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Does the hard disk affect frame rates in games?

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May 9, 2002 7:03:39 PM

Hi,
I've got an XP1700+ and a GF3 Ti200 but I still find games a bit jittery if you know what I mean. Is this because of my 4 year old 6.4Gb hard disk?
Thanks

AMD VS INTEL - AMD anyday
May 10, 2002 12:24:26 AM

hmm.., not sure. what kind of games you use to?


<i>if <b>you know</b> <font color=white>you don't know<font color=black>, the way could be more easy ...
May 10, 2002 12:26:43 AM

Thanks, Been playing Deus Ex, Black & White, Commandos 2, Max Payne.......


AMD VS INTEL - AMD anyday
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May 10, 2002 12:32:30 AM

yes, its your "old" HD which is a little slow.


<i>if <b>you know</b> <font color=white>you don't know<font color=black>, the way could be more easy ...
May 10, 2002 7:50:05 PM

You definately need a faster/larger drive. Your settings for virtual memory in Windows will affect performance. Since your HD is slower than real memory this will really hurt performance.

Windows likes to use a swap file as extra memory and by default it will vary in size. It's not a good idea to disable virtual memory, but it is a good idea to set a specific size limit.

I would have posted earlier, but when I started to read your specs my mind must have stopped reading after the video card some reason. I didn't realize that your drive was so old.
May 10, 2002 10:41:13 PM

For the most part, no. If you have enough RAM, the hard drive will hardly be accessed and so you won't notice any slowdowns.

:wink: <b><i>"A penny saved is a penny earned!"</i></b> :wink:
May 11, 2002 1:23:24 AM

If the is grabbing stuff from the hard drive certainly, if not then itll only affect load times. Check your hard disk light when its "jittering" and if it keeps coming on youll know =)

Jesus saves, but Mario scores!!!
May 11, 2002 12:56:26 PM

Thanks, so what should I set the swap file to in the Virtual memory settings menu. I have 256Mb DDR. What should I set the swap file to when I get a new hard drive? AMD Man has also replied to my post but he contradicts what you said. Who's right?

AMD VS INTEL - AMD anyday
May 13, 2002 4:26:32 PM

AMD Man has been around the forums longer than I have and I'll be the first to admit that I'm no hardware expert. What I said in my post is true, but I'm not sure how much of an impact a slower drive will have on frame rates.

I'll see if I can dig up one of the previous threads in this forum that answers the question about how much virtual memory you need.
May 14, 2002 10:02:59 AM

i dont think you will see any framerate increase...
you WILL notice a load time decrease.
and if you notice a slowdown in the game every once in a while, that MIGHT be caused by data being loaded off the hard drive, and if it is, then a faster hard drive will fix that.
ALSO, having more space on the hard drive will give you some breathing room.
i felt REALLY cramped when all i had was my 10gig. and now i am feeling cramped on my 40gig.
everyone is storing stuff on my hard drive...when that happens, you start to fill it up quick.
a new hard drive should DEFINATELY be on your shopping list.


-DAvid

-Live, Learn, then build your own computer!-
May 14, 2002 6:19:08 PM

Thanks!

AMD VS INTEL - AMD anyday
May 16, 2002 6:52:20 PM

I noticed jitter in some of my games due to a cheap CD-ROM. The spin up was lagging and causing this. It's worth checking for the CD drive light when this happens. Depending on your RAM and your CD-ROM caching etc, there may be room for improvement.

<b><font color=blue>~ What do you mean "It isn't working!"...Now where's my sonic screwdriver? ~ </font color=blue></b>
May 20, 2002 5:11:08 AM

Yeah many games play the music files or load scenary from the Cd-roms (like flight sims). This can usually be fixed by simply choosing the full-install option for the game rather than typical or minimum.

I agree with AMD_MAN. Your slow hardrive shouldn't make any difference, provided that you have enough RAM because this is when you get clobbered with a cache-miss.

