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Mord

Getting the most from your Comp in CMX2

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This has been driving me crazy since CMSF came out...what is the best combination of computer components that will make CMX2 games really fly? BEST/BEST settings. Big maps...lots of units...is there anything that can handle this smoothly?

Best chip set up...single, dual, or quad?

Does the Vid card matter after a certain amount of Vram?

Does Ram matter after 2 gigs or so?

Does a decent sound card help with the SFX?

What kind of systems does the CMX2 engine take advantage of?

Mord.

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I was actually wondering the same thing the other day. Maybe everyone can post thier specs, exact settings ingame, resolution, and average framerate. Could give everyone an idea of what it takes.

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Did we have this thread already?

This has been driving me crazy since CMSF came out...what is the best combination of computer components that will make CMX2 games really fly? BEST/BEST settings. Big maps...lots of units...is there anything that can handle this smoothly?

Best chip set up...single, dual, or quad?

Only one core will be used. But the fastest per-clock speed you can buy today will be in duals and quads. If you account for Turbo mode on Intels the speed for a single-threaded all got up even more.

Does the Vid card matter after a certain amount of Vram?

VRAM amount does not matter, and I think I explained that to you personally a couple times already :)

If you need to reduce the performance of a graphics card to a single number (because you can't read benchmarks on anandtech or whatever) then use memory bandwidth. That is the single best indicator in general, and for CMx1 and CMx2 in particular.

There are a lot (and I mean a whole lot) of cards out there that have exclusively been designed for people who can't do research and only buy based on amount of video RAM. These cards have so low memory bandwidth that they cannot even visit a fraction of the available RAM during frame drawing. It is a pure scam. You don't have to be able to visit all memory during each frame, but at some point it gets useless.

Let's consider a typical "card for idiots" graphics unit, a GeForce 7100 with 512 MB RAM. Memory bandwidth is 5 GB/second and it has 0.5 GB of RAM. So if you run a game at 50 fps it can only visit 20% of the RAM during each frame if you visit each memory location even once. But it gets worse, most things are accessed multiple times during frame draw, in fact hundreds of times. So you can maybe use 5% of the VRAM with acceptable framerate.

Does Ram matter after 2 gigs or so?

Only for load times and probably not in CMBN since LOS is computed during load (which makes it CPU bound).

Does a decent sound card help with the SFX?

A good motherboard will have decent sound. Getting a PCI card can be counterproductive if you get a creative labs card and run into driver trouble.

What kind of systems does the CMX2 engine take advantage of?

Good:

- High per-core CPU speed, usually Turbo mode on Intels will work.

- High polygon draw count in the video card

- High memory bandwidth on the video card

Not:

- fast main RAM is useless

- high VRAM doesn't matter if it isn't very fast

- shader units on the video card

CMx2 doesn't use many advanced graphics cards feature, but it pushes a lot of data, draws a lot of polygons. What you want is Wiley E Coyote, not Road Runner. You want to be able to push a lot of dump stuff really fast.

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My 20" HP laptop has a dual core 2.10 Ghz processor, 4 GB RAM, an Nvidia 8800M GTS graphics with 512 MB VR and Vista HP...runs everything smoothly on Best, with shadows, the works. I'm also using two year old Nvidia drivers because they are the last for my PC and newer ones are unstable.

Only real gripe is some scenarios take a long time to load...at least a minute or maybe two. Ditto with some game saves on large maps. Some game saves on the Huzzar map, for example, take almost a minute.

I've loaded a lot of mods and wonder if they impact the load/save times.

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List of memory bandwidths for video cards. If you are too lazy to read benchmarks use that:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Nvidia_graphics_processing_units

%%

List of Intel i5 and i7 units so that you can see the Turbo modifier. In CM (1 and 2) you will typically be able to use Turbo mode if you manage to get rid of the heat from the graphics card before it reaches the CPU, but there are huge differences in Turbo multipliers available.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Core_i7_microprocessors

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Core_i5_microprocessors

I am not endorsing Intel, in fact AMD CPUs can come out better price performance if you count in the motherboard. These $80 Asus-for-AMD-CPUs motherboards are working very well and have lots of features. Always add board + CPU before looking at price/performance.

