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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I've been using ePSXe for well over a year now, and it's a great emu. However I recently got a new uber PC, and it's not running games anywhere near as good as my older, slower PC did.

First off, my system specs...
Alienware Aurora 7500 with:
Athlon AMD 64 X2 4400+ (Dual Core)
ASUS A8N-SLI nForce4 Motherboard
2GB Corsair Low Latency PC3200 RAM
nVidia GeForce 7800GTX
Creative Labs Audigy 2ZS
2x250GB Western Digital SATA Hard Drives
Liteon Combo 12x DVD-ROM/52x CD-Burner
Plextor PX-716A 16x DVD Burner
- - Running on Windows XP SP2

[Games I have tested on have been Einhander, Crash Bandicoot and Crash Bandicoot 2 - they all suffer from stuttering whereas my old system did not.]

Right, onto my problem:

Basically, games stutter a lot - far too much (a lot more than my old PC did, even with the same settings and plugins).

I use Pete's OpenGL2 2.7 for GFX (but I've tried the OpenGL 1.76, D3D 1.76 and Software 1.7 versions too).
I use the Eternal SPU Plugin 1.41 for Sound (but I've tried the ePSXe Core 1.5.2 and P.E.OP.S DSound Audio Driver 1.7 too).
And I use P.E.OP.S CDR Driver 1.4 for my Disc Plugin (I've tried the ePSXe WNT/W2K core 1.5.2 also).

Sometimes, games run nice and smooth at the beginning, but gradually, after 10-15 minutes, they begin to stutter and jump a little, but still remain playable. If I keep playing, it gets worse until I cannot play any longer. Gameplay becomes very jumpy and the sound begins to skip a great deal.
Other times, games simply stutter a lot as soon as I run a game from within the emulator.

Even if the GFX settings are really low, this stuttering still occurs. I can turn the graphics settings right up and still get the same degree of stuttering.

Now, if I go to my Graphics Plugin (any version) and DISABLE the FPS Limit, games run super-slick, really smooth, as they should (with the exception they run about 3x faster than they should do)! Obviously at this speed, games are unplayable, so I *have* to turn the FPS Limit on to slow them down to such a degree that I can play them.

When FPS Limit (either Autodetect or Manual) is turned off, Task Manager shows 20-30% CPU usage, and the games run fine (albeit much too fast, as mentioned above). If I turn the limiter ON, CPU usage is constantly 50% and although the games run at the correct speed, ePSXe begins to choke - badly. This is regardless of whether other programs are running in the background or not.

I have also tried using the game discs to create images on my hard drive, for either mounting with Daemon Tools, or running through ePSXe's File > Run ISO command. Problem remains.

Please note my system otherwise works flawlessly - I play a lot of newish PC games (i.e. World Of Warcraft, GTA San Andreas, Half-Life 2 with all settings cranked up, for hours on end, with no problems whatsoever). Therefore my PC's stability or horsepower is not in question. :)

Any suggestions on how I should go about resolving this problem would be very, very much appreciated!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I've just tried SSSPSX and PSXeven. I don't really like SSSPSX's interface, and PSXeven seems a bit buggy because the GUI sometimes crashes.

However, I tested out the games on those emus (using same plugins as before) and the problem is still occurring. So it doesn't seem to be emu-specific. Basically it looks as though the FPS Limit option in any of Pete's Graphics Plugins run poorly on my machine: the games run fast, stutter, slow, fast, stutter, slow, stutter, etc... It's as though the limiter can't establish a consistent frame rate.

As said in my last post, disabling the FPS Limit makes the games run smoothly but much too fast, so I need to use the FPS Limiter in order to play.

By the way, it's not just games that stutter - all emulation seems to suffer. In this case, I went to File > Run Bios (or a similar command on the other emu's I tried) and watched that animated Sony Computer Entertainment logo as the system booted... even that stuttered!

Has anyone experienced this kind of problem? Could it be related to having a dual-core processor?

Edit: Okay, the plot thickens. It hasn't done this before, but now, even without the FPS Limit on, the stuttering is bad. CPU usage is constantly 50%, but the emulator acts as though it doesn't have a powerful enough CPU. Why only an almost-constant 50%? The value sometimes drops a little, but it looks like the processor is hitting a 'ceiling' and it can't push past utilising 50%. Looking in Task Manager shows the cores balancing the workload between themselves fine. It makes me think even more that this problem is due to my processor.
 

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bsnes, ePSXe
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could be your processor. i dont know anyone else who's run ePSXe on a dual core processor.

your drivers and whatnot are all up to date, right? (videocard, chipset, etc)
 

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Just a notion - some programs don't like running in multiple-cpu environments, whether it's virtual (hyperthreading) or real (multiple cores). I know that Thief in particular had this problem.

So, you might want to try setting your emu's CPU affinity for a single processor. You can find a program to do the modification here:

http://www.quandaryland.com/jsp/dis...Type=Help!+Page&title=Steve's+XP+Games+Corner

Search the page for "imagecfg".

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks for your replies so far.

I'll be really annoyed if it is my CPU causing the problem since there probably won't be anything I can do about it! Every other piece of software functions as it should be - emulating PSX games is the only thing that is causing me grief.

As for drivers, yes, everything is up to date - I'm using the latest official nForce4 Motherboard drivers and the recent ForceWare 77.77 Graphics drivers. I always make sure everything is up to date since afterall this is a gaming system and I want maximum possible performance.

