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Test Results: Effect on game framerate when allowing Windows taskbar t

Last response: in Video Games
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December 16, 2008 11:02:08 PM

Is your video game running slow?

Well, it turns out that if you like that little Windows taskbar showing at the bottom of your screen, it might not be a hardware problem.

I though some of you might be interested in seeing some of my test results. The data represents averages performance differences taken from 6 test at each configuration, 192 test total.

Note: My rig is tweaked for ultra-quiet operation so it’s not a high performance gaming rig. However, this testing was not to establish specific FPS, it was to evaluate comparative effect of the operating system. As such I think the data is more appropriately viewed as percentage change.

Base System:
Operating Systems Dual booting XP pro SP2 32 Bit, and Vista Ultimate 32 Bit
Motherboard: MSI P6N SLI Platinum motherboard with Core 2 Duo E4500 (2.2GHz)
Video Card(s):Gigabyte: GV-NX85T512HP GeForce 8500GT 512MB
RAM: 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)



I'm sure different games will have somewhat different results, but from what I see at this point any gains from DirectX10 are more than lost by what appears to be a fundamentally poor redesign in the Vista taskbar integration. SLI will not help you much (and might even hurt)

** UPDATE 1**
A member (jamesgoddard) suggested the Vista slowdown could be eliminated if Vista Aero was turned off.

However, I checked my system and found that Aero was already was already turned off. But it sparked an idea and I ran a few tests to see what happened to the FPs when it was turned on. (I was wondering if adding a Windows feature might slow the system up even more.) Since the Vista/SLI/Low Detail had the largest impact (-40.5% GPU and -49.9% CPU in the graph) I checked that setting.

Results: On Vista, turning Aero ON significantly decreased the detrimental impact of allowing the taskbar to show. the negative impact on frame rate dropped to -14.8% (GPU) and -17.7% (CPU). While these impacts are still problematic, they are nowhere near as bad as they were.

So, It you use VISTA and like to have the taskbar show during gameplay, it looks like turning the Aero feature on is a good idea. (Appearance Options in Control Panel).
December 17, 2008 3:08:37 PM

Idk why someone would run a game not in fullscreen mode unless it was for a dual monitor setup, but to each their own I suppose. Interesting results nonetheless.

Best,

3Ball
December 17, 2008 3:10:47 PM

WoW multiboxing is all i can think of.
December 17, 2008 3:40:22 PM

3Ball said:
Idk why someone would run a game not in fullscreen mode unless it was for a dual monitor setup, but to each their own I suppose. Interesting results nonetheless.

Best,

3Ball


Hi 3Ball,

My testing was actually to check SLI effectiveness and when looking at the data I noticed this taskbar issue. I first tried letting the taskbar show when I was checking out the game options and found it to be a fast way of keeping the game running. That lets me take a quick break from other tasks, play for a few minutes and jump back to work without enduring the game start up process.
December 17, 2008 3:46:43 PM

You could always just turn off the Aero interface
December 17, 2008 3:53:15 PM

pr2thej said:
WoW multiboxing is all i can think of.


Hi pr2thej,

My understanding of "mulitboxing" is very limited but I think that it's part of a multi-player or multi-character environment. Since I don't play online or in multi-player environments and the effects essentially vanish when the operating system changes, I'm not sure how it would factor in.
December 17, 2008 4:39:35 PM

jamesgoddard said:
You could always just turn off the Aero interface


Hi jamesgoddard,

I checked and Aero is off. (Just the Vista basic appearance). From what I've heard, Aero does not slow the system up, however I'll run a quick test later with Aero on and see if the average FPS changes on a specific setting. Thanks for the idea.
December 17, 2008 6:03:09 PM

Thorough, well done.

Not sure what you are trying to say though (i'm not a vista user), it sounds liek you are sayiing that there is a way in vista of making the task bar stay visible whilst using full screen mode? or is that you are using hide task bar, in a non full screen mode. This has tweaked my interest a little as I am running a dual screen setup in xp, and wondering what kind of hit i'd get in vista (i currently get no discernable difference in XP)
December 17, 2008 6:12:16 PM

Multiboxing in brief - Running more than one version of a game with the intention of playing multiple characters in the game simultaeneously. e.g you want a 5 person RPG party to be controlled solely by yourself - you multibox.

Best current example is World of Warcraft, and i believe multiboxers use windowed view as its quicker to tab between the different instances of the game client.
December 18, 2008 12:38:07 AM

13thmonkey said:
Thorough, well done.

Not sure what you are trying to say though (i'm not a vista user), it sounds liek you are sayiing that there is a way in vista of making the task bar stay visible whilst using full screen mode? or is that you are using hide task bar, in a non full screen mode. This has tweaked my interest a little as I am running a dual screen setup in xp, and wondering what kind of hit i'd get in vista (i currently get no discernable difference in XP)


Thanks for the feedback,

I find that having the taskbar showing is very convenient in my single-monitor dual-boot (XP & Vista) system. However, I have found that this is not a FPS problem in XP but is in Vista. The benchmarking I did means that if I want to checkout the differences between XP/DirectX9 and Vista/DirectX10 I need to modify my games system configuration when I boot to Vista or suffer an unnecessarily slow FPS.

I’m finding out a lot of things I didn’t expect but I have not yet checked what happens if I auto-hide the taskbar.

Also, I just did some additional test and haven't chunked through the data totally, but Vista Home Basic users may have an additional concern over the "Appearance " control panel setting producing slow FPS if the taskbar is showing.
!