Old 18th January 2003, 04:00   #1
topcatmsu
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fps, mesh size, texture size etc etc etc

First off here's what I have hardware-wise:

1.2ghz amd athlon
via KT133 chipset (VT8363/VT82C686A)
128MB 16x(8Mx8) SDRAM PC133U-333-542 (CL3 upto 133Mhz) (CL2 upto 100mhz)
256MB 8X(32Mx8)SDRAM PC133U-333-542 (CL3 upto 133Mhz) (CL2 upto 100mhz)
ASUS AGP-3800M/32 Nvidia Riva TNT2 M64 (BIOS ver 3.05.00.10.31 - Nvidia drivers (ver 6.13.10.3082)
Samsung SyncMaster 955DF 19" monitor flat panel crt set to 1280x1024 32bit color 75mhz refresh
Windows 2000 Professional (sp3)
VIA AC'97 Audio Controller (WDM - driver ver 5.12.1.3820)
Have added largePageMinimum to registry for amd/windows 2000 agp patch
DirectX ver 9.0
agp transfer at 4x
sideband support avail but disabled (repeated crashes)
vid memory clock 143.2 mhz
engine mem clock 125.0 mhz

(this is all for full-screen)
So just like everyone, I absolutely love milk-drop. And of course, as soon as I saw its potential, I wanted it to run a smoothly as possible for the most enjoyment. So I went to the install/troubleshooting docs and played around with the config a little. I quickly found that it ran a lot slower at 32 instead of 16 at any of the resolutions and I couldn't notice a significant difference in quality so I focused on the 16mb resolutions. Also my computer would hang in the middle of a song for no reason. As I could see the higher resolution the better quality so I tried 1280x1084 to match my desktop settings (note: no changing is done to defualt fps, mesh size, texture at this time)and I was very pleased with the quality but it was very obvious that it was running slow and jerky (lowering the resolution did improve performance but was not to the quality I liked) Not knowing much about the fps, mesh, or texture I decided to leave those as set thinking I probably did not want to increase them to make it slower, nor decrease to lower quality so I began looking for ways to improve the performance. After trying to make myself not-so the video ignoramus I did a bunch of surfing on the web and found topics such as agp aperture, 4 way interweaving, side band , etc etc...I tried some of these and while small improvements maybe seemed like they were happening It wasn't enough to please me yet. By now I had solved the problem of the hang (probably cuz of win2000 and my athlon processor). And I felt I was running out of options aside from an upgrade which didn't seem worth it for the one function. I noticed that nvidia had a new set of drivers so I figured what the hack, and installed them only to found that they caused a terrible skipping effect anytime text was on the screen so i took those off and put back on the ones I had (38 maybe?). skipping problem gone. So I decided to give fps, mesh, and texture a go at it and see just how bad the quality would get and see if I could find a happy medium that I could live with. So I first moved texture to 1024 X 1024 and I wasn't happy with quality and performance seemed unaffected so after researchign my video card i think i found something that said it could handle 2048x2048 so i left it at auto. next i moved the mesh down to 16x12. Here comes the ineteresting stuff...I coudln't tell for sure but it seemed to be slower with no improvement in quality. so i tried 8 x 6 and again, seemed slower and and poorer in quality. Frustrated at this point I decided I was curious to see if it ran this low at 8x6 what would it run like at 48x36 and what if I even changed the resolution to 1360x768? So I started her up and it ran like a dream. I had never kept a real close monitor of fps but they were always between 5 and 15 for the most part suddenly at times I'm pushin 30! So I try 1280x1024 at the same mesh and it slows down again. I noticed that i thought (i hadn't really looked closely) that both dimensions were greater but I realized that 1360 was greater than 1280 but that 768 was a lot less than 1024 so maybe something had to do with that. (multiplying out 1280x1024=1310720 and 1360x768=1044480 so I can see how i had misleadingly thought that the 1360 was greater but is actually not) but i didn't understand why it would run so well with the highest mesh size. Also I noticed that the fps was going up and down in a wide range so I ran a compare test and here's what I got:

