PhysX Made Open-Source!*

  • = Just the CPU-accelerated portion, though.

That's the fly in the ointment, as it were. Nvidia obviously doesn't want to give away PhysX completely, to allow AMD to highly parallelize their own version of PhysX. But at least this will allow AMD to implement their own version of PhysX, with a little bit of work of their own. So CPU-bound limitations of PhysX should be lessened thanks to Nvidia's move, and AMD should now be able to improve their CPU performance of lower-end systems running PhysX-enabled games.

This move should help reduce power consumption of CPUs, decrease CPU utilization in games (which should improve performance), making AMD GPUs more interesting to a wider audience. It's a great publicity move by Nvidia, after the whole GTX 970 3.5GB fiasco, but it seems to have been driven by the release of source code for Unreal Engine 4 and Unity 5.

I'm hopeful that this will not only improve performance on lower-end CPUs, but when combined with Vulkan (glNext, or future unreleased OpenGL version) and DX12, will decrease unnecessary CPU usage by passing on more work (like Physics and graphics driver work) onto the GPU, instead of the CPU. This offloading of work from the CPU to GPU should make gaming systems more affordable, allowing Nvidia to encourage sales of high-performance gaming systems, since a less powerful CPU will likely cost less. (This also gives head room for game developers to use more of the CPU for AI and other purposes.)

It could also allow more of a gamer's budget to be spent on GPUs, which is likely where Nvidia is hoping this move will go (along with the great publicity). While not as nice as the release of CUDA highly-parallelized PhysX source code, it's a step in the right direction.

Now if only we could do something about the release of their Linux and Windows drivers.

Holy shit NVIDIA preformed a business practice that is not akin to eating babies!

Nice to see them not going the shitty direction they were going.


If DirectX12 and Vulkan does exactly what's advertised, and PhysX removes even further CPU usage, It's going to get to the point where something like AMD's Athlon 860k will make much more logical sense to grab than an intel quad-core for gaming. Kudos to Nvidia, but they still need to do a lot more for me to respect them as a company.

That's not open source at all… it's just kinda public if you agree to some stupid eula

Same here, dude.

Nvidia did do awesome with the GTX 970. It performs great at a low cost, despite their 3.5GB fiasco.

The only thing that we need now is for developers (cough, cough, Far Cry 4 quad-core only, cough, cough) to optimize their games for multiple cores, and to try (wholeheartedly!) to write the most efficient, least-CPU-hungry, most multithreaded-optimized code for their games as possible.

Nvidia could start by doing three really big things to earn my respect for them as a company:

  • Make PhysX (including APEX!) fully open-source, CUDA and all. (Basically: finish the job, Nvidia.)
  • Make OptiX (their ray-tracing, collision-detection and AI suite) fully open-source, CUDA and all.
  • Make their drivers for Windows AND Linux fully open-source. All of the code they own.
  • Support DisplayPort's AdaptiveSync. Let the consumer choose if G-Sync is better by just giving their customers the choice! If Nvidia thinks G-Sync is so much better than Adaptive Sync, than they shouldn't just choose not to support Adaptive Sync. They should say "bring it on", and show the world that their solution is the best. Currently, they just look timid and afraid of competition they deny, and they look greedy by trying to cash in on G-Sync by locking their customers in their own closed ecosystem.
  • Start their own YouTube channels with a focus on technical marketing. By that, I mean they should try to find someone like ASUS' JJ to do a comprehensive job at explaining how their GPUs operate, spec sheet, etc. Someone to be an intermediary between Nvidia and the community, someone to explain everything in details, etc. It's much more personal, and could serve as the reference guide to product reviewers on YouTube.

Once they do that, they've got a great head start. If they can also encourage developers to use Anti-Aliasing methods which don't prefer one company over the other, that'd be awesome!

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Agreed, dude. Open-Source after EULA is total bull. That's like saying "free after you buy it" (known as a purchase), or "free money after you work for it" (known as a wage). Open-Source after EULA is a contradiction of terms, or very close to it.

Open source =/= free. What license is it under?

All free software is open source, but PhysX is neither. The actual license can't be viewed because of the eula.

Well I think its a good step forward; but they should give apex too... since they kinda renamed it from physx. Still this doesn't mean anything yet, we'll see how they will treat developers and if gamers of games like warframe amd users get physx option to turn on..

This would be cool if Physx actually looked good. Every game I've played the Physx stuff has always looked out of place and tacked on. I also get the feeling nvidia is up to no good with this cause nvidia isn't known to just up and open source things.

I wouldn't count on that

How so? the whole point of Mantle, was reduce the CPU workload and put it on the GPU. as of now we are aware DX12 and Vulkan have the mantle features. PhysX on the AMD side is primarily CPU bound as apposed to GPU bound on Nvidia Cards. to use PhsyX you need to put the stress on the CPU on an AMD based system. and for the most part PhsyX is optimized for Nvidia. so the stress is pretty high on an CPU as it is, if this is open source, or at least an OPEN platform, where anyone can modify or optimize the code for their uses. AMD could optimize this better for their platform and thus lower the stress or at least keep it to a minimum. and if that is the case, if this was a perfect world where everything was open, why invest into an Intel CPU strictly for gaming? when games are getting more and more GPU bound? the AMD based system will perform just as well as the Intel based platform, with the exact same GPU on the game that is GPU bound. and this is the case with an 8350 vs an intel equivalent.

Wow,this is surprising but are the benefits going to be seen on older games? I can't even run physX on my current system (8350 and 280x) but my old core2 and 550ti ran ok lol.

