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  • Nvidia GameWorks is Figuratively Cancer - Discuss

    I've done a lot of reading tonight, and I wanted to get the opinions of some of our tech-heads here.

    Is Nvidea as a group despicable, and is GameWorks in particular negatively impacting PC gaming? Because that's what I've been reading, and if I'm just drinking the cool-aid, I want to know.

    I think we all know that Nvidea has a lot more resources at their disposal than AMD, and that a big chunk of that is used to gain a competitive advantage in working with developers to optimize their games for Nvidea cards and for Nvidea to develop the best drivers possible. That's reasonable.

    That's not what GameWorks is. Gameworks is proprietary, closed Nvidea code inside the game. If Nvidea allows them and if they pay an extra fee, developers can gain access to the source code and make changes . And let's be perfectly clear, they absolutely run poorly on AMD cards. And it's difficult for AMD to do anything about it. The code is obfuscated, and developers who have access legally cannot share it, which means it's a blind struggle for AMD to try to make drivers that address issues that come up.

    A simple example is the recent Witcher 3 using GameWork's HairWorks. Hairworks, thankfully, CAN be turned off in settings, because when it is on, it ruins AMD performance.

    But wait, didn't AMD do the same thing with TressFX back in the day? Ehh... big difference. AMD's TressFX, while designed to capitalize on AMD's compute performance, was open source. Nvidea was able to (fairly quickly) bring performance on their products up to par with AMD. AMD cannot do the same with Witcher now. Nvidea is claiming that the performance difference is due to Nvidea's tessellation advantage. Yet when tested, pitting an Nvidea card which had only a 13% tessellation benchmark advantage advantage against a similarly priced AMD card, HairWorks caused almost three times the impact on the AMD card as it did on the Nvidea card. And AMD can only guess why and try to blindly stumble into a fix on their end.

    And the worst is yet to come. Check out Project Cars - a GameWorks game. The driving physics - the core of the entire game - is based on PhysX. No PhysX on/off option here. If you don't have a PhysX enabled Nvidea card, all those calculations, 600 per second just for the tires, are loaded on the CPU. The game, to put it mildly, runs like ass on AMD cards. I can confirm that this is the case, though it's not the reason I only logged 2 hours of Project Cars.

    Think you can just use a dedicated PhysX card to overcome that? Ehh... no. Even if you spend for that Nvidea tech, they've recently changed their cards to shut off PhysX if they detect two different types of card in the system. Btw, that also includes say, any integrated graphics which have an issue shutting off properly when a GPU is installed.

    And what is possibly worse is... it doesn't JUST hurt AMD cards. There's compelling evidence that this hurts Nvidea cards too.

    Take the *ahem* rather ridiculous tessellation in some recent Nvidea-assisted games. Look up Crysis 2 as an example. Massive tessellation on flat, static objects. A tessellated ocean below the landscape which is never seen, but still impacts performance. These things impact both Nvidea and AMD cards. But they impact AMD cards more due to Nvidea's inherent advantage in geometry calculations. There's evidence that GameWorks features impact older Nvidea cards proportionally more than new cards as well.

    The conspiracy theorist would tell you that Nvidea are sabotaging the performance of all cards... because it hurts AMD more than it hurts them. And hey, the more you can lower in-game performance, especially on previous-generation cards, the more important it is to buy a new GPU, right?

    It's little things adding up that are making me... I don't like to be THAT GUY, but I'm not sure if I can buy my intended Pascal card upgrade, on moral grounds. Things add up. Nvidea's aggressive in-game advertising, not allowing SLI with different cards, even when they're literally just an identical card rebranded with higher clocks. (Hey, did you know I can crossfire my 7970 with any 7950, 280, or 280X?) Because hey, buying a second used card doesn't bring in any extra revenue, right?

    What do you guys think? Good or bad, right or wrong? I'm curious if anyone else has done any digging into the issue.
    Teamwork and Tactics are OP


    Strait /strāt/ (Noun) A narrow passage of water connecting two seas or two large areas of water: "the Northumberland Strait".

