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Author Topic: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs  (Read 59343 times)
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #25 on: 2007 March 23, 03:52:32 »
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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:

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


ok I have

Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2
Processor: AMD Athlon 64 4000+ Processor with HyperTransport Technology


should I install the KB924441 hotfix and AMD CPU Driver?


if so then should I also download that ForceCore thing?  I never use a shortcut to the game, just pop in the cd and let it load and then I remove the cd and then play...

*is all confused*
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #26 on: 2007 March 24, 07:21:16 »
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Athons have Hyper-Threading?  I thought that was just an Intel thing.

I have no idea if this is still a problem, but nVidia had horrible support for Vista especially with the 8800.  I personally think buying a card just because it supports DX10 right now is pointless since even Avalon1 runs DX9.1 and it'll be a while for games to use DX10.  Since you were forced to SLI the things there probably wasn't any choice between a DX9 and a DX10 card.

TS2 runs about the same speed in Vista as it did in XP but that might be because Intel's Vista drivers don't suck completely.  I also seem to be really lucky when it comes to these kinds of things though since I also don't have problems with either of my nVidia cards (Geforce 4 MX and Geforce 6100) even when using the latest drivers.

What AV are you using?  It seems kind of odd that an antivirus would alert you about something that doesn't require your intervention.

According to that thread, these multi-core gimpers are still in Vista.  I don't see what the OEMs are trying to accomplish by doing this.

Footnotes
1Vista API.  Like AIGLX/XGL(Linux) or Quartz(OSX) it's 3D accelerated so it can do many things that would bring XP to a crawl.  Aero and Live Thumbnails are examples.  Annoyances such as the screen of an application like SimPE turning completely white when freezing is a thing of the past since the window doesn't need to be completely redrawn.  For more information, clicky.
« Last Edit: 2007 March 24, 07:32:08 by Pseudonymous » Logged
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #27 on: 2007 March 24, 13:14:29 »
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Vista API.  Like AIGLX/XGL(Linux) or Quartz(OSX) it's 3D accelerated so it can do many things that would bring XP to a crawl.  Aero and Live Thumbnails are examples.  Annoyances such as the screen of an application like SimPE turning completely white when freezing is a thing of the past since the window doesn't need to be completely redrawn.
Really? This may be an excuse for me to upgrade my new system to Vista Home Premium instead of "downgrading" it to XP Pro SP2 when it arrives on Monday, as this has always irritated me when Firefox freezes like this.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #28 on: 2007 March 24, 18:18:09 »
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You said,"I personally think buying a card just because it supports DX10 right now is pointless since even Avalon1 runs DX9.1 and it'll be a while for games to use DX10."

Well, now that all depends. I'm not a young thing, and although I am still learning and still willing to learn, I am not looking for a new vocation. I have no desire to become a programmer, and no desire to start building computers from an empty box to completetion.

I cut my computer teeth on a Mac, way back in 1984. I am used to cutting edge technology, and not having to worry what is under the hood, because it just runs. You don't mess with a Mac box. You happily use it until it is time to upgrade. So swapping out cards is not something I am accustomed to doing.

I got involved with PCs around the time Windows 95 was running. But that was on Virtual PC. It wasn't until a few months before Sims 2 first came out that I got my first PC box, primarily to play Sims 2, since I have and will always do most of my computing on the Mac.

So, as a subconscious expectation, I still think the PC will run and keep running without much intervention on my part. I was rather horrified to find out I practically needed to become a programmer to understand how to simply protect the silly computer from attacks. The existence of Winrot was another shocker. But I learned, sometimes the hard way. So now I know what I am doing in that area.

However, unlike most savy PCers, I do not quickly and easily crack open the box, for the sheer joy of messing with its innards. Instead, I would prefer to have a well built box, stable and steady, that I can pretty much ignore for the expected life of the PC. So it is important that whatever card comes with the box will still be a valid and useable card until it is time to buy a new PC. And since my daughter bought this for me, it needs to last for years not months. She bought me the latest greatest Dell, which didn't come cheap. I can't ask her to do that every year.

Also, because of the way Vista handles graphics, etc, eventually everyone will be moving over to it. That may be a couple years off, but I will still have this new computer at that time. It is a comfort for me to know that my grahics card was actually built to take advantage of the Vista capability, because the card won't be outdated as soon as programmers catch up to the changes in Vista. And I won't have to face changing out a card, and not being sure if my power supply, cooling system, motherboard, etc can handle the load that the new graphics card demands. In short, I probably won't need to learn how to build a box, just to stay current with the Sims 3.

