Please upgrade your browser for the best possible experience.

Chrome Firefox Internet Explorer
×

Graphics Tips - NVidia & ATI (Gain FPS and Quality)

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Customer Service
Graphics Tips - NVidia & ATI (Gain FPS and Quality)

MartinSPT's Avatar


MartinSPT
01.01.2012 , 03:07 AM | #1
Provided are tips that are less known, and have a dramatic effect on quality and performance in the game. These come from our research group members internal testing that are fans of SWTOR and are computer engineers and OS theorists.
Provided below each tip is a detailed explanation of why the setting improves performance.


_______________________________
1. Launching the Game


Requirements: (Windows 7 & Vista Users)
Video Card: (Both NVidia and AMD/ATI)


Right click on the SWTOR icon on your desktop or in Start Menu program files, select Properties. In the window that appears select the Compatibility tab. Under Compatibility Mode check Run this program in compatibility mode for: From the box below select Windows XP (Service Pack 3) and then click OK
(This setting is very important when your video card has under 1GB of dedicated VRAM.)
---Technical Details---
Currently the engine/game is turning off the GPU RAM virtualization features of Vista and Windows 7 which is a major feature of the WDM/WDDM technology. This technology allows Windows to manage GPU RAM, by prioritizing textures and assets as needed without saturating the video card’s onboard RAM.

Quality Gain:
Allows medium and high resolution textures, better antialiasing, and various other features to remain enabled for a higher quality image on video cards with lower amounts of RAM. It also allows the higher quality textures to be used on objects in the distance which helps with the terrain, grass, building flaws as you are moving in the game.

Performance Gain:
Increases FPS even with higher Quality settings enabled and reduces the GPU stress by not having to load in and out lower resolution textures. This will even reduce GPU temperatures, as the Memory Controller on the GPU has to do less work with constant loading, unloading, and reloading of game textures and other assets.

Note:
By setting the game to Windows XP Service Pack 3 in the compatibility tab, the game/engine doesn’t override this feature of Windows, and this lets Windows manage the GPU RAM, and even if you have 256mb or 512mb of GPU RAM, Windows will tell the game you have 1024mb or more GPU RAM based on how much system RAM you have available and Windows can allocate to the game.


_______________________________
2. Scaling – Display Override


Requirements: (Windows 7 & Visa – Desktop Computers)
*Some laptops may also allow/benefit from this setting.
Video Card: (NVidia)


In the NVdia Control Panel, select Adjust Desktop Size and Position, on the Right under the Scaling tab change Select scaling mode: to No scaling – then change Perform scaling on: to Display. Below this check Override the scaling mode set by games and programs
(This setting is very important when you are running a lower resolution in game than your monitor’s native resolution.)
---Technical Details---
On desktop displays (*Some Laptops), the monitor is capable of ‘resizing’ the image to fit the screen, with its own onboard controller. However, unless this is ‘forced’ to be done on the display, the NVidia GPU often takes on the Task, which requires additional GPU processing to scale the image to the screen.

Quality:
This has a side effect of reducing ‘pixilation’ and helps antialiasing, as most monitors do up-scaling. So if your monitor is 1680x1050, and you are running the game at 1440x900 or 1280x800, the monitor will do a quick and dirty ‘antialiasing’ effect on the image when it up-scales to fit on the higher resolution 1680 monitor.

Performance:
When running the game at a lower resolution, the performance should jump; however, without this setting, the GPU is taking on additional processing and this removes a large portion of the performance benefit of the lower resolution setting.

_______________________________
3. Antialiasing Tricks


Requirements: (Windows 7 & Visa – Desktop Computers)
Video Card: (NVidia & AMD/ATI)


As it has been posted before Antialiasing can be forced on, I’ll repost them along with the additional tip.

On AMD/ATI cards this is easy, can you turn on Antialiasing in the Catalyst Control Center.

--- Additional Tricks---
If you are using a desktop computer, and need more performance but would like a higher level of Antialiasing and having completed the ‘Desktop Scaling’ setting above, you can use your monitor to give you a bump in smoothing out the screen by simply dropping your in game resolution a slight notch below your monitors native resolution.

For example, if your Monitor’s resolution is 1680x1050, in game select a close setting of: 1600x1000 or 1600x1025 for example. Try to select one that has a ‘close’ aspect ratio or images will be too wide or skinny.

Quality:This uses the Monitor’s up-scaling controller to give the illusion of an additional level of antialiasing. For example if you normally run 4X antialiasing, and you change from native 1680x1050 to 1600x1000 your can reduce your antialiasing setting to 2X and get almost the exact same image quality. Or if you leave it at 4X it will be closer to 6x/8x.

