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Game Performance Tips

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#1
Below you will find a few tips that should smooth out game play. It's something that won't work for everyone as it depends on the PC setup. No, series it does depend on the PC setup.

Tip 1: Update Your Drivers
Update your drivers to the applicable application/game you are using. Also, visit the game's forum (or developer's homepage forum) for any information regard patches, etc.


Tip 2: Check your CPU Frequency in Game
Check to make sure that your CPU and GPU clock rates are where they are suppose to be. Using GPUz and CPUz, etc will help determine this. There is also another trick for Win7/Vista users. Use the Resource monitor and check to make sure that your Max CPU Frequency is at 100% or more while in game. You can check this by playing the game in window mode while using Resource Monitor. If the % Maximum Frequency is anything other then 100% or more while in game then it's reporting that frequency of your CPU as lower then it's default (or whatever your have it set to).

What that means is that if you have it set to 3.60GHz Resource Monitor is not reading that frequency in game. This isn't normally the case for i7/i5 users. But for those still using C2D/C2Q, etc you want to check your bios to determine if features like CPU TM Function is disabled (refer to your manual for details). And make sure you've set the appropriate Power Options. Please note that you won't see Minimum and Maximum Processor State under Process Power Management unless either SpeedStepping or Cool and Quiet are enabled. In any case setting both to 100% or using the Performance Option should allow 100% Maximum Frequency but it's on all the time now.

Another option is making a registry edit. This is more for C2D and C2Q (or earlier gen CPUs). And, you have to confirm that your % Max Frequency isn't 100% while gaming before you do this. What you do is open up regedit and do a search for 0cc5b647-c1df-4637-891a-dec35c318583 using Edit, Find (this key is found more then once in the registry). Within each of those keys you will find 'ValueMax' with a value of 100. You want to change that value to 0 (using Modify). To change it back you modify 'ValueMax' and select Decimal and enter 100. Once the changes are done (to either enable or disable this tweak) reboot your PC.

Sidenote:
Be careful when you have features like SpeedStep, etc enabled when using LoadLine Calibration. For some C2D/C2Q, etc users it's best to not use LLC when SpeedStep etc are enabled.

Tip 3: Use the Exclusion List
For some who use antivirus programs you want to use it's exclusion list to add the game's .exe. You also want to add those files that for whatever reason are modified each time you play that game. For example the game's save.sav file. Those files are usually found somewhere in the:
-My Document subfolder
-AppData subfolder
-steam\userdata\some random number\
You will need to do a search for them in order to find them and place them in the exclusion list so that your antivirus program isn't trying to scan while you game. Also note, some antivirus programs have a feature that turns off it's resident scanning while in game. You will need to research this on your own to find out if such an option exists.


Tip 4: Process Idle Tasks
For some, processing all idle tasks that are scheduled can work wonders on performance. All you do is open up CMD with Administrative priviledges and type:
Rundll32.exe advapi32.dll,ProcessIdleTasks
Then close the CMD screen. You then open up Task Manager and look at CPU usage. Once everything seems to settle down start your game. You shouldn't need to do this every time you boot your PC. But that really depends on how you have things setup and how that portion of the OS is working on your PC.


Tip 5: Defrag
Defrag your hard drive. Yes, it really does work wonders if you have a high fragmentation rate on your hard drive. There are plenty of programs out there that are capable of doing this. However, it's best to remove the pagefile 1st before defraging your HD which will require a reboot in order to remove the pagefile. It's fairly simple, you type in system in Start's search bar > Advance System Settings > click on Settings from Performance > Advance Tab > Change button. Select the drive with the page file and hit the 'Set' button then hit the ok button (you maybe asked to hit it again). Then reboot as needed. Just make sure you have at least 4Gigs of ram.

After the reboot start the defraging process. You can even use Windows defrag program if you like. Once completed go back and re-establish a pagefile and your all set.



