Tech Talk Discuss PC Hardware, Software, Internet and Other Technology

Possible upgrade for gaming...advice needed

Old 09-06-02, 02:27 PM
  #1  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Posts: 2,158
Possible upgrade for gaming...advice needed

Here's my basic system:

AMD Athlon TBird 1333
Asus A7V133 mb
IBM Deskstar 60 gig 7200
512 MB PC133 SDRAM
Abit GeForce Ti4400 128 meg
Windows 2000

I built this about a year ago (the video card was put in recently). Everything runs great. Only trouble I seem to have occasionally seems to be with memory/virtual memory. In the last couple of weeks I've played through Soldier Of Fortune II and a couple of times during the game a warning prompt came up and said I was low on virtual memory. After playing the game there also seems to be quite a bit of clearing of the swap files - hard drive is busy for a while. The only other thing is once in a while, even though my frameratres are usually just fine, there can be some real choppiness when entering a new map area. It's not extremely bad but I would think my computer should be enough for this game.

Anyway, I'm looking for any tips on tweaking the game or system that I've overlooked OR are some upgrades in order.

Would adding another 512 megs of system memory do much good (I do notice some swap file usage when I have a lot of apps open also) OR would I be better off putting that money towards a new motherboard and faster Athlon XP and a gig of DDR RAM? I'd do the upgrades myself, money isn't a huge issue as I usually sell the old parts to compensate...my biggest block to rebuilding is laziness and the time it takes to re-install the OS and software.
Wolfchild is offline  
Old 09-06-02, 04:52 PM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 645
I'd think with 512MB you'd be okay, unless you've got a lot of other stuff open at the same time when you're playing games. Have you defragged your drive lately? Sounds like that might be the lag when loading new maps. Have you checked/benchmarked the drive itself? Using DMA?

The other thing you might want to do is run msconfig, and see if there's a bunch of junk loading on startup that you don't really need. (Start->run->msconfig).
Dirk is offline  
Old 09-06-02, 05:17 PM
  #3  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Posts: 2,158
I close all other apps when running any of my games - they're all demanding shooters. I probably do need to defrag that drive (I have three partitions and the game is on one that I wouldn't have thought needed it just yet, but checking just now I see otherwise - heh probably all my saves from SOF2.).

My swap file, about what should that be set at with a system like this? I believe it's at the default right now...could it use to be bigger and what partition would it be best to put it on (I have the C partition for the system and some apps, another primarily for apps and games and a third for downloaded junk.)
Wolfchild is offline  
Old 09-06-02, 05:19 PM
  #4  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Posts: 2,158
Oh and msconfig doesn't appear to work in win2k. Looking at the Task Manager I don't really see anything loaded that I don't want and need though.
Wolfchild is offline  
Old 09-06-02, 05:33 PM
  #5  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: LA
Posts: 1,388
I have a system very close to your own:

Abit K7 Motherboard
1.4Ghz T-bird
512 DDR 2100 RAM
Abit Geforce 4400
Western Digital 80GB 7200 RPM
WinXP Pro

I really don't have any problems with playing shooters with all of the detail turned up. The ONLY times I have problems are in the wide open jungle areas of games like SOF2 and Jedi Knight 2. I'll drop down to like 20-30 fps. It's okay at that speed, but at that point I'll sometimes drop the color from 32bit to 16bit to speed it up a little. Otherwise, I'm getting like 60-100fps depending on the area.

For your virtual memory, I have mine set to 768MB. (1.5 times my RAM) The max and the minimum for virtual memory are at 768MB each. That way the swap file isn't continually growing and shrinking as needed.
UWSarge is offline  
Old 09-06-02, 05:47 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Posts: 2,158
Thanks, I'm going to go ahead and set my swap file the same as yours and defrag all three partitions and see if I see a change. I didn't check the framerates of SOF2 but I did with Medal of Honor: AA and I was getting about what you are with the drops in the open areas.

Couple more questions: which partition would it be best to set the swap file on? And also, what do you feel in your system do you feel is causing framerate drops like that? (I noticed the same thing in the Columbia missions of SOF2). I ask because I still will probably upgrade in the next few months.
Wolfchild is offline  
Old 09-06-02, 09:33 PM
  #7  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: LA
Posts: 1,388
For the swap file, I'd put it on a partition that you'd use the least. Mine's on a partion that just has the OS, so the amount of space needed is fairly constant.

I think the framerate drops are just the fact that the game is trying to do so much with the graphics. In those large open areas, there's just so much more to render volume wise because you see so much at one time. I also think it's the programmer's attempt to max out the hardware as much as possible. It also depends on how much quality you want for video quality. If you want 1600x1200, 4x AA, 32 bit color, high detail, etc., you'll be taxing almost any system out there with current generation processors and video cards.

If you really want to get to that level, you'll need to look at a 2GHz+ processor and probably a next generation video card.
UWSarge is offline  
Old 09-06-02, 10:00 PM
  #8  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Posts: 2,158
I don't really think I'm maxing the settings out that much. Actually I haven't tweaked them much at all...most of it is set at default for my system. I'm running at 1162x864 and the rest is pretty much all default. Next time I run it I'll try some different settings too.
Wolfchild is offline  
Old 09-06-02, 10:27 PM
  #9  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: in da cloud
Posts: 26,196
I don't think it's going to make much of a difference where the swap file goes since it's all on physical drive. SInce your biggest bottleneck is I/O I'd recommend an upgrade to SCSI. Buy an Adaptec 2940 or something similar and a 9GB SCSI drive. You should be able to get it on ebay. Put your OS and apps on the 9GB and any data on the IDE drive you currently have. If a 9GB isn't enough go for an 18GB. You wouldn't believe how much of a bottleneck IDE is. I have a few P2 266's in my win2000 lab at work and they are SCSI with around 128MB RAM. Funny thing is they run through win2000 set up and other I/O intensive tasks about as fast as other boxes with IDE and CPU's 3 times faster.

I have a P3 933 at home and if it wasn't for my geforce 4 burning out and deciding to go to X-box for games I would have gone the SCSI route. In apps other than games my CPU never goes above 10% usage and RAM usage never goes above 250MB or so. I/O is the big bottleneck.
al_bundy is offline  
Old 09-06-02, 11:31 PM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: CA
Posts: 718
Haha IDE is not a bottlneck for his system. It should definitely not be paging with 512mb of ram. A new mobo with an XP and DDR would help, but in that case you would definitely not need a gig of DDR. 512 is plenty, it could be an OS thing and it could be an issue with the way you partitioned the drives. Do you have a copy of XP Professional you could use?
agent2099 is offline  
Old 09-07-02, 06:41 PM
  #11  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Posts: 2,158
Changing the min/max VM settings to 768 seemed to do some good things (and maybe defragging helped too). I haven't played the game for hours again yet but when I quit I'm instantly back to my desktop instead of the hard drive grinding away for 20 seconds.

I left the swap file on the C drive. The partitions were done with fdisk when the drive was new - don't think there's anything amiss there. So far I haven't found a compelling reason to spend the money on XP.
Wolfchild is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.