Performance:
By using the lower resolution this will increase FPS even if you don’t adjust your Antialiasing setting, and if you do adjust down your Antialiasing down a notch, it is an additional gain in FPS.

_______________________________
Final Results and Notes…


We were able to use these setting to get better quality from the game and better performance on all our various test systems, but for a baseline reference I will use the system that had the most substantial increases as it is a lower end system that not only got a FPS boost but a graphics boost as well.


Athlon X2 5000+ w/4gb of RAM
Geforce GTS 250 w/512mb VRAM


-----
Original performance:
15-20fps


Game Settings:
Resolution: 1680x1050
VSync: On
Textures: Low
Shader: High
Character Detail: Low
Anisotropy: Medium
Shadows: Off
Antialiasing: 2x
The game looked ok, and was marginally playable.

-----
Tips & Settings Applied:
45-60fps

Game Settings:
Resolution: 1600x1024
VSync: On
Textures: High
Shader: High
Character Detail: High
Anisotropy: High
Shadows: High
Antialiasing: 2x
Now the game is above the 30fps playable range all the time, with the added benefit of all the settings on the higher settings. The GPU temperature stays 10°C cooler and textures are no longer dropping to lower quality from a distance.




Additional notes since this was originally posted to clarify:

1) Get the latest drivers for both NVidia and ATI. The beta drivers from NVidia and AMD/ATI seem to work the best, but you have to look for the 'beta' drivers when you visit their websites.

2) Not all video cards will have the scaling options in the NVidia control panel, especially on laptops, the built in display often does not have its own controller to do scaling well, or is disabled by the OEM.

3) The "Windows XP Compatibility" setting is the biggest jump in performance out of the tips, and most users can stop there.

4) Even if you have a fast Video card with 1GB of RAM, this will help the performance, and also give you much better 'distant' textures on objects.

5) The more system RAM you have, the bigger the jump in quality and performance will be, as Windows Vista/Windows 7 has to manage the System RAM and have extra to allocated to the GPU.
(If you have 2GB of system RAM, this is will give you a boost. However, if you have 3GB or Windows 64bit with more RAM, this boost increases. The numbers I posted above on the test system is runnng Windows 7 64bit with 4GB of RAM. Yesterday I had a tech increase the RAM in the system to 6GB, and the FPS almost lock at 60fps full time now, with few dips to the 45fps range.)


_____________________
I skipped over a few common settings, that should be noted for users:



Turn these off if you are still not getting the performance you want:
Bloom
Shadows
VSync



If your video card is a DX9 class card, like a Geforce 7900 or older set...
Shader to low, and see if this doesn't help performance considerably.


Even if you have the fast system, if you get in a highly populated area, your FPS can drop, ths is especially true in PVP. Try turning down these settings one at a time in this order and then turn them back up when you are in a less congested area:
Shadows: Off
Bloom: Off
Character Detail Level: Low
VSync: Off
Textures: Low
Shader: Low


One example is on the Fleet, where you have a lot of indoor light sources and lots of people at times any video card can have FPS issues. This has to do with the complexity of the scene and the loading of the various character details from ther server and your computer finding the 'texture' and getting it loaded. Often this is as you are loading in, and will catch up, but sometimes it doesn't.

-----------------------------

sciiwalker's Avatar


sciiwalker
01.01.2012 , 03:30 AM | #2
Thanks for trying, but your information isn't very concise.

Sathla's Avatar


Sathla
01.01.2012 , 03:35 AM | #3
Will this help out on a 2 gig card? Sometimes I see my dps drop really fast especially in pvp.

Win 7
8 gig of RAM
Quad core 2
Sapphire 6950

Kishva - 60- Vigilance Guardian
- Sathla - 60 - Corruption Sorcerer

Pax Dominus - Pax Imperius

Vhyle's Avatar


Vhyle
01.01.2012 , 03:44 AM | #4
I won't even try this for fear something will undoubtedly destroy my pc if I try this. Call me paranoid.
"can you make sword in box light sword so sword come out when opened? then if sword is back after sword, use light saber on box, and saber will be boxed after sword is out." - battlebug

RiGoRmOrTiS_UK's Avatar


RiGoRmOrTiS_UK
01.01.2012 , 03:45 AM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by MartinSPT View Post

Right click on the SWTOR icon on your desktop or in Start Menu program files, select Properties. In the window that appears select the Compatibility tab. Under Compatibility Mode check Run this program in compatibility mode for: From the box below select Windows XP (Service Pack 3) and then click OK
(This setting is very important when your video card has under 1GB of dedicated VRAM.)
Surely all your doing is setting Windows XP SP3 compatibility on the "launcher" since it then launches the swtor.exe seperatly? thus rendering this tweak null and void?

not to mention your two system examples of before and after have a strange 25px change of resolution as well.. one isn't a standard resolution..