NVidia is putting out new drivers for Vista 8800 practically every month. Improvements have been made, on a regular basis. They'll get it right, eventually, probably about the time I am ready to switch to Vista. [If I live that long.] So that doesn't concern me, at the moment. All I really care about right now is that Sims 2 runs well on XP, and I have read only good things about that. Nothing negative on the 8800 and Sims 2 on XP, so far.

My AV is Norton, which may be invasive and unwieldy (as well as being annoying, at times) but I know how to use it; and my computer has been safe since installing it. I could not say the same with the previous AV. So for now, I'll stay with Norton. And Ad Watch, and Adaware, and Defender, and Wintasks -- and my long in the tooth XP pro.

Wow, that sure was a long and windy way of saying I disagree with your statement.  LOL

I think I should probably go finish configuring a new copy of Starry Nights on my beautiful 24" iMac (Orion should be peeping over the horizon right about now), before starting up the Sims 2 on the PC .... that should keep me out of trouble for a while.  Cheesy
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #29 on: 2007 March 24, 20:47:39 »
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You should know that in my experience Norton is about as useful against viruses as putting fairy wings on a freight train. I've personally been infected a few times (and I have very strict policies on web browsing and keeping my firewall settings straight), and I've witnessed others becoming infected as well. YMMV, but I'd find a product that actually gets the job done (or better yet, just unplug from the internet as I do now when using Windows).
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #30 on: 2007 March 24, 20:52:40 »
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Internet Security Norton craps out networks regularly too. I uninstalled Norton's suite about two years ago. Nod32 is the one I've been recommended next.

On the topic of dual cores, I'm going to try Argon's suggestions today on my big machine. I've backed up my data and ready to try. None of the suggestions appear to affect the RAID array, so I'll give it a bash. I have a AMD 4400 dual core and I always thought the Sims performance should have been even better than it is.

If that works I also have a new laptop with  2Ghz Turion dual core but it's running Vista, so I don't know if the instructions would be the same?
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #31 on: 2007 March 24, 22:10:33 »
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  • Open boot.ini in notepad and add the /usepmtimer switch

Where should I be looking for boot.ini?

So far all I can find is reboot.ini and boot.ini.backup
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #32 on: 2007 March 24, 22:43:22 »
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Tools > Folder Options... > View > Uncheck the box next to "Hide protected operating system files (recommended)"

Go to the root folder of your hard drive (typically C:\) and look for boot.ini.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #33 on: 2007 March 24, 23:56:31 »
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If you follow the link to where he got the initial info, it gives specific instructions on where to find boot.ini, so you can get there easily.

Here is the part you need to know, as a quote from that page:

"Now look at your boot.ini to make sure that the command /usepmtimer is there, by right clicking on My Computer go to Properties, click on the ADVANCE tab, then under Startup and Recovery click on Settings, then click on EDIT....make sure your boot.ini has the /usepmtimer in there (located in the last line), if NOT then just copy and paste /usepmtimer in there. (NOT the entire boot.ini example)

Note: If you have an AMD dual core and installed the AMD drivers, the /usepmtimer would be inserted into your boot.ini for you."

Follow the instructions, and you'll be up and running in no time. Smiley
« Last Edit: 2007 March 25, 15:49:12 by amjoie » Logged

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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #34 on: 2007 March 25, 00:07:13 »
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Tools > Folder Options... > View > Uncheck the box next to "Hide protected operating system files (recommended)"

Aha.  I thought I already had everything visible, but that box was still checked. 

That won't work -- it isn't there to be found. I searched my whole C drive. Nada
....
Note: If you have an AMD dual core and installed the AMD drivers, the /usepmtimer would be inserted into your boot.ini for you."

Well, Venusy's instructions worked for me.  But that last statement would explain why the switch was already in there, once I did find it.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #35 on: 2007 March 25, 05:17:08 »
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For future reference: Press Win+R and type the following:

Code:
notepad c:\boot.ini

That will allow you to edit that file.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #36 on: 2007 March 25, 07:10:11 »
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Well I followed the steps and haven't noticed any difference as yet. I had the switch in the boot.ini already so didn't install AMDCPU. I applied the two hotfixes and rebooted after each, also added the forcecore 2 switch to the sims2 path. The huge lot I'm playing currently seems to lag about the same.  Sad
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #37 on: 2007 April 06, 04:17:21 »
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I notice this hotfix info comes from a notebook computer forum, so I was wondering if this also applies to desktop computers as well.  I presume it would but I am not a programmer so I can't be sure.  I can say for certain that my Windows folder does not contain KB896256 and I have an AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 5000+.  Is this something I really ought to do?
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #38 on: 2007 April 06, 13:49:12 »
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I used it on my Dell desktop (HT processor) and it seemed to help; can't vouch for duo-core desktops.

