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Author Topic: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs  (Read 59396 times)
Argon
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Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« on: 2007 March 18, 04:29:26 »
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I don't remember exactly how I came across this, but I was wondering why my Core Duo 2 laptop was lagging so much when playing TS2. Since doing this I've noticed a significant increase in performance in the game (and booting up my computer actually). Here's why performance is so low:

1) On Dual Core/HT systems Windows XP needs a hotfix that Windows Update does not give you (KB896256)
2) OEMs do no install this hotfix (except a few rare ones)
3) The Sims 2 has sync issues with multiprocessor systems causing its performance to suck (choppy graphics, slow response time etc.)

Affected systems:
Intel - Pentium 4 w/ HT, Pentium D, Core Duo, Core 2 Duo, Dual Core Xeon
AMD - Athlon 64 X2, Turion X2, Dual Core Opteron

Resolution:
(DO NOT COPY AND PASTE FROM BELOW!!)
Code:
For example:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

Becomes:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect /usepmtimer
Quote
FYI: The /usepmtimer in the BOOT.ini is a "switch" that forces the system to use a steady clock in place of the CPU frequency... for certain timing functions. Thats as basic as you can explain it.

  • Download ForceCore and copy ForceCore.exe to C:\Windows\System32 OR the TSBin folder for whatever expansion pack you have (it's easier to use it from the System32 folder)
  • Create a shortcut to Sims2EPx.exe (for whatever EP or SP you have) and modify the Target to read: (modify as needed)
Code:
ForceCore.exe 2 "C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\The Sims 2 EP\TSBin\Sims2EPx.exe"
This tells Windows to open the game using the second core/cpu, you can add any of the normal game switches after the quotes (like -1024x768 or -w etc.). For HT systems I'd recommend using 1 instead of 2 since it's only one processor anyway, -1 tells it to use any random processor that you have. Details and picture guide for easier understanding here.

Info yoinked from: http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=60416
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #1 on: 2007 March 18, 07:22:30 »
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Thank you this is great. Grin

Looking at where you originally got the information from, I noticed that there was an extra step, which involved editing the Registry. Is it alright to do that, or should we just ignore it?
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #2 on: 2007 March 18, 15:44:50 »
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That's interesting info, Argon.  I have a Pentium 4 w/HT (desktop) which had been giving me write delay failure error messages since February.  Thought we had a fix by replacing a cable and doing a registry modification as the rig has been running flawlessly since March 8, but after downloading and installing the latest XP patch yesterday, error message popped up again. 

Back to the drawing board.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #3 on: 2007 March 18, 18:41:32 »
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Thanks for the info Argon! Kiss

A couple of questions:

  • Download ForceCore and copy ForceCore.exe to C:\Windows\System32 OR the TSBin folder for whatever expansion pack you have (it's easier to use it from the System32 folder)
  • Create a shortcut to Sims2EPx.exe (for whatever EP or SP you have) and modify the Target to read: (modify as needed)
Code:
ForceCore.exe 2 "C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\The Sims 2 EP\TSBin\Sims2EPx.exe"
This tells Windows to open the game using the second core/cpu, you can add any of the normal game switches after the quotes (like -1024x768 or -w etc.).

What if we are using a securerom hider thingamabobby?  The target in my Sims 2 Seasons icon currently points to

Code:
"C:\Program Files\ASR\asr.exe" -r "C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\The Sims 2 Seasons\TSBin\Sims2EP5.exe" -w

How will this affect me?  Can I just add the ForceCore thing to the beginning or middle?  Or I won't be able to use it?



For HT systems I'd recommend using 1 instead of 2 since it's only one processor anyway, -1 tells it to use any random processor that you have. Details and picture guide for easier understanding here.

