDIA 280.26 with Hybrid 1.04ff patch applied.

UPDATE: Added a EVGA GTX 460 1GB FTW card to compare Physx results and final comment.

No Physx

BATMAN: AA - min 100, avg 187, max 243
Mafia II - 57.4fps
Alice Madness Returns - 110FPS

With Physx HIGH no GT 430

BATMAN: AA - min 13, avg 33, max 41
Mafia II - 17.2fps
Alice Madness Returns - 28 FPS

With Physx HIGH - GT 430 installed

BATMAN: AA - min 56, avg 116, max 177
Mafia II - 36.7fps
Alice Madness Returns - 72FPS

With Physx HIGH - GTX 460 installed

BATMAN: AA - min 61, avg 119, max 178
Mafia II - 39.1ps
Alice Madness Returns - 77FPS

Mirror's Edge

AMD 6970 Physx Off- 242fps
AMD 6970 + GT 430 Physx On - 128fps
AMD 6970 + GTX 460 Physx On - 132fps

Cyrostatis Benchmark – High settings 1920x1200 DX10

AMD 6970– Total Time 688.108s
Total Frame count 9821
Average fps 14.3
Minimum fps 5.3
Maximum fps 167.5

AMD 6970 + GT 430 – Total Time 147.212s
Total Frame count 9821
Average fps 66.7
Minimum fps 43.1
Maximum fps 153.9

AMD 6970 + GTX 460 – Total Time 143.754s
Total Frame count 9821
Average fps 68.3
Minimum fps 44.2
Maximum fps 161.1

Fluid Mark 120000 particles, 7 emitters, 1920×1200 fullscreen, PostFX enabled, Async mode ON: With GT 430 card installed - Global score: 430 points, PhysX score: 68 points (11 SPS avg), GraphX score: 361 points (61 AVG avg)

Fluid Mark 120000 particles, 7 emitters, 1920×1200 fullscreen, PostFX enabled, Async mode ON: With GTX 460 card installed - Global score: 446 points, PhysX score: 73 points (12 SPS avg), GraphX score: 369 points (63 AVG avg)

3DMark 11 (not sure if Physx is utilized at all here, scores are slightly lower but very close with GT 430 installed)

AMD 6970 - P5948 and X1938
AMD 6970 + GT 430 - P5917 and X1932
AMD 6970 + GTX 460 - P5931 and X1928

MSI Kombustor DX11 KMARK Exteme 1920x1080 (not sure if Physx is utilized at all here, scores are slightly lower but very close with GT 430 installed)

AMD 6970 - 1845 points (44 FPS, 130000 ms)
Graphics Score: 1382 (25 fps)
Physx Score: 4276 (168fps, 225sps)
FPS: min = 16, max = 202, avg = 44

AMD 6970 + GT 430 - 1834 points (44 FPS, 130000 ms)
Graphics Score: 1382 (25 fps)
Physx Score: 4060 (169fps, 211sps)
FPS: min = 16, max = 205, avg = 44

AMD 6970 + GTX 460 - 1837 points (44 FPS, 130000 ms)
Graphics Score: 1382 (25 fps)
Physx Score: 4086 (169fps, 215sps)
FPS: min = 16, max = 203, avg = 44

Power consumption

System specs below: Idle draw 351W, highest load running above tests is 538W
System with GT 430 added: Idle draw 351W(???) will sometimes jump to 358W, Highest load running above tests is 569W
System with GTX 460 added: Idle draw 393W, Highest load running above tests is 631W

So power consumption is very good with the GT 430 but as you can see the GTX 460 uses a considerable amount of extra power, it also requires two 6-pin PCIe power connectors where the GT 430 is powered by the PCIe slot, this explain it drawing an extra 62W compared to the GT 430 (obviously it could be more in the GPU was stressed more) and an extra 93W compared to having only a HD 6970 installed. This extra power load would certainly add up over the course of a year if you use a lot of Physx games, in fact the extra 42W of power at idle is nothing to just pass off either.

