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The Magical "Clean Boot"
August 26, 2005 10:20 PM   Subscribe

How to strip down your computer for playing games (via the ever-useful Frog Blog)
posted by oissubke (38 comments total)

 
Uh, ...

Aside from the MS bashing fodder...

Maybe this is what separates us older computer users from the kiddies - in order to get games to play at a better performance (or to play at all) we had to play around with command-line paramters or autoexec.bat or config.sys and actually had to understand (and the parameters were understanABLE) what they all meant. Then there was the whole trial and error thing.

Now, it's just ... what? The standard setup works for standard applications, ... is this the best of the web because MS acknowleged that the standard setup isn't optimal for running system-optimized programs?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 10:32 PM on August 26, 2005


Okey dokey. So you really didn't know about msconfig?

It's been a strange day on MeFi.
posted by teece at 11:02 PM on August 26, 2005


I don't get it. Speaking of google maps, apparently they're making commercials now.
posted by jikel_morten at 11:04 PM on August 26, 2005


Everyone who uses the phrase "best of the web" in decrying the quality of a post should be kicked in the nuts.
posted by jonson at 11:16 PM on August 26, 2005


truly the best of the web.
posted by Dean Keaton at 11:29 PM on August 26, 2005


(And to those who aren't computer savvy: Throw another 512 stick of ram at it. That'll show those background apps!)
posted by Dean Keaton at 11:30 PM on August 26, 2005


With the list they put at the end, is this just optimum configuration for MS games, or all computer games in general?
posted by zardoz at 11:30 PM on August 26, 2005


All computer games. Honestly, it is better to update your motherboard, video and sound drivers, defrag the hard drive, and consider upgrading. If you play 3D games:


Less than 512 ram? Get it up to 512. 768 or a gig isn't a bad investment either.

Consider the video card. What is it? How much ram does it have, and what is its name brand? You can find out by clicking start, right click my computer, click on the hardware tab, and clicking on device manager. Open the tree under display adapters. Once you got the name, compare its performance to the rest by going to http://tinyurl.com/9m6d8

Processor up to snuff? Find out. Less than 1.8 ghz or 1800+ Athlon XP should upgrade.

One of these will help, two will definately help, and three is pretty much gutting out your computer. Upgrades are listed from lowest priced to highest priced.
posted by Dean Keaton at 11:47 PM on August 26, 2005


Booting into safe mode is a kludge. This is how you optimize Windows performance.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:09 AM on August 27, 2005


This is becoming a whole lot less relevant with the advent of dual-core processors and hyperthreading.
posted by Veritron at 12:12 AM on August 27, 2005


"This is becoming a whole lot less relevant with the advent of dual-core processors and hyperthreading."

I disagree.

When I compare the speed of Office97 on my old P90 running Win95 to Office2003 on my P4 3ghz box, speed is comparable.

My P90 had 64mg ram. My current machine has 2gb.

In other words, OSes are getting heavier. (now, vi screamed on my old 486 :)
posted by zerokey at 12:27 AM on August 27, 2005


MS support -- The best of the web.

(Snort! Bwahahaha!)
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:30 AM on August 27, 2005


Buy a fucking console already... or use a hack to make your Windows box -- which has 5x the power and 10x the RAM of a PS2 -- run games at the level a PS2 delivers out of the box.

Not that Windows is a huge piece of bloatware or anything...
posted by clevershark at 12:30 AM on August 27, 2005


Consoles are for children, frat boys, and fucking sports games. Computers are where its at for the best games.
posted by Justinian at 12:37 AM on August 27, 2005


Justinian : "Consoles are for children, frat boys, and fucking sports games. Computers are where its at for the best games."

Consoles are also for regular folks, non-frat college students, and non-sports games.
Consoles have some advantages. Computers have different advantages. The choice between them comes down to individual situations (How much money you have. What genres you like. How big your TV is. How big your computer monitor is. How willing you are to swap computer parts. Who will play with the system. How many people will play or watch at the same time. How often you plan on upgrading/upbuying. Etc. etc. etc.)

Making big sweeping statements about how crappy consoles are, or how crappy computers are, is just a great way to tag yourself as an ignorant ass.
posted by Bugbread at 12:56 AM on August 27, 2005


Perhaps you missed clevershark's comment, which immediately preceeded mine, bugbread.
posted by Justinian at 1:53 AM on August 27, 2005


Justinian : "Perhaps you missed clevershark's comment, which immediately preceeded mine, bugbread."

I read it, but on reread, it looks like I misread it. Sorry. So what I said should be directed at both of you.
posted by Bugbread at 2:14 AM on August 27, 2005


This is becoming a whole lot less relevant with the advent of dual-core processors and hyperthreading.