(hopefully this lines up when its posted)
(running the same song and same series of presets)
artist fps fps
Preset 1360x786 1280x1024
====== ========= ========
Rovastar&Adair
Echo Tube 18 13
Rovastar&adderasi
Helix (3 variations) 30 24
Rovastar&Bmelgren
Liquid Chrome 13 9
Organic Rainbow
Rovastar&CTho
Deeper spacedust 19 15
spacedust
Rovastar&Delga
electric plasma drops 6 4
intense nebula 6 4

So my whole point or question is, can someone explain in basic terms if possible, if theres a good way to determine what resoultion to run it at or is trial and error the best option. why was performance so much better when the mesh size was increased to 48x36 for the 1360x786 resolution than for 1280x1084 at a mesh size of 24x18? Why is there such a variance in the fps from preset to preset (is it by design, or some just use more juice than others and what could balance this out or at least bring up the lagging presets? I'm definately pleased with performance right now, i could stand for the lowest fps to be around 10 but overall its running very smoothly, so I'm not going to mess around with it anymore, I just was curious as to reasons for certain occurences and i figured the info could help others to get it running well on their machines.
Thanks in advance and advance apologies if any of this has already been addressed. I made an effort to find out pertinent info in the forum but was unsuccessful. Just point me in the direction if theres something in existence.

Have a good one
tc
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Old 18th January 2003, 11:35   #2
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Simply?

Mesh Size - This is all on your cpu. Your cpu is slightly faster than mine, and I run at maximum mesh all the time. Don't have it any lower, or presets look messed up.

Texture size - This is all on your video card. And while the TNT2 can handle 2048x2048 textures, that doesn't mean it can handle a MD texture size of 2048^2 (not the same thing). By having it to auto, MD is probably selecting 512x512.

Resolution/Colour depth - I would actually suggest you run at 800x600x32. 32 bit DOES make a difference, particularly in any presets that have a high decay value (see my rainpainting presets for an example). The resolution is reasonable for your video card (though I suggest you upgrade - you can grab a basic GeForce card for the price of a large tank of petrol these days). You may think it's silly having the texture res higher than the actual res - but it's not. The Texture res alters how detailed the image generated by MD is. The display resolution is just the res you see it at. A higher mesh size allows you to see subtle, slow movements without as much distortion.

Were I you, I'd buy a new videocard.
Were I you, and I had no money, I'd set my mesh size to max first, then preferably my tex size to 1024^2, and then alter the resolution. Drop back to a 512^2 tex size if you can't get decent speed.


I can't explain why the performance was better at a higher mesh size, except what I've already said - your cpu is capable enough to manage the max mesh, so don't worry about it.
The variance is speed between presets is because some have more complicated effects (brought about by more complex equations). A simple preset like Geiss - Three Kinds of Amphetamines has only a few lines of code, whereas Geiss - Dynamic Swirls has about 15-20, and some of the more recent, very complex presets can have 40 or more. Many of these equations are performed on every point in the mesh - which makes alot of calculations, hence the slowdown.

- Krash

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Old 18th January 2003, 21:17   #3
topcatmsu
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Thanks!

Thanks for the quick, and very well explained response to my post. Sometimes It's hard as a novice to know all of the little details that make a big difference such as what is dependant upon video card and what is dependant upon the cpu. I will check into the new video card and also play around with the suggested settings and let you know how it works out for me.

tc
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Old 19th January 2003, 03:33   #4
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A few other ways to speed up performance is to close any programs not being used....Also you can check the "Fix Slow Text" option in the MD configuration...
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Old 19th January 2003, 18:20   #5
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If I were to look into upgrading the graphics card, can anyone offer any advice/suggestions/reccomendations as to a good choice. Or point me in the direction of some good info on differences etc. Again, my need isn't for any gaming, but I don't forsee the need to upgrade my entire system any time in the near future so I can justify a graphics card upgrade especially since prices are more reasonable that I had previously thought. Thanks for all the help.
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Old 20th January 2003, 10:16   #6
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Did a quick search for online puter stores based in atlanta, but didn't find any. This one is in Nevada somewhere - not sure what the shipping would be like.

