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Author Topic: Stutter and RAM. I've read the board but...
PGT
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Member # 7967

posted 11-14-2000 09:47 PM     Profile for PGT   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Hello everyone,

First of all, I'm no techie but I'm conversant with the basics. I'm new to this board as well as lots of other things cyber. New computer, new OS (jumped to Me from 3.1), and CFS2, my first sim in years - first ever for Windows. I've been browsing this board for a couple of days and have been most impressed by the enthusiasm and expertise I've seen even though there are occasional differences of opinion <cough>.

I'm running CFS2 at 1024x768x32 with pretty much everything except anti-aliasing turned up and it blows me away! I have no complaints about frame rate but I do experience the stutter that others have complained about. It isn't horrible, occuring mostly at the beginning of a flight and when approaching/shooting down the enemy the first time but it's an annoyance that I'd like to eliminate given what I've just spent on my first new computer in ages. And I haven't moved beyond flight lessons and quick combat so I don't know how bad the problem might be in more complex scenarios.

I've convinced myself that the stutter isn't related to sound probs; turning sound off doesn't change things that I can notice and I've tried most of the suggestions I've seen about changing sound settings. So, I think the sound card is doing its job. Also, increasing the scenery cache and turning the auto LOD off seem to have no effect.

The stutter does occur when the drive is chugging away. My machine falls in the category mentioned in the Microsoft statement someone posted on one of the boards about probs with a speedy processor and 'only' 128M; that CFS2 might think there's more RAM installed and try to access it. It would make sense that the program insists on accessing virtual memory on disk thinking it's hard RAM - instead of using the physical RAM most efficiently. And the result is the stuttering as the program coughs while slowing to access data that should be available directly from memory. This might also explain why things smooth out during a flight; frequently accessed data is moved into hard memory and only occasional new info results in stutter.

Curiously, I've run the system monitor and it almost ALWAYS shows less than 10MB of physical ram unused, even right after booting the system! When I'm running CFS2, unused physical RAM averages less than 2MB with dips to nearly 0 and occasional spikes as high as 30MB (the only time I've ever seen values that high) while the swapfile size stabilizes around 180MB. (When I'm doing undemanding stuff, the swapfile hovers around 90MB.) None of the posts I've seen so far mention seeing such values for unused physical memory. I've installed nothing that should hog RAM at startup and the computer runs just fine with the half dozen applications I've tried so far - even CFS2, beautiful and smooth (when it's not stuttering) with marvelous stereo sound.

Given what the MS note said and what I've read here, it seems likely that another 128MB of RAM would eliminate the prob but I went for the Rambus stuff so that ain't in the budget for the near future. So, if I'm right that the problem is related to virtual memory, I'd like some advice on how I might minimize the difficulty. With Windows 3.1, the logical solution was to establish a permanent swapfile, ensuring that it used contiguous sectors on a defragged disk. But I'm not at all clear how Me uses virtual memory. Some texts I've looked at suggest the OS really knows best and there's nothing to be gained by setting swapfile size manually. Plus there doesn't seem to be any setting to make the file permanent so it would appear that Me uses whatever sectors it finds convenient at any given point whether it's managing the swapfile or if the size has been fixed by the user. It's not obvious to me if there's a way to insure it's permanent and contiguous. When I run defrag, I see large blocks of sectors and several smaller blocks scattered around the disk marked 'not to be moved'. Lacking a more sophisticated disk inspection tool, I suspect that might be the current swapfile. I can't figure any scale on the defrag display so I suppose they could be unmoveable OS files but they look too big for that. I haven't tried a fixed swapfile size to see if it helps the stutter; when I set one up, Windows gave me a dire warning about possibly not being able to restart the system so I decided to bail out until I've got more info.

I'm enjoying CFS2 very much and have picked up lots of great tips from this board; I'm not going to obsess about the stutter but it would be great if someone could point me to a fix that doesn't involve more RAM.

New thought; is there any chance DirectX 8 would help? Maybe solve the 'addressing too much RAM' prob in the CFS2 code? I'm reluctant to upgrade without good reason since I'm just getting familiar with my new system and the MS site says you can't uninstall DirectX without redoing the whole shebang.

I've written enough; don't wanna wear out my welcome!


Thanks much,
PGT

System:

Dell Dimension XPS PIII 866 with 128MB RDRAM
40GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive (ATA-66)
NVidia GeForce2 GTS 64MB (Detonator3 installed)
Turtle Beach Santa Cruz Sound Card (drivers current)
Windows Me

Oh... and a Thrustmaster FCS! Was nice to see this classic listed in Windows Me setup. I plan to invest in a new stick, HOTAS, pedals, etc. after some more research.


