Jump to content

Bad FPS even with new card


Recommended Posts

I have a Compaq Presario (3 yrs old) that had it's original graphics card integrated into the motherboard. Whenever I played large map (or even medium map) games with lots of foliage, bldgs and armor, I would get an FPS that looked as if I was only seeing every fourth or fifth frame. So, I bought a GeForce MX 200 32 MB card last weekend, installed it and I've noticed an improvement with other games, but no change in CMBB. A friend suggested I rename my CMBB Prefs, which I did and the game formulated a new set of preferences, but I didn't get the usual window pop up asking me to choose the graphics like I have in the past.

The problem seems to be within the game preferences, since I've noticed an improvement outside of CMBB.

Any ideas?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Deleting or renaming the CMBB Prefs file should prompt CM to have you reselect the resolution. Since software rendering isn't available to CMBB due to its minimum 800x600 resolution, it should just skip this phase like it can with CMBO (when there's no hardware-rendering 3D card detected).

What Windows version are you running ? What version of the NVidia Detonator drivers do you have installed ? What version of DirectX do you have installed ? What are your settings for the NVidia drivers (FSAA, etc.) ? What resolution do you run your desktop at ? Have you run the DirectX Diagnostic ? What other games are working fine, are they 3D or 2D games ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Schrullenhaft:

Deleting or renaming the CMBB Prefs file should prompt CM to have you reselect the resolution. Since software rendering isn't available to CMBB due to its minimum 800x600 resolution, it should just skip this phase like it can with CMBO (when there's no hardware-rendering 3D card detected).

What Windows version are you running ? What version of the NVidia Detonator drivers do you have installed ? What version of DirectX do you have installed ? What are your settings for the NVidia drivers (FSAA, etc.) ? What resolution do you run your desktop at ? Have you run the DirectX Diagnostic ? What other games are working fine, are they 3D or 2D games ?

Windows 98

Whatever driver was on the CD that came with the card

DirectX 8.1

I'm not at my home computer right now, so I don't know what my NVidia driver setting are.

I forget what my desktop res is

Ran the DirctX diagnostic last night and it was fine

The only other game I really play occasionally is Warbirds 3D and I noticed an improvement in that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I goofed in my above statement. It should read that CMBB shouldn't skip the resolution selection phase since software rendering isn't available. I assume that you can see the whole interface in CMBB (i.e. - it isn't running at 640x480, which is apparently possible, but undesired) ?

It looks like you have driver version 31.00 installed. It's a bit dated, but some of the newer drivers have problems. I'd suggest downloading Detonator 30.82, which seems to have the fewest problems. I don't know if it will be a true improvement over 31.00 or not. Most of the problems people have had with the NVidia drivers pertains to the Windows 2000/XP drivers, but it is possible that the Windows 98/Me drivers might experience some similar problems. You can experiment with newer drivers if you want to, though they may not make much of a speed difference with a GeForce 2 series, but you may notice some interesting tradeoffs between display quality and speed. So if you have the patience and confidence it may be worth experimenting around with (the latest being 44.03, which seems to work OK, but it has FSAA problems for the Windows 2000/XP users).

You can check the version of DirectX by launching the Diagnostic and at the bottom of the first tab should be the version number.

In order to use the newer (or just different) driver it's best to uninstall the current video driver (and possibly manually delete some files such as 'OEMx.INF' in the WINDOWS/INF directory), reboot and install a 'Super VGA PCI' driver. At this point (after a required reboot) you can install a newer version of DirectX (9.0a here - 9.1 is the latest, but possibly not for Win98), which will require a reboot too once it's been installed. The latest version of DirectX may be required for the latest drivers (and not specifically for CM). After the reboot for the DirectX install, now you can install the latest or desired driver for the display (usually just a 'setup.exe' file). Rebooting again should have you ready to go with your driver and you can run DxDiag to perform a basic test of the 3D capabilities.

Another thing to look at is to make sure that FSAA is disabled. There's a limit to what a GeForce 2 MX200 w/32Mb can do in terms of FSAA (it may stop providing FSAA at a resolution of 1024x768 or less). FSAA is probably too much for your video card to handle (since you seem to be concerned with framerate) and that's why I suggest turning it off. However you may want to re-enable it for 'Warbirds 3D' since it may make a discernible difference in the display quality of that game. By default FSAA is usually disabled/'application controlled'. You find this setting by going to Control Panel > Display control panel > Settings tab > Advanced... button > there should be a 'GeForce 2 MX200' button. Here you'll find information about your video card and drivers. Click on the 'Additional Properties' button and you'll be presented with the '3D Antialiasing Settings' tab, which should be set as I mentioned above. You can also select to 'manually' set its features and make sure that it's off. You can also go to the 'Direct3D' tab and make sure that 'enable fog table emulation' is checked (which it usually is by default) and you can adjust the 'mipmap quality' as you desire.

