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Tweaks-The Definitive Guide

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Maximus Nickus

Senior Shaman
Joined
Oct 4, 2001
Location
Milton Keynes, U.K.
Tweaks-The Definitive Guide:



A lot of you out there are trying to squeeze just that extra bit of power out of your system, whether it’s to hit 10k, or 5k this guide will help.

Warning, editing your Registry could cause errors within the Windows’ subsystem and may cause data corruption and possibly lead to you needing a re-format, please BACKUP your data.
Now down to business:


Now the basics.

PC’s always run faster after a re-format and clean Windows install, however this doesn’t mean that you have to keep re-formatting, just don’t install programs which you never use, have another machine to test out the programs first. This way your registry won’t clog up.

Standard procedures are:
Clean the registry, Scandisk once a week, Defragment once a week, run disk-clean-up as well.

Obviously try to run PC’s at there fastest overall settings (memory latency’s etc) as this will increase your overall performance. I would also recommend you test for stability by “Burning-in” your PC.
This may sound drastic but all it stands for is running a component at maximum stress for a long period of time, if no errors occur then you may proceed to overclock.

“Burning-in” your PC has also been reported to increase stability at a speed once unattainable, but why?
It rather controversial and complicated but it boils down to the degradation of Transistors, simply put making 50% of the transistors in your CPU a bit worse, and making the other 50% a lot better.
This is explained very thoroughly Here (all credits go to Pinky for this link.)

The Method of this burn-in is to run at the highest Voltage, at the lowest temperature (as they are dependant of each other) with the lowest clockspeed (lower heat).
“The higher the voltage, the higher the effect, the higher the temperature, the lower the effect”.
It doesn’t always work but it does sometimes, my Radeon 8500 went from 280Mhz Core to 300Mhz Core after a weeks burning.
Remember though that all systems are unique, two rigs with identical components never run the same, heat, speed, stability, and so on.


Benchmarking Tweaks.

3DMark has become the standard for many people to benchmark their systems and test them for stability (“Burn-In”) following its success Futuremark® created many other Benchmarking programs to target individual aspects of PC performance, they will be listed here as well.
The following Tweaks allow maximum performance to be gained using 3DMark as well as many other benchmarking programs.


3DMark Downloads/Drivers.
[urk=[URL]http://www.futuremark.com/download/?3dmark05.shtml]3DMark[/URL] 2003[/url]
3DMark 2003 - DirectX 9
3D Mark 2001 SE - DirectX 8
3DMark 2001 - SE Patch (upgrade to SE version)
PCMark 2002
3DMark 2000 v1.1 - DirectX 7
Video 2000
3DMark 99 MAX - DirectX 6

DirectX 9
DirectX 8
DirectX 7
Dx Misc

Sisoft Sandra 2005
Powerstrip – Universal, overclocks any video card

Ati Overclocking
Ati Drivers Official Beta
Specialised Ati Drivers
Ati ROM files
Ati Flash
Ati BIOS' for 9500/9700 cards - fixes non-overclock issue.
Nvidia Overclocking
Nvidia Drivers
Nvidia Refresh Rate Fix
Kryo Overclocking
Voodoo Overclocking
Voodoo Drivers
Maxtrox Drivers
Hercules Drivers

Via Drivers – AMD only
More Via Drivers

Abit Files
Asus Files
DFI Files
ECS Files
Epox Files
Chaintech
Shuttle Files
Soltek Files
Supermicro Files
Tyan Files


Tweaks/Misc Downloads.

Tweaking Compilation
Tweak UI
Fast Boot /Fast Resume Design
Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP
Tweaking Downloads
A huge index of Windows Tweaks!
Innovative Tweaking Tool
Great list of Windows Tweaking Downloads


Great Download Sources.

http://files.aoaforums.com
www.clockingfiles.cjb.net
www.download.com
www.the-ctrl-alt-del.com
www.reactorcritical.com
www.3dchipset.com
www.driverfiles.net
www.majorgeeks.com/

If you cannot find the latest drivers for any Hardware you have, go to Driverguide, it offers a good service once you sign-up (free) to find drivers quick and efficiently.


Volt Mods.

9700 Volt Mod
8500 Volt Mod-Sophisticated Version
8500 Volt Mod-Pencil Version
8500 Volt Mod-Simple
9000-Pro Volt Mod
G4-4600 Volt Mod
G4-4400 Volt Mod
G4-4200 Volt Mod
G3 Ti-200/Ti-500 Volt Mod
G3 Original Volt Mod
OCforums Volt Modding section

Now assuming you’ve just cleaned up your system or re-formatted your HDD, install the drivers in the following order, after each run disk defragmenter.

