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    Thread: Some pretty basic words on hardware

    1. #1
      Spammy the (spacefl)Eye in the sky... stemardue's Avatar
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      Default Some pretty basic words on hardware

      Hi folks,
      I started this thread after a brief conversation with a new TXU member for clearing up some misconcepts that many of us still have.

      It seems like today, if you don't know how to overclock a CPU or can't tell the main differences between Bulldozer and Sandy Bridge, you are a dropout and don't have even the right to post to a forum... Wrong!
      You can enjoy and use your PC even without being a technician, and above all, on TXU nobody will laugh at you for not being a true geek.

      That said, i invite everyone reading this to actively contribute to this topic, keeping in mind the "basic words" in the topic title - so that we don't enter deeply into technicalities - and make it possible for everybody to understand why some PC run X-games better than others.
      Likewise, every 'silly question' regarding hardware is equally welcome in here, and will be answered as clearly as possible.

      I will take care of moderating this thread, and where necessary will edit it to keep it on a basic level, opening splinter threads whenever some deeper issue may arise. (All moderators are as well invited to participate).


      Now on with the first issue - that also made me open this thread.

      Q: I have a problem with the XTM mod for Reunion. It slows my pc down and before installing it,no problems. I have a decent rig and i know is not from it. Any one know why XTM doesn't run that smooth as Vanilla? Is it because of to many scripts?
      Processor:Phenom x4 9500
      Graphics Card:Asus 8800 GTS 512/256
      Memory DDR2 8 Gb
      Motherboard:Asus M2N32 Sli Deluxe
      Soundcard:incorporated
      Hard Disk(s):3 WD / size 1750gb
      Operating System:WIndows Vista Ultimate 64

      R: XTM definitely is heavier on CPU than vanilla reunion was, for scripts, graphical load and in general for game management (it adds quite a high number of new ships, stations and sectors to the game...). Been looking at your rig specs here, and i think your main problem is your graphic card, in particular its limited memory. I think you can obtain some better performance in game by limiting resolution to 1024x768 (or equivalent on wide screen) and reducing the graphic quality from the game load screen. On an old machine i had better frame rate by lowering shaders level, and you can try that as well.

      Q: You think because of my graphic card? it does make sense a bit, since mine is so old and i like to play my games at high resolution. what about if i add another bord just like it? would that give me better result? Is it because i lack space on my hard drives as well? How about the 8 gb of ram(ddr2)?

      R: If you mean adding another graphic card equal to that... i don't think you would have big improvements. Also i don't know if it is possible to add just a memory bank to the GCard or how easy it would be to find one. In my opinion it would be better to replace it with a new one, with 1Gb (minimum) dedicated memory.
      Space on HD does not affect game performance, but you should always try to maintain at least a 10% of free HD space to avoid 'out of space' errors or 'low space' warnings.
      8Gb ram is quite good to have, but for X games that really does not matter, since they were made to run in a 32bit environment and limited to use just 2Gb of ram.

      ♪♫♫♪♪
      Here is XTC 2.0 FAQ. <<<--- Go read it!
      See my XTM gameplay tips here
      Do the X-Hop!
      Relax and dance to the Deep X
      I don't know well what I'm doing, but I know I'm doing it well.

    2. #2
      TXU New Member Light-in-Heaven's Avatar
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      R: If you mean adding another graphic card equal to that... i don't think you would have big improvements. Also i don't know if it is possible to add just a memory bank to the GCard or how easy it would be to find one. In my opinion it would be better to replace it with a new one, with 1Gb (minimum) dedicated memory.
      So adding another graphic card doesn't help at all? Then why is the SLI technology at all? Isn't 2 boards of 512 mb by 256 bit bigger/better than 1 board of 1gb by 256 bit? Does the MHZ matter? Let's say the 1gb board has gpu mhz of 715 and the 2 boards combined 2x650,wouldn't that be better?8800 gts 512-256 (g92).jpg Thank you "stermadue" for the thread

      Last edited by Light-in-Heaven; 19-10-2011 at 11:35 AM.

    3. #3
      TXU Legend Eliah's Avatar
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      Default

      SLI is a problem (also crossfire, same as SLI but for AMD cards) because 1) Many games don't fully support sli, 2) the drivers just can't "make 1 card from 2", and 3) there is a notable problem with synchronizing the two cards.. Let me explain the last one - basically, the game engine produces frames - and it sends half of those frames to cardA, and half to card B. Now, the graphics drivers have to coordinate the actions so that card A doesn't get two frames at once, so that card A and card B don't swap the frames around, so that they both render the frames in correct time, and then it has to 'stitch' the frames back into a single flow. All that is additional work, that introduces micro-delays and stutter.

      Realistically - going by data of last few years, if you have 1 card (100%), and you add another of same kind for SLI, you get maybe extra 30-60% power, depending on the game. It is never a straight double-power. Also, the clock speeds and memory speeds do not add up. Yes, the GPU ram adds up, but that's it. It is the same as the processor speeds - if you have a 2-core processor with 2.5GHz, that means only that you have 2 cores running at 2.5GHz. You do NOT get a 5GHz processor from that, and you do NOT have single core running at 1.25GHz. You still have 2 cores, and each core runs at 2.5GHz. That's it. Graphics cards are very much the same - the MHz are not multiplied.


