Improving the performance of MSTS

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Improving the performance of MSTS

Post  rufuskins on Thu 28 Mar 2013, 7:54 am

Having regained access to the TrainSim forums I have once again started to see what ideas they have for improving the performance of MSTS with existing Windows Operating Systems pre W8.
This one that I reference below seems to fit the bill:-

http://www.trainsim.com/vbts/showthread.php?313712-MSTS-Cannot-Use-More-Than-2GB-of-Memory-Or-Can-It

Some of the computer speak went over my head, but I would be interested in opinions from those who perhaps better understand the inner workings of OSs.

It can never be forgotten that available RAM in 2001 was just a little less than today! Wink Wink

Alec


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Re: Improving the performance of MSTS

Post  slipperman12 on Thu 28 Mar 2013, 2:19 pm

Hi Alec,
I've been following that thread since it started - it looks most interesting! There have been similar discussions before, which haven't really led anywhere. This program - Large Address Aware (laa 2.0.4) seems to be a new one; it's important to note that if it is to be used with a 32 bit Operating System, other changes have to be made, otherwise it can be used directly with a 64 bit OS.
I haven't tested the software yet, because I haven't come across a route which crashes due to reaching the 2GB limit **. However, reports seem to indicate that MSTS runs more smoothly with laa installed, but, in the past,these are very often due to users seeing improvements they want to see and are not quantifiable.

** Having said that, I wonder if the Dorset Coast problem whereby, after running for some time, it starts being unable to find sms files, is caused by the limit being reached?

I have downloaded the software and once I can allocate a great deal of time, will run some tests. I will, of course, keep this Forum updated Smile Of course, someone else may beat me to it!

Cheers,
Ged

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Re: Improving the performance of MSTS

Post  rufuskins on Thu 28 Mar 2013, 6:22 pm

slipperman12 wrote:
I have downloaded the software and once I can allocate a great deal of time, will run some tests. I will, of course, keep this Forum updated Smile Of course, someone else may beat me to it!
Cheers,
Ged

I think we would all appreciate such testing, but of course the critical part is finding that elusive "time"! Wink Wink

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Re: Improving the performance of MSTS

Post  slipperman12 on Thu 28 Mar 2013, 10:30 pm

Hi Alec,
I shouldn't really complain about finding time! After all, like several members here, I am fortunate to have all day, every day, every week, etc., to do just what I want. However, I have had a 'little' project under way for 6 months but I've neglected it over the last few weeks; whether it'll ever see the light of day, I don't know. I envy those, like Clive and Niall, who seem to be able to create something great out of very little Cool Sorry, I missed Danny, whose South East route gets better and better!

Cheers,
Ged


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Re: Improving the performance of MSTS

Post  dee4141 on Thu 28 Mar 2013, 10:51 pm

Sorry, I missed Danny

You weren't the first Ged - and you won't be the last either! Wink
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Re: Improving the performance of MSTS

Post  j3801 on Fri 29 Mar 2013, 12:33 am

Hi Guys,

Having just tested this out on one route I would like to report the following:

I tested this out on the EB ECML with DB tracks fitted, Bats A3 Book Law and my Pullmans in as the 9 coach Yorkshire Pullman set (this includes 26000 poly 12 wheelers). The program does increase fps (around 5-10) in most areas, but there is still a fps drop when MSTS loads a heavily populated tile.

My computer specs is as follows:
3ghz core 2 duo processor
4 gb ram
2x 750 gb hard drives
Windows Vista home pro.

I have a cpu monitor progam running and it showed that the processor was never above 70% when running MSTS.

Justin


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Re: Improving the performance of MSTS

Post  Bob Latimer on Tue 02 Apr 2013, 4:28 am

I've just downloaded and had a look at this software. I applied it to my train.exe (after backing up the original first) and then, for a simple and quick test I used only the Dorset Coast route (v6) with about 15 activities "active".

I'm running W7 64bit with 8Gb of RAM.

I started up the same activity each time, had a look at the fps in exactly the same place at the same time and then minimized MSTS and had a look in the Task Manager Processes window to see how much memory train.exe was using. I tried three configurations, (1) my original train.exe with a mem switch of 1024, (2) the Large Address Aware train.exe with a mem switch of 1024 and then (3) the Large Address Aware train.exe with a mem switch of 4096.

(1) gave me the best frame rate and (3) the worst. (1) used the most memory and (3) the least.

I realize that was just a "quick and dirty" test and may not be indicative.

Bob.


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Re: Improving the performance of MSTS

Post  slipperman12 on Mon 15 Apr 2013, 10:12 pm

Hi All,
As promised in my (much) earlier post, I have now done a few tests with the Large Address Aware (LAA) program.
Rather than check on the fps rates, as Bob has done, I decided to concentrate on a different problem! I've found, particularly when running large routes, like Dorset Coast, after some time MSTS will just crash; hence the reason for taking saves every 15 - 20 minutes.

Using Dorset Coast v6, I ran the DC Tours No.1 - Leg 1 (Waterloo to Eastleigh) activity four times, two as 'normal' and two with train.exe modified.
1. 'Normal' mode : After running for just over an hour, MSTS crashed after leaving Basingstoke with the "stopped working" message.
2. 'LAA' mode : Activity completed successfully.
3. 'Normal' mode : After running for about 25 minutes, MSTS "stopped working" just after passing through West Byfleet.
4. 'LAA' mode : Activity completed successfully.

