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DCS: How to gain performance on Windows Vista (Windows 7)


eV1Te
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Updated 2009-01-29: Updated list of improvements one can make to improve performance.

 

After reading several threads covering the subject of the performance in DCS Black Shark and never finding a good solution. I decided to make some investigation myself and hopefully clear things up. Scroll down for quick instructions on how to improve your performance/FPS.

 

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Background:

The game engine runs in a single thread or at least most of the computer load is placed in only one thread. As I noticed by using Process Explorer (available at Microsoft’s download pages). And in my case and for my friends the game always occupies all the resources of a single core (exactly 50% on a dual core computer and 25% on a quad core) indicating that the CPU is the limiting factor.

 

Changing the affinity of the DCS.exe process in Windows Vista (with the scripts uploaded in another thread and also attached in this thread) the performance (frames per second) increases. The reason for this isn't because it allows the game to use all of the Cores, since it is only one thread and therefore can only use the processing power of one core at the most. Instead it allows TrackIR/Sound and other background tasks to run on a separate part of the CPU, separating the game from the other tasks that isn't in the game.

 

The games performance is clearly limited by the CPU (in most cases where one already have a reasonably good graphics card). By overclocking my CPU from 2.4 GHz to 3.0 GHz, an increase of 25% I could see a very clear and close to 25% performance increase in the game. At the same time changing the graphical settings of the game generates almost no change in performance since that doesn't affect the CPU power needed (unless you boost the graphical settings to something extreme that makes the graphics card the limiting factor).

 

This indicates the game is in desperate need of an update that distributes the CPU load into different threads so that more than 50% (25% on quad core) of the computer power can be used! (which will probably be released with a later version/next release of a module for DCS as mentioned in the faq by ED)

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If you are subjected to a limited performance because of your CPU (which you can check by seeing if the DCS.exe process constantly uses 50% on your dual core CPU or 25% on your quad core CPU), you can gain a performance increase by doing the following things:

 

  • Using the scripts that is attached below that change the affinity of the DCS.exe process. (Works best with Vista and later)

 

  • Overclocking your CPU which gives a proportionally large performance increase (only if you know what you are doing!)

 

  • Getting a new CPU that has greater processing power per Core. :music_whistling:

New Stuff 2009-01-29:

 

  • Reducing Shadows to Active Planar instead of Full gives me a few extra FPS

 

  • Reducing Water reflection to Normal instead of High gives me a few extra FPS

 

  • Playing in full screen instead of windowed (which i usually do in games) gives me an 15-20 FPS boost (even though full screen is at a higher resolution than windowed)

 

(If you know something else or have another affinity script etc. let me know and I will update this post!)

 

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Use any of these scripts improve performance (only for Vista or W7 since on WinXP it doesn't gives any performance increase) I would recommend Jesses's program since it is most user friendly:

 

  • wombat778's script (DSCAff.zip):
    Step 1: Extract the contents of DSCAFF.zip into your Eagle Dynamics\KA-50 folder.
     
    Step 2: Go to the properties of your Black Shark shortcut and change the Target to the appropriate script/bat file (e.g., use a 4 core script if you have 4 cores, an i7 script if you have an i7 processor, an SP script for single player, etc).
     
    Step 3: Launch Black Shark using the shortcut. About 30 seconds after getting into a mission, you should see a big FPS improvement if using Vista.

 

  • MidSilence's script (DCSAFF.rar):
    This is an application that MidSilence made which sets the affinity on DCS.exe to all processor available in the system. You need to be an administrator. (Run the script in the background while starting the game)

 

 

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My computer specifications:

Intel E6600 2.4 Ghz (OC @ 3.0 Ghz)

6 GiB RAM

Geforce 8800 GTS 640 MiB

Windows Vista Business

 

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dcs_threads.png.9e61c4bd8977f1824f3fb87335b6ea59.png

DSCAff.zip

DCSAFF.rar


Edited by eV1Te
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This is lighthearted sarcasm so please take it as such, "flight sims are heavily CPU dependent, film at 11!"