1. Via 4 in 1 Drivers (These are only for Via Chipset Based Motherboards)
Defragmenter
2. DirectX 9.0C (Windows XP has 8.1 pre-installed, SP has 9.0C pre-installed)
Defragmenter
3. Video Drivers
Defragmenter
4. Other drivers, once more run disk defragmenter.

The defragmenting keeps all the files in there optimal positions on the disk which means everything is loaded with precision and maximum speed, now and for later benchmarking.

When running 3DMark run your desktop at 60hz, turn of vertical synchronization (may cause artifacts) and change the OpenGL settings, Direct3D and so on to “Best performance”. (Right-click to find out what each option does in turn)
Repeat all the tests twice, as this can yield a slight performance gain, mainly due to the second run of each test being run more from the CPU's cache.
Run your AGP at 8x/4x (if you can with stability, if not try DA or FF in the driving mode value), enable AGP Fast-Writes and test all the other options for maximum speed. Video-caching produces different effects on different rigs so experiment with them on or off.

On a lot of systems nowadays people are using upwards of 512MB or RAM, if you are there’s a desirable option that can now be turned off to access more overall system performance.
This is Virtual memory, you see when Windows runs out of RAM it is forced to use Virtual memory which utilises your Hardrive’s temporary file as RAM, this is much slower than RAM and is not desirable. If you have 512MB of RAM or over then Virtual Memory can be disabled and system speed increases will result.

To do this simply:

1. Right-click on My Computer and select properties,
2. Go to Advanced Tab,
3. Click on Performance Settings,
4. Click on Advanced Tab,
5. Go to Virtual memory and click on change,
6. Select your drive, click on no paging file and then click on ‘set’.

Repeat step 6 for all of your Hardrives.


When running Benchmarking I would also recommend you close all programs running in the background, first of all close everything in your taskbar, next press Ctrl + Alt + Del and in the Dialog box that appears (Win Me and below users) close everything apart form Explorer and Systray, if you are running XP or 2000 then you will see a name next to each process, your name and the Systems name. Close everything with your name next to it apart from explorer.

I also recommend running the NTFS file system for Windows XP, to change the file system of your drives requires a re-format; this can be done in Windows with exception to your main-drive. To format your main-drive to the NTFS file system simply boot off of the Windows XP CD-ROM and choose NTFS Format.
The reason why I use NTFS is it is faster, more secure and more efficient at utilising space on larger hardrives.

Are you running any PCI cards? If you are take them out! (Unless you are running a PCI video card of course)
You see 3DMark does not use any PCI cards, but they steal CPU cycles slowing your Benchmark down, Sound Cards are especially guilty of this, you’d be surprised how much of a difference to your score this makes!
You may also (when you have your PCI cards in for normal use) want to change your PCI latencies if your Motherboards BIOS lets you, you see the latency dictates how long a particular device can hold onto the PCI bus for, if you have just one device then a higher figure is desirable (around 100) but if you have multiple devices then you don’t want one card holding up the bus too long so a lower number of around 15-30 is more desirable, I use Sisoft Sandra 2002 to test these differences in performance.

I also recommend you disable anything you are not using in the BIOS, onboard items > especially on older boards.
You may also notice how sometimes there are options such as ‘onboard Modem’ in your BIOS and yet you have no onboard Modem? Well disable them anyway, simply because they are reserving IRQ’s and wasting resources.
You can also delve into disabling IRQ’s which you don’t use, but be careful here, serious system errors can occur so remember your Default settings!!


Hardrive Performance

Most Modern drives today are coming shipped with Acoustic and Power Management features enabled for quieter operation and reduced power consumption of the drives, this works by reducing the Speed of the Head Seeks when the drive is in Normal Operation.
This may be all well except for one thing: It reduces overall data transfer rates for the drives when it is enabled.

Here you can download the Manufacturer's utilities to disable these features, resulting in improved Transfer rates of your Hardrive:

Maxtor
Acoustic Management
Power Management

IBM
Acoutic and Power Management

Samsung


Seagate
[url=ftp://ftp.seagate.com/techsuppt/seagate_utils/cgreen21.zip]Power Management


There are no such utilities available at this time for:
Western Digital, Fujitsu, and Quantum Drives.

The Western Digital and Fujitsu drives do not have a publically downloadable manufacturer supported utility, however some drives may ship with such a utility, and in Fujitsu's case, the computer shipped with the drive may have its own custom utility, Toshiba is a good example.