What's an HT system?  I could probably look it up, but meh...  I figure it probably doesn't concern me, but I was just curious.  A cursory google brought up home theater system, but that doesn't seem to make sense.  Undecided

Ste
« Last Edit: 2007 March 19, 05:38:20 by syberspunk » Logged

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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #4 on: 2007 March 18, 18:44:04 »
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HT = hyperthreading.  It was a way Intel designed fast chips (higher than 2.8Ghz) to act like they were two separate processors, before the Dual Core technology came out.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #5 on: 2007 March 18, 20:24:07 »
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Ahhh, thanks joe. Cheesy  My sister has an "older" compy with a P4 chip... how do I tell if it has HT or not?  So I can figure out whether or not I need to update her machine too.

ETA: When I run dxdiag, it reports that her machine processor is a Intel Pentium 4 CPU 3.00 Ghz (2 CPUs).

Ste
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #6 on: 2007 March 18, 21:00:46 »
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That is not a dual core, but it is a HT cpu.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #7 on: 2007 March 18, 21:04:44 »
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@Diala
Just ignore it, the KB article only lists that reg entry for disabling the hotfix. Windows has a lot of options that are active even if the reg entry is not there, it's safe to ignore that step.

@Ste
The Sims 2 uses SafeDisc not SecuROM, that's weird that SecuROM Loader v1.2 would work for it; I'll have to try that out. Anyway since that program allows switches I assume it'd work just fine but to be safe I'd write out the whole path like this:
Code:
"C:\Program Files\ASR\asr.exe" -r C:\Windows\System32\ForceCore.exe 2 "C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\The Sims 2 Seasons\TSBin\Sims2EP5.exe" -w

and yes, your sister's computer has HyperThreading. On Dual Core and Pentium 4 w/ HT processors Windows XP loads the multiprocessor kernel so that's why dxdiag shows the "(2 CPUs)".


FYI: I always just change the permissions on the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE\DEVICEMAP\Scsi (deny read and query value for the Users group) when I use DAEMON Tools to run my game, that way I know it will never be blacklisted when a new expansion comes out. The only bad thing about it is that it only works for that Windows session.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #8 on: 2007 March 18, 21:25:13 »
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Old SecuROM and Safedisc were susceptible to the same hiding techniques. SecuROM has been upgraded so that newer versions are no longer affected by old SecuROM hiders (I think YASU is the current hider of choice), but Safedisc never received those upgrades, probably because they're equally useless, and remains susceptible to the same old tricks.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #9 on: 2007 March 19, 05:37:02 »
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@Ste
The Sims 2 uses SafeDisc not SecuROM, that's weird that SecuROM Loader v1.2 would work for it; I'll have to try that out. Anyway since that program allows switches I assume it'd work just fine but to be safe I'd write out the whole path like this:
Code:
"C:\Program Files\ASR\asr.exe" -r C:\Windows\System32\ForceCore.exe 2 "C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\The Sims 2 Seasons\TSBin\Sims2EP5.exe" -w

and yes, your sister's computer has HyperThreading. On Dual Core and Pentium 4 w/ HT processors Windows XP loads the multiprocessor kernel so that's why dxdiag shows the "(2 CPUs)".

I attempted to try this, but doesn't seem to work.  I copied and pasted what you had in code exactly as above and I got one of those crash errors where it asks if you would like to report the issue to microsoft and what not.

This happened when I tried it on my Duo 2 Core.  When I tried it on my sister's P4, it asked me to put in the sims disk... Huh

Without the ForceCore in the target path, both computers can run the game without the cd.


I guess I won't be able to get this to work?  Unless I use some alternative method instead of ASR?  I only just recently started using the ASR thing.  What alternative methods can I use that doesn't involve having to constantly regedit keys.  The thing is, I would have to do the same for my sister's puter, and I would like to make it as simple and idiot proof as possible.  With ASR, effectively nothing changes for her.  All she has to do is click on the icon and play as normal.  I wouldn't want to have her regedit stuff everytime just to play the game.  Undecided

Any other free alternatives to ASR?


Ste
« Last Edit: 2007 March 19, 05:45:03 by syberspunk » Logged

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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #10 on: 2007 March 19, 14:05:32 »
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Any other free alternatives to ASR?


SD4hider (I think that's its name) -- I use it and it works fine.  It's not a command line thing like ASR; you have to run it and click on 'hide' before starting your game, and then 'restore' when you're done.  But I've never had a problem with it from OFB to Seasons.

