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View Full Version : Big tip from MS Flight Sim community to improve PC performance



XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 09:17 AM
Go to http://www.avsim.com

Go to Forums and choose the "MS Flight Simulator General Discussion Forum"

Find the thread entitled "Totally compressing FS2004 works wonders and much smoother."

This is a very interesting thread relevant to XP users with fast CPUs and NTSF formatted HDDs (i.e. many of us here).

It appears that using the XP compression facility will increase performance of FS2004 (and most probably FB or any programme for that matter).

Many people are seeing increases in fps and nearly all are getting smoother performance (could it improve sound stutters in FB?).

Below is a cut-and-paste of one of the posts by denodan (who started the thread) that basically summarises this concept:

"File compression reduces hard disk access

NTFS supports file compression. That is "on-the-fly" file compression. Files are compressed and decompressed as they are written or read respectively. In the day of the slower processor this came at the price of more load on your processor in compressing and decompressing the files. Today with the GHz speed of computers it is no longer an issue. The beauty of file compression is that you computer is doing less work accessing the hard disk since it has to read less data off the hard disk. With the modern fast processor the trade-off between decompression time and hard disk access results in overall faster file/data access from the hard disk into memory provided your system is fast enough. Our tests showed that FS2002 loaded slower after file compression on an 800Mhz Celeron system but on a 2.2 GHz Pentium the time to load FS2002 was reduced by 10%. The entire contents of a Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002 installation, compresses at a ratio of 1:1.18 so that your hard disk access is just 85% of what it would be on an uncompressed version. So if your system is faster than around 1.6 GHz, compress your FS2002 folder. You'll have your hard disk working on average 15% less. This amount will be much less for some files and no change for others but your overall average will be 15% less hard disk access and faster performance.

You can choose to compress any folder, any file and/or your entire hard disk."


Has anyone tried it here for FB? Sounds like it's worth a try. I'll certainly be trying it tonight.

Alexi




<center>------------------------------------------
Drug of choice...coffee
=======================</center>

XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 09:17 AM
Go to http://www.avsim.com

Go to Forums and choose the "MS Flight Simulator General Discussion Forum"

Find the thread entitled "Totally compressing FS2004 works wonders and much smoother."

This is a very interesting thread relevant to XP users with fast CPUs and NTSF formatted HDDs (i.e. many of us here).

It appears that using the XP compression facility will increase performance of FS2004 (and most probably FB or any programme for that matter).

Many people are seeing increases in fps and nearly all are getting smoother performance (could it improve sound stutters in FB?).

Below is a cut-and-paste of one of the posts by denodan (who started the thread) that basically summarises this concept:

"File compression reduces hard disk access

NTFS supports file compression. That is "on-the-fly" file compression. Files are compressed and decompressed as they are written or read respectively. In the day of the slower processor this came at the price of more load on your processor in compressing and decompressing the files. Today with the GHz speed of computers it is no longer an issue. The beauty of file compression is that you computer is doing less work accessing the hard disk since it has to read less data off the hard disk. With the modern fast processor the trade-off between decompression time and hard disk access results in overall faster file/data access from the hard disk into memory provided your system is fast enough. Our tests showed that FS2002 loaded slower after file compression on an 800Mhz Celeron system but on a 2.2 GHz Pentium the time to load FS2002 was reduced by 10%. The entire contents of a Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002 installation, compresses at a ratio of 1:1.18 so that your hard disk access is just 85% of what it would be on an uncompressed version. So if your system is faster than around 1.6 GHz, compress your FS2002 folder. You'll have your hard disk working on average 15% less. This amount will be much less for some files and no change for others but your overall average will be 15% less hard disk access and faster performance.

You can choose to compress any folder, any file and/or your entire hard disk."


Has anyone tried it here for FB? Sounds like it's worth a try. I'll certainly be trying it tonight.

Alexi




<center>------------------------------------------
Drug of choice...coffee
=======================</center>

XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 09:24 AM
Let us know how it goes.

"Tis better to work towards an Impossible Good, rather than a Possible Evil."

SeaFireLIV.
(Spitfire & Escape Whiner Member).

XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 09:35 AM
Can you compress the folder & then Uncompress it if theres a problem ?

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XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 10:08 AM
punt
I want to know about this??
S!

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XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 10:21 AM
I would like to know too



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XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 10:36 AM
cozmo_d wrote:
- Can you compress the folder & then Uncompress it if
- theres a problem ?

Yes, a simple check box does it.

In the good ole days of DOS I used a program called stacker to compress my HD.

This resulted in much faster disk access times and the performance trade off was minimal (386DX 32Mb RAM and using Autocad - my how times have changed!).