Temps:

There was zero change in my system temps using the GT 430, they stayed within what I normally experience. The GT 430 idles around 33 degrees and maxed out at 50 degrees

With the GTX 460 my system temps were about 1-2 degrees higher on the motherboard and about 3-4 degrees higher on the CPU during these tests. The EVGA GTX 460 1GB FTW idles at around 33 degrees (same at the GT 430) but maxed out at about 61 degrees, so that could account for the extra overall rise in temperature in my case.

Overall the GT 430 matches up well and does allow you to enable Physx in Physx titles when playing with an AMD graphics card. There is a pretty big performance hit compared to having Physx disabled but in all cases frame rates were still playable. There is a pretty substantial upgrade when comparing Physx On with the GT 430 added, it made the difference of being playable or not. The GTX 460 does show it's extra power compared to the GT 430, you will get a few extra FPS using the GTX 460, I noticed between 2-5 FPS increase in most games tested after "upgrading" to the GTX 460. It is also worth noting that the EVGA GTX 460 1GB FTW edition is heavily overclocked out of the box, I ran this card at the factory defaults of 850/1000 which may account for the additional FPS scored, as well as some of the additional power usage. I can only guess, but I would think using a stock clock speed GTX 460 would result in slightly low FPS and slightly lower power draw. There is potential that the FPS performance of a stock clocked GTX 460 could be identical to the GT 430, however the power usage will always be lower on the GT 430. Remember the stock speeds for a GTX 460 is 675/900 and the GT 430 I used is 700/800 which the GTX 460 I used is 850/1000.

With all things considering I think the GT 430 is a very good solution if you must have Physx support with a AMD card. The results are playable frame rates with Physx enabled, something AMD can't do on its own. If you decide to go with a higher GPU like the GTX 460 you may get some extra performance, it is a very small 2-5fps but there is some performance increase. It is difficult to say if this is due to the extra clock speeds, 256-bit memory bus (compared to 128-bit GT 430), or the extra CUDA cores (336 vs 96). The bottom line is that I cannot justify the cost of a GTX 460 when you consider the minimal increase in performance compared to the GT 430, especially if you value power consumption and case temperatures. The GTX 460 will most certainly require extra power and generate extra heat, this costs you extra money on your electrical bill. The GT 430 is also available in a large variety of single card solutions, the GTX 460 does have some single slot designs but they are expensive and add extra heat due to a poorer cooling solution.

I can recommend the GT 430 as a suitable Physx addon if you want Physx support and have a good CPU and GPU to keep the FPS playable. In the end it is up to you to decide if Physx is worth while, the effects look nice and add some extra elements to the graphical experience but the core gameplay is unchanged. Physx is more or less a gimmick but some people want it, if you are one of those people and also have a AMD GPU then you can consider the GT 430 as an excellent solution. It is relatively cheap, generates no additional heat inside your case, and consumes very little power. At idle it consumes almost no power. That is a WIN-WIN-WIN scenario, sure you can get slightly better performance by stepping up to a better card like the GTX 460 but in my opinion the negatives of doing so outweigh the positives.

My personal decision is to stay away from Physx right now, but I will be keeping an eye out for a killer deal on a single slot GT 430, if I can get a great price I'll buy one and use it for Physx. Until then I can live without the added effects and the performance hit.

Please feel free to ask questions if you have them.
 
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samuelmorris

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Interesting results, thanks for sharing. It's something I have considered in the past, but having the extra PCIe bandwidth and slots to do it is an issue. The only real means I'd have of running a similar setup would be with a 1x PCIe card.

What I'm probably most interested in though - how easy was it to get PhysX running when you had Radeons installed? Was it much of a trial to get the drivers setup for it?]

Also, what's with the idle draw, 351W? My system idles at 165W. That's quite a difference considering we run similar hardware apart from the CPU.
 

N1GHTRA1N

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Interesting results, thanks for sharing. It's something I have considered in the past, but having the extra PCIe bandwidth and slots to do it is an issue. The only real means I'd have of running a similar setup would be with a 1x PCIe card.

What I'm probably most interested in though - how easy was it to get PhysX running when you had Radeons installed? Was it much of a trial to get the drivers setup for it?]

Also, what's with the idle draw, 351W? My system idles at 165W. That's quite a difference considering we run similar hardware apart from the CPU.