 

Is there no way to run DCS on both cores? That should have a severe performance upgrade one would think. I know it's probably impossible to ask that ED write DCS with modern hardware in mind (at least at this late hour) so I'm just... disappointed.

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Don't take this as gospel, but from the shady recesses of my memory I seem to recall that DCS:BS uses an updated and modified version of the engine in Lock:On, which as we all know is kinda old and predates the multicore boom. I also have a shady recollection of ED saying they were working on an entirely new engine, but that it would not make it to the DCS:BS release, and that said new engine would be utilizing multi-core CPU's.

 

Assuming all of this is correct (I've been up for 36 hours so mleh), don't worry, just have patience. It's comin. :)

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The other, and I believe bigger, load that Vista distributes among processors is DirectX. Thus the reason changing affinity noticeably improves BS under Vista.


Edited by ericinexile
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My DCS wish list: Su25, Su30, Mi24, AH1, F/A-18C, Afghanistan ...and frankly, the flight sim world should stop at 1995.

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DirectX 11 should help with this even more. They are adding more mutiprocessor support to it. I looked at some presentation slides of it. The benefit of this is that even apps not coded for multicore will benefit. It's also supposed to backwards compatible with DirectX9/10 generation hardware.

 

There is no quick and dirty way to make an app multithreaded if it isn't built that way from the ground up. I'm guessing we won't see this for a while on this game.

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This indicates the game is in desperate need of an update that distributes the CPU load into different threads so that more than 50% (25% on quad core) of the computer power can be used!

 

You make it sound so easy. Don't forget that most calculations are done on the CPU, the greatest boost would not be being able to utilize more CPU cores, but distributing some workload to the GPU (which is, in most cases, a lot faster than two or more CPU cores when looking at FLOPs)


Edited by sobek

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You make it sound so easy. Don't forget that most calculations are done on the CPU, the greatest boost would not be being able to utilize more CPU cores, but distributing some workload to the GPU (which is, in most cases, a lot faster than two or more CPU cores when looking at FLOPs)

 

I do understand the difficulties of making a non multi-threaded software fully multi-threaded, but still, it is easier to move the physics/flight dynamics engine for one example to another thread than to move it to the GPU.

 

My only hope is that a patch is released that in some way reduces/improves the CPU load in any way.

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Can you give the less enlightened among us some guidance on how the script works and how to install it?

 

Sure thing. I can only speak for the DSCAFF.zip one, because that is the script I did. The other thing in DCSAFF.rar looks kinda cool though.

 

Step 1: Extract the contents of DSCAFF.zip into your Eagle Dynamics\KA-50 folder.

 

Step 2: Go to the properties of your Black Shark shortcut and change the Target to the appropriate script (e.g., use a 4 core script if you have 4 cores, an i7 script if you have an i7 processor, an SP script for single player, etc).

 

Step 3: Launch Black Shark using the shortcut. About 30 seconds after getting into a mission, you should see a big FPS improvement if using Vista.

 

Good luck, and let me know if it gives you any trouble.

 

On an unrelated note, I actually meant to name the damn things dcsaff NOT dscaff. However, I recall I had had a beer or two at the time, and didn't bother to proofread the name until after I posted it. :doh: Now it seems to have stuck. Oh well.

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Sad thing. I just recently installed a Geforce 295 (2 gpus and 1768 megs of ram) /w a Q9550 @4 ghz I get 15-30 FPS over cities.... with the affinity patch running in vista64...

 

I understand it's a new card, but come on..... optimize this awesome sim to use GPUs.

 

Sigh, I guess I should throw my 8800gtx back in.

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Morsmortis, I would expect that they are doing that with the new engine that is in development. And best to let it stay in that engine, tbh, because if we ask them to divert resources to quick-fix this engine, that is resources that could have been spent getting the new engine to us faster - the one with native multicore support...

 

Patience is the game on this. :)

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Intel i7 2600K @ 4.4GHz, ASUS Sabertooth P67, 8GB Corsair Vengeance @ 1600MHz, ASUS GTX 560Ti DirectCU II 1GB, Samsung 830series 512GB SSD, Corsair AX850w, two BENQ screens and TM HOTAS Warthog

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Sad thing. I just recently installed a Geforce 295 (2 gpus and 1768 megs of ram) /w a Q9550 @4 ghz I get 15-30 FPS over cities.... with the affinity patch running in vista64...