  • #2
    Re: Nvidea GameWorks is Figuratively Cancer - Discuss

    Yep sounds like business to me. I have read similar pieces about Nividia. Welcome to capitalism, planned obsolescence, and the tarnishing of your soul! MUhahahahah! Seriously though, your kool aid's not spiked.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Nvidea GameWorks is Figuratively Cancer - Discuss

      Lots of people (or maybe more so AMD hardware owners) are aware of the issue of Gameworks (which also goes by other less reputable names such as "Gimpedworks" and "Gamewonk"). I've been complaining in general the last few years since I've noticed nVidia basically gimping older cards in favor of newly released hardware. Something AMD doesn't do. I for one am all for hardware-agnostic platforms, especially for developers. Unfortunately, nVidia with their boatloads of cash usually successfully tempt developers to develop using nVidia-only tools and software. Thereby unfairly producing a bias.

      Yes Gameworks affects more than giving nVidia hardware an unfair advantage over AMD hardware. It also goes hand-in-hand with nVidia's gimping of older hardware in Gameworks enabled games.

      There are some very long discussion threads over at Reddit (/r/AMD) if anyone's interested.

      There's even discussion of this in news post comments section on Anandtech whenever they post something about nVidia or AMD graphics hardware.

      So yeah, planning and seeing if I should hold off getting a new AMD graphics card until Zen chips come out or buy one now to replace my aging (and obselete) GTX 670. Oh, and my god ARK Survival....I can't even get 40 fps no matter what settings I use (everything off, draw distance minimal). While the newer GTX 960 gets 50-60 fps on medium settings? GAMEWORKS ruined another gaming experience for me.

      For reference, the GTX 960 is the equivalent card to my GTX 670 with some slight improvements.
      |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
      TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
      Former 9th & 13th

      Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
      Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





      SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

      TG Primer and Rules

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      • #4
        Re: Nvidea GameWorks is Figuratively Cancer - Discuss

        First off, for someone who has done a lot of research on nVidia, you haven't spelled the name correctly once.

        Secondly, you provided no links to this supposed research you've been doing, so for all we know you are just looking at the Reddit posts and clickbait articles of either AMD fanboys, nVidia haters, or even just internet trolls trying to start flamewars. You say that nVidia has more resources but what are you comparing and with what evidence?

        Thirdly, even if this is all true, nVidia has the right to make proprietary software. AMD has the equivalent to PhysX in their Havok software, which also happens to be proprietary. They need to step up their game instead of complaining about how well someone else is doing. If Gameworks is causing problems for AMD users, then AMD needs to come up with something. Oh wait, they are: [Link to Gameworks article] Here's the article that line in that Wikipedia article links to: [Link to Article]

        Originally posted by Gameworks Wikipedia Article
        In 2014 AMD was considering making an open source GameWorks competitor.
        Fourthly, yes, the rest just sounds like one of those babbling conspiracy nutjob cases. Most of these problems could probably be solved by the developers of these games. If you can't see something, the onus is on the developer to not render it. I am in an openGL class right now, and you can make it so that certain things that aren't seen because of occlusion should not be rendered to the screen.

        The last thing I am going to say is that I am all for the drive towards open-source software; it allows a lot more transparency into how things work. However, one should temper their rose-tinted glasses with the fact that just because something is open-source doesn't mean it is automatically better, and vice versa. The REAL solution to all of these problems, is to interject some competition into this whole case. nVidia and AMD being the only true powerhouses in this game is becoming a real problem for the consumer. If we had a few more competitors, then it would force the companies to build better soft/hardware because they would have to be better than the competition or risk losing it all. Maybe Gameworks is crap, but with AMD having to compete with it, they are now coming up with something. My only fear would be that having more people all trying to push their own middleware would create a troubleshooters nightmare; but maybe that would force people to work together to create a standard instead of complaining about how they are falling behind.