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I have a quad 2.8 with 12 gigs (yes twelve) of ram, ATI 5970 with 2 gigs on it and run everything maxed on a resolution of 1920 x 1280 with no slow down at all. I frequently multi task by burning dvd's, working, running torrents etc so I wanted something I didn't have to worry about the ram on and wouldn't have to upgrade in a few years

Before anyone asks the torrents are legally traded unreleased concerts. So don't ask for Combat Mission because you won't get it from me.

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Did we have this thread already?

Only one core will be used. But the fastest per-clock speed you can buy today will be in duals and quads. If you account for Turbo mode on Intels the speed for a single-threaded all got up even more.

VRAM amount does not matter, and I think I explained that to you personally a couple times already :)

If you need to reduce the performance of a graphics card to a single number (because you can't read benchmarks on anandtech or whatever) then use memory bandwidth. That is the single best indicator in general, and for CMx1 and CMx2 in particular.

There are a lot (and I mean a whole lot) of cards out there that have exclusively been designed for people who can't do research and only buy based on amount of video RAM. These cards have so low memory bandwidth that they cannot even visit a fraction of the available RAM during frame drawing. It is a pure scam. You don't have to be able to visit all memory during each frame, but at some point it gets useless.

Let's consider a typical "card for idiots" graphics unit, a GeForce 7100 with 512 MB RAM. Memory bandwidth is 5 GB/second and it has 0.5 GB of RAM. So if you run a game at 50 fps it can only visit 20% of the RAM during each frame if you visit each memory location even once. But it gets worse, most things are accessed multiple times during frame draw, in fact hundreds of times. So you can maybe use 5% of the VRAM with acceptable framerate.

Only for load times and probably not in CMBN since LOS is computed during load (which makes it CPU bound).

A good motherboard will have decent sound. Getting a PCI card can be counterproductive if you get a creative labs card and run into driver trouble.

Good:

- High per-core CPU speed, usually Turbo mode on Intels will work.

- High polygon draw count in the video card

- High memory bandwidth on the video card

Not:

- fast main RAM is useless

- high VRAM doesn't matter if it isn't very fast

- shader units on the video card

CMx2 doesn't use many advanced graphics cards feature, but it pushes a lot of data, draws a lot of polygons. What you want is Wiley E Coyote, not Road Runner. You want to be able to push a lot of dump stuff really fast.

This was very helpful and I appreciate you taking the time to post (yet again, I gather) this generally bewildering info in a clear, concise manner.

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Did we have this thread already?

No. We had a different thread. Plus this what you call a community service...it's not about one particular card with other stuff thrown in...plus, plus, plus...I knew if I built it...you would show.

Only one core will be used. But the fastest per-clock speed you can buy today will be in duals and quads. If you account for Turbo mode on Intels the speed for a single-threaded all got up even more.

Yeah, remember you saying getting 3ghz single core for my board would help out but I couldn't find anything. I searched for an hour or so trying to find some price ranges. Even asked for your help but you slipped away into the night...never to return...

VRAM amount does not matter, and I think I explained that to you personally a couple times already :)

That's was like way back when...I needed a refresher.

If you need to reduce the performance of a graphics card to a single number (because you can't read benchmarks on anandtech or whatever) then use memory bandwidth. That is the single best indicator in general, and for CMx1 and CMx2 in particular.

Give us an example of a couple cards that would completely kick ass on CMBN...some that you would endorse, hug and call your own.

A good motherboard will have decent sound. Getting a PCI card can be counterproductive if you get a creative labs card and run into driver trouble.

My on board sound stutters a lot once there's a ton of firing...I had a SB 16 installed a while back and can't remember if it helped or not...I think it did. But for the sake of argument...say you have a really sweet, non Sound Blaster card...something that you personally consider to be a nice card...will it process the and handle all the sounds nicely and take some of workload off the motherboard CPU?

Ahhh, now that right there is what we need...short and to the point

Good:

- High per-core CPU speed, usually Turbo mode on Intels will work.

- High polygon draw count in the video card

- High memory bandwidth on the video card

More stuff good to know....

Not:

- fast main RAM is useless

- high VRAM doesn't matter if it isn't very fast

- shader units on the video card

CMx2 doesn't use many advanced graphics cards feature, but it pushes a lot of data, draws a lot of polygons. What you want is Wiley E Coyote, not Road Runner. You want to be able to push a lot of dump stuff really fast.

