This article is reprinted from a post on the WW2OL
forum by Wmmunny
Comp freezes during gameplay? try this...
In preparation for my buying WWIIOL, I was researching
which memory chip to try. A little background, which will tie
in here... I built my comp (It was pretty cool - knew nothing
about comps, not even proper shutdown procedure, but I wanted
a good one but they were too much $$$, so I began researching
parts and bought 1 or 2 parts with each paycheck, learned a whole
lot in the process) using an EB series P3 processor, whitch uses
the pc133 memory. PC133 is more finicky than pc100; it is important
that the "nanosecond" rating on each chip match. My
first chip was a Corsair 128mb chip rated at 6 nanoseconds. I
saw a 256mb pc133 chip for $61 and a generic 7 nanosecond 512mb
pc133 chip for $41, so my dilemma was whether to stick with the
smaller corsair chip (384mb total) or remove it and put in the
cheaper 512mb chip. In the course of my research I found the following
quote in an independent review:
"80% of system freeze-ups are caused by low quality
or generic memory... the memory chip can have as big an impact
on overall system performance as the processor does. After all,
you wouldn't use a generic processor or hard drive in your computer,
The review went on to compare the performance of good
name brand chips against generic ones in a series of bench tests,
and, without getting into detail, the results were astonishing.
I went ahead and ordered the 256mb Corsair chip.
It turns out that Corsair makes some of the finest
memory chips in the world. They are regularly used in high-performance
servers for their excellent reliability, as well as in test systems
for running benchmarks on other high-performance components. There
are other good names out there (Viking comes to mind) but from
my experience I'd recommend Corsair to anyone. They are more expensive
but well worth it. Even if you don't get a Corsair, upgrade to
a decent brand if you are using generic chips, and let me know
the results here if you try this.
Remember, games like this one are very demanding on
a computer. You can load up MS Word and type all day and your
comp will not do the computing it does in 60 seconds of WWIIOnline.
A memory chip's job is basically to store information
that the processor anticipates needing in the next few seconds,
since the memory chip can get the information to the processor
much more quickly than a hard drive or cd drive can. The memory
chip needs to keep all this information organised so that when
the processor asks for it the chip is able to locate it and send
it (typically the info requested is on the way to the processor
in 2-4 hertz). If the memory chip mislabels or misplaces a piece
of information, and then the processor asks for it, when the memory
chip cannot locate the information the system will often freeze
up. I'm not a computer geek really, this is just how I understand
things to work, I may not be 100% totally accurate, but at least
close enough to illustrate the importance of using quality memory.
Hope this helps, let me know...
RAM overclocking is not terribly difficult nor dangerous
for your machine. Overclocking RAM requires no tools, no extra
cooling, and no actual getting into the box. Its all done in the
BIOS, is very safe to do, and can lead to huge gains in
performance. This tip is especially useful if you have added more
RAM, or replaced your RAM with better sticks recently.
The first thing to do is determine what RAM is in your
machine. You can do this with the Sisoft Sandra program. What you are mainly
concerned with here is the frequency and the CAS rating. It should
be something like 128PC133CAS2. That would be a 128 meg stick
of PC133 speed RAM capable of running at CAS2. If your RAM isn't
capable of running at CAS2, I'd consider replacing it with RAM
There are 2 parts to overclocking RAM, the actual frequency,
usually PC100, PC133, PC2100, ect...and the CAS speed, either
CAS2 or CAS3. First, the CAS numbers. CAS determines how many
clock cycles the memory takes to execute instructions. CAS2 takes
2 clock cycles and CAS3 takes 3 clock cycles. Obviously, the faster
your memory can process instructions, the faster your system will
run...therefore CAS2 is the better choice. In your BIOS settings
you should find a few settings for RAM CAS. There should be CAS
Latency, RAS Precharge, and RAS-to-CAS Delay. All of these should
be set to 2 (or 2T).
Next is frequency. To speed up the frequency, we increase
the access time. This may or may not be an option on some systems.