        "Quando omni flunkus moritati" -Red Green Show
        [Link to my Youtube!] [Link to my Twitch!]
        [support]

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        • #5
          Re: Nvidea GameWorks is Figuratively Cancer - Discuss

          Firstly... okay, shut up, I'm bad at spelling. :P

          Secondly, I was addressing the hardware enthusiasts here, so I assumed that most of this would be common knowledge, or at least familiar to the people responding. At the very least, I expected people to know how much nVidia really has at their disposal. I mean, aside from the anecdotal evidence from game developers that nVidia would send "teams of engineers" to help optimize their games for nVidia (while AMD might send one guy), there's plenty of hard numbers you can find from a cursory google search. For example, nVidia had 80% of discrete video card sales in 2015 http://cdn.wccftech.com/wp-content/u...Nvidia-AMD.png (chart only shows up to 2014). Then there's the fact that nVidia has almost as much revenue and employees (4.13 billion and 8,800 employees vs 5.5 billion and <10,000) as AMD... which means that nVidia GPUs rake in almost as much money as AMD GPUs and CPUs combined. On the global market, nVidia is valued 7 times higher than AMD. AMD has had massive employee cuts over the past years from its peak of over 13,000 to <10,000 employees today. I'm not going to fill my response with links, this is public information and takes literally 90 seconds to verify.

          Project CARS benchmarks underperforming AMD cards, SMS blaming poor AMD drivers: http://www.techspot.com/review/1000-...rks/page2.html

          (SMS developer response in May, stating that PhysX on CPU + AMD drivers is crippling AMD performance)

          I've now conducted my mini investigation and have seen lots of correspondence between AMD and ourselves as late as March and again yesterday.

          The software render person says that AMD drivers create too much of a load on the CPU. The PhysX runs on the CPU in this game for AMD users. The PhysX makes 600 calculations per second on the CPU. Basically the AMD drivers + PhysX running at 600 calculations per second is killing performance in the game. The person responsible for it is freaking awesome. So I'm not angry. But this is the current workaround without all the sensationalism.

          The best advice I can give while we work with AMD is to reduce settings which influence CPU load. Specifically in this order: (...)
          Strangely, although nVidia has "not paid (them) a penny", and having "worked closely with both nVidia and AMD" the tracks in Project Cars are covered in nVidia logos! :P

          Now, there's a LOT of controversy around Project Cars which I won't get into, but suffice it to say I take anything they say with a grain of salt these days. I probably shouldn't even have brought it up as an example, but there it is.

          Witcher 3 HairWorks Benchmarks (Least biased article I could find): http://www.pcworld.com/article/29250...-thats-ok.html

          Arkham Origins Benchmarks (discussing deteriorated AMD performance and inefficient tessellation) http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/1...-users-and-amd
          http://www.geforce.com/whats-new/art...ut-the-trailer

          Thirdly, just because something is legal doesn't mean it is ethical. By keeping its proprietary middleware closed, nVidia is creating a barrier to proper optimization for AMD in GameWorks games, something AMD already struggles with due to its lack of resources.

          And Havok is not a parallel with PhysX. Havok is owned by Intel, runs on and is optimized for CPU use. In fact it was nVidia in 2006 who tried to create their own "Havok FX". The use of Havok seems to follow AMD's trend of utilizing non-partisan tech. Notice its (cancelled) GameWorks competitor that you mention (OpenWorks) was intended to be a fully open-source alternative. I'm not trying to claim that this is completely altruistic either, with its low market share and finances right now, it would be nigh-impossible for them to get developers to use an AMD-only optimized solution. The next best thing they could have done would be to push adoption of a non-biased alternative that would at least give them an even playing field with nVidia in those games that chose it over GameWorks.

          Fourthly, yes, this is a problem that could be solved by developers. They could use something other than GameWorks, for starters. However, if they DO use GameWorks, they get out-of-the-box nVidea optimizations and support teams from nVidea. They get a flashier looking game for their trailers, faster and cheaper than they otherwise could. BUT if they want to alter any of that code to work better with AMD, they first have to pay nVidia so that they can actually see the source code (and nVidia can deny them, if they want), then if they see something they want to change, they have to talk to nVidia and ask for it to be changed. (and nVidia can decline to change it) They're also not allowed, under their GameWorks agreement, to share any of that info with AMD, or to make any changes that might negatively impact nVidia performance.

          By the way, GameWorks is also a built-in part of Unreal Engine 4. So expect to see this issue come up a lot in the future.