I suggest deleting the CMBB Prefs file and then re-run CMBB. It should ask you to select a resolution (unless you're running at 800x600, but even then it should suggest 'refresh rates' that require you to go through the process). Be aware that CM can try out some refresh rates that are higher than what your monitor can handle (causing the screen to go blank or just nuts like a bad TV signal). Just leave the computer alone and it will subsequently try lower refresh rates within a few seconds that may appear properly on your monitor. CM won't try a resolution that is higher than your current desktop resolution, so make sure your desktop is set to a resolution at or above what you want to run CM at. If you set CM for a resolution higher than what you keep your desktop at, then CM will go through the resolution selection process over again the next time it is launched.

My guess is that you should see some sort of speed improvement over your previous display adpater with your GeForce 2 MX200 (which most likely may have been an Intel or ATI built in video). CM however is a bit different from most other games in that there are a lot of polygons and textures on the screen at one time in a large 3D space. This is especially true with large maps and large varieties of units on screen. Most other 3D games have a much more limited 'horizon' that can help with their framerates. So the speed improvement that you're seeing in Warbirds 3D may not translate into an equivalent speed improvement in CM (at least one that is as easily discernable).

Resolution also makes a significant difference in CM's framerate. You may want to limit CM to 1024x768 or less.

[ June 10, 2003, 07:20 PM: Message edited by: Schrullenhaft ]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, I've done everything I and a few other techies can think of. My GeForce performance quality settings are:

Image Quality is set to "Quality".

Antialias is set to "Application".

Anastropic is off

Direct 3D settings are:

Enable fog table

Mitmap is set to "Blend"

PCI texture memory was set at 25MB but I bumped it to 95MB.

GeForce and DirectX are both working.

The ONLY thing I haven't done is update to DirectX 9 because I heard that CM runs at 8.1, which I have.

I've tossed out my CM preferences several times and switched the screen resolution back and forth between the GeForce and the primary driver. Resolution is set for 600x800 which is what the desktop is set for.

Not only has it not improved the frame rate, I would say that it has degraded a bit and now some of the other, less "busy" scenarios have slowed down.

Any clues?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

CM doesn't care which version of DirectX you have as long as it is the minimum version, which is probably 6.x (8.1 was put in the documentation since that was the current version at the time of CMBB's release). What really needs a specific DirectX version in this case are the video drivers, which will typically require some minimum version. The latest drivers require DirectX 9.x. That said, upgrading your DirectX version most likely won't make that much of a difference in your framerate.

I'm not sure how much experimenting you've done with the various settings for DirectX (for the GeForce). That will probably be the best way to find out what really works for you. Most of the time there's a tradeoff between performance and image quality. Quite often this is hard coded into the driver (hence comments of why certain driver versions perform better than others or that others have better 'image quality'). You may want to try these:

1) I'm not sure where the 'Image Quality' setting is in the drivers that you have, but you may want to try some that mention performance or some other lower setting. You may find that the quality level is quite subjective, but the performance increase might be noticeable.

2) Considering the performance of the GeForce 2 MX200 I' suggest keeping 'Anisotropic Filtering' OFF too. It will be too much of a performance hit to enable it.

3) The 'Antialiasing' setting of 'Application...' should mean that it is OFF. You can set it to 'Manual' and select OFF too. It should be the same result.

4) 'Enable Fog Table Emulation' - definitely keep that on for CM.

5) Increasing the 'PCI Texture Memory' usually is a good thing. I'm not sure how much of a difference it may make for either PCI or AGP cards.

6) 'Mipmap Levels' - I suggest experimenting with the lower quality settings beneath 'Blend' to see if they offer more performance.

You may also want to download either RivaTuner 2.0 or GeForce Tweak Utility (Videocard utilities > Overclocking and Tweaking > both near the top). These utilities can allow you to adjust further settings (at the expense of some system memory) that may help performance (though a number of these tweaks are finding their ways into current drivers). You can also overclock your video card (memory speed or GPU clock), but you have to be careful in doing so, plus you may find out that your video card may not 'clock much faster than it does now without locking up frequently.

You may want to try something older than the most recent drivers. These drivers are typically suited for the newest GeForce cards. The performance increases for the GeForce 2 and 3 series will probably be minimal with these newer releases. So you may want to try the 30.82/30.87 drivers instead.

