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Default Gothic 3 tweaks?

October 24th, 2006, 01:09
According to this thread HDD speed, swap file and vertical sync (set it to: OFF) have massive influence on the game´s performance.

HDD:
- disable indexing (wastes performance)
- disable "faster search" (dto.)
- defrag game partition before you install. Use a 3rd party tool, not Windows-Defrag (result: less need for jumps to other positions and higher transfer speed for larger files)

Swap file:
Create a permanent swap file (this means min size = max size) on (a) another HDD or (b) on a partition which is as empty as possible (-> less time wasted to find open space), defragmented (-> data & free space are sorted in the correct order on the HDD), fast and NOT your windows partition.

I´ll leave the explanations about graphics driver tweaks with CoolBits to somebody else.
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October 24th, 2006, 04:00
Thanks Gorath, any chance they mention where to change those HDD settings?
I tried going into Device Manager and then properties for each of the HDs with no luck finding those settings, with only a check for Write Caching.
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October 24th, 2006, 12:55
To switch indexing and fast search off, just right-click on the disk in Explore My Computer and select Properties, the checkboxes are right on the first tab at bottom.

To configure your swap file, go Control Panel -> System Properties -> Advanced -> Performance -> Advanced -> Virtual Memory -> Change. (Doesn't everybody know that? ;-) )

BTW, putting the swap file on a (fast) separate disk is *the* single best thing you can do for your computer's performance for any memory-intensive use, not just games. In fact, IMO the main point of going with a desktop system instead of a nifty little laptop is that you can set it up with at least two reasonably speedy HDD's (and enough RAM; at current prices going with less than 2GB is just silly). Way more stuff is bottlenecked by disk I/O than CPU speed or even graphics power.
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October 24th, 2006, 14:10
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
BTW, putting the swap file on a (fast) separate disk is *the* single best thing you can do for your computer's performance for any memory-intensive use, not just games. In fact, IMO the main point of going with a desktop system instead of a nifty little laptop is that you can set it up with at least two reasonably speedy HDD's (and enough RAM; at current prices going with less than 2GB is just silly). Way more stuff is bottlenecked by disk I/O than CPU speed or even graphics power.
That's right, but keep in mind, to configure the two drives NOT as master and slave, because on one IDE-channel only one drive can work at one time.

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. - HL Mencken
Last edited by HiddenX; October 24th, 2006 at 14:26.
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October 24th, 2006, 16:49
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
IŽll leave the explanations about graphics driver tweaks with CoolBits to somebody else.
I believe ATI has an option to turn on/off Vsync via the driver but nVidia does not so you need to do the CoolBits registry "hack" to enable more features in your driver.

- Install the latest official nVidia ForceWare driver (91.47 as of today).
- When asked to reboot, click on 'Later'.
- Go to Start -> Run -> regedit
- Look up HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\nVidia Corporation\Global\NVTWEAK
- Right click on the entry and create a new DWORD value
- Name it "CoolBits" and enter "3" when prompted for the value (for SLI systems, you need to enter 18 to get the most out of ForceWare)
- Reboot and then check your nVidia control panel for some new options like Vsync on/off and more fan control etc

If you don't like playing with your registry, then just download CoolBits 2.0 from Guru3D (or any other hardware site, of course).
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October 24th, 2006, 17:04
Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
That's right, but keep in mind, to configure the two drives NOT as master and slave, because on one IDE-channel only one drive can work at one time.
Hmmm… not sure if I misunderstood but what exactly do you mean by that? The way you say it, it would be impossible to copy data from physical drive C: to physical drive D: if both drives were plugged into the same controller and one drive would be configured as master and the other as slave. That is not true, however. Of course, both drives can be active at the same time. Otherwise how would you install games from a DVD drive that was a slave of the main HD if both drives couldn't be active at the same time?

For example, I got two HDDs on my primary ATA controller and burner + DVD on the secondary ATA controller. Works great and performs very well. The reason I set it up like that is that both HDDs can operate at U/DMA 100 speed while the optical drives can only operate at U/DMA 33.
My drive setup makes sure that my HDDs have never ever got to slow down to U/DMA 33 speed (when the optical drive goes active) since I got optical drives and HDDs strictly separated. It's a setup that I can definitely recommend. I use my 2nd HD mostly for back-up purposes and the copying from one drive to the other is very fast.