          Lastly... competition is good, but healthy competition is important. Arguably, pushing GameWorks is an anti-competitive practice. And if AMD did come out with a competitor middleware that was AMD-optimized, that might be a worst-case scenario. Aside from the fact it would almost certainly flop in the current environment, even if it did, you'd wind up with an AMD-games vs nVidia-games scenario, the same ridiculous scenario that makes console gaming such a poisonous environment.

          PS. Yes, it would be really nice to have 3 or 4 competitive GPU manufacturers (though perhaps an optimization nightmare). I'd settle for two strong competitors though. If AMD tanks, or ceases to be competitive, it will be bad news for gamers everywhere.
          Teamwork and Tactics are OP


          Strait /strāt/ (Noun) A narrow passage of water connecting two seas or two large areas of water: "the Northumberland Strait".

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          • #6
            Re: Nvidea GameWorks is Figuratively Cancer - Discuss

            [MENTION=19760]ScratchnSniff0[/MENTION]

            I'm not sure how well you have kept up to news on Havok, but Havok is not a AMD project. They were a independent company up until Intel bought them back in 2008. Then later (I believe earlier this year?) Microsoft bought them from Intel. Havok and AMD many years ago (maybe 2008-2009-ish) signed a joint agreement to work a competing physics engine (Havok's engine specifically) to compete with nVidia's buyout of Ageia and their CUDA tech (which was then incorporated into their "CUDA" tech on their drivers end). Basically, AMD included Havok engine support in a few of their higher end graphics card, nothing widespread. Then the public quietly forgot all about it and it has not been prominently displayed in the years since. Of course, there aren't many games that use Havok's engine considering their resources vs nVidia's resources in that area of development.

            Also keep in mind: nVidia currently is similar to Intel in terms of market share and dominance. It's actually a small wonder AMD has managed to hold out on both the GPU and CPU fronts considering nVidia + Intel combined would outweigh AMD several times over in several key areas.

            As for whether nVidia's approach is detrimental, just business, or otherwise, that heavily depends on who you ask. Some believe it's "just business". Others think it's hurting the overall market and fair competition. And then there are others who just don't care.

            To cover your last point about competition, nVidia killed off the only other two much smaller competitors: 3DFX and VIA Graphics. VIA's graphics division/company is now defunct and 3DFX was hammered to dust by nVidia back over a decade ago (linky: http://www.geek.com/games/nvidia-sues-3dfx-564829/). Basically nVidia went on a patent troll and sued the living daylights out of 3DFX. Oh and to rub salt in the wound, nVidia bought 3DFX. Then they ranted on and on to tech news sites about how they were only interested in 3DFX's IP (intellectual property) as if they people behind the company wasn't worth anything. And now nVidia is trying to do the same to AMD and I believe one of their higher-ups was quoted saying that they want to dominate the market. So don't get started on competition. There's fair and healthy competition then there's the other competition.

            /end history rant
            Last edited by Acreo Aeneas; 11-14-2015, 04:48 PM.
            |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
            TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
            Former 9th & 13th

            Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
            Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





            SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

            TG Primer and Rules

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            • #7
              Re: Nvidea GameWorks is Figuratively Cancer - Discuss

              Firstly, no! lol! :row__591:

              Secondly, I am a hardware enthusiast, and I know the information is available with a google search. I was questioning where YOU got YOUR information. Note, I am not making a personal attack against you, I am saying that it is a more fruitful argument when the information that is being put forward is reliable. I can't question your sources if you don't put anything forward.

              The "a google search would tell you" idiom is old and tired; and not backing up your argument with links is no excuse. We could just argue about anything if we didn't have to back it up. Of course google has ALL the answers, but which ones are the correct ones? Reddit is not a reliable source, random forums of people complaining about their performance is not reliable, etc ad nauseum. What am I supposed to say if I have nothing to argue against?

              This is how the discussion is just going to turn out then:
              "They're evil!" -OP
              "Nuh uh!" -Me

              Anyhoo. Now that you've put up SOME of your sources I can argue with SOME of what you/they said. For example, the first image shows only the comparison of graphics cards sales, not total sales of both companies (i.e. the CPU sales you speak of). Is this a graph based on worldwide sales of graphics cards or USA? I will admit though, it does look neck and neck for a long while and then spikes there at the end, but does that speak more towards the success of nVidia? I wouldn't say it was a failure on the part of AMD, just that nVidia has had more success with their business model. Then again, are we speaking of the morality of the way they do business or how well they are doing in business? I am not saying that nVidia is doing the business morally and in fact, like Acreo pointed out, they have done some real shady shtuff, but he linked it so now I can see where he is coming from on that front. BUT, you can't fault nVidia for sending their guys out to help out, in fact I see that as a positive thing.