Which particular Compaq Presario do you have ? Is your GeForce2 MX200 a particular brand - is it a PCI or AGP card ? Do you know if there are 'chipset utilities/drivers' installed for your Compaq. Sometimes an update to these (it may be an Intel chipset you have, I'm not sure) might help. We may be able to determine what you have by your Presario model number.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the quick reply.

My Presario is the 5700N series. The Geforce card is the e-geforce 2 MX 200 PCI version.

As for the Chipset-utilities drivers, I have absolutely no idea. It's interesting though, that with all the tweaking I've been doing to have the performance actually get worse is something I wasn't expecting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From what I can tell the Presario 5700N has the Intel 810 chipset (with it's accompanying built in video). The GeForce 2 MX200 should have been a significant upgrade from the built in video, especially if it didn't have a dedicated 'display cache' and instead used the system memory (by far the most common option).

Does Windows 98 still 'see' the 810 video (Control Panels > System control panel > Device Manager tab > Display adapters > in here should only be the listing for the GeForce 2 MX200) ?

This Compaq driver page for the Presario 5700N has the latest updates. You'll have to look around the Device Manager to find out which audio card you have. You may already have these drivers or possibly newer ones.

You can update your chipset drivers with the latest Intel Chipset software for Win98. If you actually have Windows 98 Second Edition download these drivers instead (Control Panel > System control panel > General tab - you should find the version number, which should end in .222 or something for Win98 2nd Ed.). This update probably won't offer much of a difference, but it may be worth applying.

It's possible that your GeForce card is sharing an IRQ with another PCI device (even though the device may not be plugged into a PCI slot). Go to Control Panel > System control panel > Device Manager tab > double-click the 'computer' icon at the top > this should give you a listing of the resources, by IRQ, that are being used; check to see if your video card has the same IRQ number next to as another device (ignoring 'IRQ Holder for PCI Steering'). Some devices that may be using the same IRQ are USB, sound, network or modem. Sometimes you can change the IRQ assignment by physically moving the video card to another PCI slot (but you would need to uninstall the drivers first - otherwise the original IRQ may get reassigned to the video card). This doesn't always work and Compaqs have few CMOS/BIOS setup options to help with this.

[ June 14, 2003, 09:11 PM: Message edited by: Schrullenhaft ]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Intel 810 is still visible in the Device Managers window, but it has a red X through it.

As for the new card sharing an IRQ with another card. There IS another card plugged into one of the other PCI slots. It goes to the modem.

Is it possible that the entire problem is caused simply by me putting the new card into an "inconvenient" slot? I really hate computers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The 'red x' on the Intel 810 should indicate that it is disabled. You can 'uninstall/delete' it if you wish. You may want to go to the 'Add/Remove Programs' control panel and look through the list for the Intel 810 graphics driver. It may or may not be there.

I'm not sure if there is any way of turning off the memory that the i810 allocates for video within the BIOS. As I mentioned before Compaqs aren't renown for their BIOS options/configurability (which can occasionally be a good thing). Most of the time the memory allocation is dependant on the driver to do that rather than the BIOS (which should usually disable the device if no monitor is plugged into it). You can highlight the 810 video device in the Device Manager and click on the 'Remove' button to get rid of it (it may ask you if it is alright to remove the drivers for it, which you should say OK to).

What you need to do is to check if the GeForce is sharing an IRQ or not. If it isn't, then no worries. If it is, then that might reduce its performance (especially if both devices are being used at the same time). Your modem may be sharing an IRQ with the video card and if that is the case, then when you're online the display may not be as quick as it usually is. Typically you have to move the video card to another PCI slot to avoid the sharing of IRQs. However this only works when there are free IRQs available to PCI devices (often there may not be, which makes sharing IRQs a necessity). Many motherboards will assign particular IRQs to certain PCI slots (and certain devices, such as the USB bus or on-board sound, etc.). If you have more than 4 PCI slots, then certain PCI slots may be sharing IRQs with each other (or other onboard devices). Better motherboard documentation will point this out, but most don't and I'm fairly certain the Compaq literature mentions nothing about it.

A program that you can download to help check things out is SiSoft's Sandra, which can be a pretty handy utility. Not all features are available in the shareware version, but what is available can be quite useful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you ever find out if your video card is sharing an IRQ ? It doesn't have to be sharing an IRQ with a device in another PCI slot; it could be sharing an IRQ with an onboard device like your sound or USB, etc (which is considered to be 'on' the PCI bus).

If I remember correctly your computer may have a Celeron CPU in the 500 - 600MHz range, which isn't a really fast CPU to start with. It may be possible to upgrade your CPU, which could help a little (though you'll be limited to a front side-bus speed of 100MHz, which would keep you under 650MHz for a PIII and 800+MHz for a Celeron - probably not much of an upgrade).