I'd love to know if there's anybody out there reading this who *has* got a dual-core processor and can run PSX games fine?

Edit: You posted just before I did, dbhankins. :) Thanks, I'll go check that out, and report back on my findings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well dbhankins, I went to the site you linked and followed the instructions closely. I'm glad to say it seems to have done the trick!

I hope I'm not speaking too soon, but I've tested four games now over the past two hours or so, and I haven't encountered any slow down whatsoever, even with graphics settings turned up high.

It seems PSX emulation (regardless of emulator) doesn't like running under multiple cores. Setting it up so it uses a single core seems to stabilise any problems I had before (monitoring Task Manager proves that only one core is now being used, whereas before I applied the modification, the workload was being shared between the cores - even though their combined performance never rose above 50%).

I imagine this problem will be experienced by many others soon, since multiple-core processors are becoming increasingly popular. Might be worth spreading the word about this "fix" because (touch-wood) so far it seems to have worked great for me.

I'm very grateful for the help you have both given me, especially you dbhankins for pointing me in the right direction. :D

Fingers crossed I won't have to come back here any time soon with more tales of woe! Now, time to get back to my PlayStation games...

Dan
 

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What's really odd is that I have a hyperthreaded processor and I don't seem to have encountered this problem.

The closest I've come to having this happen to me is - and this is only in certain games, not across the board - long FMVs start stuttering, as if the emu is processing the FMV data faster than the DVD-RW drive can deliver it. And running from an image always fixes that.


Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That is odd indeed. Perhaps it is only a problem that affects AMD's X2 line of processors? The differences between multiple physical and multiple virtual cores? Although if that is the case, exactly why is beyond my knowledge.

As for the FMV problem, I can't say I've ever experienced that. In the past I always played games by putting the discs into an optical drive, and FMV playback was always fine. But since you've got a solution to it, no matter :). Probably has something to do with the increased speed of data transfer when running from a disc image, rather than the disc itself.
 

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You'd think so, except...the bitrates on Intel Indeo Video 5 (which is what I believe PS1 FMVs are coded in) are way lower than MPEG-2 (which is DVD). And the drive can read DVDs at 12X normal DVD speed, and CDs at 40x normal speed - which is way faster than an actual playstation.

Shrug. Images play better anyway, as I don't get hesitation waiting for the drive to spin up.


Dan
 

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Im getting a pentium D processor computer in about 2 weeks. I can test it then to see if its dual core problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That's great, Makotech. Keep us posted on how games play once you have your new processor.

Basically the symptoms I had were an unstable frame rate, severe stuttering/hitching, and the sound speeding up, slowing down, and cutting out. All the problems disappeared after I altered ePSXe.exe so it could only use one core.
 

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bsnes, ePSXe
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dbhankins said:
Okay, I'll bite...how do you turn off drive spindown?


Dan
http://www.snapfiles.com/get/nerodrivespeed.html

if you configure your CD drive properly, you should experience no lag and smooth FMVs (that's how it was for me when i played FF9...then i realized it was easier to play it all on an ISO.)

Dann0r: it plays fine on one processor, right? so then i dont see what the big deal is.
 

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Thanks for the tip on Nero DriveSpeed. It just needs an ASPI driver to work with certain brands of drive.

As for the multiple processor issue, I suppose the big deal is twofold:

First, by default ePSXe (and apparently the other emulators as well) doesn't play on one processor; it plays on as many as the machine's got. As it's not designed for more than one, it runs poorly when the machine's got two or more. A hack is needed to force the program to run on only one processor. Had I not stumbled across the fix while looking at something else, his emulators still wouldn't be working right. (I just can't write "emu" any more - it always puts me in mind of small flightless birds).

Second, as multiple-processor computers become the norm rather than the exception, many more people are going to be having this problem, people not quite as computer-saavy as DannOr. As a result, these forums are probably going to be getting a high volume of "why doesn't this work right?" questions.


Dan
 

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bsnes, ePSXe
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well, we shall see. ePSXe no doubt works fine on HT machines, as i have yet to see the problem reported. but dual core are just showing up...this is a problem that needs to be addressed. PCSX2 is going to support multiple threads eventually, which is way cool.

PS. arent emus actually pretty big..?
 

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bsnes, ePSXe
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Wikipedia said:
The Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae, Latin for "fast-footed New Hollander.") is the largest bird native to Australia and, after the Ostrich, the second-largest bird that survives today.
yeah of course it's smaller than an ostrich, in fact, all birds are because the ostrich is the largest living bird :rolleyes:

have you ever seen an emu in real life? they are pretty damn big.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Well hushypushy, it's no "big deal" for me personally now, because my problem is sorted. But like dbhankins and I have already mentioned - dual-core processors are becoming more prevalent all the time.

If nobody else experiences the problems I have had, then that's great. If however it turns out that dual-core processors are causing problems, then a thread like this might reduce the inevitable "Help!! Emulator is not working properly!!!11" posts in the coming months.

I simply feel it's a good idea that while we have a thread on the topic, we find out whether it's a problem common to all dual-core CPUs or not. Hence, that's why earlier I requested feedback off anyone who has such a processor.

Oh, and it's nice to hear that PCSX2 will support multiple threads someday.
 
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