It's kinda tricky to find (I found it off a link on the daemon tools forum), so if you can't find it, let me know and I'll send it to you. It's pretty small, so it should fit in a PM.


Oh, and my older P4 Dell didn't have this windows patch installed, so thanks for this tip, Argon!  It does seem to make a small but noticeable difference in boot speed and amount of lag in TS2. About the only time I get noticeable lag now is when I first enter a lot (seems to be the game drawing everything there), and when the ground changes from clear to snow-covered. There's definitely a lot less lag during ordinary play.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #11 on: 2007 March 20, 02:38:38 »
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Thanks again joe and Argon.  I found sd4hider and it works like a charm Cheesy

Also, maybe this could be pinned or moved to the war room? (or peasantry).  I suppose whatever is appropriate, but I think this is definitely a useful tip!

Ste
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #12 on: 2007 March 20, 23:10:53 »
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Or you could use AntiBlah it does more or less the same thing I do manually. I don't like SD4Hider because it deletes the entries rather than just changing permissions.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #13 on: 2007 March 21, 00:40:24 »
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Or you could use AntiBlah it does more or less the same thing I do manually. I don't like SD4Hider because it deletes the entries rather than just changing permissions.

So is it automatic then?  Or is it like sd4hider where I have to hide and then restore after I'm done playing?

And... this reminds me... oops... I think I might have forgotten to restore after quitting the game on my sister's machine, and I think she closed the program and I don't know if she restored or not.  Can something really bad happen if I forget to restore?  Or will it fix itself when I hide and restore again.  I hope... Undecided

Ste
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #14 on: 2007 March 21, 00:48:49 »
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SD4Hide creates a backup.reg file in its own folder, so the next time you run it, you will still have the option to restore.. assuming nobody deletes that backup file in the meantime.
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Argon
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #15 on: 2007 March 21, 01:05:47 »
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It gets replaced the next time the system starts up, but it's better practice to avoid deleting stuff in the registry if you didn't have to. This is easier to automate than SD4Hide, since it uses SubInACL which is just a command line tool from Microsoft.

You could therefore do something like this:

Run.cmd
Code:
@ECHO OFF
:: Apply permission restrictions to Administrator group; only Win 2k/XP/Vista (not tested)
subinacl.exe /keyreg "\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices" /deny=administrators=r
:: Shrink AntiBlah code, more numbers can be added if Scsi reg goes past this
FOR %%1 IN (0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7) DO (
subinacl.exe /keyreg "\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE\DEVICEMAP\Scsi\Scsi Port %%1" /deny=administrators=r
)
:: DOS wildcards RULE! Will work for all OFB+ EPs and SPs
FOR %%1 IN (Sims2*P?.exe) DO (ForceCore.exe 2 %%1 -w)
That is assuming that Run.cmd is in the TSBin folder, both ForceCore.exe and subinacl.exe are in System32 (or in a folder defined in the PATH variable), and you are running with Administrator privileges with the image already mounted.

Then you can use off.cmd to restore the permissions later if you want, it's fixed after the system restarts anyway though.

off.cmd
Code:
@ECHO OFF
:: Apply permission restrictions to Administrator group; only Win 2k/XP/Vista (not tested)
subinacl.exe /keyreg "\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices" /grant=administrators=r
:: Shrink AntiBlah code, more numbers can be added if Scsi reg goes past this
FOR %%1 IN (0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7) DO (
subinacl.exe /keyreg "\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE\DEVICEMAP\Scsi\Scsi Port %%1" /grant=administrators=r
)

Just copy those into notepad and save them as cmd files in the TSBin folder, you could point your shortcut to run.cmd that way.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #16 on: 2007 March 21, 01:14:52 »
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Or you could use AntiBlah it does more or less the same thing I do manually. I don't like SD4Hider because it deletes the entries rather than just changing permissions.
Those entries seem to serve no real purpose anyway, and they respawn themselves, so deleting them doesn't really hurt.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #17 on: 2007 March 21, 01:28:51 »
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Those entries seem to serve no real purpose anyway, and they respawn themselves, so deleting them doesn't really hurt.