You should design Comp systems specifically to run CMX2 games...start a little side business, guarantee them to work with CMSF and CMBN...You have the perfect place, right here to hawk your wares. See that...I am looking out for you.

Thanks for the info...this should be the holy grail on this topic, now.

Mord.

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Did we have this thread already?

Only one core will be used. But the fastest per-clock speed you can buy today will be in duals and quads. If you account for Turbo mode on Intels the speed for a single-threaded all got up even more.

Are you kidding me? Is this why the graphics are so much worse than other games? Because the AI, physics, and everything else is all on the same core? That's reprehensible if true.

Edit: Wow, it's really true. That's extremely disappointing. Love the BFC game design, can't get behind their engine/UI choices. I'll still enjoy the game, but lament that it could have been so much better.

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I'm running a quad core 2500k clocked @ 4.5 ghz

12 Gigs of ram @1600

Nvidia GTX 570

I use a 128 gig Crucial SSD.

If I wasn't having issues with higher resolutions crashing me in game (I'm forced to use the 3 low resolutions offered in the options) I am sure the game would be flying along like everything else screams along!

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I have a 2 Quad 2,50 Ghz, 4 GB RAM, 64 bit system, Nvidia 8800GTS and W7.

No issues with CM:BN on my system.

Btw, how can I ck fps ?

Free program called FRAPS, just google it.

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Are you kidding me? Is this why the graphics are so much worse than other games? Because the AI, physics, and everything else is all on the same core? That's reprehensible if true.

Edit: Wow, it's really true. That's extremely disappointing. Love the BFC game design, can't get behind their engine/UI choices. I'll still enjoy the game, but lament that it could have been so much better.

If it's any consolation to you, this is true more often that one might think. Hardware developers like Intel want to induce people to upgrade, whether it shows up in performance or not, they just want to be able to market that it either has more cores or higher mhz because they're in the biz of selling procs.

The software guys often lag behind playing catch up. You want to be really disappointed, run a log sometime using AIDA64 (I liked the old name better: Everest) and see just how little in a typical 24 hour period of regular usage and gaming your system utilizes it's cores and gpu(s). Most of the time it's hilariously, obscenely low. In fact, an entire cottage industry grew up out of this very fact called distributed computing to put the idle cpu tick tocks to some use. ;)

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The "feeling a might peckish" sounds like one of the last lines from the movie version of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, as I recall it was spoken by the ever so adorable Zooey Deschanel.

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Regarding RAM, how much can CMBN actually utilise anyway? I'm running it on 64-bit Windows XP, but will CMBN be able to use more than 2GB if not properly 64-bit (extra RAM would of course help with other programs open at the same time).

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I'm alt-tabbed out of CMBN right now, running a browser and steam with a couple other incidental small programs on the side, and task mgr is showing me at 34% on physical memory and I'm running 6GB of RAM.

So, i'm currently using up 2GBs doing this. Don't know if adding another GB for you would help much or not, XP can address another GB, so if you've got the slot and can add it, why not.

If this is a cost vs performance consideration, I don't know that it would make all that much difference in game play, certainly not as much as other options like a faster proc or better vid card.

Oh, and the short answer to your question, I don't exactly know how much RAM CMBN uses, but i'm sure someone will be along shortly who knows exactly. No doubt Red Wolf.

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Thanks for starting this thread, Mord.

I know the reasons (massive calculation work under the hood beyond other games, no multi-core support, etc.) that CM:BN puts out low frame-rates on current high-end systems. However, being honest, I can say that for me, this is the one aspect of the game that I am a bit disappointed in.

I did my first DIY build at Xmas this year and my system is as follows:

Intel i7-950 Quad core 3.07GHz

GeForce GTX470 (ASUS ENGTX470 GDDR5 1280MB)

---Engine Clock 607 MHz

---Shader Clock 1215 MHz

---Memory Clock 3348 MHz ( 837 MHz GDDR5 )

---RAMDAC 400 MHz

---Memory Interface 320-bit

6 GB Kingston RAM

ASUS Sabertooth X58 motherboard

W7-64 Ult OS

So, still a beefy system by current standards. My monitor is old (and about to be replaced) and only goes up to 1280x1024. On highest settings the game runs a bit sluggishly. I've experimented with in-game settings and Nvidia CP settings and nothing makes much of a difference, save turning off shadows. The game doesn't run butter-smooth under any circumstances.