I also agree with Kief. The first thing I do when I notice notable lag in a game is glance down at my HD-activity LED. If it's flickering away then I know that I need more RAM.
May 31, 2002 10:16:52 PM

Okay, here's a question you should be asking yourself. Is it slow at the beginning or when I look at low-poly scenes? I had a problem with this too with Empire Earth. Some EE skirmish games can take up to 400+MB of RAM! I remember I had 256MB only in my old system, and everything ran fine for the first 15 minutes until... BAM it slowed down a lot and framerates suddenly went from 40fps to 15fps. I don't think there was any HDD access. Rather I think that due to lack of memory it just kept deleting stack pointers and memory addresses and reassigning them based on what portion of the screen I was looking at. My rendering capabilities were way more than enough. Besides 256MB is beginning to be crap for games nowadays. I use a memory manager to free up memory before I run games (and close everything too of course) and even then memory always ran out. Too bad Win98se has a limit of 512MB before you have to fiddle with the registry. (and lose memory performance in doing so)
June 1, 2002 12:56:20 AM

Quote:
Some EE skirmish games can take up to 400+MB of RAM

I find this very difficult to believe. I don't think the game (EE) even COULD use 256Mb of RAM.

Quote:
Rather I think that due to lack of memory it just kept deleting stack pointers and memory addresses and reassigning them based on what portion of the screen I was looking at.

Uhhh...I don't think it works this way. If the game was written correctly, I believe it should cache the data to the hardrive if it needs to. If the instruction or data is not in cache (RAM), then a SWAP is made between RAM memory and the hardrive memory. This is a painfully slow task. If memory addresses and stack pointers were just reassigned arbitrarily, I think the game would crash because of corrupt data. The RAM MUST write back the data to the drive before the new data is written to memory.
June 1, 2002 9:37:43 PM

Eh, it was just a guess anyway. Perhaps it was because of that, although I never saw/heard my hard drive access anything so I'll never know. I am pretty darn sure it does use more than 256MB. I know I would find it hard to believe too, but in EE the AI has routines for every unit running all the time. This is what it means when it advertises "advanced AI". Remember this is the AI, not some graphics, which would be more sensible to cache on the hard drive like you said.

I'm 100% certain that in most games I played, there was a certain period of time when frame rates were okay at the beginning, and suddenly got worse. Then near the end of games, when the AI was almost dead it would speed up again. Also keep in mind I was using Win98se, which may not be the same as WinXp. (I did not modify my swap file settings and I have several gigabytes free, plenty of space for the swap file)

I should add that reducing all graphics settings (anti-aliasing/texture quality/texture filtering) had a negligible impact on framerates, which in my opinion adds weight to my theory that it's a lack of RAM, especially since reducing texture quality should also reduce the amount of hard drive access. I also used a RAM monitoring program and when I alt-tabbed during the middle of games I noticed my RAM was always very close to 0, like 0-1MB.
June 2, 2002 5:32:32 AM

You know what, forget what I said, I'm probably wrong.
June 2, 2002 5:01:57 PM

Move up to a 7200Rpm hardrive size doesn't matter, that will bring you up to an ATA 100 transfer rate, and if you can run it independently on your primary IDE as master, and add another 256Mb of DDR RAM, you'll be amazed at the difference, you can always get by with what you're running but you've got the processor capabilities to step forward and the older hardrive is probably ATA 33 so its definitely holding you back, and your operating system is not going to let you use all of the available RAM, so 256 is not actually available to your gaming.
June 2, 2002 5:08:37 PM

I don't know that I'm right/wrong either, but it's cool to discuss it anyway. I hope I didn't come off the wrong way. We're not going to learn the truth without discussing it! I appreciate your input! I don't care which of us is wrong, but I am interested in learning. It would help if someone else would agree or disagree to our statements. We need a 3rd party.

Take care.
June 3, 2002 2:51:43 AM

No, you didn't. I just realized in my other LCD post that I was being fanatical about money, and the reason was more personal than technical so I didn't want to take the chance that I wasn't speaking the facts.
March 28, 2013 2:19:13 PM

Glad this topic is still open cause i beg to differ to an extent. I have the same or similar issue while doing very heavy gaming under very high textures and loads. I mainly play GTA IV at very high settings, whilst the graphics card, cpu and ram can certainally handle it, it seems my HD can not. I have and always have noticed these weird "chops" where it seems to be actually skipping frames when driving fast and through the city. Very much more so when the game is first loaded. If i sit there and rotate the camera for a 360 view in circles it will make the HD light flicker very fast and "chop/skip" a few frames then the HD light goes off and its smooth again. Does this make any sense? I have a normal 7200 rpm 320Gb hard disk. Im thinking the read/write speed and access times are just too slow to keep up with the rest of my system, its not extremely fast but it is indeed quite fast. Thanks for any help and or advice. Ill try a SSD drive soon anyways just in case, even if it doesnt fix it it will still be alot faster for everything else.
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