              For the benchmarks I have to say, "meh" on that. All that says to me is that Gameworks is working like nVidia expected it to. Them holding back the code so that AMD can't take advantage of that may be a problem, but the onus is STILL on the developers because they CHOSE to use it! If you are planning on having a product that AMD users can use, then don't use it! Simple as that! If AMD stopped their work that is their fault! Your telling me they came up with Mantle, but can't come up with a middleware that works? nVidia should not be faulted because they've optimized their soft/hardware that causes their framerate to go up. NOW, this is with the evidence you've provided. All I see is a side-by-side comparison of the cards, they don't show what before and afters when these Gameworks features are turned on/off. Now if it is actually causing the fps on AMD to go down, then once again it is on developers to not use it, or for AMD to give them something to work with. Better graphics and better performance is something to be proud of. Anyway, these are quoted from the article:

              With the PhysX-enabled Project CARS (which is not a GameWorks title) still running like crap on AMD hardware, some gamers are understandably skittish.
              ...Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 980 also suffered tremendously with HairWorks enabled...
              ...AMD's published a knowledge base article stating that Witcher 3 drivers are coming, and it also details Catalyst Control Center settings you can tweak for enhanced performance with Nvidia's HairWorks...
              From the Extremetech article:
              ...In Arkham Origins, they tie. Can this be traced directly back to GameWorks? Technically, no...
              Technically, how much of this article is journalism and how much of is it sensationalism?

              First, because AMD can’t examine or optimize the shader code, there’s no way of knowing what performance could look like.
              So the only difference is that we don't know how better it could do. There's a slim to moderate chance that performance could be near the same.

              One of the differences between AMD and Nvidia hardware is that Nvidia has a stronger tessellation engine.
              This is nVidias fault it has a better engine?

              How much of this is AMD's fault and how much is it nVidia's fault? They tank on both systems, it's just not as bad on nVidia. Maybe performance will be a lot better once the new Catalyst drivers come out.

              But I will concede that I can see how nVidia would do better to allow AMD in on the game, because then they are using nVidia software too and the nVidia doesn't have to worry about competition.

              This is what I am getting at though, if AMD wants to shove something in nVidia's face with some competition; then this is where to do it. If they would come up with some middleware that did something reasonably similar, BUT open and more compatible with everything while giving similar performance gains, this would blow nVidia out of the water. THAT is the competition I am talking about that we need.

              It is still a stalemate, and I don't think having two companies is going to cut it. For good competition there should be at least three to four competitors all churning out new products. To keep on top each other they need to keep innovating, coming up with new optimizations, algorithms and other improvements that their competitors won't have but will try to mimic. It forces them to keep leaping ahead of each other.

              [MENTION=13034]Acreo Aeneas[/MENTION] those competitive problems are just a result of our [sarcasm]awesome[/sarcasm] patent laws that allows companies to stifle others to win a Pyrrhic victory that benefits no one. This is a real problem in our country, with no real solution I'm afraid. They will always find loopholes that nobody can completely plug up. That onus is on the consumer to say whether that kind of behavior is acceptable to them. I will, however get started and will stay on about competition because good competition is healthy for the consumer.

              As for the Havok thing, I apologize, I was apparently on the wrong page...I think the two of pages got stuck together or something. :row__542:

              "Quando omni flunkus moritati" -Red Green Show
              [Link to my Youtube!] [Link to my Twitch!]
              [support]

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Nvidea GameWorks is Figuratively Cancer - Discuss

                To answer OPs question, yes this is just the latest thing in a long series of underhanded moves by Nvidea. It is what they have become known for in fact. These sort of practices are why I really don't like to buy Nvidea cards (and haven't had to, yet, unlike CPU where I finally, begrudgingly switched to Intel recently).
                "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



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