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Is there any way to improve gaming performance (besides obvious answers like closing background programs)?

Last response: in Systems
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December 3, 2013 10:57:37 AM

As the title says, I'm trying to squeeze some more performance out of my system. Though it's a high-end system, It seems to be a bit laggy playing Amnesia with high SSAO enabled for some reason. SSAO is apparently a CPU-intense feature.

Oddly enough, it's fairly okay at High with only 4 SSAO samples, or I could play it at a fine FPS rate on Medium SSAO resolution with as high as 128 SSAO samples.

Anyway, I figured I'd ask the question not only for this game's sake, but games I play in the future as well. Some games seem better optimized than others, and games like CoD seem to run fine at high settings all the while games like Planetside 2 seem to suck up resources for graphics that aren't even as good.

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Alright, so to the point, I'm looking for other ways to improve my system performance.

The system is already running on pretty high-end hardware for a laptop, and I'm a good user who keeps it running on minimal programs in the background and keep absolutely everything down to the Ethernet and SSD drivers up to date. This system is well maintained.

Most "game-boosting" software seems only useful to users who aren't really tech-savvy. By what I can tell, all they really do is close background programs or modifying (lowering) the graphics quality of your games by editing their graphics settings. They don't seem to actually do anything especially impressive, nothing that an advanced user can't do on their own.

But I haven't checked into the subject in years. I have been running on the belief that a well taken care-of system like mine can only be improved by further overclocking (dangerous) or installing better hardware (I don't have the money for that). But maybe there's been developments in game optimization software? Maybe there's changes I can make that would improve it? I don't know, I haven't looked into it a long time.

Let me know if there's any optimizations I can make. Oh, and I've already selected all the most optimal settings in the Nvidia CP, except Ambient Occlusion which I've left at "Quality".

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System Specs:

Model: Origin EoN 17S (laptop) (late 2011) (Origin Chassis' and motherboard are from Clevo)

CPU: Overclocked Intel i7 Extreme 2920XM up to 4.8Ghz in turbo-boost.

GPU: Nvidia 580m Overclocked with EVGA Precision to 650Mhz / 1500Mhz (I tried bigger boosts and they often work, but occasional BSODs {IRQL Not Less or Equal} will happen so I stopped)

Memory: 16GB of Kingston Hyper-X DDR3 @ 1600Mhz

Storage: 256GB OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS (OS), 750GB Seagate HDD (Storage)

Motherboard: Clevo P170HMx

OS: Windows 8.1 Pro x64

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Thanks!

- Alex

PS: I just threw this into CPU since it's such a general question. I also considered "Systems" and "Graphics & Displays". Move it to wherever you want. I honestly think it'd be great if a "Gaming" or maybe "Optimization" sections were added. But considering the seniority of this website, I'm sure it's already been considered and there's probably reasons there aren't any.

More about : improve gaming performance obvious answers closing background programs

a c 442 4 Gaming
a b D Laptop
December 3, 2013 11:04:24 AM

Check your CPU temps and make sure it isn't overheating and throttling performance during heavy loads. Planetside is a VERY CPU intensive game. However, I can max it at 1080p with my low end Sandy Bridge i5.
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December 3, 2013 11:07:06 AM

I clean my heatsinks regularly because I have a cat, and re-apply thermal compound (Arctic Silver 5) every 6 months or so. No ventilation issues. I'm well aware of what it can do, having experienced it first hand of how this computer can be a vacuum cleaner for cat fur. It's one of the first things I suggest to anyone that complains of slowness in games, or computer heat.

Planetside 2 has much improved because of their optimization update and seems to work alright depending where you're at and how populated the region I'm in is at the time. You can still see skipping framerates though, and it still makes my CPU and GPU work for it, of course.
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a c 442 4 Gaming
a b D Laptop
December 3, 2013 11:11:53 AM

Yes, but have you monitored your temps under full load to make sure there is no throttling?
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December 3, 2013 11:19:52 AM

Well, admittedly no - I haven't used any monitoring software because I figure they just put on more load. I would need something that shows me my CPU temps and speeds while in full-screen, so CPU-Z doesn't suffice I suppose.

According to the Task Manager it get's up to the point that it should. Speeds vary between 1.8Ghz and 4.5Ghz usually.

That said, even if there was throttling, what more could I do about it, besides maintaining it like I have? All I can think of it to cool the room I play in more, but if this room was any cooler I'd be wearing a sweater :p 

I guess I could use that CPU testing software again. I used it ages ago to test my overclocking. The one that puts the CPU under a load for benchmarking. What was it called again?

But again, can't see anything more I can do for it physically without taking it to uncomfortable levels.
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December 3, 2013 11:23:01 AM

ss202sl said:
Windows is getting better, but there may be some unneeded services that you can shut down.

http://www.blackviper.com/service-configurations/black-...


I've already shut down any unneeded programs and services (removed them from start-up), leaving only system services and the Java Update service and some NVIDIA stuff. That said, even if I have all of them enabled it doesn't even put 1% of pressure on my CPU, and I've got plenty of memory. It'd take more than that to make a significant difference.

I leave most Microsoft and System processes alone. They don't really take any notable amount of resources anyway.
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December 3, 2013 11:45:50 AM

The problem is that the framerate doesn't seem totally steady, which just irritates me since it really takes away from the immersion into the game when frames skip.

However, judging by the fan speed, the CPU and GPU aren't even on full load on a game like Amnesia - They don't even need much cooling. Makes me think it's something else.
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a c 442 4 Gaming
a b D Laptop
December 3, 2013 12:59:04 PM

Download coretemp. Then download prime 95. Run prime95 while coretemp is open. Tell me the highest temps you see.
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Best solution

December 3, 2013 3:47:20 PM

I think I can actually revoke the question at this point. I thought about it for a bit and figured that it might be because I should enable frame-limiting in these games. Seems to have fixed the issue of framerate-fluctuation, which was causing unevenness.
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