Thanks for the info, dude. =) Just a shame Nvidia turns off G-Sync on their GTX series, like they're trying to squeeze the most money they can out of gamers. It's just shameful (on Nvidia's part), really.

No worries. I know you're just trying to correct any minor mistakes, just to make sure you point them out first before someone else (read: a flamer) does.

I know a lot of people can get fussy about being corrected. I think of it as a handy reminder that we don't know everything. So thanks for pointing that out, dude.

I disagree on the AMD and Nvidia selling bad products. They don't. They do try to squeeze as much as possible from the most affluent buyers, though, for that extra 35% of performance you get at 1440p going from a 200$ card to a 400$ card. (OK, not exact numbers, but you get the idea. Diminishing returns for value as the price soars.)

AMD and Nvidia also won't have to worry about other GPU vendors coming into the market any time soon. There's been thousands of engineer-years poured into their hardware designs, and they're both big multi-billion dollar companies that the benefit of money, experience and patents (which they'll certainly use to the fullest extent of the law if given any opportunity to do so for any monetary incentive). The barrier of entry for new competitors is tremendous. Qualcomm might stand a chance, but even they know better than to enter the desktop space and compete head-on with Nvidia and AMD on their turf.

A GPU has BILLIONS of transistors. Unlike a sound card, which has a relatively small number of components and can be easily assembled using basic soldering techniques, a GPU requires a chip made from a large lithography fab (like Global Foundries, Intel, Samsung or TSMC), and are usually ordered in very large batches at a time (another barrier of entry). They also require specialized memory modules, and PCBs (which are also not cheap to make trial test runs, nor can be made without very large orders - at least until we can 3D print them on a whim, that is).

Sound cards are fairly easy to assemble, like desktops. GPUs are arguably more complicated than CPUs, and just as it is unlikely we'll ever see some company like Mayflower start producing CPUs to compete head-on against Intel, both AMD and Nvidia aren't likely to see any competitors in the GPU arena for a long while. (Also, how many Open-Source hardware engineers would be willing to work for free on a next-gen GPU that would take thousands of engineer-years to produce? Especially when they could be earning huge bucks on the hour doing paid work instead?)

AMD and Nvidia aren't slacking off. They're selling great value products at different price brackets right now. The GTX 970 is a great high-performance, low-power GPU that can fit in Mini-ITX cases (depending on the model). AMD offers tremendous value in the 220$ to 270$ range, namely the R9 285 and the R9 290. They are both cards that offer good value and performance.

The thing which troubles me isn't their prices. It's their business practices. AMD says they're all about open-source stuff, but much of their software isn't. Their drivers aren't, for example. Nor is TressFX. But AMD is not as bad as Nvidia when it comes to lacking transparency, or being too proprietary, or depriving their customers of choice. AMD has been better, so Nvidia deserves to get the flak in this case. But AMD isn't off the hook either. AMD should stick to their convictions and open-source as much as they possibly can, or end up making Nvidia seem like they're the good guys (when they're not). Either AMD opens themselves up more, or AMD ends up with a PR disaster which might cost them a lot of money for their PR team to fix, but would also cost them market share - which is the last thing AMD can afford to lose right now, since AMD can't really afford much of anything right now.

Somehow I get the feeling that this is no where near as good as it sounds. Also PhysX is quickly going out of style and this is looking like a case of too little too late.

The term "Not even in the coldest corner of hell." comes to mind.

Instead of stirnging people along with half truths and lies how about developer just stop using this junk and actually make game that work. It is all well and good saying they are helping the developers out and making lives easier, which they might well be doing, but if it only hurts the people buying the game then it is a bad practice.

All this could serve to do is further annoy gamers when it does not work as advertised, push them toward Nvidia and homogenise the games coming out as they all use the same features. How about make a new game with new idea and new technology. Something we have not seen before and that actually seems like a good idea.

I am ever rapidly getting furious at the GPU developers (both AMD and Nvidia) and game makers. They are all just colluding to strangle as much money out of their customers. This is just another symptom of the problem.

It might sound like a step in the right direction this is in no way good. At least not in my head.

So they retain all the rights to the software, documentation and any modifications... so nothing really changes, they just allow people to browse through their code now. So no AMD PhysX any time soon.

Well, Nvidia didn't Open-Source anything, than.

I take back everything I said earlier. Open source my arse.

If we just stich together the parts of the quote I bolded, we get this:

// NVIDIA Corporation and its licensors retain all intellectual property rights
// and any modificiations thereto. Any distribution without an express
// license agreement from NVIDIA Corporation is strictly prohibited.

This means that nobody could just modify Nvidia PhysX for CPUs to run on OpenCL (example), without Nvidia's permission, nor could they distribute such a modified version of the Nvidia PhysX code. Furthermore, Nvidia could also use DMCA copyright takedown notice to remove any unauthorized modification of the code, and even pursue legal action if they chose to.

Yeah, Nvidia. Hey everybody: the emperor still isn't wearing any clothes!

I dont get it. Why not just licence it? Stop the madness! They are competing, but slowly dying as cloudgaming is getting there. And thats where AMD is going to fail. AMD doesnt optimize their products as Nvidia does, hence crypto currency advantages.

Its like american cars against europeans. Lots of raw power, but no management.

BTW: Thanks to all of you miners for practically giving my computer for free. I hope you got even.
Demonstration: Red&blue: Yihaa! Wheres my gas? where russians will even shoot back dead and put bombs on top of bombs to fight bombs that other bombs shoot.