There are no glitch issues--just low frame rates by my taste. I need to clock things with FRAPS, but I don't have it yet.

At this point, IMHO, I'd be happy if Battlefront did nothing else to the game going forward, other than add multi-core support to significantly increase frame rates. After that, I'd have them add armor target arcs. Everything else is a minor quibble not worth mentioning. I love the game, I'd just like to have it take full advantage of my system.

-My current thoughts.

Macisle

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Thanks for starting this thread, Mord.

I know the reasons (massive calculation work under the hood beyond other games, no multi-core support, etc.) that CM:BN puts out low frame-rates on current high-end systems. However, being honest, I can say that for me, this is the one aspect of the game that I am a bit disappointed in.

I did my first DIY build at Xmas this year and my system is as follows:

Intel i7-950 Quad core 3.07GHz

GeForce GTX470 (ASUS ENGTX470 GDDR5 1280MB)

---Engine Clock 607 MHz

---Shader Clock 1215 MHz

---Memory Clock 3348 MHz ( 837 MHz GDDR5 )

---RAMDAC 400 MHz

---Memory Interface 320-bit

6 GB Kingston RAM

ASUS Sabertooth X58 motherboard

W7-64 Ult OS

So, still a beefy system by current standards. My monitor is old (and about to be replaced) and only goes up to 1280x1024. On highest settings the game runs a bit sluggishly. I've experimented with in-game settings and Nvidia CP settings and nothing makes much of a difference, save turning off shadows. The game doesn't run butter-smooth under any circumstances.

There are no glitch issues--just low frame rates by my taste. I need to clock things with FRAPS, but I don't have it yet.

At this point, IMHO, I'd be happy if Battlefront did nothing else to the game going forward, other than add multi-core support to significantly increase frame rates. After that, I'd have them add armor target arcs. Everything else is a minor quibble not worth mentioning. I love the game, I'd just like to have it take full advantage of my system.

-My current thoughts.

Macisle

Nice! I built mine in November and its basically identical, with an Asus P6X58D-E instead of the Sabertooth. My 470 is EVGA but is clocked the same. And I'll say I have similar, less than enchanting framerates. I would like to dig into this problem and find the source but I haven't had the time. My assumption was that CMBN would be CPU sensitive as opposed to GPU sensitive, and even then the 470 is hardly a slouch. It spews 60+ in nearly everything I've thrown at it since construction. When I turned off the AA/Multisample option my frames were pretty smooth, but I love AA :(. And yeah no shadows helps significantly too but that is not an option IMO.

I have EVGA Precision to clock frames but I haven't used it with this game yet. Also I run 1680x1050, so that's a slight difference.

Interested to hear if you dig up any good fixes and I'll do the same.

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Oh man Having a 6 core phenom (amd) and a Crossfired 6970 was so the wrong choice for CMBN. Would have been better to grab 8 gig of ram or switch to a quad core i5?

Currently I'm either best quality with shadows off, or balanced with shadows on. Otherwise it gets "janky"

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Yeah I'm terribly disappointed with performance so far. I've posted this in other threads before, but anyway: I recently upgraded to an i7 2600k, 8GB 1600 DDR3, an Asus P8P67 Pro running in concert with my slightly dated AMD 4870X2. Now I realise that the drivers for AMD that are meant to utilize both GPUs on my dual GPU card are kinda ****ty, and most of the time they only use one, but even a single 4870 should be able to run the game fine, no? Or are we really expected to be running current-gen 500-series Geforces or 6000-series Radeons? Seriously, most of the time my framerate is sitting around the mid-20s, sometimes dropping as low as the mid-10s, and only rarely going above 35.

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Are you kidding me? Is this why the graphics are so much worse than other games? Because the AI, physics, and everything else is all on the same core? That's reprehensible if true.

Edit: Wow, it's really true. That's extremely disappointing. Love the BFC game design, can't get behind their engine/UI choices. I'll still enjoy the game, but lament that it could have been so much better.

Don't bash the game too hard. If you look at games other than top selling FPSs thread support is pretty rare. For example, the LOTR online MMORPG is single-threaded, too, and that's supposed to have a million or so users. I think even WOW is single-threaded.