In my opinion, there is no such thing as a master/slave limitation in the way you described it. That may be true for serial ATA as the name suggests (serial) but due to the single channel per device design, it is, of course, no problem for several SATA devices to be active at the same time.
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October 24th, 2006, 17:14
@Moriendor

Moving The Swapfile To A Different Hard Disk
When the swapfile is permanent, tweakers who advocate moving swapfiles around will tell you to move your partition to a second hard disk. Why? As the theory goes, if you put the swapfile on the second hard disk, your system will be able to access both the swapfile on the second hard disk and data on the first hard disk concurrently, thereby improving performance. But does that work?

Well, it depends. Many users and tweakers forget one thing when they move their swapfiles to the second hard disk - only one IDE device can be active at any one time on the same IDE controller. Usually, they will slave the second hard disk to the first hard disk on the primary IDE controller and put the CD-ROM drive on the secondary IDE controller. That's sound practice normally but in their case, that negates the purpose of moving the swapfile off the primary hard disk!

Because both hard disks are on the same IDE controller, they can't be active at the same time. So, there's no way the system can read from both hard disks at the same time. In fact, because the secondary hard disk is often slower and smaller than the primary hard disk, the performance of the swapfile on the second hard disk is worse off now.



source:
http://www.adriansrojakpot.com/Speed_Demonz/Swapfile_Optimization/Swapfile_Optimization_17.htm

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October 24th, 2006, 17:33
@HiddenX: Thanks for the link. Guess we'd have to ask that Adrian dude then from where he's getting the idea that only one drive can be active at a time but I'm too lazy to write him a mail . I think it's complete and utter bullshit though. Might have been true in the 1980s before parallel ATA and synchronous data transfers were invented but ever since the introduction of 2 ATA channels, I'd have serious doubts that any of this is true.
Oh well, the whole swap file debate is IMHO overrated anyway. You will maybe get 0.0038934 FPS more from this "tweak" .
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October 24th, 2006, 17:40
Very many thanks for the help, HiddenX, but unfortunately it didn't do it for me.

Although I'm not really sure I used the MemTool correctly and if it helped…

However, as I ran G3 in the window mode, I saw that during the load time it filled the RAM very quickly. I got to play practically for one dialogue in Cape Dun and then, poof, all RAM in use, sounds starts looping and the only way out is through CTRL+ALT+DEL.

I didn't try the msconfig.exe and the NTFS tweaks cause that's "Messing With Tha System", which I try to avoid at any cost.

I guess I just have to accept the fact that 1 GB of RAM is just not enough for a monster like Gothic.
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October 24th, 2006, 17:54
@Moriendor and others — It's pretty simple, really: the PATA bus only talks to one device at a time. So, if you have two drives configured as master and slave and move stuff between them, the computer first reads a block from M into memory, then stops reading and writes the block to S. And repeats until it's done.

However, if you have them on separate buses, the system can stream the data from the one to the other — M1 can be reading stuff into memory at the same time as it's being written to M2.

Same thing applies to reading — suppose the game data is on D1 and the swap file on D2, and the system is swapping: it's reading stuff from D1 and writing it to D2, or reading some stuff from D1 and some from D2. Works great if they're on separate buses, but if they're on the same bus, it has to switch between them. You notice this is stuttering, pausing, and lags. IOW it won't affect FPS, but it will affect the length and frequency of stutters as stuff is streamed between the disk(s) and RAM. Very significantly too.

IOW, it's not that they won't work — obviously they will — it's just that they'll work much more slowly than if they're on separate buses.

Don't believe me? Try copying a large volume of data — say, 10 GB — from one disk to another, first with the two disks set up as master and slave on the same connector, then with them set up as masters on different connectors. The difference will be dramatic. I know, because I've tried it, on a fairly recent system too.

