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19 posts

Geek


# 19149 7-Feb-2008 10:02
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Hi guys,

I’m curious as to whether there might be ways to further optimise the performance for my desktop when it comes to gaming.

I’ve been hooked onto Elder Scrolls 4 “Oblivion” lately, and I know that hardware wise my machine shouldn’t have a problem with running it smoothly.

While for the most part this is true, the game does still seem to be laggy. The “laggishness” is noticeable enough and doesn’t seem to be correlated to what’s happening on screen (high battle sequences vs strolling vs talking to NPCs) – it just happens when it happens. However, it doesn’t affect gameplay at all for me and on the most part runs smoothly.

It’s a minor thing (not bad enough to be irritating) but I was just curious as I was expecting close to flawless play. Also, with an eye on upcoming releases for SC2 and Fallout 3, I really wanted to know if some component upgrades might be a good idea?

One of the things I’ve heard that Vista swallows almost 2GB RAM to run smoothly, although my cpu usage meter is usually around the 5-7% mark (wonder if this is relevant?).

Some have said to me that this tends to have negative impact on gaming performance, as opposed to running the same game on XP.

My current specs are:

Processor: Athlon 64 X2 5600+ (AM2) 2.8GHz, 1MB L2 Cache
RAM: 3GB (3x1GB 667MHz)
HDD: 500 GB
Graphics: ATI Radeon X2400 Pro / 256MB Dedicated


There is of course, the “other” aspect of NVidia vs ATI. I’ve had suggestions to swap the GPU to NVidia, and am considering it. But until now, I’ve not had a problem with my ATI – unless it’s the reason for the less than flawless Oblivion performance now.

Is there a need to whack the ram up to 4gb? and;

Are there methods/tweaks to ensure that Vista runs smoothly (I’ve heard about shaving down the bloatware and making minor tweaks to processes etc, but rather not try it unless I’m sure it’s safe)

Any thoughts would be more than appreciated :)

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BDFL - Memuneh
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# 109067 7-Feb-2008 13:47
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If you have 4GB (and you will need Windows Vista 64 bit for that) then it will still fill the memory.

Windows Vista fills the memory because it's a very expensive component in your system, that can actually speedup things when correctly used. The OS treats the whole memory as cache, unlike previous Windows versions. This is good (TM).

Are you experiencing high disc activity during this time? Perhaps you should think of a faster drive, or perhaps you should disable the Indexer program to reduce drive activity. You could use ReadyBoost - pluga 2GB fast USB thumbdrive on a fast USB 2.0 port and see if this improves performance for you.

Open Task Manager and from there open Resource Monitor. You will see which processes are using your disc or memory. For example in my case my system shos 0% Hard Faults, and a constant flow to the ReadyBoost drive.

Of course you have to check you have the latest drivers for your video and system too.




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  # 109097 7-Feb-2008 16:07
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Also, what kind of game settings are you trying to run with? Resolution and graphical settings within the game (esp AA) can make a difference, especially with Oblivion.

 
 
 
 




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  # 109098 7-Feb-2008 16:10
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I've turned off AA but have HDR on.

Mauricio: Would there be any adverse impacts if I disable the indexing programme?

Cheers guys!

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  # 109100 7-Feb-2008 16:14
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I guess it must be system related anyway since the problem doesn't necessarily happen when there is a lot of activity in the game. I had a lesser system running at 1024x768, medium settings, at it was lightning fast indoors but outside it could crawl at times.

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  # 109102 7-Feb-2008 16:19
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  # 109104 7-Feb-2008 16:22
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Interestingly I've noted that the battle sequences seem to run fine - most of the laggish behaviour seem to occur when i'm in inventory mode, menu options or indoors. Weird.

I've updated my ATI drivers as I had a problem with Vista shutting down initially (it just wouldn't!) - and that solved that problem.

Mauricio: Ah, does that relate to Vista's search function? I'll try doing that :)

Cheers!



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Geek


  # 109240 8-Feb-2008 10:57
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I take back what I said about battle sequences. Got into some massive ones yesterday and the lag was tremendous.

I’ve got HDR on high at the moment, so I might set it to medium but still a little surprised on the degree of lag considering the system.

Mauricio: I’ve checked resource management as you said, biggest application consuming memory is firefox but I turn off all apps when I’m gaming. Hard Faults show 0% but it’s not constant and comes up a bit depending on what’s on. Network monitor is also quite constantly high (I’m on LAN with 2 other comps – with CTCP turned on)

Checked out ReadyBoost as well and have read that it doesn’t have much of an impact on systems with 1GB ram or more, and is more effective on systems with less RAM.

Tried turning off the search function on Vista but it says that I can’t? Is the option to turn off indexing located elsewhere? (Ironically, I used the search function to locate the indexing options panel – then clicked on help to find out how to turn it off but it says that I can’t do that)

At this stage, I’m thinking of getting another 1GB of RAM bringing it up to 4GB in total – with a possible future swap of my ATI to NVidia. Not sure if this will impact things much though?