In mine (Award BIOS) it is called SDRAM Configuration. In it are
several options, from the stock settings, to slow system settings,
to fast settings. Mine goes from 100mgh RAM speed up to 143mgh
RAM speed. There is a BIG difference between running the same
sticks of RAM at 100mgh and 143mgh. If the actual speed increase
isn't noted in megahertz, then its probably listed in access speed
and will say something like 8ms, 7ms, ect. This is access time
in milliseconds. Saving 1ms of time doesn't sound like it would
do much....trust me, it does. You want the lowest access time
available to you.
The last thing we might want to mess with while we
are in there is the RAM's MA Wait State. This may be expressed
as SDRAM MA Wait State or simply Wait State. There should be 3
or 4 setting, Slow Normal, Fast, and maybe Turbo (for VIA/AMD...dunno
much about those yet;). You want the fast or turbo setting. This
cuts the time the RAM requires in between accesses, speeding up
access time a bit more.
Thats all there is to it. Save the changes in the BIOS
and boot up. Run 3DMark as soon as you boot up to test the stability
and check your performance increases. If you made changes (not
everyone will have to, some machines may be set up as fast as
they'll go) then you should score much better. This is the kind
of tweak that, in some cases, gains hundreds of points on 3DMark.
If your system becomes unstable, its not a problem. This tweak
cant hurt your RAM or your system. You simply reboot into the
BIOS and reset your RAM to it's original configuration. If you
have more than a few settings for frequency, you can try playing
with those and setting the Wait State back to normal in order
to gain both stability and still get a performance gain. In most
cases, speeding up RAM isn't going to cause instability if you keep your system maintained. If
you have rogue programs running around, and you are infested with
this might not be for you. But if you run a clean computer, and
you've successfully done other tweaks and have things running
top notch, this is a tweak that can boost you up to the next level
AGP stands for Accelerated Graphics Port, pretty self-explanatory
what it does. All of the better graphics cards plug into this
port. If you don't have an AGP or don't have a card in your AGP...IE
you have a PCI graphics card...then these tips aren't gonna help
you. The AGP is meant for supporting intense graphics drawing
and there are several useful and not so useful settings in your
BIOS for it. Again, the Sisoft Sandra utility is useful here for
determining various things about the AGP.
The first thing to do before undertaking any of the
tweaks below is to go into Sandra and see if the various components
(mobo, AGP, graphics card) support the tweak you are about to
attempt. If even one component does not support the tweak, don't
bother with it unless you are SURE Sandra is wrong. You wont do
any damage, but you'll probably crash.
Probably the biggest tweak for the AGP is the multiplier.
AGP's operate at normal speed, 2x, and 4x. If your motherboard
and components support it, you should run at the highest speed
possible, 4x. If you find you are running at normal or 2x, try
changing this setting. Note that if you 'force' a speed faster
than a component can handle, you WILL crash, or not boot. Some
programs are available that allow you to both change and 'force'
these settings, use at your own risk. Generally though, if your
BIOS allows it, and you haven't swapped out components for inferior
ones, it will work. This can make for big gains in graphics performance.
Next is Side Band and Fast-Writes. Both of these must
be available to use them. If your components support Side Band
or Fast-Writes or both, enable them. These can gain you a small
bit of performance. Fast-Writes can make some systems unstable,
and if either of them give you any problems, just disable them.
This is one of those 'small tweaks add up' things...if you can
get it going, cool, if not, don't worry about it.
Next is AGP Aperture. There really isn't a whole lot
to be gained here either, but its worth toying with because it
wont hurt anything. Generally, you can leave this alone unless
you have upgraded your graphics card and/or RAM. If you have put
in more RAM and tossed out that 4 meg graphics card for a new
GEForce3, it probably wouldn't hurt to increase the AGP Aperture.
There is no real hard and fast rules for this. Many people say
that it should be equal to half your RAM + your graphics card
memory. I personally find that 128 works best, but experimentation
is a good thing here. Your system may become a little unstable
at the higher settings (256 and 512)...if so, back off. This particular
tweak isn't as useful as it could be because many applications
override the AGP Aperture and set it themselves, so again, if
this option causes any problems, its probably not worth it.
Thats about it for AGP...all I can think of right now
anyways...I need to look around and make sure I didn't miss anything.
These are pretty good tips, and if you can do all of them, great!
Its going to help. But even if you can only swing one or two,
it will still make a difference. These tweaks can be hard to judge,
so make sure you benchmark with 3DMark to keep an eye on your