      Now, another thing - the amount of ram matters very little. You have 512Mb? Good, that's +- enough. 1Gb? Well, sure, that helps a bit, you can use highest textures now. BUT! What really matters are other things - 1) the clock speed of the card (MHz), and the bitrate of the memory (e.g. 256bit). Those two are the most important details of a card, that manufacturers often don't want to tell you. You cna get very crappy cards of beginner-level with 1Gb of ram, it doesn't matter -it's still a bad card. Finally, another thing to know is the card's generation and series... the generation (usually the first number, e.g. nVidia 8xxx, 9xxx, 2xx, 3xx, 4xx and so forth) means when it was released; the series (second number after generation, e.g. nVidia x2xx or x2x [absolute rubbish], x3x [also rubbish], x6xx, x7xx, x7x [good-ish], x8xx, x9xx) means how powerful it is within this generation. Cards improve generation after generation - a modern mediocre card will be much better than a very old 'powerful' card. ...The card numbering schemes really are a total mess, it must be said, and a pain to decypher even for people following all that.


    4. #4
      TXU New Member Light-in-Heaven's Avatar
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      Thank you Eliah.That's great detail. So 1 is better than 2 afterall. Now,what about the CPU? I have a x4 phenom on m2n32 motherboard. I read on its site that it doesn't suport quad core CPU's. The MB suports only to 2 core CPU's. Would that be a second problem to my slow game? I guess right now the quad core runs on MB because the bios is updated,right?

      Quote Originally Posted by stemardue View Post
      R: XTM definitely is heavier on CPU than vanilla reunion was, for scripts, graphical load and in general for game management (it adds quite a high number of new ships, stations and sectors to the game...). Been looking at your rig specs here, and i think your main problem is your graphic card, in particular its limited memory. I think you can obtain some better performance in game by limiting resolution to 1024x768 (or equivalent on wide screen) and reducing the graphic quality from the game load screen. On an old machine i had better frame rate by lowering shaders level, and you can try that as well.
      I tried your way. I runed the game with the lowest resolution possible and the same slow game frames. Now i am convinced is not because of the pc hardware. Is something software. Probable because of other mods in the main directory,huh? Should i uninstall all and install back again game,the patch 2.5;the bonus package 3.1.07 and the XTM mod?

      Last edited by stemardue; 19-10-2011 at 04:37 PM.

    5. #5
      Spammy the (spacefl)Eye in the sky... stemardue's Avatar
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      If some other mods are clashing with XTM, the most normal thing that happen would be errors, not just a slowdown of the game. I don't think that reinstalling would solve your problem, but it could work.

      ♪♫♫♪♪
      Here is XTC 2.0 FAQ. <<<--- Go read it!
      See my XTM gameplay tips here
      Do the X-Hop!
      Relax and dance to the Deep X
      I don't know well what I'm doing, but I know I'm doing it well.

    6. #6
      TXU New Member Light-in-Heaven's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by stemardue View Post
      If some other mods are clashing with XTM, the most normal thing that happen would be errors, not just a slowdown of the game. I don't think that reinstalling would solve your problem, but it could work.
      Thank you "stemardue". I will delete it from registry too.


    7. #7
      Elder Administrator Aragon Speed's Avatar
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      I have a Phenom II 940 atm, so I know your CPU is quite powerful (For the X3R engine), but the X games are normally bound by the CPU rather than the GFX card because the engine is single threaded. Which means even though you have a 4 core CPU, the game is only able to use 1 core. It is also a known fact that the X3 engine for reunion has issues with multi-core cpu's as it was designed and built before they were the norm for desktop PC's, and running the game on multi-core systems can introduce all sorts of problems. The most common of which is the game crashing a lot, but it can also cause weird slowdowns. XTM pushed the game engine hard with everything that was added, so these issues came to the fore more often than they would with a vanilla game.

      The solution for this is to force the game to only use one CPU core by setting its core affinity. This can be done through the task manager, but is a pain to do and also needs to be redone each time you start the game if you only do it through windows. Fortunately there is a simple solution to this, a little program called core affinity resident. This will limit a program to a user definable number of cores. Plus it will always do this automatically, so once it is set up you don't have to worry about it again. It does have to stay resident in memory and load when you boot windows for it to work correctly, but as it only uses about 200K of ram, it's footprint won't even be noticed on your 8 gigs worth. ^^

      You can find this program here: http://www.techiequest.com/core-affinity-resident/

      I'm not saying it will solve your issue, but it will at least eliminate multi-core problems as a cause, and also make sure you don't have any multi-core problems with reunion in the future.

      Edit: I just looked up the 8800 GTS, and here in the UK it is priced at around 200 now, which is expensive for such an old card (or maybe it's priced like that because it is so old?) so buying a second card to run in SLI is not really worth the effort, for the same price you could have a brand new GTX 560 Ti (around 170 - 180 even with factory overclocks http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1gb-a...ores-mhdmi-fre) - which would blow a pair of 8800 GTS away.

      Additionally XTM was designed to work with the bonus pack, so if all you have installed is X3R + Bonus Pack + XTM (and they were installed in that order), then it is unlikely it is a script conflict issue.

      Edit 2: Thread stickyed.

      Last edited by Aragon Speed; 22-10-2011 at 07:27 AM.

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