Graphics, Hardware, Software Programs, VR World

Nvidia Disables GPU PhysX when Second non-Nvidia GPU is Installed

Nvidia GPU Logo Nvidia GPU Logo

Nvidia’s new 340.52 drivers (that enable the new SHIELD tablet features) have a feature that disable GPU PhysX in dual-GPU systems that have one non-Nvidia card, according to Nvidia’s own release notes for the drivers in question.

According to Nvidia, GPU PhysX is disabled when a non-Nvidia GPU is present because the company says a high quality experience in such a scenario can’t be guaranteed. Such a combination would preclude users from utilizing using key features such as high performance communication between CUDA and the graphics API. Unfortunately for many users Nvidia says it has not found a full-proof way to detect whether or not the non-Nvidia GPU is truly idle throughout the application’s lifetime, so CPU PhysX is used instead ensuring a quality experience for all

This statement by Nvidia is further supported by the fact that it has also instituted its own limitation on Nvidia  GPUs in terms of what is allowed to support PhysX. From here on out, any Nvidia GPU that runs PhysX will have to be a GeForce 8-series and later with a minimum of 256 MB of dedicated GPU memory, which really shouldn’t be much of an issue unless a dedicated PhysX card (aka relic) is present in the system. Nvidia introduced CUDA with the 8-series so it seems logical at least an 8-series card would be required in order to run PhysX (CUDA enabled) on the GPU.

The right move by Nvidia?

It would be a fairly nefarious move for Nvidia to be disabling a feature simply because two GPUs from different vendors are installed, which in the past has caused some issues, but never really forced certain features to be disabled. As such, we reached out to Nvidia to get a better idea of why the company is doing this and why slow downs in PhysX enabled scenes may occur in a GPU-vendor agnostic setup.

This issue should not arise in systems that have Intel GPUs that switch between onboard and dedicated (Nvidia) because of Nvidia’s Optimus technology. This should only really affect people that are running two desktop boards or possibly someone that has a system with an AMD APU and an Nvidia GPU and the APU does not switch off when the Nvidia GPU is installed and enabled (even though it should).

In the Bright Side labs, testing is under way to further investigate this issue to see if it happens on AMD APU systems or systems with Intel integrated GPUs. Nvidia says it is currently working on a resolution for this issue.

While some AMD users may raise concerns over this, the amount of people that have a system with two GPUs from different vendors and care about GPU PhysX are probably less than a few dozen or hundred. Some may see this as a penalty for running an AMD GPU alongside an Nvidia GPU, but realistically there’s a reason why no system builders sell mixed systems with Nvidia and AMD GPUs.






  • Rich ‘Forge’ Mingin

    You just figure this out? It’s been documented for over five years.

    • It’s officially documented, we’re just trying to get a direct answer from Nvidia about exactly why they’re officially including this in their drivers now. We asked them and they told us exactly what the article says. I don’t believe its ever been officially stated in the drivers.

      • oldhat

        Yeah, it just happened…and when it did, they said the same thing 5 years ago…noted officially in the driver notes? No, but never denied by Nvidia

        • doublemeehhh!!

          I see a very poor quality of the information of BSON with this “new”. And yes, it’s normal that if you run a dual gpu system with two roles (one card for graphics and another for PhysX), you don’t support PhysX running in this system (because the PhysX pipeline runs very close to the 3D pipeline).

          It’s awesome that they are in the microcomputer world of news.

          I named this new as premier Bullshit, good for you, BSON.

      • Herl

        Yeah, also try to ask them why don’t they officially document features like this

  • user

    The reason Nvidia gave you is utter bull…

    I know for a fact, that they want to discourage multiple vendors, since they don’t want the user to use an AMD card for graphics and a cheap Nvidia card just for physics. They want to sell the cards that cost more to make more profit. They don’t care one bit about a “quality experience”. It’s all about the dollar (or Euro).

    You can even run Physx on an AMD card, though Nvidia really really hates that, since Physx runs better on AMD harware.

  • hypnotica420x

    i don’t buy AMD trash so there’s no problem here.


      I sopped buying over priced nvidia cr@p since the cheap solder fiasco on all nvidia cards. After that gen they started blowing up and then over heating.. It never stops with nvidia…


    Who cares about crappy Physx? its non existent in games



    • anon



  • BSN

    The Nvidia SFX will die soon.

  • Jesse Viviano

    Could this violate antitrust laws?

  • Bruce Jarvis

    nVidia, The Way You are Meant to Be Scammed!

    Get in on some scammy, scummy behavior and buy your next nVidia product today!!!

    Love me some nvidia junk from a junk company. nVidia never fails to deliver in its scummy business practices and underhanded tactics.

  • rs

    Now every developer should see why to drop PhysX and Nvidia. No one needs their crap anymore.

  • Cast Naphi

    I use both cards manufacturers (older versions) and my question is . I am a custumer and I try to check whats featured the videocards can perform in games, editing , what resolution and fps can espect from the product. I see games using boths manufacturers and AMD usually performs hight fps and hight res and cost around $100 to $150 less than NVIDIA similar range. The only excuse for NVIDIA may be PHYSX. Honestly in my opinion , Why to pay hundred of dollars more for a product that perform as the same level and in some situation less than unespensive one??? and their only excuse the PHYSX are practically irrelevant or rarely used on games , movie edit and most common daily use. I don’t are an scientific that needs Phisics simulations to proof a new teory.

  • Cast Naphi

    And yes! NVIDIA videocards are very overpriced this is why we see every time more and more products developers that use AMD instead including game consoles.

  • Frostybutt

    nVidia is pretty shady, the project cars thing lately has totally locked me out of their hardware. I won’t buy it simply on principle.

  • John

    The conclusion reached at the end of the acticle is a dismissal. The reality is Nvidia is using preditury tactics to deter user from incorporating competitors video cards in their systems. I for one have an old AMD card that I use to drive a second monitor (not used for graphics); this second display requires CPU and gpu time, thus by using a second card (one on hand) the primary card can be utilized exclusively for the task at hand [graphics intensive application (game) ]. So Nvidia disabling PhysX, is a tactic utilized in order to discourage using hardware on hand, unless of course it is Nvidia hardware. Come on, modern operating systems have zero trouble assigning tasks to discrete hardware… We are not talking about MSDos or Windows 3.1.