Tip 6: Delete the Game's Cache
In some cases deleting the game's cache can help improve performance if the game is recently updated. In one example, SCII, you can delete the game's cache by going to:
\ProgramData\Blizzard Entertainment\Battle.net\Cache
and delete the contents found there in. Restarting the game will re-populate it's cache. Keep in mind that not all games have this option or may not work well if you delete the cache files. Do some research on that particular game first before deleting it.


Tip 7: Turn off Vsync
If you are experiencing lower then normal performance and have vsync on (either in game or by driver) disable it.
Note:
If you still would like to limit the frame rates somehow do to special circumstances (ie: odd stuttering, etc) then try a program called dxtory. Set it to your minimum frame rate and you should notice a much smoother game play experience. Depending on the frame rate that limited it should also help in tearing.


Tip 8: Turn off all unnecessary processes
You can killing certain none essential processes from windows task manager like mom.exe (games still work with it disabled and clicking on the CCC icon re-enables it). Use caution as killing certain process can be harmful or yield no performance increase at all.
Note
For example:
Mom.exe
PnkBstrA.exe (for none punkbuster games)
etc.
However, there is a program called Process Lasso that can improve a PC's responsiveness and stability. It's debatable if one should use it or not. If you have a good control over your OS's processes, etc you will probably not need it.


Tip 9: Reinstall PB
If you are playing a PB enabled game online and you believe (for whatever reason) it's contributing to whatever problem you are experiencing then try this:
-Use pbsvc.exe to uninstall PB
-Reboot
-Open the 'Run' Command box and type: %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\PunkBuster\BC2\pb and delete all entries except for pbcl.cfg (if you are using it).
-Use pbsvc.exe and reinstall PB
-Use pbsetup.exe to update the files you replaced. More information about this can be found in this post.
Note:
I added the pbsvc.exe part because reinstalling both pbsvc.exe and pbsetup.exe files, etc seem to help.


Tip 10: Check for Ati3duag.dll or Atiumdag.dll in the Install Directory of your Game
If Ati3duag.dll or Atiumdag.dll is added to the install directory of your game & a newer one offers better performance for that game just rename the older .dll found in that game directory (not the windows sub directory).


Tip 11: Adjust the Appearance and Performance of Windows
Type Adjust the Appearance and Performance of Windows in Start's search box and open up the Performance Option window. Make sure you are using the Visual Effects Tab. Select Adjust for best performance. Then start the game.


Tip 12: Clean/Remove the Dust from your PC (PC is unplugged and has no power from wall socket.)
This goes without saying that a can of air from Walmart (or your local store that sells it cheap) is ideal for cleaning the PC's
-Motherboard
-Ram
-PSU (for thorough cleaning you may need to remove the cover but this is for someone that knows what they are doing. For example, the PSU is unplugged from the wall socket, etc)
-DVD Drive
-Video Card: This is a tad more technically involved. You would need to remove it from the PC. Remove the cover and HSF combo from it (and back plate when applicable). Then clean the HS contact area as well as the gpu die from old thermal compound (90% or higher Rubbing Alcohol or Thermal Compound Remover). Clean the video card area from dust using a can of air. Also clean the HS Fins and fan area. Then you have to reapply good thermal paste without it touching the other components of the gpu package (those diode looking thingies next to the gpu die. You only want thermal compound on the gpu die. Note: Cleaning out the fin area of the HS is essential for OEM designed video cards as they can be hard to get to. A can of air may not be strong enough to do the job. An air compressor would work but must be properly pressurized (using a lower setting) so you don't damage the HS fins. Also note: don't damage the thermal pads. Make sure you pay close attention to avoid unnecessary contact.
-CPU: Same applies as the video card clean. Clean the HS fins, fan and clean and reapply thermal compound.


Disclaimer:
You perform these tweaks at your own risk.
 
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#2
Sorry, but Tip 1 should be to know your hardware and it's limitations.

People who game on PC's should know well before hand if their computer can play a game respectably. User error is always last on the list but should be accounted for first. :)
 
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#3
Sorry, but Tip 1 should be to know your hardware and it's limitations.