That is including my three LCD monitors, I probably should have mentioned that.

As for the drivers, it was a piece of cake. I physically installed the card. Booted up the system and allow Windows 7 to detect it. I think ran the installer for NVIDIA 280.26 drivers and before rebooting I installed the Hybrid Physx mod 1.04ff found here. I then rebooted and was ready to do. The GPU has Physx enabled by the mod installer, if you want to use the Nvidia control panel you will need a monitor plugged into the nvidia card, I didn't mention that before. However, there really is no need if you just want to use Physx support.

I should also mention that because no monitors are connected to the nvidia card you don't have to worry about configuring them as part of your desktop so no worries about loosing your mouse or anything the interfaces aren't detected at all.
 

needmorecarnitine

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Hi, I have no intention of ever using PhysX (and this is coming from someone with a Nvidia card) but its cool that you took the time to do this because its really helpful to the community and anyone considering using PhysX with a Radeon.
 

samuelmorris

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That is including my three LCD monitors, I probably should have mentioned that.

As for the drivers, it was a piece of cake. I physically installed the card. Booted up the system and allow Windows 7 to detect it. I think ran the installer for NVIDIA 280.26 drivers and before rebooting I installed the Hybrid Physx mod 1.04ff found here. I then rebooted and was ready to do. The GPU has Physx enabled by the mod installer, if you want to use the Nvidia control panel you will need a monitor plugged into the nvidia card, I didn't mention that before. However, there really is no need if you just want to use Physx support.

I should also mention that because no monitors are connected to the nvidia card you don't have to worry about configuring them as part of your desktop so no worries about loosing your mouse or anything the interfaces aren't detected at all.

Ah, three monitors makes sense. Even with my PC's 165W idle wattage, my actual idle draw is about 310W because of the draw from my monitor, all the networking and auxiliary hardware that runs off the same socket. Good to hear it's quite easy. Is there any likelihood of the Hybrid PhysX mod being banhammered any time soon? :p
 

N1GHTRA1N

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Ah, three monitors makes sense. Even with my PC's 165W idle wattage, my actual idle draw is about 310W because of the draw from my monitor, all the networking and auxiliary hardware that runs off the same socket. Good to hear it's quite easy. Is there any likelihood of the Hybrid PhysX mod being banhammered any time soon? :p

I doubt they could banhammer it. I mean they could try to hide the routines better but someone is bound to find them.

165W is very nice, when my monitors go to power saving mode my system draws 257W. I don't use any power save feature on my CPU and that uses 130W, I also never power down my hard drives. The plus side is that the single 6970 uses far less power than my previous crossfired 4870s.
 

N1GHTRA1N

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Hi, I have no intention of ever using PhysX (and this is coming from someone with a Nvidia card) but its cool that you took the time to do this because its really helpful to the community and anyone considering using PhysX with a Radeon.

Thats why I did it. I was having a really hard time finding out the information, I could find older tests with 5xxx series card paired with nvidia 2xx series cards but I wanted to know for sure. So I took a couple of hours and ran some tests, figured I'd post it here to help the community.
 

samuelmorris

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I doubt they could banhammer it. I mean they could try to hide the routines better but someone is bound to find them.

165W is very nice, when my monitors go to power saving mode my system draws 257W. I don't use any power save feature on my CPU and that uses 130W, I also never power down my hard drives. The plus side is that the single 6970 uses far less power than my previous crossfired 4870s.

Still seems a lot :/ - 165's only when the second card enters powersave at the desktop. If that's inhibited, either manually in the registry or with a game alt-tabbed, it's 190W.
 

N1GHTRA1N

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How does this even work? you use the 2nd graphics mainly for physx>?

Your main graphics card, in this case a 6970, renders all the graphics data. The CUDA cores on the GeForce card, in this case the GT 430, handles the advanced Physx calculations. Becuase Physx puts more stuff on the screen the 3D card has to render more stuff too, this causes the reduction in frames you see from my tests. In this type of setup, or a setup with a Nvidia card as primary GPU and a second card dedicated to Physx, the GeForce card only does Physx Calculations. Since it doesn't do 3D rendering or anything it stays cool and consumes less power since it isn't processing a heavy load.
 

samuelmorris

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Interesting, the GTX460 is doing a lot less than I would have though. Thanks for sharing...
 

