Tech help

Oct. 6th, 2008 10:53 pm
nadriel: (That's how I roll (Richard))
[personal profile] nadriel
Okay, I've been poking at this on and off for a while now, and it's got to the point where I'm stumped.

Several of my games are unplayable (examples include Neverwinter Nights 2 and The Witcher (although I don't care so much about the latter, as it wasn't that good).

Whilst the sound is fine, the animation is jerky, and the response to mouse clicks slow. And cut-scenes are a nightmare.

As far as I'm able to tell, all drivers, particularly sound and graphics are up to date, and my DirectX is the latest version I can run on XP.

So, any suggestions/solutions?

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-06 09:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginasketch.livejournal.com
I have the same problem with Doom 3 on my machine. I assume you have craploads of RAM? You are Mike after all.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-06 09:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miss-s-b.livejournal.com
Sounds like not enough RAM, or something else eating it all to me.

Firefox can be a RAM hog, have you tried running the games with nothing else running? Or start up task manager when you have the game running and see what processes are using what resources.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-06 10:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nadriel.livejournal.com
I'll have a look at that, but I have 3 gigs of RAM, so it shouldn't be due to a lack.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-06 10:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miss-s-b.livejournal.com
Well, tis worth a look...

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-06 10:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nadriel.livejournal.com
Indeedy.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-06 10:45 pm (UTC)
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)
From: [personal profile] matgb
Is all your RAM still working properly? Try one of those online system scans that tells you what your actual working spec is instead of the supposed spec?

Also check that your graphics/sound cards are fully functional as well.

Beyond that, nope, whenver I get problems like this it's due to not enough spec (Jennie's PC, although currently quaranteed, doesn't have seperate grpahics/sound card, thus isn't good for gaming although it outspecs my tower, which is OK for gaming, which confused me completely for awhile).

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-06 10:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginasketch.livejournal.com
Yeah my Photoshop misbehaves when I have Itunes open at the same time because they are both memory hogs.

I'm kind of picturing mike's computer as being a RAM beast though...

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-06 10:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nadriel.livejournal.com
Okay, checked: Resource use outside the game is minimal, and CPU usage outside the game almost nonexistent.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-06 10:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miss-s-b.livejournal.com
Odd...

OK, have you checked for malware recently?

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-06 10:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nadriel.livejournal.com
I have AVG running regular updates and scans, but I'll force an immediate check just to be sure.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-06 10:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miss-s-b.livejournal.com
Mat points out that YOU are the sysadmin here ;)

I have to go walk the doggies. Hope someone else comes with some suggestions soon.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-06 10:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alawston.livejournal.com
Yeah, I had all sorts of useful suggestions - all of which have been made here, and all of which wither and die in the face of someone who already knows what they're doing.

The idea that all the RAM might not necessarily be working properly is a goodun though, and one which caused me much heartache a couple of years back.

Have you tried scaling back the graphics options to see if that makes any difference?

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-07 06:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nadriel.livejournal.com
I have, it unfortunately doesn't. Also, some other games work fine.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-06 10:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginasketch.livejournal.com
Yikes. There we go then.

Of course I have the habit of stubbornly having 10 windows/tabs open at the same time anyway.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-07 06:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nadriel.livejournal.com
That doesn't seem to make a difference, 0 or 10 still affects the games that won't work in the same way.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-06 10:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginasketch.livejournal.com
Also...have you defragged recently?

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-07 06:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nadriel.livejournal.com
It needs defragging again, but since some games are unaffected, I don't think that's it- I'm setting it running before I go anyway.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-07 07:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginasketch.livejournal.com
Ok.

What time are we meeting again? Was it 6? Sorry, my brain is a bit frazzled this morn.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-07 08:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nadriel.livejournal.com
Yep, 6 at the station. And I've now forked out this morning for more credit on my phone, so I can now respond to texts.

And to answer your email, still no idea- unless you have some decent anime I haven't seen?

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-07 08:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginasketch.livejournal.com
Have you seen Howls Moving Castle? I can't promise I can get a hold of it in time but I can try.

I do love me some Miyazaki.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-07 08:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nadriel.livejournal.com
I haven't actually seen that one, so if you are able, I'm sure it'd be good.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-07 10:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginasketch.livejournal.com
Cool, I'll try.

*is surprised anony-git hasn't turned up*

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-06 10:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pmp.livejournal.com
Ok, what is your system spec?
Were these games previously playable and this has since changed? If so, did you load any software in the mean time?

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-07 06:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nadriel.livejournal.com
It was fine at some point in the past, I _think_ on this comp. And some other games work fine (WoW for example). I'll look up the full spec this evening when I get back late.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-07 08:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pmp.livejournal.com
I'd be inclined to suggest that it's an issue with the video card being insufficiant for the job, but without the specs can't be sure.

The alternative is an issue with the video card such as the VRAM overheating

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-07 05:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seidhepriest.livejournal.com
Looks like an I/O problem. Is this still the dual-processor system with the 24-bit Soundblaster?

This is usually a sign of a process hogging all CPU quantums and/or disk I/O. But it could also be broken PCI timing (PCI Creative cards love to hog the bus all to themselves; also, on an SMP box the affinity/IRQ will have to be set manually to ensure the Creative card is being driven by only one CPU). A "legacy" driver in slow timing mode (virtual ISA or non-busmastering PCI), such as an unidentified PCI busmastering device, might also be causing this. The general description of the problem is - a background process interfering with PCI and/or filesystem I/O or CPU scheduling (usually all at once).

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-07 06:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nadriel.livejournal.com
I think it's still the same system- can't remember last time I posted about a problem.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-07 06:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seidhepriest.livejournal.com
24-bit PCI Soundblaster? Two Intel CPUs?

(no subject)

Date: 2008-10-07 06:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seidhepriest.livejournal.com
http://tibit.com/technote/sbsmp.html

- the PCI SB Live 24-bit was particularly picky and could even lock/BSOD an SMP system.

Other bits... An antivirus or file indexer (Windows' own indexing service or something like Google Desktop) could be hogging the I/O system while polling the filesystem. An antivirus intercepts filesystem calls, so if its driver/service is poorly implemented, it can cause choppiness (though less severe than what you've got).

A faulty hard drive with lots of bad blocks will also cause crawling and stutter when the damaged area is read. Game files are large, so they have more chances of falling into a damaged area. But, there would also be weird effects inside a game booted from a damaged HD area - colour noise, missing or damaged sounds, missing textures, etc.

SMP systems can be tricky, as software usually isn't written with SMP in mind. Running a game on a single CPU (with an affinity tool or affinity assigned by the task manager) might help.

Also...

Date: 2008-10-07 06:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seidhepriest.livejournal.com
Are there any driverless/"broken" device links in the Device Manager? Those will usually interfere with I/O, as they're being run in "compatibility" slow clocking mode.

Re: Also...

Date: 2008-10-07 01:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lokean.livejournal.com
Adding my little chunk o' experience, multiple core systems seem to have a problem with the task switcher under XP. Switching out of a task running in user space appears to occasionally result in problems with the task when switching back. I know for a fact that you tab in and out of programs willy-nilly, so this might be a possibility. Do they *always* run choppy from the very moment you load them, or only after you've switched out of them?

I have my suspicion that, since the alt-tab function is implemented by CSRSS, which also handles threading, the problem lies in CSRSS trying to reassign threads on a core (just my guess, not in any way diagnostic). If that were actually the case I'd expect setting the affinity of the game to a single core to remedy the situation.

Re: Also...

Date: 2008-10-07 02:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nadriel.livejournal.com
Sadly, they always run choppily.

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