People who game on PC's should know well before hand if their computer can play a game respectably. User error is always last on the list but should be accounted for first. :)
The 1st tip should be common knowledge but there is no reason not to include it. It simply informs others who may not know about this. How else are people going to now if someone doesn't tell them. :rolleyes:
 
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#4
The 1st tip should be common knowledge but there is no reason not to include it to let others who may not know this. How use are people going to now if someone doesn't tell them. :rolleyes:
so should the rest for gamers. but really if you're makign a guide, common knowlegde preceeds advanced advice.
 
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#5
Tip 6

If you're getting low FPS force V-sync off
 
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#6
Sorry, but Tip 1 should be to know your hardware and it's limitations.

People who game on PC's should know well before hand if their computer can play a game respectably. User error is always last on the list but should be accounted for first. :)
This actually does not pertain to increasing game performance. Knowing your hardware and the limitations are all well and good and should be common knowledge to all avid PC gamers. So I agree with you in that respect. Game requirements are sometimes a bit useless because publishers/developers sometimes put the minimum requirements so that you get like at least 10-15 fps which is clearly unplayable in my opinion.
 
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#7
This actually does not pertain to increasing game performance. Knowing your hardware and the limitations are all well and good and should be common knowledge to all avid PC gamers. So I agree with you in that respect. Game requirements are sometimes a bit useless because publishers/developers sometimes put the minimum requirements so that you get like at least 10-15 fps which is clearly unplayable in my opinion.

Sure it does, a person with a 3870 should know they cant play Crysis at 1200p well before trying any of these performance enhancing techniques.


Game requirements are bogus, they dont have any validation to the minimum hardware recommendations to any relative resolution or eye candy rating.
 
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#8
so should the rest for gamers. but really if you're makign a guide, common knowlegde preceeds advanced advice.
Ok then, just imagine if you will that the OP is intended for those looking for ideas they haven't thought of yet. This is by no means a PC Elitist Performance Tip thread. Perhaps that should clear the air better.
 
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#10
Good list so far East and nice idea for a thread. What about adding another tip, optimising your OS? Such as disabling services which are not needed and are just eating up your RAM?
Thanks. The only thing I could think of in that area was the mom.exe process.
 
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#11
Tip 9
Make use of dual boot.Make a game-only disk partition and install just windows and games on it.This way you will have the least amount of useless background apps eating up clock cycles and memory.

This with some service optimizing and the rest of the tips would be the optimal setup.

And for more experienced users,overclocking is an option to consider in order to improve performance.
 
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#12
Have dual OS's may not be feasible for most people out there. But I do appreciate the input.
 
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#13
Tip 9
Make use of dual boot.Make a game-only disk partition and install just windows and games on it.This way you will have the least amount of useless background apps eating up clock cycles and memory.

This with some service optimizing and the rest of the tips would be the optimal setup.

And for more experienced users,overclocking is an option to consider in order to improve performance.
An alternative to that would be to have the games on a hard-drive of their own, like I do.
I store all my installed games on a 80GB HDD. The performance difference isn't that visible, but it also helps to sort things out and it's great to keep saves.
Another thing about saves, some games place them on the personal windows folder. A tip I would recommend would be to change the directory of that folder to a partition that could be saved if the partition where Windows is installed goes kaput. Another way to do it would be frequent backups.
I'm just throwing ideas here. :)
 
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#14
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#15
That is useful, but some users could just disable HT. It does the same thing and I doubt that any games are going to miss the "logical" cores (that much).
Those that have more than 2 physical CPUs should think about changing computers. Those gamers are playing on a server machine.
 
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#16
Nice work mate, good job
 
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#17
I like the guide. I don`t think that you can do more specific guide because different games can react different to tweak.
 
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#18
Yeah, I started a thread about that a while back. :eek: didn't release it was in 2009. I even created a quick guide about it but can't seem to find it.