FYI: My wife got a new Dell laptop, and it already had both the hot fix and the extra command in boot.ini installed.  So Dell at least knows about this.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #39 on: 2007 April 06, 15:53:18 »
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I used it on my AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ desktop and got noticeable improvement in everything except Sims. In my game, the change has been slight at best.

However, I also have crappy onboard graphics, which has been on my list of things to take care of, just not at a very high priority.  This has moved getting a decent graphics card up the priority list. I expect that's the limiting factor now.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #40 on: 2007 April 12, 04:25:04 »
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I executed these hotfixes a few days ago and here are my results.  First, a noticeable improvement in OS response and most programs except Sims2.  Second, Forcecore does not seem to improve performance at all and in fact seems to make my Sims2 slightly more sluggish, especially when scrolling a large lot.

I totally missed the irony in this at first and blindly followed the directions like a good sheep.  This post is recommending a hotfix for dual core and HT issues, and then advises completely bypassing the hotfix by using Forcecore to make Sims2 run on only one core.  (Sometimes my brain does not catch up with what I read until days later.)

I would recommend these updates to anyone but the Forcecore I would not.  I don't see it could hurt anything to try, though.

[Interresting related tangential note]  I have uncommon BSOD since GLS of the generic, 'Stop error, thread stuck in device driver' kind that causes an instant reboot of my computer.  I had small hope this might find some solution to that issue.  Alas, no, but what is certainly curious is that now I have gotten different error messages after restart and no more of the old familiar 'stop error' kind.  (I realize the instant reboot is still a stop error, but now the details of the stop error messages have changed.)  I know a lot of people have been having problems of this sort and most seem fixated upon a problem with nVidia drivers.  My experience with this makes me wonder if the problem is not deeper than simply graphics card or software issues, perhaps involved with the problematic timing of dual core CPU's mentioned here as well.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #41 on: 2007 April 13, 00:25:16 »
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Argon, would you happen to know if the root bug also exists in 2003 and Vista?
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #42 on: 2007 April 13, 00:46:46 »
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Does this impact Vista Aero at all?  I have C2 Duo as well, with 4mgs Rambus on laptop.  I noticed a slight lag and the graphics are blurry.  Should I do this fix or not?  Thanks so much for the info.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #43 on: 2007 April 13, 09:07:10 »
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@Jordi
I don't know much about 2003 since I never bothered to hack one up to work as a workstation but the forcecore thing should still be the same. I do know that Vista does not need a hotfix because it's already built into the os.

@cptsmurphy
That's a graphics card issue, Vista running Areo sucks more video card memory than XP would so the game has less to work with. The minimum requirement for the Areo interface is a 128 meg video card, so if you have 256 megs you only have half to work with for the game; normally on laptops they're crummy integrated cards so you're actually using slower system memory.


@all
There's some confusion about what the ForceCore and hotfix do, so I'll explain it like this:
The game engine was made before dual core computers were around and the game gets no benefit because of it (unless they added this in Seasons, which I highly doubt since C&C 3 specifically tells you it supports dual core on the box while Seasons does not). HT is not very good to begin with, it's more of a half assed Intel attempt at multiprocessing and has been dropped in Core 2 Duo series and later processors. The hyperthreading actually cuts your processing power in half and many game developers suggest you have it turned off because it causes sync problems (for example: with the special event camera on HT systems, the audio will be lag behind near the middle of the movie and will not recover). On dual core systems, only the game is run in single core mode using ForceCore allowing your pc to do what it was built for: multitasking. With the game only using one core, background processes can run without interfering without having to take time away from the game's cpu time.

ForceCore is simply a program which automatically sets the affinity for a program, the tip for running the game using only one processor came from the guru3d.com forums and an Nvidia drivers forum (it was more from hours of google searches I guess).