N1GHTRA1N

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Interesting, the GTX460 is doing a lot less than I would have though. Thanks for sharing...

Yes. I thought the scores would be higher. Espeically since I read a review with a 5870 + Physx card and they saw a jump of almost 12fps in Mafia II going from a GT 240 to GTX 260 (34fps to 46fps) for Physx. I was expecting similar but I only got less than 3fps more in the same game going from GT 430 to GTX 460. There has to be some reason for that. Who knows, it could have to do with Mafia II and the AMD driver version. I did post higher FPS on my system using CPU Physx and GT430 compared to GT240 when using that review as a comparision. However the GTX460 results were much lower than the GTX 260 results they posted (7fps lower), they were actually more comparable to the GTS 250.
 

samuelmorris

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Trouble is with nvidia, you never know if there's any artificial frame rate lowering going on, like they do with CPU PhysX, which is capped at around 0.4 core usage.
 

N1GHTRA1N

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Trouble is with nvidia, you never know if there's any artificial frame rate lowering going on, like they do with CPU PhysX, which is capped at around 0.4 core usage.

Very true, so many things going on that are unknown.

I just saw another review online with a similar setup. HD 5870 + GTX 460 and 1920x1200 and they got 36FPS. So maybe with the newer drivers a GTX 460 will perform worse than a GTX 260 with older drivers as a dedicated Physx card. Either way the results that I got from my testing are posted here. As with anything another user may have different results. YMMV.
 

KarsusTG

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Hmm. I didnt think that a physics card would make that big of a diff. It's interesting how minimal the difference between the 430 and 460 made and it's really not enough to justify sucking more power.

Maybe my next mobo will have to be E-ATX and able to fit another card for physics.
 

flegg

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Excellent. Thanks much op and mat9669 just bought that. Time to finally play batman been waiting for this. Might give mirror's edge a spin again as well. Mafia 2 was too bland for me. Any upcoming games I should look forward to or should I resell my gt430 after I finish batman AA?
 

N1GHTRA1N

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Excellent. Thanks much op and mat9669 just bought that. Time to finally play batman been waiting for this. Might give mirror's edge a spin again as well. Mafia 2 was too bland for me. Any upcoming games I should look forward to or should I resell my gt430 after I finish batman AA?

Batman Arkham City next month. Also Alice Madness Returns as pretty fun.
 

Unknown-One

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Huh, I might consider downgrading my PhysX card from a GTX260 to a GT430 if this is really the case.

Lower power consumption, less heat, possibly no fan required, and very minimal performance drop. Sign me up!
 

AARGH!

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I just installed a GT430 for Batman and it works like a charm in my Crossfire setup! Now just have to wait for the game to come out... :(
 

Majinhoju

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If I had another spare pci-e slot i'd be tempted to get a gt 430. I used to use my 8800gt with my 6870 but i pulled out the 8800gt in favour of crossfire.
 

HisSvt76

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I had my 6970's in crossfire with a GTX460 it worked nice. a gt430 is too weak to be useful, the better the card the less your framrate drops when i switched from the 9800gt i had to the gtx460 frame rates went right back up.
 

N1GHTRA1N

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HisSvt76

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this is posted in this forum but anyway and using anything below a gts 450 is useless if you have a high end gpu setup i started witha 5970 and a 9800gt for physx and then the 6970's with a gtx 460 and it was a huge difference.

physx.jpg
 
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Lord_Exodia

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I've seen reviews of using a dedicated physX card on a full nvidia setup where physX improves performance as supposed to making you take so much of a hit. Also the better the card the better it performed and helped things, as opposed to this review where a GTs 430 being almost as good as a much higher end card. Is the performance hit exclusively when using the hybrid driver to get it working with AMD or is the performance hit consistent on a completely nvidia setup as well?
 

