Many computers have GPUs. These systems might or may not be expected for gaming but they will still have a GPU for the extra and better performance that comes with it.
GPU is used when needed. The main hardware component is not hardware for games or other graphically intensive tasks. If you have an Nvidia GPU, it is likely to use a technology called PhysX.
What is PhysX?
PhysX was developed by Nvidia to work out processing intensities from CPU onwards to GPU. What type of processing does PhysX load? It loads action and presentation related objects in 3D physical environments eg think of water in a game and what it looks like when interacting with the objects in the game.
To get hyper-reasonable water in a game, the CPU needs to work out how often a raindrop falls, where it falls, and the impact of each on the environment. This type of thing requires a lot of processing which, with PhysX, can be downloaded to the GPU.
Benefits of PhysX
In general, if you use PhysX to send tasks to the GPU;
- Your games will run better and smoother.
- Your games will look better.
If you think all games use the GPU, they actually use the GPU only to provide screens. PhysX allows certain tasks that are still manipulated by the CPU to be handled by the GPU.
Set PhysX configuration
PhysX configuration is set from the Nvidia Control Panel app. If you have an Nvidia GPU, this app will be installed on your system. If not, you will get it from the Microsoft Store.
By default, PhysX is either sent to the CPU or it is set to Auto which means that tasks that can be assigned to the GPU are not delivered or the game decides when to it has to provide the tasks instead of the norm.
- Right click on an empty space on the desktop and select Nvidia Control Panel.
- Go to 3D Options Tab.
- Open the fall down and select your Nvidia GPU chip.
- Double-click the value for GPU provides OpenGL and select your Nvidia GPU chip.
- Click Enter.
- Go to Set the PhysX configuration tab.
- Open the Set PhysX processor drop.
- Choose GPU.
- Apply the change.
- This will set PhysX to use the GPU instead of the CPU.
PhysX: GPU and CPU
PhysX can be set to use the GPU, or CPU, or it can decide on a per-app basis what to do and that is what the automated setting does. The question is, which scenario is better?
If you are unsure, you can always stick to the automatic setting but it is usually a good idea to set it to use the GPU instead of the CPU. You should do this no matter how fast / new your CPU is.
There will be exceptions. With PhysX ready to use the GPU, you usually get better game performance but there will be times when a game doesn’t run as well. If you have a stuttering game, set PhysX to either automatically or to use the CPU instead.
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