<a href="http://store.yahoo.com/cputopiaonline/cputopia-chaintech-64mb-geforce2-ti-agp-video-card.html">A perfectly good card</a>
Close enough to what I'm currently running - And I get framerates between 40 and 80fps, depending on the preset.

<a href="http://store.yahoo.com/cputopiaonline/cputopia-geforce-4-mx440-64mb-ddr-agp-tv-out.html">A good card for your purposes</a>
Should last you a fair while, and would be good for any other things you need to do for at least a couple years.

Or, for a dollar or so less:
<a href="http://store.yahoo.com/cputopiaonline/cputopia-ati-radeon-7500-64mb-ddr-video-card.html">You could buy this</a>
Which might not have quite as good performance as the one above, but it WILL allow you to run milkdrop on your desktop in full 32bit glory, at a very watchable speed.

Like I said, About the price of a full tank of petrol for an SUV. Maybe even less, depending on your SUV.

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Old 20th January 2003, 17:52   #7
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I have a PCI card and a PC thats ALOT slower than his.. And I get 30-40 fps on most presets..
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Old 20th January 2003, 17:53   #8
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Old 21st January 2003, 10:46   #9
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but you don't run with all the settings turned up, do you, idiot?

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Old 21st January 2003, 20:50   #10
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I've tried, I get still a little better than him...
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Old 21st January 2003, 23:26   #11
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hmmmm, see i've had this strange feeling that something somewhere is bottlenecking me...but nothing to show exactly what....just a feeling that should be running better than I am. been learning as I go along, I think the bios for my system sucks. My system is an HP pavilion, so everyting was set to their standards (next computer will be one I build for sure). I found a Bios upgrade, but not sure that it even helped any and that upgrade didn't include any options for changing advanced chipset options so I had to go in through Wcpredit and wcprset to acheive some changes. HP's support ends after 1 year from purchase (which was last July) so finding help is impossible and of course they don't continue with any sort of BIOS updates so I'm stuck with what I've got. I apologize if this isn't the forum or is way off topic but does anyone know if since my bios is a phoenixbios based bios that was tailored for hp (called tahiti) whether I can find a phoenixbios upgrade that will be compatible or is that all too risky? all indications I've found have said maybe it will work but doubtful and if it doesn't your screwed. Also, my motherboard is an asus a7v-vm which was created specifically for hp but is from what I can tell, nearly if not identical to the a7v-m. Is there any chance of a bios of theirs working?

but i digress, back to topic...
Idiot24-7,
any gut instincts as to what may be slowing me down?
what is your system? and what are your settings at?
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Old 21st January 2003, 23:40   #12
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450 mhz
256 megs of ram
TNT m64/pro PCI 32 megs.


To help speed up try Rambooster (Search zdnet.com) or PC Booster http://www.inklineglobal.net/products/pcb/

Rambooster is free and PC Booster has a demo or you can get the full program free from (censored) Just kidding..
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Old 22nd January 2003, 13:36   #13
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If I were you, I'd steer clear of changing the bios in your system. The chances are good that you will do something horrible and irreversible, and you probably wouldn't like that.

Knowing now that you have an HP system, I can't suggest much to help you. Most large companies such as HP, Dell, etc, basically take an ordinary computer, and fire a shotgun at it from a distance of a couple of metres. Anything that has a hole through it, they make non-standard for no reason other than it means they can make more money that way. The size of power supplies is a classic example, as is the pin-out of various connectors.

While the above is tongue-in-cheek, it basically means that there are no guarantees with your system.