HisSvt76

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I've seen reviews of using a dedicated physX card on a full nvidia setup where physX improves performance as supposed to making you take so much of a hit. Also the better the card the better it performed and helped things, as opposed to this review where a GTs 430 being almost as good as a much higher end card. Is the performance hit exclusively when using the hybrid driver to get it working with AMD or is the performance hit consistent on a completely nvidia setup as well?

the hit is the same , i also tried a GTX460 with a 9800gt for physx and then with a friends gts450 and also these cards mixed with a 5970 and 6970's in crossfire and a single 6970 the game performance improved as i stepped up in both cases. i use these setips just for the fact that i have AMD gpu's but love to play the ut3 physx maps in all there glory and along with batman AA etc etc.
 

Lord_Exodia

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Okay, that's good news, I'm going to see what batman arkham city offers for physX and if it's compelling enough I'll spend $60 after mir for a single slot GTs 430 for physX. I also have a bunch of old games that have physX support that I'll take for a re spin.
 

flegg

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Okay, that's good news, I'm going to see what batman arkham city offers for physX and if it's compelling enough I'll spend $60 after mir for a single slot GTs 430 for physX. I also have a bunch of old games that have physX support that I'll take for a re spin.

You missed the $20 AR GT430 that I am currently using to watch batman's cape flow majestically?

Btw the game says my hardware doesn't support when I do hybrid right (even though it does)?
 

Lord_Exodia

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You missed the $20 AR GT430 that I am currently using to watch batman's cape flow majestically?

Btw the game says my hardware doesn't support when I do hybrid right (even though it does)?

Damn! Is that a single slot card? I can only fit a single slot card in my system. This would go in the bottom slot right above the PSU. The cheapest I see now is $29.99 on newegg but it's for a dual slot version. The cheapest single slot version I see is $36.99 AR, from ECS Elite Group.

Anyone know if the last Full size PCIe 4x (black)Slot will work for a physX processor on the Asus P8P67 rev 3.0 (B3 revision) series. I'm not sure and I've heard that it will not. I'd be nice to know if my source was wrong about that.
 

MoondanceR

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N1GHTRA1N
can I ask you what model of the 430 did you use? It just there are so many models out there and I get confused easily. I have an HD 6950 but I recently upgraded it to HD 6970.
Please answer me asap, Batman: Arkham City is due next week.
 

flegg

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Damn! Is that a single slot card? I can only fit a single slot card in my system. This would go in the bottom slot right above the PSU. The cheapest I see now is $29.99 on newegg but it's for a dual slot version. The cheapest single slot version I see is $36.99 AR, from ECS Elite Group.

Anyone know if the last Full size PCIe 4x (black)Slot will work for a physX processor on the Asus P8P67 rev 3.0 (B3 revision) series. I'm not sure and I've heard that it will not. I'd be nice to know if my source was wrong about that.

Uh I'm not sure on all of this but mine seems single slot.
 

Lord_Exodia

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Uh I'm not sure on all of this but mine seems single slot.

Wow congrats on that. I have a good gut feeling that come this black friday/cyber monday, I may find that card for less than $20 online though, so I'm going to shoot for then. :)
 

Unknown-One

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gt430 is too weak to be useful, the better the card the less your framrate drops when i switched from the 9800gt i had to the gtx460 frame rates went right back up.
I switched from a 9800GT as a dedicated PhysX card all the way up to a GTX260. HD 5850 as the primary graphics card in both cases.

The faster PhysX card caused my peak framerates to increase (which artificially inflated the average), but the extra power did not improve my minimum framerates at all. Batman AA was dropping to 36 FPS minimum with the 9800GT, and it still dropped to 36 FPS minimum with the GTX260. Gameplay remained exactly the same since the game was still chugging in exactly the same places.

Replacing the HD 5850 with an HD 6970 is what finally improved my minimum framerates. Performance went up across the board WITHOUT upgrading the PhysX card again. Moral of the story? Installing an overkill PhysX card wont do jack unless you remove all other bottlenecks from the system first. A lot of people wont see ANY useful gain from buying a GTX460 instead of a GT430 as a dedicated PhysX card.

The 9800GT was considered a good baseline PhysX card when Batman Arkham Asylum launched; it was a decent bang-for-buck offering that performed decently. The part of the GT430 that gets utilized while processing PhysX is faster than that of the 9800GT, so it should still hold its own.
 
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