 

Canґt be ! Which settings?

Get yourself the http://www.nhancer.com/ and go for the new 181.22 driver. Force within the nHancer 16xMSAA + 16xAF.

Over that I prefer Jesses tool - which makes nearly the same as Wombats batch.

 

Thats the way how I get 30-80fps!

 

Ingame 1920x1200, water normal, shadows all planar - everthing else maxed out!

 

With a quadcore @ 4GHz it will fly like a dream!

 

And donґt forget, 4xAA is slower than 16x!

 

Greets & try it!

S@uDepp

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True, my laptop does 15-ish over cities, and it's a mobile D2C @ 2GHz (4mb L2), 2GB CL5 @ 333MHz and a GeForce 8600m GS with 256MB dedicated. Even on that rig I have been able to deduce that it's the CPU, and not the crap GPU, that is bottlenecking me even when running High textures, Med scenery, All planar shadows and med water och the 1440x900 display.

 

Something is seriously wrong with that rig not performing more.

 

EDIT: Oh, and the laptop runs Vista 32. Benefit achieved from the affinity patch was miniscule though.

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Daniel "EtherealN" Agorander | Даниэль "эфирныйн" Агорандер

Intel i7 2600K @ 4.4GHz, ASUS Sabertooth P67, 8GB Corsair Vengeance @ 1600MHz, ASUS GTX 560Ti DirectCU II 1GB, Samsung 830series 512GB SSD, Corsair AX850w, two BENQ screens and TM HOTAS Warthog

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I updated the main post with Jesse's software and I also added install instructions for the other ones. I hope it helps someone gaining performance and some playability.

Let me know if you want something else added or removed...

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Nothing can be done for geforce 295 atm. It's performance is horrid in DCS with the newest WHQL drivers.

 

...try to disable one core (GPU) by enabling physX to one core (dedicated).....

Even one core has more than enough power!

..when using nHancer ... disable optimizing (AF AA) and drop prerendered fps down to one.....

 

Lets see if it works now....

S@uDepp

// Hasi @4,5 GHz @ H100i // Asrock Z87M Extreme 4 // Avirex 4x4GB // PALIT 1070 GTX SuperJetStream // Corsair 350D // Plextor extern // DELL 2407WFP // Razer Lancehead // 2xThrustmaster T.16000M + Saitek Pedals Pro // Oculus Rift // 3x amBX // Win10 Pro x64

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Sad thing. I just recently installed a Geforce 295 (2 gpus and 1768 megs of ram) /w a Q9550 @4 ghz I get 15-30 FPS over cities.... with the affinity patch running in vista64...

 

I understand it's a new card, but come on..... optimize this awesome sim to use GPUs.

 

Sigh, I guess I should throw my 8800gtx back in.

 

To clarify, when you change to the 8800gtx and have everything else the same the performance is better?

 

If that's the case, have you checked the CPU usage with the new vs. the old GFX card?

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True, my laptop does 15-ish over cities, and it's a mobile D2C @ 2GHz (4mb L2), 2GB CL5 @ 333MHz and a GeForce 8600m GS with 256MB dedicated. Even on that rig I have been able to deduce that it's the CPU, and not the crap GPU, that is bottlenecking me even when running High textures, Med scenery, All planar shadows and med water och the 1440x900 display.

 

Something is seriously wrong with that rig not performing more.

 

EDIT: Oh, and the laptop runs Vista 32. Benefit achieved from the affinity patch was miniscule though.

 

Sorry but that laptop isn't a gaming rig. I have D2C @2.2Ghz and 4GB mem @667Mhz plus a Nvidia 8600M GT 512MB (running Vista 32 Bit) and we only use that one for work and playing HD movies on our TV. The only games played on this "rig" are Bob the builder and Barbies makeover. Oh and no I don´t play these games :D

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