 
 
 
 


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# 109242 8-Feb-2008 11:00
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You should turn the Search service off.

As for RAM, your system can only see 4GB if you are running 64 bit - and even so only if the BIOS supports it.

Isn't that interesting how people talk so much about Firefox but many don't realise what a memory hog and how much memory leaks comes with that software?








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  # 109243 8-Feb-2008 11:04
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freitasm: You should turn the Search service off.

As for RAM, your system can only see 4GB if you are running 64 bit - and even so only if the BIOS supports it.


OK. I'm running Vista HP on 34 bit now but I have a copy of Ultimate on 64bit. I'll make sure to check my BIOS capability as well.



Isn't that interesting how people talk so much about Firefox but many don't realise what a memory hog and how much memory leaks comes with that software?




Too true. I've only begun to realise this recently - it seems to gobble up tons of memory everytime it's on!

Not sure if this might be due to mal/spyware infecting it, but i doubt it though.

Sighs, to be honest with the new IE I'm not sure I really see the diff between firefox and IE anymore - apart from perhaps the colour schemes.

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  # 109269 8-Feb-2008 13:12
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Yes Firefox is a nasty little momory hog, there are little fixes you can chuck into it to fix this.  Been a while since I used it, so not an issue for me.
I also am having weird lag issues when gaming in Vista.  I was informed of some rather interesting news recently however.

I am running the following:
 CPU - Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
 RAM - DDR2 800Mhz 2x1GB
 HDD - 2x 160GB WD 7200RPM Raid0
 MB  - Gigabyte Intel Core 2 Duo compatible, with Core 2 Quad ability, FSB 1333MHz
 GFU - Sapphire Radeon x1950 Pro 512 MB

Now the funny thing is, I got the 800MHz ram, but apparently, in order for the speeds to work smoothly, I actually need 667MHz which is a multiple of both the CPU & Mainboard FSB.

On the AMD system, the ram would be better running at 800MHz or a multiple of 200MHz so 400MHz would be equally better than 667MHz.

I have yet to put this into practice, not really concerned myself as it is only a minor anoyance.  And the 667MHz ram is more expensive than 800MHz ram.  Damnit!

P.S.  1 other thing, is that most games do not handle the Dual Channel RAM properly, so sometimes its better running 2GB in single channel mode.  See if that improves things.  It may only be a slight improvement..  but easy enough to try out.




Intel Core 2 Duo E6600, 4x 2GB Adata 1066+ DDR2, Sapphire HD4850 X2 2GB GDDR3 PCI-E Quad DVI, 1000w PSU & over 4TB HDD space, Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
PS3 Slim




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Geek


  # 109272 8-Feb-2008 13:20
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Now the funny thing is, I got the 800MHz ram, but apparently, in order for the speeds to work smoothly, I actually need 667MHz which is a multiple of both the CPU & Mainboard FSB.

On the AMD system, the ram would be better running at 800MHz or a multiple of 200MHz so 400MHz would be equally better than 667MHz.



Very interesting for me personally, as I currenty run 3 x 667Mhz on an AMD chipset...

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Master Geek


  # 109276 8-Feb-2008 13:39
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IMO, talking about hardware like you are is a little off, espcially about games utilising dual channel memory, wtf?

I'd look more into your drivers and directX/directdraw settings, I know there is a problem that Oblivion has (on XP aswell as Vista) with a directdraw prefetch/precache setting that is very apparent in menus and inventory and that disabling this kills the sluggishness feeling all together.

I remember that to disable this you have to run a script that enables the hidden directX/directdraw settings panel that you can then go into and disable the setting. It does something like precache several windows at a time, the default setting is 3, you want to reduce it to 1.

I'd suggest researching this before jumping to banging the OS

Oh, and try running the Opera 9+ browser...so much cleaner

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Ultimate Geek
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  # 109884 11-Feb-2008 15:26
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anyone running vista sp1 and can comment on gaming improvement?? very interested if its improved in the gaming department as i hear vista is generally faster and smoother with sp1.

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  # 109888 11-Feb-2008 15:35
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I am running Windows Vista SP1 on both my laptop (an Acer Ferrari 5000, AMD Turion 64 dual core, 2GB RAM, 160 GB SATA, 2 GHz) and on a Mac mini dedicated to running Windows Vista Media Center.

It's working well in both. Last night I played Titan Quest on-line with a friend in Perth and had no problems at all - we played for abou four hours and it performed well.

I can't say exactly in terms of performance gains for gaming though - how anyone would go measuring this?






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Geek


  # 109892 11-Feb-2008 15:39
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Just a short update - turning off indexing as freitasm suggested made some improvements in gaming performance for me. The previously noticeable lag during battle scenes was mostly gone - it was smoother for the most part. Still a teeny bit laggy but all's good :)

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