Of course, this doesn't apply to SATA. You can plug those in any which way you like.
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October 24th, 2006, 18:17
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
@Moriendor and others — It's pretty simple, really: the PATA bus only talks to one device at a time. So, if you have two drives configured as master and slave and move stuff between them, the computer first reads a block from M into memory, then stops reading and writes the block to S. And repeats until it's done.

However, if you have them on separate buses, the system can stream the data from the one to the other — M1 can be reading stuff into memory at the same time as it's being written to M2.

Same thing applies to reading — suppose the game data is on D1 and the swap file on D2, and the system is swapping: it's reading stuff from D1 and writing it to D2, or reading some stuff from D1 and some from D2. Works great if they're on separate buses, but if they're on the same bus, it has to switch between them. You notice this is stuttering, pausing, and lags. IOW it won't affect FPS, but it will affect the length and frequency of stutters as stuff is streamed between the disk(s) and RAM. Very significantly too.

IOW, it's not that they won't work — obviously they will — it's just that they'll work much more slowly than if they're on separate buses.

Don't believe me? Try copying a large volume of data — say, 10 GB — from one disk to another, first with the two disks set up as master and slave on the same connector, then with them set up as masters on different connectors. The difference will be dramatic. I know, because I've tried it, on a fairly recent system too.

Of course, this doesn't apply to SATA. You can plug those in any which way you like.
OK, thanks for the detailed explanation. However, unless you're doing something rather extreme very regularly as the 10GB file transfer that you mentioned, I doubt that it really makes much of a real world difference if you keep the HDs separated. Seems pretty theoretical to me like the fact that on an Ethernet LAN only one transfer can be active at any one time but still, as we all know, you can have LAN parties with lots of players using the same net.
The HD "tweak" sounds to me like you would suggest to someone with a home LAN and 2 computers to buy 2 switches, plug each computer into a separate switch and then to connect the switches via a network bridge for improved network performance which would be a case of "slight" overkill maybe .
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October 25th, 2006, 05:28
Well Adrian has been putting together the most extensive and factual tweaks since the mid 90's, iir when I the net started growing, at least thats when I first heard of him.
As with Toms Hardware in the early days if you wanted info on overclocking, upto date tech info on hardware, you went to Adrian for BIOS tweaks and such.
If you notice in the article that even the top Harddrive maker's tech gurus commented on this info agreeing and expanding on it, at time it was Western Digital whom ruled and they agreed with him.

It was just put out there to help people, whom almost all are experencing stuttering, and this does help.

Afaik tranfering data over a lan is different than measuring read write speeds, so maybe that is confusing part.
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October 25th, 2006, 09:50
@Moriendor — Just try it. I guarantee you'll be able to notice the difference e.g. when playing a game with real-time terrain swapping. Again, I've *done* this — I made this mistake and corrected it on my previous box, and the difference was very noticeable.

As to your LAN parallel, well duh — there's several orders of magnitude more traffic along the IDE bus than the Ethernet connector, so of course it'd be overkill. But with disks it isn't — disk I/O is *the* biggest bottleneck in any system, and therefore anything you can do to reduce it will make a noticeable difference.

Again, in order of priority/cost:

(1) Get enough RAM. Less than 2GB nowadays is silly, if you're doing anything memory-intensive.
(2) Get two HDD's, put them on different controllers, and put the system and programs on one and the swap file and data files on another (but make a separate partition for the swap file).

IMO anyone who doesn't do (1) and (2) is being a bit silly, unless all they do is Web, office, and email; it doesn't cost much and makes a major difference to real-life performance. If you want to go the extra mile or two:

(3) Replace the system disk and swap partition with WD Raptors and keep your data on a big, slower volume.
(4) Replace the system disk with a striped RAID pair.
(5) Replace the data disk/swap partition with another striped RAID pair.

The advantages of CPU upgrades are way more "theoretical" than this, and usually cost a lot more. Not to mention overclocking or GPU tweaking, which add instability into the mix.
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October 25th, 2006, 10:23
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
(3) Replace the system disk and swap partition with WD Raptors and keep your data on a big, slower volume.
(4) Replace the system disk with a striped RAID pair.
(5) Replace the data disk/swap partition with another striped RAID pair.
….
Well this discussion is somewhat close to what I have been arguing with
myself ever since I bought a couple of WD Raptors(74 GB) and set them in
raid 0 for my system/Data. I was thinking of buying a 36 GB Raptor (especially
lately when storage has become a concern). and moving the swapfile there.

