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|20th Dec 2011, 6:37 AM||Any recommendations on improving Sims 2 graphic performance? #1|
Hello. Didn't know if this is the appropriate forum to post my query, but hopefully it's the correct place. I'm hoping that someone can help me on whether or not I can improve my game's graphic performance. The following are some of my computer specs (with more specs to be provided, on request), as reported by 'EVEREST Ultimate Edition':
- OS: Windows XP Home Edition, Service Pack 3 (32-bit)
- CPU: DualCore Intel Core 2 Duo E7200, 2533 MHz (9.5 x 267)
- Motherboard: Asus P5QL Pro (3 PCI, 2 PCI-E x1, 1 PCI-E x16, 4 DDR2 DIMM, Audio, Gigabit LAN)
- Motherboard Chipset: Intel Eaglelake P43
- System Memory: 3072 MB (DDR2-800 DDR2 SDRAM)
- Disk Drive: Seagate ST380815AS (80 GB, 7200 RPM, SATA-II)
- DirectX 9.0c
- nVidia ZOTAC GeForce GT 240
- PCI Express 2.0 x16 @ x16
- Memory Size: 1 GB
- Bus Type: GDDR5
The computer is a tower, with seperate monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc. (e.g. not a laptop, or a Mac with hardware imbedded inside the screen, not a tablet, etc.)
So, here's the scenario.
From what I understand, Sims 2 doesn't process with dual-cores with any more improvement, and that as expansion packs were added, gameplay coding was sloppy and the game's performance decreased since the plain, original base game. Adding custom content can also decrease performance, or add loading times too.
I play the game in 1920x1200 resolution, windowed mode. The game usually runs around 800,000kb to 1,300,000kb of RAM on one core. After 1,300,000kb, it crashes/terminates (I'm guessing because it ran out of RAM to use up). In regards to crashing in this instance, I've set the paging file to 0 Mb for the computer to send as much processing resources to the RAM, in order to take advantage of all its space, which I rarely use expect for the Sims 2. I could increase the paging file as much as 4 GB, since space isn't an issue for the moment (about 15 GB of free space before paging file increases).
I haven't been having too many crashes/glitches in Sims 2 gameplay. The game runs fine, it's just...slow. Mainly I play on big lots with 5 people in the lot, and lots of decorations, few to no trees, and some potentially high poly-count objects. Shadows, lighting, graphic effects, and reflections are off, while Sim/Object detail, texture detail, and smooth edges are high.
I've been using nVidia's Zotac's Firestorm program to overclock the GPU. It's ordinary setting is as follows:
Engine Clock: 550 MHz
Memory Clock: 3400 MHz
Shader Clock: 1340 MHz
I've try looking around the Internet regarding what overclocking using Firestorm can do, and some people say that the Shader Clock increases performance, while the other options do not necessarily increase performance. I've overclocked it to the following:
Engine Clock 550 MHz
Memory Clock: 3350 MHz
Shader Clock: 1675 MHz
There's been an increase in performance, but it's still somewhat slow, and occasionally the Sims (while walking) skip a "frame" or two in their walking animation. The temperature of the video card incidentally hovers around 50 degrees when running the game with overclocking, so overheating hasn't been an issue yet.
The computer is well ventilated, and every 4-6 months, I clean the computer tower's interior to remove dust.
I'd like some advice on how to improve gameplay performance in regards to making the game smoother at 1x speed.
1) What would be your recommendation in regards to overclocking?
Is there a ratio to how much Engine-to-Memory-to-Shader is needed to overclock properly? Is there a program you would recommend that could suggest what overclocking values to input? Is it entirely a trial-and-error process to find the correct/closest values? Would you say, based on my computer specs, that overclocking should be adjusted upwards/downwards to certain values?
2) What would be your recommendation in regards to a new video graphics cards?
If overclocking isn't the answer, what graphics cards would you recommend works for a computer set-up as this? I also have an ATI Radeon Sapphire HD 3650 graphics card (512 MB, DDR2 memory) available in storage (as I "upgraded" that graphics card to nVidia's GT 240 card). It was able to read 3.25 Gb of RAM, instead of the 3.00 Gb of RAM for the nVidia card, although performance didn't strike me as anything different.
3) What would be your reccomendation in regards to any new software/hardware to replace/compliment my existing computer specs?
For example, should I purchase a new motherboard, and if so, which brand and model? Should I change OS because there's a significant performance difference from Windows XP to Windows 7 (or to another OS)? Would Windows XP 64-bit be any better in changing performance?
4) Is all this slow down normal, and nothing more can be done to improve performance?
Is this the best I can do to improve gameplay, even if upgrading to a new graphics cards/operating system/etc.?
Let's say I have a budget of $1,000 for combined software/hardware purchases, but no more than $300 for a graphics card. The least pricing is good, without sacrificing quality, of course.
|21st Dec 2011, 2:42 PM||#2|
I don't know where you read that you should disable your page file, or if someone recommended it to you, but its not recommended unless you have 12GB+ of RAM. If you're seeing crashes beyond a certain memory usage, its probably because you disabled page file.