T_O_A_D
09-12-2003, 10:49 AM
Here is direct link to it. http://forums.avsim.net/dcboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=121&topic_id=143032&mesg_id=143032&listing_type=search

reading it now.

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T_O_A_D
09-12-2003, 11:42 AM
I just tried this on a backup of the original FB pre patch I had in drive E: It made no difference at all. I ran the The Black Death track and got 35 32 51 14 at min 2.34 The very same as before compression. I used these guidlines for testing. http://www.mudmovers.com/Sims/FB/fb_configform.htm


aybey someone else will have luck with it. But I'm assuming not since so much of IL2/FB is encripted. Wher the Microsoft products are not.

Thats my guess anyway.

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XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 11:51 AM
In FB the relevant files (*.SFS) are already compressed.

So you will not gain any substantial reduction in size by compressing the files again with WinXP NTFS.

Sorry, this is no "Big tip".


schofei

XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 12:04 PM
use the S3TC texture option the in il2setup can boost up decent frame. Beside while in Perfect setting it would cause artifact in far landscape.


Same frame rate in my system with win98 before and winXP now


Message Edited on 09/12/0311:06AM by Gyrovaguer

XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 12:45 PM
Good going guys. I hadn't realised that FB would use compressed files already (and typical that M$ doesn't).

Still, I'll try it tonight with both FB and FS2004. If it doesn't slow anything down, I think I'll just leave it to help save space.

Alexi


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XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 04:47 PM
Bump for those late waking US folks


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XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 05:00 PM
dear god don't do it

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XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 05:17 PM
Sounds suspect to me (nice way of saying, "load of crap").

Work has to be done to compress and decompress files, so this only adds to the overall workload of the computer.

It may somewhat reduce the time to pull a file off the HDD, but I'm not convinced, as the file must be decompressed for use, and where's it going to go? RAM? What if it's too big? Right back to the HDD again in the form of a swap file, negating any bonus from compression.

In any case, it would certainly add more load to the CPU and RAM, and given that flight sims already need as much free CPU and RAM as possible, I don't see how this can do anything but harm overall performance.

If you want to access the HDD less, install more RAM. It's the only thing that's going to really work.

XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 05:55 PM
I don't think it'll work. FB is a CPU intensive app. FS2004 is more GPU intensive. There is a huge difference.

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XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 06:13 PM
BinaryFalcon wrote:
- Work has to be done to compress and decompress
- files, so this only adds to the overall
- workload of the computer.

Disk performance has increased less rapidly than
processor performance. Disk access is relatively
slow, but modern processor are very able to
decompress on the fly. With a good operating system
this decompression can be interleaved with the access.
So yes, your PC's CPU does more work, but the total
elapsed time for the operation is reduced. Modems,
for example, use compression as the bandwidth of a
modem is low (like a very slow hard drive) compared
to the ability of the CPU to decompress the data.

- the HDD, but I'm not convinced, as the file must be
- decompressed for use,

If the decompression is left to the end, then if the
time saved by the read access is greater than the
time to decompress, you win. In practice a good OS
should interleave the decompression with the access,
so it retrieves a chunk, and decompresses it while
waiting for the hard drive to read the next chunk of
raw data into a buffer.

- In any case, it would certainly add more load to the
- CPU and RAM, and given that flight sims already need
- as much free CPU and RAM as possible,

But mostly the files are read in at boot, or as some
group of texture files. The stuff that is used frequently
should be in RAM whatever is going on on your disk. So
the CPU overhead is done on loading the program, not
constantly.

XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 07:41 PM
AaronGT wrote:

- Disk performance has increased less rapidly than
- processor performance. Disk access is relatively
- slow, but modern processor are very able to
- decompress on the fly.

Understood, and I realize this, however I still don't quite see how it's going to help us much in this case, aside from possibly in the initial loading of the program.


- If the decompression is left to the end, then if the
- time saved by the read access is greater than the
- time to decompress, you win. In practice a good OS
- should interleave the decompression with the access,
- so it retrieves a chunk, and decompresses it while
- waiting for the hard drive to read the next chunk of
- raw data into a buffer.

Once again, I understand the theory, but does it really work out this way when you do it? AGP 2x/4x/8x is theoretically faster than straight AGP, but in reality, enabling it doesn't do much, if anything, to the final numbers in real life.

- But mostly the files are read in at boot, or as some
- group of texture files. The stuff that is used
- frequently
- should be in RAM whatever is going on on your disk.
- So
- the CPU overhead is done on loading the program, not
- constantly.

If it's all (or mostly) done at the loading of the program, then what exactly have we accomplished with respect to increasing the performance of the sim? Possibly cut the initial loading time from 10 seconds to 9? (~10%)

If it's all got to be decompressed and read to RAM before use, and you do all of that as you load the program, the end result will be no different than reading it straight to RAM from an uncompressed file.