I call bull
The Sith Dynasty
Casual | International | Social | PvE
>>>> Recruitment Open!! <<<<<
| Recruitment Post | Website | Guild Video | Guild HQ

AndroidClone's Avatar


AndroidClone
01.01.2012 , 04:06 AM | #6
paranoid... these are basic commands and information, google the ignorance out of your thoughts. geeze and if your going to point out that the launcher is only going to launch swtor executable, ya think some logic would set in and set swtor.exe to sp3 compat mode as well... just saying

and may the forks be with you, and also with you.

Aldare's Avatar


Aldare
01.01.2012 , 06:31 AM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by Vhyle View Post
I won't even try this for fear something will undoubtedly destroy my pc if I try this. Call me paranoid.
You're paranoid.

Aldare/Sháe - Guildmaster | JUDGE | Basilisk Droid
Visit us at www.judge-guild.net and check our recruitment thread here

Kurvix's Avatar


Kurvix
01.01.2012 , 07:17 AM | #8
Its simple as i wrote on dozen other topics - game is not optimized for win 7 graphic crad drivers with few exceptions
Reason - game was developed for win xp then added vista and in end win 7 which is still new and drivers are not good
best try is make new partition on hard drive instal win xp ( i have 64 bit one) and install game there.. instal graph card drivers and play game in win xp. I have no issues at all and on win 7 i could not get past bioware logo.

MartinSPT's Avatar


MartinSPT
01.01.2012 , 06:47 PM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by RiGoRmOrTiS_UK View Post
Surely all your doing is setting Windows XP SP3 compatibility on the "launcher" since it then launches the swtor.exe seperatly? thus rendering this tweak null and void?

not to mention your two system examples of before and after have a strange 25px change of resolution as well.. one isn't a standard resolution..

I call bull
(Ok, 1600x1025 is a standard resolution, maybe not in your world, or an option on your monitor, but it is very much a common resolution. This was not a custom resolution we designed, although you could do this. Notice in game, some resolutions like 1440x900 may or may not be in the games' list, but it is a standard LCD display panel size.)


The compatibility cascades in the launch tree process, you can also set the compatibility on the executable. (Example: Set 'Turn off desktop Composition" or notice the Security prompt on the Launcher, these also cascade in the launch tree, and do not release until SWTOR.EXE is quit.)

Try this to test your theory, you will note, 'Desktop Composition' for example remains active and is also applied to SWTOR.EXE, even after the launcher is dismissed. I am a bit surprised that you express knowledge on this subject, but have no understanding how Windows handles a basic process tree.


The reason there is a large jump in performance is the three items combined; however getting more VRAM to the game and forcing the GPU to not do scaling are the most important.

MartinSPT's Avatar


MartinSPT
01.01.2012 , 06:55 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by Kurvix View Post
Its simple as i wrote on dozen other topics - game is not optimized for win 7 graphic crad drivers with few exceptions
Reason - game was developed for win xp then added vista and in end win 7 which is still new and drivers are not good
best try is make new partition on hard drive instal win xp ( i have 64 bit one) and install game there.. instal graph card drivers and play game in win xp. I have no issues at all and on win 7 i could not get past bioware logo.

The game is not Windows 7 optimized, but there is no need to install XP with the XPDM drivers to run well.

Just turning back on the Windows 7 GPU technologies, by tricking the game into thinking it is running on XP, so that it doesn't disable them yields better FPS than running under XP.

This is because Windows 7 GPU technologies can manage threads and RAM and other tricks, which is what keeps gettng overlooked, is the power of the WDDM/WDM model in Windows that currently is the only OS Video model that can do pre-emptive GPU thread scheduling and other new technolgies that are still barely used becaue of ignorance of the technology. XBox 360 engine/game developers are more aware of these technologies as they are a part of the XBox 360 OS Video model, but PC developers are locked into the XP, OS X, Linux video model modes that work a generation behind.

Try compatibility in Windows 7 to tell the game it is running under XP and see if you don't get better performance... (Besides it is far better than dealing with XP just for a game.)