performance problem on win2k server

all i’m asking for is ideas here. i’m not necessarily asking for a savior.

i know some might suggest i get the pro version or “upgrade” to XP. as i’ve got a legal copy of win2k server only and an illegal copy of WinXP, it should be clear why i run Win2k. (that and i’ve got a lot against XP. :P)

my problems are rather unusual, so i’ll try to take time to lay them out carefully so as to avoid confusion. please take time to read carefully, as people have been known to be quickly confused by me. the problem is most evident in two of my favorite OpenGL games, but i suspect it may be a general OpenGL problem. i’ll explain (full system specs are below):

Tribes 2: i know what you’re thinking - it’s buggy as hell. it isn’t an issue specific to the Torque engine, but i have identified a few possible culprits to my problems. the following items cause performance to go through the floor when they fill more than 10% of the screen: damaged players (or bots - damage is visible on the textures), the flagstand (which is little more than a black base with a dynamic light), and a few other objects which rely heavily on a texture’s alpha transparency. all visual settings produce identical results in general performance and my performance problem. (i haven’t actually taken down the frame rate yet, but it runs quite smooth until the objects are shown as i described - then it can literally drop to exactly 1 FPS, and it is quite obvious. i could watch the second hand on my pocket watch tick each time the screen updates.)

Neverwinter Nights: i just [majorly] upgraded my system and was excited to begin playing this, so you can imagine my disappointment at the performance problem. generally, performance is sluggish, running roughly 6 FPS or so, and slower on large areas. when the inventory window is displayed, the frame rate drops to about 1-2 FPS. at stores, it drops further to 1 FPS or less. this is regardless of resolution or settings.

now, when you see my system specs, you’ll scratch your head as hard as i’ve scratched mine. (i am now also bald.)

AMD Athlon 2100+ Palomino
MSI KT2 Combo-L
Via KT266A chipset
256MB PC-133 CL3 RAM
onboard ethernet
Elsa Gladiac GTS2-32 (nVidia GeForce 2 GTS 32MB reference board)
SoundBlaster PCI128 (old version - uses ES1370)
USB Logitech iFeel
PS/2 keyboard
IDE primary: 1 hard drive
IDE secondary: hard drive, CD-RW
300W power supply

settings and drivers follow:
AMD AGP registry patch
most recent VIA 4-in-1 drivers
nVidia Detonator 44.03, Omega Det. 44.03, and nVidia Det 41.09
standard Win2k drivers for everything else.

onboard audio is disabled.
nVidia drivers set to performance-oriented settings: FSAA off, aniso. off, etc.

BIOS settings:
video bios shadow/cacheable: disabled
VGA palette snoop: disabled
BIOS shadow: disabled
AGP 4x with fastwrite
AGP aperture 128MB (IIRC, i’ll have to reboot to check)
most everything else default.

now, let me explain a few minor details about my setup:

Elsa is out of business, and tech support is a busy signal. (i assume their creditors contracted out for that.) the video card is based on nVidia’s own reference design for the GeForce 2 GTS, with few, if any, changes. as a result, i use only nVidia’s Dets. the BIOS has been flashed to the last version Elsa released before their demise.

i haven’t flashed the motherboard BIOS, mainly because i don’t even have a floppy drive and am too lazy to try any other method.

i have tried 3 different video drivers, and all three produce identical results (except that the Omega drivers bluescreened on a couple benchmarks, but nothing else).

i am not using Creative’s SoundBlaster drivers because they’re such a hassle to install properly. (a fact a lot of people may not realize.)

i’m also not using Logitech’s driver for the iFeel for two reasons: i don’t need the feedback functionality (yet), and the standard drivers seem to work fine.

i can easily switch to a non-integrated NIC (as i have 2 extra), but for convenience and simplicity, i’m using the integrated NIC.

i have PowerStrip installed, and as such have a great deal of control over some more hardcore settings, but i have left all of the hardware at its defaults for now. (i will uninstall it if anyone suspects it might be causing some silent changes.)

any further questions are encouraged, though i may have already answered them. again, please re-read this post before you post your question.

ideas welcome, flames encouraged, and help appreciated.

thanks for reading.

You’re actually the first person who gave a lot of detail before posting. But I think you dont have your resolution in there. Set it to your prefered dimensions and 32bpp (prefered) or 16bpp.

It sounds like everything is in order (recent drivers, good mem + cpu).
Try the OpenGL screensavers. Do they run slow?
What about old games like halflife, quake 2, q3?

You can go into the Q3 and click on system info and see what it says about the video cards GL support.

Or try this

download “GLinfo”

thank you, but as i mentioned, the problems are resolution-intedpendent. and as Neverwinter Nights and Tribes 2 basically require 32-bit video, i incorrectly assumed it was a given.

my desktop is at 1280x1024x32 usually, and i virtually always run my games at 800x600x32 or 1024x768x32.

i don’t know if i mentioned it, but DirectX seems immune to the problem.

lastly, i don’t have HL, Q2/Q3, or anything similar except UT, which seems to only want to run in DirectX anyway.

i’m at work right now, but tonight i will try UT in OpenGL and the OGL screensavers. the handful of other OpenGL games i have (like HomeWorld) refuse to run in OpenGL mode, so i’m forced to use DirectX.

well, anyway, thanks for the ideas, and i’ll report either later tonight or tomorrow morning if i make any progress/regress.

additionally, the link you gave to GLInfo also has a link to their database… my card combination is virtually identical to any GeForce 2 GTS/AGP/3DNow!/SSE combination.

Holy post of info Badman!

As V-Man already pointed out, you are the first person who actually provided a detailed record and not only “XYZ dosnt work, fix it”.

Thank you for setting a new standard (and hopefully a new trend).

Like V-Man, I dont see any problem with your hard/software configuration.