Unless I am very much mistaken, dual-core means diddly until the game (or app) code is written in such a way as to take advantage of the architecture. Little to none currently is.

Remember Bill Gates and the 640k ceiling? Software will always grow in sophistication and resource-hunger, at pretty much the same rate (plus a smidgeon) as the capabilities of the hardware grow. That keeps the coffee a' perkin'.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:07 AM on August 27, 2005


Unless I am very much mistaken, dual-core means diddly until the game (or app) code is written in such a way as to take advantage of the architecture. Little to none currently is.

I think the implication was that the memory resident stuff that wouldn't get loaded with a "clean boot" could be passed off to the 1st processor, and the game to the 2nd one. Although...doesn't that stuff consume negligible processing power anyways? I always thought it was more a memory issue.
posted by juv3nal at 3:47 AM on August 27, 2005


Computers are for geeks, scientists and fucking spreadsheets. Consoles are where it's at for the best sport games.
posted by tommyc at 3:48 AM on August 27, 2005


Stavros wins a cookie. Dual core is designed for written code that uses it. Oh, tommyc: Isn't that term report due? Put down the budweiser. ;)
posted by Dean Keaton at 4:06 AM on August 27, 2005


See, if they still made decent games for the Mac, none of this would be an issue. That, and if my fiance hadn't just fried my xBox with a Prince of Persia marathon (light blinking green & red).

I wonder what it's like to be able to play Half Life... I guess I'll never know (till I have a grand to buy a decent pc). Poor me.
posted by password at 5:11 AM on August 27, 2005


Ehrm, I might be wrong, but if you disable virus scanners and the like, won't your computer be 0wn3d by some worm, virus or other critter in 6.2 milliseconds?
posted by kika at 6:07 AM on August 27, 2005


Ehrm, I might be wrong, but if you disable virus scanners and the like, won't your computer be 0wn3d by some worm, virus or other critter in 6.2 milliseconds?

I've been running on various cable and DSL internet connections for, what, five years now, without any firewall (other than the one which, this year, came with my DSL router) or any virus scanner. I've never once had a virus.

Of course, I use an obscure and non-standard web broswer, I lock down all unused ports and shut down all unused services, I'm not stupid with my email settings, I monitor outgoing traffic from time to time, etc.
posted by gd779 at 6:46 AM on August 27, 2005


Well, I didn't know about msconfig, and it does make several of my games run smoother and start up a lot faster.

So, thanks!
posted by Drexen at 6:57 AM on August 27, 2005


Tsk tsk. Yes, there are some games which are available only on computers -- like Doom 3 when it came out or HL2 -- but in order to play those you don't just need a "decent" computer, you need a fairly high-end model.

Personally I was rather disappointed at Doom 3's performance on a computer which was fairly high-end at the time (Athlon 64 3200, 1G PC3200 RAM, Radeon 9800 card w/128M of memory), so it seems that unless you're using the latest and greatest in terms of hardware those games which are only played on computers may not be as satisfying as they should be.

Besides, most game development nowadays seems to be done for console first and PC second.
posted by clevershark at 7:25 AM on August 27, 2005


I'm just glad that MSCONFIG was returned to XP.

oh, and clevershark, don't feel bad about Doom3.
It brought the top of the line machine then to its knees, and rewarded you with mostly darkness.

The last tab "Startup" in MSCONFIG can be goosed to make the machine boot faster, too. I got 98SE down to 28 secs to desktop.

Wait a minute, why are the Anandtech Forums in blue?
posted by Busithoth at 7:52 AM on August 27, 2005


And for you W2K kiddies, msconfig wasn't shipped with it (anyone know why?), so get it here.
posted by jmd82 at 7:54 AM on August 27, 2005


gd779, if you lock down ports, then you're essentially using a firewall.
posted by linux at 8:26 AM on August 27, 2005


I find it odd that Microsoft just assumes you need to shut everything off aside from their services. It feels like they are blaming everyone else for the quality of gaming.

Anyhow, here's a better list of services to tweak for gaming. Also as has been stated, hammer out pretty much everything in your MSCONFIG Startup tab to increase overall speed. Here's a near complete list of startup items incase you want to know what some of them are for. This way you won't disable your Zboard from loading on boot or other stuff you may just want to load.

With hardware it's an ever changing race of video cards so finding one won't mean you'll be on top forever. I usually get one that's about 3 cards from the top if the price is decently low enough and then upgrade every so often. Saves some cash and still drives performance enough. Someone mentioned 512 RAM but that's more like a minimum for gaming in my opinion. I'd suggest 1 gig of RAM for most games as it will do for most games. There are a few games that would ne nice to have more than that where you'd have a ton of onscreen textures, such as MMOs, in which case over kill might be needed to get optimum performance. 80 vs 80 MMO PvP can hurt even the best of machines.