The GeForce2 MX200 isn't a very fast video card, but I expected it to make a bit more of a difference than what I assume you've seen so far. On top of that if you play a scenario with a large variety of units and a large map, you probably won't see too much of a difference or you just may be expecting too much of a change. Have you compared (if you can remember) the same scenario on the built-in 810 with the GeForce to see how much of a difference there was ? The FPS should increase a bit (using a program like FRAPS to measure the framerate) over the 810, but it may not be a very large difference in certain scenarios, etc. However, I would have expected a noticeable difference in a majority of cases (from 8+ FPS for small scenarios to 1+ FPS on larger ones).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello, Schrullenhaft, I've been trying to help Boo via email.

What do you make of this:

As a test, I had Boo send one of the PBEM email turns that he's been having trouble with (this is what started it all, a choppy PBEM we've been playing) to a friend of mine.

I built his system so I know exactly what's in it: Pentium II 300 MHz, ATI 32 MB AGP card, 384 MB RAM, running W2K. He loaded the turn and it played very smoothly. This machine is technically below minimum spec for CMBB, but he's been playing on it for some time without trouble, even with fairly large scenarios.

My assumption is that, even though the Celeron is a budget processor, and even though PCI is slower than AGP, Boo's machine should outperform a PII with a GFX card even older than the GeForce 2 , however I haven't looked up benchmarks, et cetera.

Have I mis-assumed? I've always built my own machines and tend to use good parts where it counts, so I don't know much about Celerons, PCI versions of 3D cards, and so on...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Theoretically AGP is quite a bit faster than PCI, especially when it comes to large numbers and sizes of textures, etc. However I'm not sure how much of a difference actually exists in real world performance between these two buses (at least the type of performance difference that people would perceive).

I think both people here need to run FRAPS to get an accurate picture of what is going on (at the same resolution and CM display settings, etc.). Otherwise, we're just comparing the subjective impressions of performance that one person may consider acceptable, but the other may think is far too slow.

Choppiness in CM is sometimes unavoidable. Even some fast machines with high-end cards can suffer from this problem on occasion (usually with much larger scenarios however). In this particular case have enemy units just started to become visible ? How big is the map and is it densely populated with foliage and buildings ? Is there a lot of smoke present on the battlefield yet ? Basically turning off/lowering any of these display options may help with his display performance (assuming that any of them are the actual cause of the choppiness).

There are some BIOS/CMOS setup options that haven't been explored in this thread (but they may not be available on the Compaq). However these settings don't make as big a difference as driver versions and other software that has been installed on the machine.

The CPU (and its memory subsystem) can make a bit of difference in video performance. This will vary a bit from card to card and from driver to driver (which can place varying loads on the CPU). For gaming purposes a Celeron would usually be at an advantage compared to a lower clocked Pentium II. It has 1/4 of the CPU cache (128K) that the Pentium II does (512K), but that cache is running at the full CPU clock speed of the CPU (500MHz) compared to half the CPU clock speed of the Pentium II (150MHz). In some things the Pentium II is going to have the advantage with the larger cache. However most of the time the Celeron will have the advantage with the much faster, but smaller, cache. To be honest I can't quantify just how much of a difference these CPUs will make in this case. I did some informal benchmarking during the beta release days of CMBB, but I didn't keep any records. As I recall CMBB ran OK with some 300MHz range Celerons or PII's, depending on what video card you paired the CPU with (I was usually testing older cards with 8-16Mb of VRAM for these CPUs), but this was usually only small battles/maps. The CPU speed in CM is usually more of a factor when it comes to calculating turns, which for CMBB is a bit more intensive than CMBO was.

Running FRAPS and comparing the two systems may give us a better picture of what's exactly going on here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Schrullenhaft:

Choppiness in CM is sometimes unavoidable. Even some fast machines with high-end cards can suffer from this problem on occasion (usually with much larger scenarios however). In this particular case have enemy units just started to become visible ? How big is the map and is it densely populated with foliage and buildings ? Is there a lot of smoke present on the battlefield yet ? Basically turning off/lowering any of these display options may help with his display performance (assuming that any of them are the actual cause of the choppiness).

There are tons of bldgs, trees, smoke, gaily costumed natives... By turning off the smoke and trees, I boosted the speed almost by 50% (Tons faster). The choppiness began almost from the start, but got progressivly worse as more and more elements came on the map.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Unfortunately, your content contains terms that we do not allow. Please edit your content to remove the highlighted words below.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...