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Frame Rate Help (Please)

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I have a Dell i8000 laptop that I just installed a Geforce4Go 64mb into (replacing a Geforce2Go 32mb) and I cannot seem to get a good frame rate in CM.

Using fraps with Clash of Eagles as a benchmark test I was getting 11fps with the 2Go, and with the 4Go I only get 12fps (both at 1400x1050x16 resolution). Lowering resolution to 640x480x16 only raises the fps to 19, with resolutions in between sitting around the 13-14 mark.

With IL-2 I saw a 100% increase in framerates at 1400x1050x16 with the new card, but again lowering resolutions doesn't seem to show any appreciable gain in fps.

I have screwed with a everything I can find, tried all the new (and some old) drivers but can't seem to get CM to show any improvement.

Any hints, tips, suggestions or ideas? Thanks.



Dell i8000 Laptop

PIII-900 (A19 Bios)

512Mb ram

Geforce4Go video (28.35 Dell drivers)

15" 1400x1050 SXGA+ LCD screen

Win XP Home

All drivers, bios, Win updates etc. current to date.

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For most 3D apps a lower resolution usually results in the CPU being the bottleneck (performance is limited by the CPU). When you go up to higher resolutions and color depths, then the video card and its drivers become the limiting factor.

Looking at the support boards for IL-2 it seems some users have problems with the GeForce Ti 4600's having low frame rates. Yours seems to be the opposite case where IL-2 works fine, but CM doesn't.

I wasn't aware that the video can be upgraded on these laptops. Dell doesn't show the particular driver version or the GeForce4Go upgrade online (at least I can't find it). Do you know if the chipset is a GeForce4 Go 440 or 420 (with the 64Mb of memory I assume it may be the 440) ?

Since I'm not familiar with the rendering options in IL-2, I'm not sure if the frame-rate increase would be similar between the two games (despite both being DirectX driven). If you're looking primarily at the aircraft models in-flight at a higher altitude, then there may be less textures and polygons to push around compared to a CMBO battlefield. Also, if you have FSAA enabled then the CMBO battlefield is going to have far more objects to AA than IL-2 will.

I don't know if your Dell allows you to change the 'AGP Aperture' in the CMOS/BIOS setup, but if it does you may want to experiment with it at a value that is half of your system RAM (256). Basically I'd guess that CMBO just has more textures to manipulate than IL-2 does and this can be quite a limiting factor in redraw/FPS. This would be especially true if you have a lot of high-res grahpics mods.

If you turn off the sound or just the ambient sound does this make a difference in your framerate ?

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It's the 440 model, and officially it isn't supposed to be upgradeable, but a few pioneering folks tried it and it actually works. Apparently there was a Bios update for the 8100's that included some support for the 4Go, so it could be a bios issue also. Hopefully Dell will do something for the 8000 also.

I should try it with the different FSAA setting enabled...be interesting to see if I can turn it into a slideshow.

No joy with the AGP...Dell's bios is extremly limited, with just the most basic of user controllable settings.

I did play around with the sound settings, and with the dx hardware accel settings also but there was no difference there.

Maybe I'll try some of the Nvidia tweaking programs and see if they make any difference.

Thanks Schrullenhaft,


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Interesting...I just did a test with FSAA, and with it maxed out (4xS) there is absolutely no change in CM (but hoooboy does it look nice!!) according to fraps or my own perception.

In IL-2 however it slashes my framerate by 75% (30fps to 8) with very little difference in visual quality with my benchmark test.

Does this make any sense? Or am I reading too much into comparing IL-2 and CM?


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Yeah, CM seems awfully CPU hungry to me. I imagine it has a lot of polys for the landscape. Even the trees, which are only 2D sprites, have a pretty big impact on performance that dosn't seem video related. I have an Athlon 900 and can see it dip into the low teens at times. Turning off trees and setting the units at their smallest size seems to help some.

But if you want to really kill the frame rate due to a bandwidth hit on the video card, try peppering a map with loads of smoke from an 81mm FO, then fly through it.

- Chris

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