I do have some concerns though especially since the Raptor costs ~100 euros
that I am not all that happy to "throw away" in my current financial state:

#1 the Raid performs ~50% better than the single Raptor I think when reads
are considered (writes may be even worst than the single Disk in some cases
though generally gain ~5-10% if I recall correctly some of my early research).
Having this in mind would not the fact that the single raptor is that slower than
the Raid mostly negate the gain of moving the swapfile to it. (No, getting a
second raptor is not an option ).

#2 36 GB for 100 euros are a LOT of money when I could get a slower 250 GB
for my storage needs (Looking ahead that is 36 GB are enough for now) at less
and keeping the swapfile where it is…

Also @ Prime junta: wouldnt keeping the second drive single partition and
choosing a static pagefile (and also using some utility to optimize said pagefile)
be faster than having 2 partitions..? If the pagefile is not dynamic (hence not
fragmented) I dont see what the problem would be in writing DATA in the same
partition (occasional defrag would only help ofcourse).

Anyway any thoughts from people that have gone through this sort of setup
would be greatly appreciated
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October 25th, 2006, 12:09
I'm very surprised no-one's mentioned telling XP not to use as the swap file so much. This is one of the biggest performance increasers in general if you've got more than a gb of RAM.

Might be wise to set a system restore point before trying.

In regedit:

1) Export the current registry to a safe place. If it goes wrong you can restore from this file.

2) navigate to HKEY_LOCALMACHINE->SYSTEM->CurrentControlSet->Control->Session Manager->Memory Management

3) DisablePagingExecutive -double click it and in the decimal put a 1 - this allows XP to keep data in memory now instead of paging sections of ram to harddrive yeilds faster performance.

4) LargeSystemCache- double click it and change the decimal to 1 -this allows XP Kernal to Run in memory and improves system performance a lot.

5) Exit regedit (no need to save).

Note that windows will still use the pagefile when required, it's not actually disabling it, but this stops windows from assuming it will need to use it so much.
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October 25th, 2006, 14:13
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3) is okay

4) I would advice against doing that. Enabling largesystem cache means it will chew system memmory before it writes it to the drive (up to the physical ram limit). In a file server this is fine because the file server isn't really doing anything other then serving files. So in that application the ram requirememnts are low and having fewer disk writes will increase performance.

However on a home machine where you often have multiple applications running and especially if you are playing games (Gothic 3 has his own caches) or any other application that loves RAM all you are doing it wasting ram. You don't have constant disk access like on a file server so you are loosing ram and gaining a minor advantage in less disk writes.

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October 25th, 2006, 15:18
Some interesting stuff here … I'm trying to see how to work all of this on my laptop

— Mike
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October 25th, 2006, 15:29
I personally wouldn't use Raptors since the 16 meg IDE drives are only about 5% slower but offer 250 gig or more (?) drives even cheaper, iir.
So for cheaper price your getting 95% speed and at least 3 times the space.
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October 25th, 2006, 15:54
Originally Posted by Acleacius View Post
I personally wouldn't use Raptors since the 16 meg IDE drives are only about 5% slower but offer 250 gig or more (?) drives even cheaper, iir.
So for cheaper price your getting 95% speed and at least 3 times the space.
A 7200 rpm IDE drive is 0nly 5% slower than the 10000 rpm SATA raptor ?
Do you have any particular Brand/model in mind ?
Any link to a relevant benchmark ?

Thanks in advance.
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October 25th, 2006, 16:04
Originally Posted by JonNik View Post
A 7200 rpm IDE drive is 0nly 5% slower than the 10000 rpm SATA raptor ?
Do you have any particular Brand/model in mind ?
Any link to a relevant benchmark ?
I can't quote anything, but I know that the real-world SATA is far less than the benchmarking results based on the actual usage. However, I know you can see differences 5400RPM vs 7200RPM on the same bus, so I can only imagine that it would be noticeable (for loading, etc) when adding the SATA advantage.

— Mike
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