If you've got to pull it from the HDD while running the sim, unless it's a huge amount of data, compression seems likely to cause an even bigger performance hit as the much needed CPU and RAM resources are taken to uncompress the data.

Compressed or not, the best (and really only) way to avoid the HDD access performance hit is to install more RAM so that more of the files you need can be preloaded into memory.

Compression is good for saving some drive space, but it still seems like expecting it to actually boost performance in this case is a bit of a pipe dream. The big stuff decompresses and preloads before the program is run, so it doesn't help there, and the small stuff needed while playing isn't large enough (in the data size sense) to benefit much from being compressed. I suspect the time savings we might be looking at here would be on the order of microseconds for any "in game" needs.

XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 08:01 PM
I'd rather try RamDrive.

XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 08:21 PM
S~ all,
What I would really like to see, is if someone with a RAID0 setup is experiencing stuttering. If they stutter, than there is no hope that compression is gonna help the rest of us.
So... Anyone got a RAID0 setup out there? Are you stuttering?

S~ WartHog flying USAAF_352FG_HO_G (Show 'n' Tell)

XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 08:23 PM
It worked in FS2004. Got smoother (less HD loading) specially when changing views etc. Havent tried it with FB.

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XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 08:25 PM
BinaryFalcon wrote:
-
- AaronGT wrote:
-
-- Disk performance has increased less rapidly than
-- processor performance. Disk access is relatively
-- slow, but modern processor are very able to
-- decompress on the fly.
-
- Understood, and I realize this, however I still
- don't quite see how it's going to help us much in
- this case, aside from possibly in the initial
- loading of the program.

I doubt it will help much either!

- If it's all (or mostly) done at the loading of the
- program, then what exactly have we accomplished with
- respect to increasing the performance of the sim?

Not much.

- If it's all got to be decompressed and read to RAM
- before use, and you do all of that as you load the
- program, the end result will be no different than
- reading it straight to RAM from an uncompressed
- file.

Apart from saving a second of your life :=)

XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 08:52 PM
-- TooCooL34
-- Rank: Over 200 Postings
-- Date: 09/12/03 07:01PM

-- I'd rather try RamDrive.


Tell more. I only use a ramdrive when I use MSDOS. Do they make a Windows ramdriver?

It works too. Copying the needed Fortran compiler files with my Fortran files to ramdrive, I compile with no disk access (the famous "compiler grind"), and I compile multi~megabye 32bit DOS extended Fortran+grafix programs in 3 seconds (MSDOS on Athalon 1700+) all in RAM.

XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 09:04 PM
There are RamDrive for XP thou it's not built-in.

You must purchase it to use.

And it works fine thou I don't remember where it was.


If you have enough memory (at least 1GB or more) and really wanna use it, I'll check HW/SW community where I saw review of RamDrive.

XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 09:11 PM
Just checked the community about RamDrive.

My conclusion is.. Don't use it.

Don't use compression, Don't use RamDrive.

Windows is much more complicated than DOS, so I think we can't use that for flight simulation.

Time is important than money.
If you have problems, buy more RAM & better CPU/GPU. That's the best solution in 2003 sim world.

XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 09:11 PM
No. I'll search for it. No problem. Just thanks for sneaking the idea into my head. /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 09:39 PM
The only problem with this "compression" stuff is that it's fine if your computer has such a small amount of RAM that it actually has to go to the hard drive during gameplay in the first place. But the truly best way to play is to have so much RAM that all, and I do mean ALL, or your data for the maps, sound, graphics, plus the running program itself of course, can all go into RAM when you hit the FLY button. This is precisely what happens when I play and I have Win98SE as my OS. But I run with Cacheman and 1024Mb of memory, so EVERYTHING gets loaded when I start a mission into RAM. So no hard drive performance increase can help my gameplay. It could only help how fast the whole game loads up and how fast each mission loads up when hit the fly button. If your computer has to access the hard drive during FB gameplay at all, you have not got enough RAM, simple as that. This is the same reason virtual memory tweaking and other types of HD caching have little or no impact on how well your FB runs if you have sufficient memory. Get more memory, it's much faster than any hard drive anyway!!! I can play an entire mission, even using the Berlin or Finnish maps, and my hard drvie light nevers so much as blinks. Not even once.

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin - 1755



Message Edited on 09/12/03 08:46PM by mortoma

Message Edited on 09/12/0308:47PM by mortoma

XyZspineZyX
09-12-2003, 09:39 PM
If you succeed in using RamDrive with FB, feel free to let us know. /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif