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Hyperthreading/Dual Core got you down?


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Heya fellow addicts.

 

While playing the Kamikaze this past Sunday a discussion was had about how much resources the Sacred game requires from our computers. Anyone who has looked at their Task Manager(ctrl+alt+del) while playing Sacred has seen that Sacred really does take a lot to run. During our conversations we had compared the amount of memory that Sacred was using on each of our computers and gial had some very interesting results. Not only was Sacred using less memory by comparison on gial's pc but when he switched to a different application(Alt+Tab) the Sacred game would release most of the memory it was using. A significant drop from about 150,000K to as low as 3,000K. A very nice and significant drop. We discovered some interesting points about his setup, two things in particular. For one, his system doesn't use Hyper-Threading or Dual Core technology. This is significant because Ascaron themselves have documented the fact that even the most recent version of Sacred, 2.28, is not built with these two technologies in mind. I quote from the Readme file of my Sacred Gold installation:

 

The Problems

 

Hyper-Threading/Dual Core:

Problems with Dual Core Processors: Dual Core CPUs have been released after Sacred and Sacred Underworld / Sacred Gold development so that Ascaron wasn't able to make provisions for those CPU types in time. It does exist one special incompatibility of Dual Core processors while playing Sacred Underworld / Sacred Gold in LAN mode: Users of those processors will not be able to open an own gameserver in LAN or OpenNet mode because that game is not displayed on other computers so that a connection will fail. That problem cannot be fixed anymore, unfortunately.

 

 

Interestingly enough... This may also be the cause of why so many people aren't able to create a server. So the steps I'm going to supply to turn these off may be of some use to people wanting to create a server as well. Maybe...

 

Fullscreen/Windowed Mode:

The other thing that gial had that I didn't was that he had fullscreen mode on. Whenever gial would Alt+Tab to switch to a different application running on his pc Sacred would be minimized and the application he switched to would pop up. In the process of doing this Sacred releases its hold on a large chunk of Memory Usage which I would assume is great for "refreshing" your system and perhaps helping to reduce pc slow downs. Now if I were to try the same thing while my Fullscreen setting was off, (in windowed mode), Sacred will not release the memory and will just keep climbing... Not so great when Sacred is using up from 300,000K to 500,000K of Memory I think. So if you're playing Sacred and you're really wanting your pc to focus on the game rather than everything and anything then I would suggest running in fullscreen. This way if you feel that your pc is beginning to slow down while playing Sacred you could Alt+Tab to a different application and thus release the big pile of Memory Sacred is holding and probably return Sacred to a normal running speed.

 

Logging:

And one other important point that gial made was of Logging. A function that the Sacred game can perform while you are playing and which has also been found to have serious memory abusing qualities. This function is not a requirement to run keep in mind and it's purpose is merely to document the ongoings of the inards of the game much to do about errors.

 

Continued on following post...

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*** I should mention here that I'm not a professional nor an official of Ascaron and that the information I am providing here should be followed at ones own discretion. ***

 

The Solutions

Hyper-Threading/Dual Core:

Ok, so this is the big complicated one that many have been stuck on and I'll get right to it. The solution comes from Microsoft themselves although our intended use for this exe they created is not significant enough for them to mention. Of the many many web pages that I found explaining this procedure here is one
reality-xp.com
. Here's the low down:

Check out
robpol86.com
and download the file. The steps in that page are slightly incomplete however. For a nicer explanation of how to do this read the guide on
speedguide.net

Important:

  • Make a backup of your Sacred.exe file. Copy/paste it to a convenient place. I put my backup of it in Sacred's Readme folder.

  • Near the end of the Speedguide.net instructions it mentions that imagecfg.exe does not understand spaces between words of a path like "Program Files". What I did to work around this is I copied the Sacred.exe file to the root of the C: drive. So it appeared at C:\Sacred.exe. Then I applied the instructions and once it was done I copied the C:Sacred.exe back to it's origin at C:\Program Files\Ascaron Entertainment\Sacred Underworld overwriting the one that was there.

Now that I've done the above I can see that Sacred uses one processor whenever I play the game. To see see this I start Sacred, open Task Manager(Ctrl+Alt+Del), right click on Sacred in the Applications tab and select "Go to Process", right click on the highlighted process and and select "Set Affinity...". The resulting box that pops up shows a checkmark beside CPU 0 and no checkmark beside CPU 1. This tells me that Sacred is only using one CPU and it likes that.
:lol:

 

Some may see a slight improvement in the game while others may receive a very large improvement as I have seen throughout the net regarding this subject. If you'd like to read more about the great results people have had by following this workaround you can type "imagecfg.exe" into a google search. Thinking back on the quote I took from my Sacred readme file which I posted above, this may resolve the problem some people are having with creating a server.

 

Fullscreen/Windowed Mode:

You control whether you are playing in Fullscreen mode or Windowed Mode by double clicking on the file "config.exe" found in your Sacred installation folder on your pc. C:\Program Files\Ascaron Entertainment\Sacred Underworld. Once you've made the selection the next time you start Sacred your selection will be in effect. I'm suggesting you go with fullscreen mode so that you can easily release the large amount of memory Sacred is holding while playing simply by holding down the Alt key and pushing tab. This will minimize Sacred to your taskbar so I would say wait 3 seconds and Alt+Tab again to return to Sacred. At this point the amount of memory Sacred is holding will have dropped quite a bit and will begin its slow climb up to a large Mem Usage again. Simply keep this option in mind for when things really start to slow down.

 

 

Logging:

When logging is enabled on Sacred it has been found that the resulting file created by this function can be quite large. As large as 1 GB. Given the hard time some computers can have while running Sacred I think it is safe to say that any extra functions running during gameplay can only be a burden and for that I am confident in advising that this be turned off. Myself as well as many others have been doing this for a very long time.

To turn this function off you'll need to go to your game folder and open the file "Settings.cfg". Mine for example is found in "C:\Program Files\Ascaron Entertainment\Sacred Underworld". Opening the file in notepad or a similar program You will see the line:

NETLOG : 0

The way I have typed it above is the way I have mine set and is what I'm advising to do and save the file. Naturally, if you see it as
NETLOG : 1
it will mean that it is on and has created the file "sacred_network.log" to enter its data into. This function by default is supposed to be off, 0, but in my experience I have found it to be on without any changes from me.

*Note: If you are in Windowed Mode and wanted to release the memory Sacred is using while you are playing you could open your Task Manager and right click on Sacred and minimize it. This will also release the memory Sacred is holding.

 

One last thing with regards to graphics cards and Sacred is the fact that new video cards can force a game to have advanced graphics. Namely, the many new forms of anti aliasing and anisotropic filtering. I've read that it is not wise to force added graphical enhancements to older games that do not have these enhancements built in so I've recently opted to run my video card on a "balanced" setting which allows Sacred to run with only the enhancements it was built with.

 

 

I hope this proves useful to some people.

 

Cheers and good gaming! :)

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Thanx guys. :)

 

lol @ not a professional -- he just plays one on TV

You know... When I typed that I was thinking it sounded kind of funny. Like something out of an infomercial :lol:

 

Hopefully it will come in handy during thses final days of Sacred. We're rounding the bend and pretty soon Sacred2 will arrive. Oh and I made use of the Fullscreen Alt Tab trick today and it worked! While I was playing today the game had froze. Normally when this happens I would Ctrl+Alt+Del and end the task but this time I just minimized Sacred by doing Alt+Tab and when I returned to Sacred 2 seconds after it was ok. Nice!

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yep, great work!

 

What also will work:

 

change the boot.ini of Win XP and set the /numproc to 0 -- which disables on Core totaly.

 

Maybe one knows how to set up a multiboot env. to have the descission at starting up the PC which boot version you want to have.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Sounds usefull :resp:

 

Especially for me :)

 

Only problem is that the download thingy you refer to is only for windows NT :Just_Cuz_21:

And I am running XP.

So, how do I get the prog that works for XP? Because this one only flashes cmd... :help:

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  • 3 weeks later...

Oh boy. Looks like Putrescine posted quite some time ago. Sorry about the delayed response my friend. To answer your question would be that Windows XP is a NT based operating system so that downloadable file will work for you. :) Once you have the file you'll need to follow the instructions in the guide above very very closely.

 

Quote from download page:

This tool only works on NT based operating systems (Windows NT, 2000 Family, XP Family, 2003 Family, Vista).