I suggest trying a whole lot of different combinations of things.

- Fiddle with settings in bios - specifically, things that mention video properties of any sort (video bios cacheable, is one setting that I can remember)
- Try different video drivers. That includes older (series 20.xx) drivers. If it still exists, you used to be able to get all driver revisions at www.geforcefaq.com
- try uninstalling DX9 (you'll need to do a web search for a proggy to do this), and then going back to DX8.1 (you may also need to download this).
- try uninstalling the video card altogether (from system properties) and letting windows reconfigure itself.

Try doing all or any of the above in random orders, sometimes completely deleting things (including from the registry), sometimes not. To be honest, it's an art, not a science. I fiddled around with my settings alot until I found a combination that let me reach very high fps (60+). In theory, your computer should be able to manage the same (or a little less, due to the TNT2), but like I said, there are no guarantees. =\

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Old 24th January 2003, 16:05   #14
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Will the via 4 in 1 drivers be playing a role in all this as well?
how is one every supposed to know what version to use? I guess i was newbie ignorant in thinking that the drivers got better and better with each release? in any event, working on different combos to see if i can find the magic one that unleashes unseen power from this hp piece o crap (well its not crap, but its frustrating nonetheless). trying to find a directx uninstalll for win 2k but not so easy yet, but havn't had time to devote to all this yet. that other computing mess i like to call my real job has my hands tied a lot lately. will the winxp directx 9 unistaller work on 2000? i'm such a try it and see what happens type of guy that i'm surprised this piece of cra---err frustration hasn't died on me yet.
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Old 25th January 2003, 11:25   #15
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The Via 4in1s are a plausible possibility.

And drivers get better with each version *in theory*
Each new version (particularly those that introduce new features) is likely to contain a bug or two - code that worked in a previous version may have broken in a more recent driver set. It may be that you just got unlucky with the combination, and milkdrop doesn't like it as much.

Definitely get rid of directX9. A new version of directX is often the culprit for slowdowns, errors, and inconsistencies, until the drivers mature enough to work around any bugs.

like I said though, it's an art, not a science. I can't really offer anything more helpful, sorry.

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Old 26th February 2003, 04:29   #16
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Ok, this question is directed partially to you Krash. I came across a series of postings related to the dx/dy somethingerother and how it related to texel alignment and the apparent 'movement' for presets that should be stationary (correct me if any of this is foolish misunderstanding). So, one of the postings by Rov. had 2 presets to download and try and compare the difference..which I did. One was apparently stationary and the other did in fact seem to drift (to me it was down and the the left, but if you're looking at it from the perspective of you moving up and to the right over the image, then that would be the case). So I also went to the preset that was already in my winamp folder and tried it as well (rainpainting is the one i'm referring to) and it had the movement. So if I had understood the thread correctly then I thought the problem was 'resolved', and if so I need to know what is different for me. Point to note, the texel alignment of my nvidia is defaulted to 3. Does this need to be moved to zero? I will include picture attachements of what each one of the three looked like (which can you confirm is what the preset should be looking like at all?). 1 is the one from my preset folder, 2 is the 'fixed' test, 3 is the 'moving' test.

Thanks.
tc
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Old 26th February 2003, 13:22   #17
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Ummh.

The dx|dy += -1/(texsize*2) issue was hopefully fixed by v1.03beta3.

All the additional presets downloaded before that date have to be changed.

We where using the incorrect offset of -0.0005 to make the screen 'still' for most of our setups (running a tecture size of 1024x1024).

So you have to remove all the offset lines from the code. Rainpainting wasa little more complex as the offset code was embedded into the per-pixel stuff (if I remember correctly). Anyways all the 'correct' versions with the preset based offsets removed were changed and are avaliable on my website. www.milkdrop.co.uk

Rainpainting 1 I think was Jan-Jun 2002 pack.........

Are you using this version. If are still having problems post back with teh .milk files.

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