Finally I have searched the web and found the very best Windows tweaks to get those few extra marks out of your system.

http://www.winguides.com/downloads/registry.exe
Registry guide

http://www.tweaktown.com/document.php?dType=guide&dId=120
Windows XP optimization guide Part 1

http://www.tweaktown.com/document.php?dType=guide&dId=145
Windows XP optimization guide Part 2

Now last but not least make sure you backup your files before editing them!


Notes:

The tweaks work on all Windows versions.
Defragmenting is a lot faster with Windows XP, and it is necessary to make you system run at optimal speed, so don’t skip it!


This post is written as simply as possible, if anyone has trouble understanding or processing the information please don’t hesitate to ask me and I will decipher any technical jargon.

Good Luck and HAPPY TWEAKING!


Nick Cade-Westcombe
'Maximus Nickus'

Updated by: @md0cer 10/19/05
 
Last edited by a moderator:

jdmcnudgent

Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2002
Location
tOLEDO, OHIO, the heart of it all!
when you do the 4 in 1, where is the via supposed to show up in your device manager? i have done this twice, and was unable to locate it in the device manager. i also did the edit, that you need to do before you run it, right click on setup.exe, go to compatibility, and choose windows 2000 pro, since xp is using the same engine. by the way, i am using xp. thanks.
 
OP
Maximus Nickus

Maximus Nickus

Senior Shaman
Joined
Oct 4, 2001
Location
Milton Keynes, U.K.
The Via 4 in 1 drivers don't show up in the device manager, as for the compatibilty mode i'm not really sure what you're saying, although you shouldn't need to run the program in compatibility mode.

If you are having problems installing the drivers then run them in safe-mode.

If you could explain to me your problem slightly clearer then I'll be glad to help you more!

M_N
 
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OP
Maximus Nickus

Maximus Nickus

Senior Shaman
Joined
Oct 4, 2001
Location
Milton Keynes, U.K.
Hope this guide has been useful.
Please any questions then fire away!

If there's anything I've missed feel free to add it or PM me!

Happy Tweaking!:p
M_N
 
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The Overclocker

Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2001
Location
Milton Keynes, UK
I like your user name.

mabey i should change mine to bigus di.. perhaps not.

one thing i should mention though is that the main purpose of defrag is to group the program files from one application together and is not nessassery to perform inbetween a series of installations. the Time consumed performing a defrag can be draistily reduced by not using virtual memory (the hard is as ram) or using a seperate hard disk for virtual memory.
 
OP
Maximus Nickus

Maximus Nickus

Senior Shaman
Joined
Oct 4, 2001
Location
Milton Keynes, U.K.
the overclocker said:
I like your user name.

mabey i should change mine to bigus di.. perhaps not.

one thing i should mention though is that the main purpose of defrag is to group the program files from one application together and is not nessassery to perform inbetween a series of installations. the Time consumed performing a defrag can be draistily reduced by not using virtual memory (the hard is as ram) or using a seperate hard disk for virtual memory.


lol! :D Maybe, maybe...

Now,
With regards to Disk Defragmenting it may not seem beneficial but it is neccesary when installing drivers, the reason being that the drivers will be installed more efficiently, one reason is each driver looks for parts of other drivers,

e.g. The Video Driver looks for DirectX components, by running defragmenter the effeciency of the layout of installation is increased, this in turn increases benchmark scores.
If drivers are installed efficiently then they remain that way, after all disk defragmenter doesn't re-arrange the drivers. (Not yet;))

Regarding the time it takes to defragment you are 50% correct, slower drives (5400rpm) using UDMA 66 will benefit from no paging file, but faster hardisks (7200rpm UDMA 100/133) will not benefit due to the increased transfer rates that UDMA 100/133 coupled with a faster spin-rate can offer.

Hope this clears things up.

M_N
 
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JAWS

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2001
Location
Xtremesystems
Thanks for the directing me to the XP tweaks. I always had a problem with XP shutting down slow. Not only does it shut off more quickly, XP also boots faster now! Thanks! :)
 

Arkaine23

Captain Random Senior Evil
Joined
Nov 8, 2001
AGP driving value

Running mine at EA as suggested by some tweaking site for Geforce 2's... seems to up 3dmark by 10 or 20 points from running at DA.

What about trying AGP 2x to see if that lets the card overclock higher?
 
OP
Maximus Nickus

Maximus Nickus

Senior Shaman
Joined
Oct 4, 2001
Location
Milton Keynes, U.K.
You could certainly try that, however you might loose more performance than you gain.