Posts: 7 | From: | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged
Mshock44
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posted 11-14-2000 10:57 PM     Profile for Mshock44   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I've got 128mb ram, with DX8, PII 350, 5.25" Hd, 1024*768*32bit, yada yada.
Basically, I get stutter with 256 bit ground textures (128 bit only looks like 20% blurrier IMO), and a little bit from ground object shadows (I mean, who cares, they aren't gonna sneak up on me from a high posistion...I hope). I turned off both and I only get small stutters in transistions such as pressing x and blowing up/bailing out.
I have a 32 meg DDR Geforce, and I belive that modeling several square miles of 256 bit texture/32 bit color terrain just taxes the memory bandwidth of the AGP bus too much on many systems. Graphics memory bandwidth is the big bottle neck on even high end current generation systems. Even DDR memory at 330+ megahertz just can't hack that much high-detail rendering because the AGP Bus chokes it off at 66mzh, even with AGP 4x enabled in most cases.

Oh yeah, does anyone know if you need to reset the conservative swap file usage parameter in Windows Me? I'm still using 98.
Ask someone in the Falcon 4 forum about this, because in 98 we needed to change a setting in Windows to make it take advantage of 128+mb of ram the way it should.

[This message has been edited by Mshock44 (edited 11-14-2000).]


Posts: 189 | From: | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged
Beery
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posted 11-14-2000 11:40 PM     Profile for Beery   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I get the stutter most often when I'm shooting at other aircraft. It seems to happen just as my bullets hit the aircraft. As an uneducated guess, I'd say that the stutter might be caused by the need for the computer to generate smoke graphics. Smoke graphics used to really slow down Red Baron 3D to a crawl - could be the same problem here.

You might try turning down the effects quality setting to 'low' - it seems to help on my system, and I can't tell the difference.

Another thing to try is the suggestions on this page:
http://www.omegacorner.com/

Go to the 'Archives' page, and follow the instructions dated July 3, 2000. I followed the directions there and I'm now able to get twice the detail out of the game as I had before. It's amazing the difference it has made for me.


Posts: 86 | From: Boston, MA, USA | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged
MagenDavid
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posted 11-15-2000 05:14 AM     Profile for MagenDavid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
i've got 256 RAM, 850 o/c Celeron n Voodoo3 2000 n i can tell u it still stutters..


Posts: 413 | From: | Registered: Mar 2000  |  IP: Logged
motoadve
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posted 11-15-2000 07:22 AM     Profile for motoadve   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
PIII 600 , 256 RAM
Sttuters and getting worse, I have tried everything
Im buying a Voodoo 5 hope it helps

Posts: 45 | From: San Jose Costa Rica | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged
chemistry
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Member # 7744

posted 11-15-2000 08:27 AM     Profile for chemistry   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I noticed when switching the objectdetail slider from 256 to 512 causes the game to stutter, so stuttering has to do something with graphics
Posts: 12 | From: Holland | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged
MaxxG
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posted 11-15-2000 06:28 PM     Profile for MaxxG   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by PGT:
Hello everyone,

Plus there doesn't seem to be any setting to make the file permanent so it would appear that Me uses whatever sectors it finds convenient at any given point whether it's managing the swapfile or if the size has been fixed by the user. It's not obvious to me if there's a way to insure it's permanent and contiguous.


Do the following to perform the above (create a contiguous swapfile)...

1) Defrag your drive - DO NOT go to step 2 until you do this!

2) "right click" My Computer; then click Properties/Performance/Virtual Memory

3) click "Let Me Specifiy...."

4) change the "Minimum" value to 3 x (amount of physical RAM). Example 3 x 128

5) enter the same amount from above into "Maximum"

6) click "OK" then "Close" and allow computer to reboot.

PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING:

I am not saying this with improve anything... I am not saying this is a good idea... I am not saying this is a bad idea. I am simply telling you how to create a contiguous swap file/area as per your request above!

[This message has been edited by MaxxG (edited 11-15-2000).]


Posts: 144 | From: Dartmouth, NS, Canada | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged
PGT
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posted 11-16-2000 08:56 AM     Profile for PGT   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Thanks for the replies!

Will try your suggestions this eve.

PGT


Posts: 7 | From: | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged
Cleanur
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posted 11-18-2000 04:25 AM     Profile for Cleanur   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Thanks for the link to that website.

Managed to cure nearly all the stuttering and up my detail levels.

Cheers

Cleanur


Posts: 59 | From: Leeds, Yorkshire, England | Registered: Oct 1999  |  IP: Logged
TG
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Member # 3641

posted 11-18-2000 01:07 PM     Profile for TG   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Athalon 800 256MB SDRAM Ultra DMA Hard drive and Voodoo5500 with latest drivers optimized as much as possible.

Still studders and is a real pain.

Microsoft, you oughta be ashamed of yourselves.



Posts: 359 | From: SOmerville, NJ USA | Registered: Mar 2000  |  IP: Logged
Starlancer
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posted 11-18-2000 06:28 PM     Profile for Starlancer   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I use a 256mb swap file, and by using the "Buy before you" version of Norton Utilities 2001 moved my swap file to the outer tracks of my hard drive, its made a big difference, to my whole system. try it.
Posts: 22 | From: | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged

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