 

As for how effective this is? For me it's been great! Unfortunately this doesn't remove the chance to CTD but since I made the change it has become very rare and infrequent for me to have a CTD. So I'm quite pleased. I've also gotten into the habit of minimizing Sacred while playing to release the piles of RAM Sacred is "hogging". Probably helps a bit.

 

Cheers and if there are other questions don't hesitate to ask! :D

 

yep, great work!

 

What also will work:

 

change the boot.ini of Win XP and set the /numproc to 0 -- which disables on Core totaly.

 

Maybe one knows how to set up a multiboot env. to have the descission at starting up the PC which boot version you want to have.

 

Hmmm, I wonder if that could be better. I've read from various sources that Hyper-Threading isn't really that great. Might be better just to have it off completely. I'll have to try that! :P

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Hmmm, I wonder if that could be better. I've read from various sources that Hyper-Threading isn't really that great. Might be better just to have it off completely. I'll have to try that! :D

 

I'm reading the same stuff Schot.

There seems to be conflicting info about HyperThreading on the net.

Some say it gives a small improvement even with only one application running others says it can give a slight decrease :P

I am mainly concerned with performance only in games and all gamers know that an extra couple of fps are always welcome. :)

 

Schot, I tried the utility but I couldnt seem to get it to work (hows does one even check if it is working? :) )

 

I like PowerPyx's suggestion about duel booting but last time I attempted a duel boot I failed miserably at the exercise.

 

Guess I need to do more research. :D

 

stubbs

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I'm reading the same stuff Schot.

There seems to be conflicting info about HyperThreading on the net.

 

I am mainly concerned with performance only in games and all gamers know that an extra couple of fps are always welcome. :)

 

Schot, I tried the utility but I couldnt seem to get it to work (hows does one even check if it is working? :) )

 

I like PowerPyx's suggestion about duel booting but last time I attempted a duel boot I failed miserably at the exercise.

 

 

Totally agree and it may very well be just a bunch of "hype" as to how good Hyper-Threading was advertized to be when it first arrived on the market. I'm having serious doubts about that but I guess it's important to keep in mind that it's efficiency can be affected by a programs ability/inability to work with Hyper-Threading. That is to say that some programs will be better with HT on while others could be worse... Like you say, every single fps... :D

 

To check if the utility has done it's job stubbie try the following. :D

Now that I've done the above I can see that Sacred uses one processor whenever I play the game. To see see this I start Sacred, open Task Manager(Ctrl+Alt+Del), right click on Sacred in the Applications tab and select "Go to Process", right click on the highlighted process and and select "Set Affinity...". The resulting box that pops up shows a checkmark beside CPU 0 and no checkmark beside CPU 1. This tells me that Sacred is only using one CPU and it likes that.

 

Dual booting might certainly be a much better idea given to the possibility that HT is completely useless. A great test would be to set up the dual boot and then run a comparison. Run with HT off for one week straight. Then run with HT on for one week and compare the experience.

 

I've never tried setting up a dual boot so I guess I need to do more research as well, heh. Let me know if there's something you're stuck on stubbie. :P

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Let me know if there's something you're stuck on stubbie. :P

 

Me just did a big boo boo. 34.gif

I forgot to back up my Sacred.exe.

 

The utility worked fine (I have only one processor with Sacred now) but I want to put it back to two for comparison.

How?

 

Do you know if the utility is a registry entry because I'm comfortable mucking around in the registry. :)

 

I cant believe I forgot to back up Sacred.exe. thud2.gif

 

stubbs

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Oh no stubbie! lol. Ummm... Might restoring the OS to a previous time fix the problem? As for it being a registry entry I really don't think there would have been any made when the change to the sacred.exe was made. I can't be certain but maybe if I were to send you one you could use it. A 2.28 ASE version that is.

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maybe if I were to send you one you could use it. A 2.28 ASE version that is.

 

My version says 2.0.2.28 and its 11.3meg.

That's a bit big thanks Schot so I wont worry about it. ;)

I don't play sacred much these days anyway, so one processor will be fine.

I can always reinstall the game if needed. ;)

 

I'm still kicking myself that I didn't do a backup, I'm always so careful about stuff like that.

I'll put it down to just having a brain fart at that moment :)

 

stubbs

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Awh happens to the best of us stubbie. lol @ brain fart. Well my offer remains should you change your mind. The version and file size of my backed up exe is identical to the version and file size you stated above. :)

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