The Reason & Explanation
Is your quad core (or more) CPU is working as it should on you PC (not laptop)? There is one thing you need to check to see if it is before you decided to make any registry tweak found later in this post.
  1. For win7 users open up Resource Monitor (Click on Start, type Resource Monitor in the search box)
  2. Tab over to CPU and look at 2 things:
  • A. The CPU - Total Graph in the upper right corner. Do you see a blue line?



  • B. Maximum Frequency. Located at the top. It is right of center. Does it read 100% or something else?




Take note of this at desktop (w/o anything running in the background). Next, start a game (in window mode) and observe the max frequency & graph for a blue line. If you get 100% or so you should stop here and disregard the tweak below. However, if you are seeing something like 80%, 70%, etc in game, at desktop this maybe of interest. Also, if you notice that the games you play are not as smooth as they should be then disabling any cpu throttling maybe of some help. Keep in mind this tweak is not intended to fix other issues that maybe contributing (or the actual cause) of your problem. So keep that in mind. Below is another illustration as to what you are looking for before making any decisions on tweaking the registry:






The Tweak
What you do is open up regedit and do a search for 0cc5b647-c1df-4637-891a-dec35c318583 using Edit, Find (found more then once). Within each of those keys you will find ValueMax with a value of 100. You want to change that value to 0. Just right click on 'ValueMax', select Modify:



and change from 100 to 0 in the Value Data box:


Hit the F3 key to find the next one until all have been found. Once completed you exit and shut down the PC. Wait a moment then boot the PC (do not reboot but a cold boot).


This is just a test to see if things improve on you PC (not laptop). It's up to you if you want to keep this tweak or not. This is not for everyone to try just to be trying. Also, if you want to revert the settings back to default you can edit ValueMax. You right click on ValueMax, choose 'Modify':



and select 'Decimal' and input 100 in the Value Data box:

Then find the next one until the search is complete.

Once completed you exit and shut down the PC. Wait a moment then boot the PC (do not reboot but a cold boot).


Core Parking
Watch this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl3u9eiskM4
(Keep in mind this video is discussing the removal of core parking. A parked core means that the core is inactive and would read 'parked' in the resource monitor CPU tab's graph. This reduces power consumption and reduces heat, etc. This is not why I'm showing you this tweak. This tweak can also provide you with 100% CPU maximum frequency)

This tweak works better with quads and dual core cpus then with i7 cpu. If you have an i7 I wouldn't perform this tweak.
 
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#19
Turning V-Sync OFF doesn't improve FPS's, it just makes games to tear horrifically.
V-Sync locs FPS to 60Hz on casual LCD's but if framerate doesn't even reach that limit, well then it doesn't really matter as tearing only happens when game framerate exceeds screen refresh rate.
 
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#20
now I thought if you had the power (one monster card or two big cards) to stay above what the v-sync cap is, you see no tearing and get better performance?
 
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#21
now I thought if you had the power (one monster card or two big cards) to stay above what the v-sync cap is, you see no tearing and get better performance?
I still use V-Sync when I get fps beyond 60fps for cooler temps and lower power usage.
 

HammerON

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#22
Nice guide EastCoasthandle:toast:
 

zanat0s

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#23
Very good thread. i will definitely try some of these!
 
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#24
Turning V-Sync OFF doesn't improve FPS's, it just makes games to tear horrifically.
V-Sync locs FPS to 60Hz on casual LCD's but if framerate doesn't even reach that limit, well then it doesn't really matter as tearing only happens when game framerate exceeds screen refresh rate.
If you are getting less than 60fps and the game does not support triple buffering, your performance will suffer. You'd be surprised how many games lack something as basic as triple buffering these days. Then again if you have a low card with less than 256MB, triple buffering will probably decrease performance as well.

For tip 11: Instead of disabling windows' pretty effects, you could right-click your game executable and go to Programs > Compatibility and select "Disable Visual Themes" . That will disable Aero while the game is running ( and hopefully) re-enable it after you close the game down. The occasional shitty driver can break that and create some minor instability with some games but that's usually rare these days.
 
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#25
great guide

even though my pc is getting on now
this still helps