Actually they do, I had problems running a few disk management programs, Alcohol 120% has had issues if those reg entries were not there when making an image. By modifying the permissions to hide that reg from the Administrator's group you avoid those issues because it can still be seen by the "SYSTEM" account.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #18 on: 2007 March 21, 03:57:48 »
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Actually, what would really boost the CPU speed would be if I could run Sims 2 in native 64-bit mode on x86-64 Linux, but I suspect the real bottleneck for my system is probably my hard drive, then the video. In Linux (if they ported it), the bottleneck would probably video, audio, then the hard drive, then CPU.  Tongue
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #19 on: 2007 March 21, 22:23:24 »
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I have an important question, regarding this fix.

I just received a surprise email from my daughter, which was a confirmation of an order she had placed for a new computer she bought for me. It is a Dell XPS 710 H2C Black. That is a Core 2 Extreme QX6700 (8MB,3.2GHz Factory overclocked), quad-core processor, with 4 GB internal memory and a terabyte raid 0. Can you believe it? (What can I say -- she loves me. She's always been my little gift from God.) My new XPS has an estimated ship date of the first week of April.  Cheesy  [doing a very excited happy dance]

So, I it seems I suddenly need to know if this fix will work for a Core 2 Extreme (quad instead of duo).

I also need to know the best driver for the dual NVIDIA 8800 GTX, 768 MB. I know nothing about that card, but I read that someone else had it a few months ago and said the Sims 2 played good on it. However, it has been out for a while longer now, and I'm not sure which driver is the most stable.

I'm still a little weak in the knees with excitement ....
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #20 on: 2007 March 22, 02:38:39 »
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I thank you appreciate am glad you took the time to alert us to this. I have an P4/HT computer, and while I never thought my performance was "sucky" (at least since I added RAM), I realized I don't have a good basis for comparison.

I believe I installed everything 100% to spec, and found no difference in performance. So perhaps that is why the update is not universally distributed by MS, as it must have some other factors that contribute. Since keeping up with WTF microsawft is doing is not something I regularly do, pointers like this are of value, to me at least.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #21 on: 2007 March 22, 10:10:12 »
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@amjoie
I'm guessing you still need this because it's still using the same Windows XP kernel (err, well if you want to be technical there are four different kernels: normal, normal Multiprocessor, 4 gigs RAM, 4 gigs RAM Multiprocessor; so you'd actually be using the last), but I can't say from experience. I do know that the latest drivers from Nvidia disable SLI mode with The Sims 2 so you wouldn't get any benefit from having two cards in there :-P

As for Nvidia drivers: I'm using XTreme-G MobileForce XP 97.92 M4 since I'm on a laptop, but they have other variations of it: http://www.tweaksrus.com/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=67&Itemid=41/

@wes_h
There isn't as big a difference on HT systems, but it helped my desktop with a pretty outdated GeForce FX 5900XT 128 meg video card and 1 gig of RAM. It's a hit and miss with HT cpus.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #22 on: 2007 March 22, 15:10:47 »
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@amjoie
I do know that the latest drivers from Nvidia disable SLI mode with The Sims 2 so you wouldn't get any benefit from having two cards in there :-P

This is interesting. Is the SLI mode disabled because it caused problems for the Sims 2? Does disabling it solve the blue screen issues, etc? Is it disabled selectively and only for the Sims 2 game, leaving it intact for other things while I am running Sims 2 in windowed mode? If so, then my background processes (like my Desktop Plants on dual monitors, and virus/spyware protection) are still being run off both cards while playing the game, so I would still be picking up efficiency that would give the game more access to available power on the single card. Or am I thinking wrong, here? 