All runs were preceded by a reboot and, as far as possible, the same 'background' tasks were running; MSTS settings were identical for all runs. Train Store was NOT used.

While in no way can these tests be treated as conclusive, it does show promise. It requires a lot more testing, preferably by many different users before it can be said to definitely improve the stability of MSTS. Any volunteers? Cool

I haven't closely monitored my fps rates but whenever I did check it, there seemed to be no difference between any of the runs. One thing it doesn't change is the stuttering (obviously!) when tile-loading and placing AI consists - this will be the subject of later tests using an SSD and, alternatively, a RAM Disk.

Cheers,
Ged

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Re: Improving the performance of MSTS

Post  35005CP on Mon 15 Apr 2013, 10:22 pm

Hi Ged,
Is this LAA (Large Address Aware) Application available for download anywhere? I'd like to give it a go and see what differences it makes to my system and to MSTS in particular.
Many Thanks
Andy
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Re: Improving the performance of MSTS

Post  slipperman12 on Mon 15 Apr 2013, 10:29 pm

Hi Andy,
You can get it here : http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/showthread.php?t=112556

Scroll down to the end of the first post.

Take note that it's not recommended if your PC has less than 3GB memory!

Cheers,
Ged

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Re: Improving the performance of MSTS

Post  rufuskins on Mon 15 Apr 2013, 10:51 pm

Ged
The results of your tests look interesting, although I'm wondering how you got DCv6 to work without TrainStore - presumably it was the only route in your TS?
I've downloaded the application and noted the recommended tweak for the 32bit W7 OS, which mine is. Not sure when I'll be able to test?
Alec


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Re: Improving the performance of MSTS

Post  slipperman12 on Mon 15 Apr 2013, 11:18 pm

Hi Alec,
Yes, Dorset Coast is the only 'custom' route in that MSTS installation.

However, you've raised another point, which I may as well air here, if you don't mind!!

I could never get DC to run without Train Store, which is why I've commented several times that I can't run it without. Then Bob (Latimer) published his list of amended paths for DC on trainsim.com. This got me thinking - a very bad thing to do Wink Bob advised not to install all his paths, but only to replace those that were present. This was a very long list, so instead of installing Bob's paths, I removed all the paths, activities, services, traffic and consists files and then installed only the DC Tours activities - I left the TRAINSET folder as it was.

Thinking that my inability to run DC in straight MSTS just may have been due to some paths which were incompatible with DC v6, I started it up - and it worked. I do appreciate that the reason it was now successful could be that there are fewer files of various types to load, but it may be worth further investigation! I still have the removed files backed up.

Regarding LAA, yes, it seems a little more complicated if you're using a 32 bit OS - I'm sorry, but I can't offer any help or suggestions if yours is that flavour Sad

Cheers,
Ged

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Re: Improving the performance of MSTS

Post  rufuskins on Tue 16 Apr 2013, 8:39 am

Ged
According to your link for downloading LAA the tweak to a 32bit W7 OS is as follows:-

Although as we know MSTS will never use that amount of RAM - unless someone knows different?
Alec


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Re: Improving the performance of MSTS

Post  slipperman12 on Tue 16 Apr 2013, 9:30 am

Hi Alec,
Agreed, but I don't know enough about it to offer any opinion or suggestions!

It does, after all, seem quite straight forward to apply to a 32 bit OS, but I'm sure there were other recommendations within the trainsim.com Forum regarding setting the affinity and/or priority of the processor cores.

However, it may be worthwhile for you to try it on your OS, but if you're using XP, I'm not certain if bcdedit is available.

Cheers,
Ged

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Re: Improving the performance of MSTS

Post  rufuskins on Tue 16 Apr 2013, 11:10 am

Ged
I'm currently using W7 with no intention of changing - unless I regress to XP! Shocked Shocked
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Re: Improving the performance of MSTS

Post  slipperman12 on Wed 17 Apr 2013, 11:23 pm

Hi All,
Continuing my experiments...

I have carried out four runs of the same activity (Dorset Coast v6 - DC Tours No.1 - Leg 1) using the LAA-enhanced train.exe, but three of them crashed with the "stopped working" message, each at a different location. It's possible that the crash is caused by something outside of MSTS, especially when the only time I've had this type of crash with MSTS is while testing Win 8 with a Radeon graphics card - investigations are continuing!

These extra runs were part of my tests, with a modern SSD (Samsung 840 120GB) and a RAM disk (Radeon RAMDisk set at 4GB), in an attempt to find out if it's possible to reduce the pauses when AI consists are loaded. I would like to have said that the tests were successful, but they weren't Sad Using the SSD, they might have been reduced slightly, but without sophisticated test equipment, it's not possible to say for certain - whatever.. they are still there! Using a RAMDisk should be the fastest way of accessing any files, but the pauses still happened. It is possible that there are some calls to Windows files, which aren't on the SSD or RAM disk and are causing the pauses - this will be proved when I put Win 7 on to the SSD!

I've also tested using a program called FancyCache, but, as far as I understand it, this is only effective if the same data is being regularly read from the disk. In MSTS, this would only apply to the second and subsequent times a consist was used within an activity, and wouldn't apply to tile-loading. I noticed a few times in the test activity that the loading of an AI train didn't cause a pause, but not really enough to say it's worth purchasing the program (the full version can be freely evaluated for about 100 days).

Apologies for the lack of good news on this front, but it'd be great if any other members are, or have been, carrying out similar tests and could post their results.

Cheers,
Ged

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