Yeah I'm terribly disappointed with performance so far. I've posted this in other threads before, but anyway: I recently upgraded to an i7 2600k, 8GB 1600 DDR3, an Asus P8P67 Pro running in concert with my slightly dated AMD 4870X2. Now I realise that the drivers for AMD that are meant to utilize both GPUs on my dual GPU card are kinda ****ty, and most of the time they only use one, but even a single 4870 should be able to run the game fine, no? Or are we really expected to be running current-gen 500-series Geforces or 6000-series Radeons? Seriously, most of the time my framerate is sitting around the mid-20s, sometimes dropping as low as the mid-10s, and only rarely going above 35.

The i7 will overclock itself via it's Turbo mode if you only use one core and if the heat from the graphics card doesn't reach the CPU. The resulting per-clock speed is good for a single-core game. Of course it isn't exactly cost/performance efficient.

ATI sucks.

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Yeah, remember you saying getting 3ghz single core for my board would help out but I couldn't find anything. I searched for an hour or so trying to find some price ranges. Even asked for your help but you slipped away into the night...never to return...

Opteron 156 but I guess they are rare. Or the 154 which is 2.8 GHz, or the FX57.

Give us an example of a couple cards that would completely kick ass on CMBN...some that you would endorse, hug and call your own.

For a very cheap and sufficient solution the GT240 isn't half bad. It isn't panning too well with all graphics pushed to the max at 1920x1200 - but hey it is a $40 card.

Otherwise, get as high a second digit as you can and forget about VRAM. Avoid relabeled cards like the GTS 250.

Price/performance is tricky as you will always get best price/performance by sniping some mail-in-rebate somewhere.

My on board sound stutters a lot once there's a ton of firing...I had a SB 16 installed a while back and can't remember if it helped or not...I think it did. But for the sake of argument...say you have a really sweet, non Sound Blaster card...something that you personally consider to be a nice card...will it process the and handle all the sounds nicely and take some of workload off the motherboard CPU?

You need a high quality mainboard to have high quality sound on it, and the manufacturer must be willing to make decent drivers if you use windows. What board do you have?

For my music system I use this: Turtle beach with C-media CMI8738-MC8 chipset. Card is "Turtle Beach TBS-3300-01 7.1 Channels" but that doesn't matter much as long as it has a decent chipset and is expensive enough to have good analog parts and shielding. All C-media equipped cards should perform pretty decently.

For gaming I use the onboard sound on a DRI socket 939 SLI-DR.

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Nice! I built mine in November and its basically identical, with an Asus P6X58D-E instead of the Sabertooth. My 470 is EVGA but is clocked the same. And I'll say I have similar, less than enchanting framerates. I would like to dig into this problem and find the source but I haven't had the time. My assumption was that CMBN would be CPU sensitive as opposed to GPU sensitive, and even then the 470 is hardly a slouch. It spews 60+ in nearly everything I've thrown at it since construction. When I turned off the AA/Multisample option my frames were pretty smooth, but I love AA :(. And yeah no shadows helps significantly too but that is not an option IMO.

I have EVGA Precision to clock frames but I haven't used it with this game yet. Also I run 1680x1050, so that's a slight difference.

Interested to hear if you dig up any good fixes and I'll do the same.

Thanks for the post, Antig3n. It's good to get feedback from someone with a similar rig!

EVGA seems to be the most respected/popular make of cards using our chipset. I went with the GTX470 because it was the best balance of price and power that was also fully certified to work with Adobe CS5. I found the ASUS card for a hundred bucks cheaper than the EVGA. Otherwise, I would have bought it instead.

I haven't OC'd my CPU, as this is also my work rig and I don't want to take any chances. I have no experience in that area. I did accept default configuration when doing my first boot up, so there may be some beneficial tweaking to be had in that area. It may be awhile before I have the time to deal with it. Again--I'm nervous about doing anything that might fry my system. The Sabertooth X58 is supposed to be a great MB for OC'ing. I can't recall from my component research if the i7-950 is, though.

When first experiencing the frame rate issue, I wondered if I should wait for price drops and throw in another GTX470 under SLI, but from what I'm reading on the forum, it seems that that won't really help with this particular game.

I see that new drivers are available for the GTX470. Here's hoping for something good from that...

I'll be sure to post if future tweaking bears any fruit. Please do that same. Thanks!

Macisle

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