Here's a link from Tom's Hardware with Test results regarding disabling swap files. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews...grade,2778.html
The short answer why, is because "unfortunately, some programs specifically want to allocate the virtual memory." Even if you were to use a program that wouldn't require virtual memory specifically, the test results showed crashes even at the 8GB of RAM setting. You only have 3GB.
Regarding your specific questions:
1) I'm not sure. I only overclocked my GPU once, and it was a mild one, and I overclocked to a stable Core Clock first, then a stable Memory Clock.
2) Before I recommend a card, you need to be aware that your Power Supply Unit *must* have the required Amperage to support it. Or else bad things happen. To max out The Sims 2 with an appropriate CPU, you probably won't need anything better than a GTS 250 or a HD 6770 (~$110). However you say your budget is $300 for a graphics card. That kind of money will get you a HD 6950 2GB for about $270. That'll let you play anything available today at atleast High (maybe not Ultra High) settings at your 1920x1200 resolution. But the 6950 2GB is only worth it if you unlock its shaders and OC it to make it match a 6970. If you're going to keep the same CPU, get a GTS 250 or a HD 6770. If you're going to buy a new computer get a 6950 2GB if you're going to OC and if you're not going to OC, get a Nvidia 560 Ti (~$240), or a GTX 570 (~$340).
3) Only replace the motherboard if you're going to replace your CPU. If you're going to replace your CPU, you'll probably have to buy another after-market CPU fan, and if you replace your motherboard you'll most likely need to replace your RAM. If you're going to get new RAM, do not get only 4GB, get 8GB (two stick of 4GB). So really don't buy a new motherboard if you're not ready to buy a whole new computer. Get a 64 bit OS too. Anything but Vista.
4) Considering the hardware you have, I would have expected it to run the Sims 2 okay, but its definitely not the best it could be. Better hardware WILL help.
Before you pay for anything, try this:
Change nothing yet. Download the free version of FRAPS. Run it in the background and find out your average FPS, and minimum FPS during say an hour of typical gameplay. FPS is frames per second btw. Some people use one word, framerate.
Then Turn Edge Smoothing completely off in The Sims 2, turn back on page file and specify the recommended amount. Do not let it choose for you. Then use run FRAPS and The Sims 2 again and see if there's a significant improvement.
PS. What FSB:DRAM ratio are you using?
|22nd Dec 2011, 7:26 AM||#3|
According to Lavalys' Cache & Memory Benchmark:
CPU Type: DualCore Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 (Wolfdale-3M, LGA775)
CPU Clock: 2527.0 MHz (original: 2533 MHz)
CPU FSB: 266.0 MHz (original: 266 MHz)
CPU Multiplier: 9.5x
CPU Stepping: M0
Memory Bus: 399.0 MHz
DRAM:FSB Ratio: 12:8
Memory Type: Dual Channel DDR2-800 SDRAM (6-6-6-18 CR2)
Chipset: Intel Eaglelake P43
Motherboard: Asus P5QL Pro
As for the Power Supply from Raid-Max (Model: RX-450K, [KY-550ATX] ATX 12V), it has:
- 450 Watts
+3.3V = 28.0A
+5.0V = 34.0A
+12V = 22.0A
-5.0V = 0.5A
-12V = 0.8A
+5V sb = 2.0A
Yesturday, I went out to Best Buy to test out a video card. It's a PNY XLR8 GeForce GTX 550 Ti. It runs okay after overclocking, but there's still slow-downs in the game. I mean sure, 1920x1200 gameplay isn't something that happens often, so it'll be slow at times. They didn't have many video cards on stock, though (but then again, it's the Christmas period, so yeah, stock's limited). Although, based on the box's specifications, I probably shouldn't use this new video card, since the current rating is at 24A (minimum 12V).
EDIT: I switched back to the Zotac video card for the moment.
|22nd Dec 2011, 1:51 PM||#4|
What do you mean you "tested"? Did they let you take the card home, use it in your PC and then bring it back? If so that's pretty cool. Anyway I really don't like the 550 Ti, it has high power consumption considering the amount of performance it gives in return. For example, a HD 6950 uses slightly or equal power and yet delivers much better performance. Your DRAM:FSB Ratio seems fine, so it doesn't seem like your RAM is holding you back.
If I were you, I would wait about a year (till Intel Ivybridge CPUs come out) save more money, and try to get more performance out of your current system rather than buy a video card/system that's not your first choice. Try out the suggestions I gave you about turning page file back on and turning edge smoothing off and see what that does for you.
What is your screen's native resolution?
|22nd Dec 2011, 5:16 PM||#5|
Well, by "tested", I meant buy the video card using a credit card, try it out, then return it to Best Buy (since they have a 14 day return policy on video cards), claiming it didn't work well with my system, didn't perform as expected, wasn't different than my previous video card, etc. (basically whatever excuse seems reasonable).
Of course I can't return too many times. This'll be my second return after two days.
Prior to the XLR8 card, I tried out two cheaper $100 video cards...they sucked.
So, as for my monitor, it's a Samsung 275T. 16:10 ratio, widescreen, native resolution is 1920x1200.