Its like the Driving Mode Value > Every rigs is different and different settings will have different effects.


Good Luck,

Maximus Nickus
 
OP
Maximus Nickus

Maximus Nickus

Senior Shaman
Joined
Oct 4, 2001
Location
Milton Keynes, U.K.
Like I said, contribute by adding them!
Or PM me with them so I can update the Thread, after I've tested them of course;)

Don't forget there are other Tweaks inclosed in the links I posted. So they could already be listed!


Maximus Nickus:)
 

Dracula

Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2002
Location
Portugal
Are we talking about tweaking (for pure performance) for 3dmark....or only the OS and like something like that?
 

rogue1979

Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2002
Location
Las Cruces, NM
Thanks for the link on Radeon 8500 voltage mod, that is what I have been looking for. Gonna search for a good deal on an 8500 LE and change the resistors themselves for 1.75v and 3.80v. If I get 300/310 I will be very happy. With the price of the LE dropping like a rock, I think it is the current bang for the buck for under $150, since it significantly outperforms the Geforce 3 Ti 200.

I gotta disagree with all the 3DMark 2001 tweaks though, I am pretty soured on the results. I think most of us here are big time gamers and pursuing the ultimate 3Dmark score can actually slow down your gaming performance. For example, here is the configuration for my best 3Dmark score:

150 x 10 for the board, 310/521 for the video card with the memory timings set down a notch or two. 3Dmark score hits 5700 which is pretty good for a Geforce 2 chipset.

Best configuration for game performance:

164 x 9 for the board, 270/521 for the video card, with memory scores set at fastest. 3Dmark hits 5450, but in all my games I get better speed, as much as 8fps increase in Unreal. Also with my Sandra 2001 memory scores increasing dramatically and my fsb speed raised my system is noticably faster.

Another gripe is the length of the test. I can jack my card up to 315/535 and my cpu up to 1530MHz when my computer is stone cold in the morning and get just one successful pass before I crash like a big dog. But this doesn't accurately guage the speed of my set-up, it is a big fat cheat! The standard test should have to loop for 5 passes or so to give a valid score. Not to mention the fact that a Geforce 2 chipset is heavily penalized for not having several DirectX 8 hardware features which it can still render with software (Nature test).

It seems like without much effort Mad Onion could address these issues for a more realistic benchtest.
 
OP
Maximus Nickus

Maximus Nickus

Senior Shaman
Joined
Oct 4, 2001
Location
Milton Keynes, U.K.
Thats why we have "Honesty".


I always run my rigs 100% stable, one crash in a Month and its unstable for me, as for your games it obvious why there quicker even with your GPU slower.

All games are very memory hungry, when your FSB is over 160 instead of 150 the bottleneck of the RAM with be lifted slightly.

The Tweaks are designed to squeeze performance out of your rig, so that you can reach you goal without having a suicide run.


Dracula we are talking about both! Windows tweaks will improve 3DMark. Like memory caching...


Maximus Nickus:)
 

Dracula

Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2002
Location
Portugal
I will do my tweak guide :D someday and I post it here ;).
Is a good guide! :D But for 3Dmark!
 
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JesseFK

Registered
Joined
Feb 26, 2002
Location
Utah
I have an All in Wonder Radeon 8500 and it seems to be differnet than the regular 8500. I tried the BIOS Flash that you posted and it wouldn't work with my video card. Also the Radeon Tweaker and R3D tweaker didn't work. I have used the Power strip and it overclocked it but it took away some features. For Example I used the 3D Mark 2000 and it said I didn't have the right hardware to run the 4th test which is the Nature test. But before I installed the tweaker it did have the right hardware features. If you could help me that would be awsome.

Jesse K.
 
OP
Maximus Nickus

Maximus Nickus

Senior Shaman
Joined
Oct 4, 2001
Location
Milton Keynes, U.K.
Hi JesseFK,


All-In-Wonder Radeons are almost the same but have improved picture/TV-out and quality / features and so on.

The BIOS flash won't work becuase its for OEM 8500's to flash to a Retail 8500.

It seems strange that Powerstrip would stop the Nature test from functioning....
Make sure you have the latest drivers

Here for XP
Here for Win2K
9x/Me Here!

Once they are installed (make sure you remove the old ones entirely) re-install Powerstrip.
Also make sure you are running DirectX 8.1 (Windows Xp has this pre-installed) and you are using 3DMark 2001SE from Here

This should fix your problems, if it doesn't tell me about your system configuration and hardware and I'll rattle my brains!


Let me know how it goes.
Maximus Nickus:)