Posted by buckybit (1455 posts) -
All these new screenshots are made with the game settings on ULTRA (one below "Extreme" which is the highest setting. Framerate is around 50-60)
The synthetic benchmark "Teutoburg Forest" gives me an average of 50 FPS on a AMD A8 3850 (4x3.6 GHz OC) - not a gaming CPU at all
one feature I turned off, because it is a frame eater, is "alpha vegetation" ...
... which to my knowledge is "alpha-to-coverage" multisampling, used for foliage and grass.
A rather lower end/mid level DX 11 GFX card: NVIDIA EVGA GTX 650 Ti BOOST OC (BOOST = Kepler 32nm chip architecture, unlike the regular 30% slower 650s. Also 2 GB of Video RAM helps.)

I use a RAMDisk setup and have the Total War: Rome II "data" folder running from system memory. As some of you may know, RAMDisk is STILL faster (around 10x faster) than the fastest SSD drive.

If you have a fast, modern DX11 card and ideally 2GB VRAM (or more), while enabling "unlimited video memory" in the game menu option, you may be in for a surprise, like I was minutes ago.

As I see it - smarter people may correct me - the game uses texture streaming to the fullest. Think of idSoftware and "Megatextures"? Depending on the throughput speed, the things you see on your monitors can either look "bad", "good", "amazing" or even "more amazing". Of course, the weakest link, can prevent that from happening and the bottleneck to all of this is ... your harddrive?

While looking "fabulous", it also helps keeping the framerate around the 50-60ish. All depends on your PC setup and hardware though. This does not account for frame rate issues due to your hardware, drivers, netcode, existing bugs, Game AI/Lua script threading issues, etc, etc.

Minor side note: I feel sad for the people on the Steam forums complaining about the "length" a turn takes in this Turn Based Strategy game. They never have seen Gary Kasparov vs Deep Blue (IBM), nor played against a chess software, and most certainly never tried to write Game AI code themselves. But lets not open here this ugly bag of worms.

I am making some new screenshots and will record some youtube videos later (you have to take my word for it).

If you have at least 8 GB of System RAM, better 16, much better 32, you may want to googlebing "how to create RAM Disk" and "how to symlink files" or use "junctions". Those are the keywords.

I keep singing the praise for RAMDisk usage for quite some time now. If you have games with large assets and want to optimize your gaming experience or tweak some additional framerates out of your game (not to mention the loading times!), this is a great and cheap way to go. I use RAMDisk for I/O heavy titles like Train Simulator 2013, or ARMA 2/DayZ, etc, etc ... think of everything, that takes a long time to load or needs to read/write a gazillion number of files during gameplay.

End Turn.

#1 Posted by Vuud (2035 posts) -

SO what is this ramdisk? I never heard of it. It looks like it creates a small partition on your hard disk to cache files?

#2 Posted by TyCobb (1975 posts) -

@vuud said:

SO what is this ramdisk? I never heard of it. It looks like it creates a small partition on your hard disk to cache files?

Partition in memory. Hence the name RAMDisk.

#3 Edited by Korwin (3044 posts) -

How big is the install for that game? I've run games out of ram disks before but I wouldn't have thought Rome II would fit in your average configuration. I'm running 16GB at the moment and I wouldn't think that would be enough in this case.

#4 Posted by buckybit (1455 posts) -

@korwin: Download size was 9.9 GB, install size is 19.5 GB (as of now), so 16GB RAM is not enough for the full game (nor the complete "data" folder), BUT (!!) it is big enough to put 10 GB of the 7-8 biggest files on it!

You can reserve 12 GB for the RAMDisk (32bit or 64bit Windows - more than 4 GB for the system and regular programs won't be needed. Not even for games (sadly enough)).

I recommend putting the biggest files from the "data" folder on the RAMDisk, so when the game has to access those big container files and has to shovel individual tiles, terrain or models in between RTS and turn-based moments, the main load is still being handled quicker.

I myself use Dataram RAMDisk http://memory.dataram.com/products-and-services/software/ramdisk.

It is important to "fake"-format the partition to NTFS format instead FAT32 default, so you can copy files, bigger than 2GB.

You can use symlinker http://code.google.com/p/symlinker/downloads/list (free tool) to link to the individual files instead complete directories (which would be done via "junctions").

I really recommend it, since I can now run the game on "EXTREME" settings (highest settings - above "ultra") and still have a decent enough framerate in huge battles and fast responding controls and camera movements! This indicates to me, that the game does not load "everything" up front in memory and it stays there, but is constantly, dynamically streaming data from the harddrive to VRAM and SysRAM.