I think the problem is that there are wrong or missing keys in the windows registry.

May I ask:

-Was there another 3d card installed in the system prior to the GF2?
-Did you install the Nvidia drivers as system administrator (or atleast with an account that has local administration rights)?
-Active antivirus software may cause that the registry isnt updated correctly.

Since I replaced my Nvidia board with an ATI board I cant tell you which registry keys to check, maybe someone else can.

Good luck!

as often as i’m posting, i should create an account here.

to answer your questions:

no, there was no previous card as far as windows is concerned. i mentioned i did major upgrade. this included a fresh installation.

there is no way to install drivers as anyone other than Administrator in windows 2000 server. so, i log in as “Adminstrator” exclusively, and everything i mention is done as Administrator. and since it’s a fresh installation, i never bothered to create more users.

i haven’t installed AV software, nor do i intend to. at the moment, the system i’m talking about doesn’t even have a connection to the internet. also, i have yet to see AV software that will install on windows 2000 server without trouble. (Symantec AV will not install. period.)

in my experience, there hasn’t been a problem with nVidia drivers and their registry entries. in fact, the only registry activity other than the games and drivers i’ve installed has been to add the coolbits registry entry (which i’ve not taken advantage of yet) and another “optimization” entry that i can’t seem to remember that the moment.

to answer unasked questions about how i manage to do all this without a 'net connection, let me just say that USB flashdrives are a Godsend.

now, i’ve been experimenting tonight with my setup, and i discovered two more oddities:

Serious Sam: i forgot i had the demo of this until tonight, so i double-checked it. on maximum settings at 1024x768x32 widescreen, it plays smoother than silk. i wish i knew the framerate command or how to benchmark with it.

Unreal Tournament: i said i’d try it. i did. it fails to start with OpenGL and runs fine in DirectX.

NeverWinter Nights: i’ve tried every combination of settings available in the game’s video menus, and found that up to 1024x768x32, there is no change in performance with any settings. at all higher resolutions, performance is expectedly lower, but again does not change with the various settings. even shodows don’t slow it down. however, i found out that while i’m in the options menu ingame, camera rotations are at very nice speeds - about 20-25 FPS - but there is no animation or effects going on. for clarification, if you haven’t played NWN, hair and clothes animate independently, swaying with character motion. when in the options menu, these animations do not occur, and so there seems to be no overhead. (though, while in the video menu, it’s possible to see the changes you make take effect. shadows appear and disappear, lighting improves/worsens, etc. base don the changes you make.)

i’m going to take this to the NWN support forums and see if there are any known issues there. i’m also trying to get the attention of nVidia for help from them (since Elsa can’t exactly help out).

i almost tried to overclock the video card and see if that would help performance, but i changed my mind as the case isn’t exactly conducive to extra heat. (the system temperature stays relatively low, tankfully.)

i’ll keep your apprised if i find anything else. i may create some of my own test cases to see if i can isolate the root cause of the problem. but keep the ideas flowing! i need help with this!

Serious Sam is a good GL test and it looks like everything is fine.

UT is not. It is more of a D3D game. I don’t know if UT2003 is any good woth GL.

I think that NWN is heavy on the graphics or it isn’t efficient with Gf2.

Well, you will find out what tech support thinks about NWN.

this one will make you laugh.

it was the drivers.

turns out anything more recent than the Detonator 30.82 isn’t optimized for the GF2. installed the 30.82 and everything runs perfectly.

Wow! Who would thought of this.

Anyway I am glad that you solved your problem.

That also should be a clue that you need a new graphics card.

Eventually, something will come out that won’t run on your GF2 because it’s using old drivers…

And really, you’ve got a pretty nice computer sans graphics card. It’s really holding back your performance. If I was to upgrade on the cheap, I’d probably get something like a Radeon 8500 LE 128mb for $85 (and OC to PRO speeds) or spend $140 and get the Radeon 9500.

With that kind of system, I wouldn’t get anything less than a DX9 card. 9500 is the minimum for ATI or a 5200 as the minimum for Nvidia.

Originally posted by V-man:
[b]With that kind of system, I wouldn’t get anything less than a DX9 card. 9500 is the minimum for ATI or a 5200 as the minimum for Nvidia.


I would not recommend the 5200 to ANYONE. Even the ultra is a piece of excrement.

There really is no low cost DX 9 cards out there… so if he’s looking for a bargain, for the money, I doubt anyone can beat the 8500 which is selling in the ~$80 range.

The 8500 is a DX8 card. It’s not bad but …

True, the 5200 is a really bad performer. It does worst than a Gf4 in todays games. At least according to the press.

Originally posted by V-man:
[b]The 8500 is a DX8 card. It’s not bad but …

True, the 5200 is a really bad performer. It does worst than a Gf4 in todays games. At least according to the press.[/b]

Yeah, but what good is having DX9 if you can’t run the features?

The 8500 LE 128mb WILL RUN next-gen games like Doom 3 at acceptable speeds. It just won’t have all the bells and whistles.

If you check out, the best the FX 9200 is getting is ~8000 3DMark2001s on P4 3ghz machines, and those scores aren’t for the $80 cards, they’re for the $120-150 range.

The $80 FX 9200s are getting ~5000-3000 3DMarks2001s.

As for the 3DMark2003 scores, even though the 8500 can’t perform all the features of the tests, it still holds up against the FX 9200s.

Of course, these are just syntheic tests, in real games, the 8500 simply blows the FX 5200 away… again in the $80 price range.

From there, the price jumps up to $140+ to get a half-way decent DX9 card. And there, the choice is the Radeon 9500 or the FX 5600… where their performance is just about dead even (well, assuming you’re looking at games that Nvidia isn’t inflating the scores for).,3973,1105259,00.asp