As for Doom 3, I've gotten it to run on an AMD Athlon 950 with a GeForce 3(release edition). You actually have to pick apart the game files and change a few of it's system files to get it to work, especially since it's designed to tell you to go screw in an unpleasant manner if you don't have the minimum requirements(1.5Ghz I believe it was). After running it to my TV it looked pretty comparable to the Xbox version aside from the visibly lower quality bump mapping. A few fuzzies her and there with a little bit of a hiccup when there were several oncreen enemies but none the less playable.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 9:10 AM on August 27, 2005


I'm not saying it was unplayable, just that considering the sort of hardware I was throwing at it the display should have been a lot smoother and the frame rates much higher.

It's a bit of a wonder that they could even port it to the Xbox at all when one considers that...
posted by clevershark at 9:27 AM on August 27, 2005


I think most of Doom 3's overall performance issues come from the rather shoddy coding. The engine itself seems to be so weighted that it is destined to perform poorly even on the best systems. Compare it to all the Unreal Engines(more specific, UnrealEngine 2.0 which is current) and you will see how it is cumbersome while providing little improvement. It still uses low poly count models bring forth advanced dynamic lighting and using larger amounts of bump mapping. The engine itself isn't all that much of an improvement so they must've bit the bullet somewhere, which all I can point to is bloated coding. I must point out that they did abandon light maps so that does hurt the framerate a lot, but ID also stated before the game was released not to expect top framerates on any of the systems that were out at the time.

Now UnrealEngine 3.0 is insane. It brings the lighting enhancements of the ID engine while being able to maintain higher poly counts. Now that I review the article, UE3 has an even better lighting system. Look at this picture for a nice idea of the upcoming engine. I personally can't wait to get my hands on this editor.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 10:06 AM on August 27, 2005


Funny, Nethack 3.4.3 runs fine on my old computers....
posted by eriko at 10:06 AM on August 27, 2005


jmd82, I hadn't heard of MSCONFIG for Windows 2000.
that's pretty cool. When 2000 came out, I loved it to death, swearing that that would be my OS going forward.

Then XP came out, and I have to give MS some credit for releasing an OS that's pretty damned good. I seriously doubt Vista/Longhorn is going to be that much better.

And tweakXP, linked earlier, is an excellent, excellent resource.
posted by Busithoth at 10:15 AM on August 27, 2005


And for you W2K kiddies, msconfig wasn't shipped with it (anyone know why?), so get it here.

Thanks! I didn't know it was possible to use the XP version on 2K.

I suspect that MSCONFIG was removed for Win2K because it's not supposed to be necessary - all the registry-based application startup control it does is really legacy stuff. Under NT-based OSes, background programs like these are supposed to be services (which have a much more capable control system and UI than MSCONFIG) or Startup menu items (which even unsophisticated users can change). Software vendors continue to insist on sticking their update agents, quickstart applets, and other assorted who-needs-it crap in the "Run" registry key, which is itself a legacy-support holdover from Windows 3.0, so the cryptic, ugly and dangerous MSCONFIG continues to be useful.
posted by Western Infidels at 5:47 PM on August 27, 2005


Wow. I'd like to thank jmd82 as well. My beautiful msconfig came back to me!
posted by selfnoise at 6:53 PM on August 27, 2005


Buy a fucking console already... or use a hack to make your Windows box -- which has 5x the power and 10x the RAM of a PS2 -- run games at the level a PS2 delivers out of the box.

My computer, which is just a $500 cheapy with a $200 graphics card strapped on, will run UT2004 at 1600x1200 with most of the graphics all the way up (and without using hacks.) That will pwn a PS2 in just about every concievable way, and the computer has all kinds of other advantages, like downloading mods and maps, using a mouse and keyboard instead of a damn control pad, being able to keep stuff installed instead of swapping disks, and vastly superior internet support.

Consoles sound cheaper than computers under shallow consideration, but you have to consider that a TV is going to force a console into a resolution that is guaranteed to look like ass unless you have an HDTV, which bumps you right up into the $1000+ range. Of course, some people already have HDTVs, but most people already have computers, which are usually just a $200 video card away from kicking ass.

I'm not going to say consoles suck, or that they don't have their place, but computers have huge and distinct advantages that make them the best gaming platform for me and many others.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:51 PM on August 27, 2005


Until, the latest zotrob hits it. Or botox, or whatever was the name of that latest super-virus.
Personally, I like the console's "clean-boot" ability, where it's always the same system everytime you start it up.
posted by HiveMind at 10:05 PM on August 29, 2005


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