Windows 7 allows two display drivers to be used at once - like in Windows XP. Therefore, it is possible to use an Nvidia card for PhysX and ATI card for graphics rendering. As you already know, Nvidia has robbed its customers by disabling the PhysX technology (GPU and PPU) anytime a Non-Nvidia GPU is present in the system (even IGPs) since the release of 186 GeForce drivers, to prevent consumers from using hybrid PhysX. As predicted, the community responded critically and eventually a user by name of GenL created a patch
that removes the blockage and reclaims the feature. The following is Nvidia's explanation behind their actions:
"Physx is an open software standard any company can freely develop hardware or software that supports it. Nvidia supports GPU accelerated Physx on NVIDIA GPUs while using NVIDIA GPUs for graphics. NVIDIA performs extensive Engineering, Development, and QA work that makes Physx a great experience for customers. For a variety of reasons - some development expense some quality assurance and some business reasons NVIDIA will not support GPU accelerated Physx with NVIDIA GPUs while GPU rendering is happening on non- NVIDIA GPUs. I'm sorry for any inconvenience caused but I hope you can understand."
But now it seems that Nvidia has removed the hybrid PhysX blockage in the recent 257.15 GeForce drivers
. However, it is still a mystery for us if it was done intentionally or
perheps it is just a bug. "I'm seriously amazed. I've tested it by myself on Windows XP and Windows 7 x64 - it really works out of the box with 257.15. And even more surprising - timebomb issue is gone too. It would be at least one respectable deed by Nvidia, and my mod would be obsolete, which is great for everyone. So we better hope this is permanent." said GenL. Update #1:
This is a bug! confirmed by Nvidia. "Yes, this is a bug in the latest build of PhysX that was packaged with the driver. We'll be fixing this issue ASAP - the WHQL driver launching in early June won't have this issue." Update #2:
Nvidia's Tom Petersen has commented on our article through the nTersect blog: "A lot of you have been asking about PhysX and the 257.15 beta driver we posted on Monday. First off it is true that PhysX is enabled when running on NVIDIA GPUs when AMD GPUs are used in the same system. PhysX is a compelling technology that makes PC games great Ė I am not surprised our fans are eager for it. When using this beta driver no additional hacks are required to enable PhysX. While it was not intentional, due to the overwhelming positive response to the beta driver we have decided to leave the beta up with support enabled.
The fact remains that the investment to do a full QA cycle on this AMD/NVIDIA hybrid GPU configuration is beyond what NVIDIA can support at this time. The cost of maintaining AMD/NVIDIA hybrid configurations is larger than the development expense for PhysX, and I do expect that there are games and configurations where this type of system just wonít work. Please, donít call me :>. Therefore our WHQL certified drivers will continue to have this support disabled."