For anyone wondering how to turn off HT there are two steps:
1) Go into your bios and turn off hyperthreading
*2) right click My Computer>Properties>Hardware>Device Manager>Computer>ACPI Multiprocessor PC
update driver>choose from list>"Advanced Confi.. blah blah (ACPI) PC">next through everything then restart

* most people don't know/forget they need to do this
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #44 on: 2007 April 13, 17:02:35 »
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@all
There's some confusion about what the ForceCore and hotfix do, so I'll explain it like this:
The game engine was made before dual core computers were around and the game gets no benefit because of it (unless they added this in Seasons, which I highly doubt since C&C 3 specifically tells you it supports dual core on the box while Seasons does not). HT is not very good to begin with, it's more of a half assed Intel attempt at multiprocessing and has been dropped in Core 2 Duo series and later processors. The hyperthreading actually cuts your processing power in half and many game developers suggest you have it turned off because it causes sync problems (for example: with the special event camera on HT systems, the audio will be lag behind near the middle of the movie and will not recover). On dual core systems, only the game is run in single core mode using ForceCore allowing your pc to do what it was built for: multitasking. With the game only using one core, background processes can run without interfering without having to take time away from the game's cpu time.

ForceCore is simply a program which automatically sets the affinity for a program, the tip for running the game using only one processor came from the guru3d.com forums and an Nvidia drivers forum (it was more from hours of google searches I guess).

Thanks for the thorough explanation, that was great! Cheesy

So now I'm wondering...

1) Will turning off HT on my sister's compy help?  Even tho I've already installed the ForceCore thingamabobby on her machine?

2) Will turning off HT affect regular, non gaming use of her compy (performance wise)? or will the effects be negligible?

3) If I do turn it off... then can I simply revert her machine back to using ASR with daemontools and nix the sd4hider thingy?


Ste

PS.  Incidentally... I'm not sure if necessarily noticed any performance difference... but then again, the performance overall is improved in comparison to my old compy anyways (speed, loading, and graphic wise).  Additionally... I don't really multi task much on my compy while I'm simming.  I kinda got into that habit to begin with, so that was usually never a problem anyways.
« Last Edit: 2007 April 16, 15:11:23 by syberspunk » Logged

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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #45 on: 2007 April 13, 23:39:57 »
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All of this makes sense of course *if* the CPU is the speed bottleneck, which is not likely to be the case with a relatively modest but modern system. A smokin' hot bleeding edge in every conceivable way system may benefit from this.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #46 on: 2007 April 14, 00:14:05 »
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All of this makes sense of course *if* the CPU is the speed bottleneck, which is not likely to be the case with a relatively modest but modern system. A smokin' hot bleeding edge in every conceivable way system may benefit from this.
TS2 is a CPU hog, so yes, CPU does tend to be the speed bottleneck. The graphics themselves are actually mildly outdated and don't tend to bottleneck a modern system.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #47 on: 2007 April 14, 04:39:07 »
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By that I simply meant that the CPU tends to be less the performance issue than your average hard drive or RAM speed. Most people still tend to have slow drives and slow RAM, even with relatively modern CPUs.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #48 on: 2007 April 14, 10:27:17 »
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Yes Ste you could dump SD2Hider and the ForceCore thing with HT turned off, check and make sure none of her programs need HT for anything before you do that though. How you'd go about doing that, I have no idea but the only things I've come across that actually use it are Adobe Photoshop and a glide3x wrapper but that's just me.

Dizzy, hard drives aren't really a factor unless your pc doesn't have enough ram (thrashing the hard drive with the Windows swap file usage). About the only difference you'll see with slower hard drives is the initial load time, and even then Windows has the ability to prefech and keep that data in ram if the game is loaded often enough. This laptop has a 4,200 rpms hard drive, but since it has 2 gigs of DDR3 ram you really don't notice it (especially if you set the executive kernel to only stay in active memory). It's the same with my 3 year old desktop (1 gig of DDR2 ram, it was 512 megs before). I don't remember the clock speeds on the ram right now, but I didn't break the budget on them they're the averagely priced modules.

Best case scenario, the hard drive is used very little only loading data when a neighbor walks on the lot (~300KB and ~5megs for clothing, hair etc. most of which will be held in video memory for the different texture LOD stages) as everything else should already be loaded in memory. Let's face it, any normal lot does not include all 7 gigs of data that makes up this game so it'd be safe to assume that all the data needed for that lot can easily fit into 1 gig of ram maybe even 512 megs for a small lot. Hard drive speed really has no influence in anything besides saving and load times or if your pc has so little ram that it resorts to using the slow swap file.
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Re: Fix: Performance sucking on Dual Core and HT CPUs
« Reply #49 on: 2007 April 14, 20:41:46 »
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I tried both doing this and turning off HT on my system, and I get noticeably better performance in TS2 with HT turned off.  Let the 3Ghz processor have at it with no distractions. Smiley
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