Even if I am using only one 8800 card just for the game, I suspect it will still be lightspeed ahead of the 6800 I'm using now. And the quad core has to be faster/more efficient than the Gen 4 dual that I have now. So I think I'll still see some noticeable difference in the game play. Especially since I'll also be doubling my memory.  Smiley

I never knew about your fix, and from what I am understanding, I should have already had it on the Gen 4 dual XPS I've been running. Since I was satisfied with the performance of the game up until Seasons, even without the fix, then I'll probably really enjoy the game on the new XPS 710 H2C. But I would like it to be as optimized as possible. I just hesitate to mess with something brand new, unless I know I should.

Thank you for the driver info. I suppose I'll try running what I get out of the box, and not change drivers unless I experience problems. But I would like to at least be informed of the most stable drivers, so I know where to turn if I do experience problems. Is there some website that would likely have the latest info for this, as it applies to Sims 2? Or is this site about as good as any other?
« Last Edit: 2007 March 22, 15:22:47 by amjoie » Logged

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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #23 on: 2007 March 22, 21:38:29 »
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SLI (linking two video cards together to improve 3D performance) can only have one setting at a time, so when the game is running with that profile active, it will be disabled for everything else. I have no idea why they disabled it, maybe there were blue screen problems, all my other computers are more than 3 years old and this laptop only has one 7900 GS so I only know what I read about SLI. Virus and spyware protection has nothing to do with SLI, that's all controlled by the cpu and not the video card.

The game will only use one core out of the four your processor has, but that's not a problem because the background processes are free to use the other three and not interrupt your game. It is possible to use all four for the game, but that's where the studdering and sucky performance comes from, there are sync issues between the different cores so the game slows down to try and correct it (thus the need to set the process affinity; ForceCore does this automatically using the switch you provide).


However, if your new computer is coming with Windows Vista you'll have a whole other set of problems, but the good news is that you won't need the hotfix from Microsoft since it's already part of the OS. There are no good video card drivers for Vista at this point, and The Sims 2 has many graphical glitches.

EDIT: SLI will affect dual monitor displays depending on how you have it set up, if both displays are connected to the primary video card then you will have no problem but if you have the second display connected to the second card with SLI turned on, you will not get any picture on the second display. What SLI does is use the second video card for rendering part of the video, most commonly the picture is divided into the top half and bottom half of the screen. Output is disabled from the second video card because it's being redirected to the first video card so you get a complete picture on your display.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #24 on: 2007 March 22, 23:57:16 »
THANKS THIS IS GREAT

That's good to know about how the monitor needs to be set. Since I have been running two monitors on 256 and I will soon have 768 on each card, running off one card shouldn't ever be an issue. In fact, I don't even see the need for the second card with how I currently use the computer, except for it *might* be needed for Sims 3, and then I would be glad I had it. However, dual cards came as a default (and only) choice with this computer model, so I wasn't going to snub my nose at it.  LOL

(Thinking ...) Can I have SLI turned off all the time, and have each monitor pointed to its own card? That way, I would actually be using two cards (even though it certainly seems like overkill). If I have both monitors pointed to just one card, then isn't the second one sitting there like a veal, not being used for anything? I wish I knew more about this (feeling very stupid about now) but I've never had occasion to learn about dual cards, since I've never had them before.

I know the virus and spyware programs, themselves, run off the processor. I was talking about the popup windows that call for a screen refresh. I'm playing along and suddenly my game is shoved to the background so that I can see some little window that tells me I'm protected from an outbreak. My first thought is, "I better be." My next thought is "quit bothering me with the obvious -- I'm trying to play a game, here." I had hoped more graphics card power would mean I wouldn't be interrupted. Sigh. Unless, since you say it is being run completely by the processor, does having three cores not being used for the game mean there is hope??

My particular computer still comes with XP pro intstalled, and only "Vista ready." That suits me to a T. I don't want to touch Vista for at least a year, and maybe more. But I will have to eventually move to it, so I am glad to have a card that is specifically designed to run on it.

Getting back to the fix ... Once I get all my stuff moved to the new computer, I can experiment with the fix on the old computer. If it goes well there, I'll put it on the new one. If I mess up, it won't matter because I'll be wiping the drives on the old computer and reinstalling factory settings before my daughter puts it up for sale, anyway.
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