#5 Posted by Bollard (5870 posts) -

Hmm. Shame I have 6GB of RAM. Never mind, I'm happy with 30-50fps on very high. Does this fix the fact the font looks like ass? (I somehow doubt it :P)

#6 Edited by Jimbo (10008 posts) -

This is interesting, thanks for posting. I've been having loads of trouble trying to get a consistent framerate pretty much regardless of the settings I try, so I'll try this out later if the incoming patch doesn't help. I only have 8gb RAM but maybe it'll help.

My problem has been that the framerate absolutely nosedives (into slideshow territory) once a decent number of units are in view, and especially during combat. My gpu (HD6950 2gb) is barely breaking a sweat while this is happening according to the monitor and my cpu (i5 2500k) barely gets above 75% usage either, though CPU0 is usually running maxed out.

I assumed the problem was CPU related, but it may well be hard drive related if it's having to stream that much in. It's installed on an SSD at the moment.

#7 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

For the amount of RAM I'd have to have in order to make RAMdisk convenient I'd much rather just put that money to an SSD, and I seriously doubt the FPS gains are high; if they are then the game probably isn't very well optimised.

#8 Posted by JouselDelka (966 posts) -

I stink at strategy games so I won't be using this, but I think you're amazing for creating this thorough post and I wanna thank you on behalf of anyone it helps :)

Maybe one day when I overcome my strategic disabilities I'll look this thread up and get my Rome 2 going.

#9 Edited by Jimbo (10008 posts) -

@sooty said:

For the amount of RAM I'd have to have in order to make RAMdisk convenient I'd much rather just put that money to an SSD, and I seriously doubt the FPS gains are high; if they are then the game probably isn't very well optimised.

It's Total War, of course it isn't.

#10 Posted by Fattony12000 (7583 posts) -

Ohhh, something to spend my 16 GB of system RAM on! As a side note, is this a piece of shit beg/nag/spy/adware, because it sure looks like it, based upon looking at their website.

#11 Posted by Kidavenger (3629 posts) -

@fattony12000: amd has a similar offering thats less sketchy looking http://www.radeonmemory.com/software_4.0.php

#12 Posted by buckybit (1455 posts) -

Ohhh, something to spend my 16 GB of system RAM on! As a side note, is this a piece of shit beg/nag/spy/adware, because it sure looks like it, based upon looking at their website.

Haha - this is just how websites looked like in the 1980s!! I can offer you a free alternative (I use it too, occasionally. It works well), but it's Freeware from a Japanese website ... in Japanese.

You have to agree to the EULA by checking the "right" box. See it as a "minigame"?

http://buffalo.jp/download/driver/memory/ramdisk.html

#13 Posted by w1n5t0n (167 posts) -

In the software world everyone knows hard drives are incredibly slow compared to the other systems of a computer. So no game reads directly from a hard drive, that's why we have load times. Now @buckybit is right, there is a bottleneck for textures and other assets in gaming. This bottleneck isnt between Hard drive and RAM it's between RAM and VRAM. Developers have to optimize to overcome this, like drawing everything of a certain type at the same time. This limits how much time is spent loading textures from RAM to VRAM, which is slow". It's why Sony made a big deal about 8Gb of unified memory. The RAM and VRAM are the same and hence no bottleneck.

Also I'm sure someone will correct me on any inaccuracies.

#14 Posted by Mikemcn (7028 posts) -

A ramdisk is a great idea in theory, but it sounds very unstable to me.

#15 Posted by SathingtonWaltz (2053 posts) -

What the hell is wrong with this games colors, it looks like they're marching around a dystopian smog world.

#16 Posted by Jimbo (10008 posts) -

@w1n5t0n said:

In the software world everyone knows hard drives are incredibly slow compared to the other systems of a computer. So no game reads directly from a hard drive, that's why we have load times. Now @buckybit is right, there is a bottleneck for textures and other assets in gaming. This bottleneck isnt between Hard drive and RAM it's between RAM and VRAM. Developers have to optimize to overcome this, like drawing everything of a certain type at the same time. This limits how much time is spent loading textures from RAM to VRAM, which is slow". It's why Sony made a big deal about 8Gb of unified memory. The RAM and VRAM are the same and hence no bottleneck.

Also I'm sure someone will correct me on any inaccuracies.

Some games stream assets from the hard drive as they need them (Rage for instance). I don't think Rome 2 is doing it though. It loads everything it needs into VRAM as you said. I'm not sure why OP is experiencing improved framerate from having the assets stored on RAMDisk.

Bottleneck for me definitely seems to be a CPU issue. I reckon it's something to do with how the AI is handled leading to CPU0 maxing out while the GPU and other cores are hardly breaking a sweat. My guess is the game dynamically switches between using a basic abstract 'Unit AI' and an 'individual soldier AI' depending on whether they're in view or not / how zoomed in the camera is.