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Maximizing MSTS Performance

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#1 Bananarama


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Posted 14 July 2006 - 07:51 AM

A lot has changed since the original release of MS Train Simulator. Advances in PC performance allows things to be done now that weren't previously possible (or at the very least, not practical). Many games and simulations have far better and more efficient graphic engines, but there are few, if any, suitable replacements for our beloved MS Train Simulator.

While our products (and those of our competitors) are certainly more graphic intensive than what's included with MSTS, we've nevertheless attempted to strike a balance between good graphics and good performance. However, some folks may find our products too performance intensive for their PCs, while others may find that our products run perfectly. With these items in mind, we've put together a few tips to make MSTS perform and look as good as possible on your system. We'll try to add to this list as time allows.

MSTS Version:Video/Sound Card Drivers:
    Make sure you're running the latest drivers for your video or sound card. Many card manufacturers ship their cards with drivers that are already months old or obsolete by the time the card hits the shelves. Consult your video card handbook for information on where to obtain the latest drivers for your card. In most cases, installation takes only a few minutes, but can be worth many hours of enjoyment and saved frustration.

    Note: Once you install any new video card drivers, be sure to run the MPROFILE.EXE program, located in the main directory where you installed Train Simulator. This program will reset the video configuration files used by Train Simulator to help it perform at its optimum level. To run, simply double left-click the MPROFILE program. It's very fast, so if you blink, you might not even notice it ran at all. Once complete, start Train Simulator in the usual fashion.
In-Game Settings:
    Adjust the sound and display settings in the OPTIONS section within MSTS until you get the looks and performance you're comfortable with. We recommend that you begin by turning-off (un-checking/deselecting) the boxes for (in order) HIGH DETAIL SHADOWS, DYNAMIC SHADOWS, and finally SHADOWS. Select one, test the effect in the sim, and see if the item you disabled improved performance any. If you need to, you can go back to the in-game OPTIONS and deselect another SHADOW type. If however, you find those options did little to solve any performance issues, try experimenting with the adjustment sliders for VISIBILITY and WORLD OBJECT DENSITY (left to reduce; right to increase). Also, you can adjust the various VOLUME sliders for AMBIENT VOLUME and QUANTITY OF SOUNDS. All of the above items give you a lot of freedom in configuring MSTS to run at its best at all times.
Programs Running in the Background:
    Ensure you have little or nothing running in the background that might interfere with the performance of MSTS. Background items include MS Office, browser windows, paint programs, or any other program that might be sitting idle while you’re off driving trains. Closing these items will have a positive impact on your MSTS performance.
Realistic Expectations:
    If you elect to run all sliders at their max settings, and run a 120-car train with 12, highly detailed locomotives on the low-end PC, expect the performance to be very poor! Use good judgement, and also have realistic expectations when running an old sim with a lot of pretty pictures. smile.gif
Create a Mini Install:
    A mini-install can greatly improve the performance of MSTS, as the idea is to have only one route (and only the trainsets and consists associated with it) load when you start the sim. The following link on the Steam4Me website should get you going when creating a mini-installation of MSTS:

    Setting up a Mini Route
If after all that and you're still having performance issues, drop us a note here on the forum, and we'll try and get you up and running at an acceptable level. After all, you're here to have fun, not beat yourself up running trains! smile.gif


#2 derek



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Posted 28 March 2010 - 04:21 PM

HyperThreading may impact MSTS performance.
HT is in P4's and i7's.



As has already been noted, memory delay has become an important problem for computer performance. When an instruction requires data that is in second level cache, it may have to wait a cycle or two. During this time, the CPU will look for other instructions that do not depend on the result of the blocked instruction and execute them out of order. However, out of order execution is at best good for a dozen instructions. When an instruction needs data from DDR DRAM, it will be blocked for a length of time during which the CPU could have run hundreds of instructions.

In 2004, Intel tried to address this memory delay problem with a trick called Hyper-Threading. Rather than duplicate the entire circuitry of a CPU, a Hyperthreading processor simply duplicates the registers that hold all the data that the OS would have to remove from the CPU in order to run a different thread. The OS thinks that there are two CPUs and it assigns two different threads to them. All the registers and data needed to run each thread are loaded into the same CPU chip at the same time.

When both threads are able to run at full speed, the CPU spends half its time running instructions for each thread. Unlike the OS, the CPU doesn't have a view of "priority" and cannot favor one thread because it is more important. However, if one thread becomes blocked because it is waiting for data from the very slow main memory, then the CPU can apply all of its resources to executing instructions for the other thread. Only when both threads are simultaneously blocked waiting for data from memory does the CPU become idle.


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