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Baltika

A Funny Old Tale about hardware optimisation

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Or Tweakers Anonymous United. . .

 

Well, I have been kicking about here from the good old days of SFP1, when patches only came along once every couple of years.

 

Man, how we bitched to get the old campaigns working when version 083006 came out, and yes, I am still patiently waiting for SF2:Operation Tainted Cigar - throw me a bone here guys :grin:

 

And for a long time I was running hardware which frankly couldn't run the 08 level patches properly - we are talking 15 FPS on average, with frequent dips into single digits.

 

But, you know, none of that mattered, 'cos I could tweak stuff, fiddle around to get an extra FPS or two, or perceived a marginal improvement, and anyhow I had campaign and terrain mods to finish, so, actually running missions was a bonus.

 

Then, last summer, I got myself a proper modern gaming rig, so, I thought, I would be in SF2 nirvana, right?

 

Well, not really, I have spent over a year tweaking, fiddling, testing, trying to sort a framerate hiccup on comms playback glitch. From 200+ FPS to freeze, to 4FPS, what's been going on?

 

In every mission, on every detail setting, and, on every nvidia setting I could think of. No dice. Bandit calls, Red Crown, Wingmen soundbites - hiccup. Darn!

 

I have changed vid card drivers, changed soundcard drivers, gone from onboard Realtek cr*p to Creative soundcard cr*p, all the while cursing, tweaking, cursing, tweaking and keeping on coming back.

 

 

Well, all that has changed. On a hunch I tried an old WoX trick, and installed my combined main game folder (SF2; V; E; I; NA; EP1; EP2) to a 16GB Corsair USB Pen Drive.

 

Guess what? It worked. Stutter gone. Hiccups gone. Running at an average 59-60 FPS (limited by my TFT panel with vsync enabled) with occasional drops to the mid 30s, unnoticeable unless I have the frmaerate counter running.

 

I have run CAS missions, intercept, battlegoup strike missions, IcelandNA terrain, all the same.

 

Fluid, beautiful, uninterrupted gameplay. At last, I can play SF2, with no stutters, no hiccups, just missile spoofing, ground-run-strafing, MiG-killing fun.

 

 

 

I should be having fun, but you know what?

 

 

I just d/led DCS World 1.2.0, running around in their free to play Su-25.

 

The terrain stutters a bit when I pan around.

 

It's bugging me a bit. Even though the switchology is a pain to learn, the canned missions are boring, and it's all so Russian, I want it to run right. Without hiccups or glitches.

 

Play some SF2? It's running great now. Well, yeah, but I gotta research HDDs. I think I need to fit faster one. To get DCS running right.

 

I mean, I won't play it that much, but, you know, I need something to tweak. . .

 

 

AAAAaaaargh!!!

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In addition to your HDD speed, how much RAM do you have? You might be running on the low end of what you need.

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Hi Jedi, here's the rub:

 

My new (-ish, now last year's model) rig:-

 

Intel Core i5-2500K CPU @ 3.30GHz (Sandy Bridge)

 

16.0 Gb RAM

 

64-bit Win 7 HP

 

Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 1.5Gb

 

Creative Soundblaster Audigy

 

Samsung 2TB HD204UI HDD - 3Gb/s 5400RPM 32MB cache

 

Kingston 64GB SSD (in cache mode for HDD)

 

 

 

The weak link looks to me like the HDD, which turns out to be the Samsung Spinpoint F4EG EcoGreen Version. Not exactly as advertised by the vendor, who claimed a 7200RPM model, but that will teach me to buy off the shelf.

 

So I am eyeing up a Western Digital 1TB VelociRaptor SATA 6Gb/s 64MB 10K 3.5" Hard Drive to put all my flightsims on :cool:

 

Meantime, my Corsair USB stick is taking up the slack :grin:

 

Slainthe!

 

Baltika

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Are you accessing that 2 TB drive in legacy (ATA emulation) SATA mode, as opposed to SATA-II or SATA-III AHCI mode?

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have you thought about getting a Solid Stats Drive for just games and keeping the HDD as your primary drive?

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SSD prices have fallen off a cliff lately. BH Photo had a Sandisk Extreme 240G SATAIII drive today for $159.99! This is a very reliable and incredibly fast SSD. This drive would make the Velociraptor mechanical drive look like a paperweight in comparison. Despite the huge performance advantage current generation SSD's have, they are not supposed to improve gaming performance to the degree one would expect.

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Despite the huge performance advantage current generation SSD's have, they are not supposed to improve gaming performance to the degree one would expect.

it probably would for me, my PC is an off-the-shelf PC with new CPU and GPU. Everything else is stock.

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Hi all,

 

Thanks for the suggestions. I am reading up on HDDs and SSDs now.

 

The SF2 issue seems to be that the disk is accessed on the fly to load up the sound files for the various voice comms.

 

This is causing a hiccup on playback, except when I have my main game install on the Corsair stick. i see the stick activity light flashing when comms play, but the in-game-stutter doesn't happen. So I reckon it is a speed of data access issue, pointing to my HDD combination.

 

 

Are you accessing that 2 TB drive in legacy (ATA emulation) SATA mode, as opposed to SATA-II or SATA-III AHCI mode?

 

Good question, I have no idea what the answer is. I will try to find out.

 

The computer is set up to use the 64 Gb Kingston SSD as a cache drive for the HDD, using Intel's Rapid Storage/Smart Response Technology. This is supposed to cache all frequently used files on the SSD to speed up access, and improve overall system performance, but instead I am getting this glitch. If I find time I can try to switch that off (maybe not if I need to reinstall windows) to see if that technology is causing the issue. The SSD and HDD are set up in a RAID 0 config, with the driver set to "Enhanced" acceleration. I think I can easily switch that over to "Maximised" mode to see if that helps any.

 

:dntknw:

Edited by Baltika

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Yeah, with that much horsepower you shouldn't be getting those hiccups. I'm going to peg that Intel setup as the problem absent any further info. My guess is either the sounds are NOT getting cached due to a glitch in how it's caching, or there's some latency in accessing when going from stuff cached on the SSD to what it isn't on the HDD. Also, "green" drives spin down within seconds of you ceasing to access them. So if the files you need are mostly loaded into RAM or the SSD, but the sound files are left on the green drive, when it has to spin up to grab them...bump.

 

I'll also wager you may be the only one playing TW sims with that setup, and I can guarantee TK isn't and wouldn't have seen it himself!

 

I just recently bought a 1TB WD Black HDD and I deliberately skipped the green version for 3 reasons: although the Green was like $20 more for a 2TB drive, it's slower (some people said they're all 5400 even if the listing says 7200); the warranty was only 1 or 2 years compared to I think the 5 this one has; and the failure rate for the Green drives was higher. Larger percentage of DOAs, large number failed during warranty, large number failed once warranty expired.

 

I paid a bit more to get the reliability and speed I wanted.

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You could run the flippin Matrix on that Rig!!! - and SF2 still stutters :rofl:

 

Yes if you get an SSD the interface needs to be SATA 3 for the best SATA Data rate transfer - its about twice as fast as SATA 2.

 

Your mainboard should support SATA 3 if its recent but check it otherwise you wont get the full rate

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