Dual Core Gaming Fix Guide Introduction Since I purchased my X2 and then my dual core Opteron, I noticed that gaming performance suffers while running certain games. [H]ardOCP noted this in one of their reviews as the "Benny Hill Effect." There is a certain amount of stuttering or random speedup/slowdowns while running dual core CPU's in single threaded games. The reason for these problems has to do with power state management in some form or another, as these fixes are designed to address specific power state management issues. For more info, read this document at AMD's website here and Microsoft's software engineers acknowledgment of the problem and solutions here. This thread is intended to consolidate a number of fixes I've come across in this forum and elsewhere. Fix #1 - The AMD Dual Core Optimizer AMD Dual-Core Optimizer - The AMD Dual-Core Optimizer can help improve some PC gaming video performance by compensating for those applications that bypass the Windows API for timing by directly using the RDTSC (Read Time Stamp Counter) instruction. Applications that rely on RDTSC do not benefit from the logic in the operating system to properly account for the affect of power management mechanisms on the rate at which a processor core's Time Stamp Counter (TSC) is incremented. The AMD Dual-Core Optimizer helps to correct the resulting video performance effects or other incorrect timing effects that these applications may experience on dual-core or multiple processor systems. You can download it here: http://support.amd.com/us/Pages/dyn...cd2c08-1432-4756-aafa-4d9dc646342f&ItemID=153 Fix #2 - The AMD Driver ( /usepmtimer switch) 1. Install the AMD Processor driver found here: http://support.amd.com/us/Pages/dyn...432-4756-aafa-4d9dc646342f&ItemID=173&lang=us AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 Dual Core Processor Driver for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 Version (exe) 1.3.2 (or other driver depending on your OS). This driver will add the /usepmtimer line to your boot.ini file. This will both fix problems in some games (BF2) and will raise problems in others (WoW). So depending on what games you are playing, you might have to edit your boot.ini to reflect the game you are playing. 2. Add the /usepmtimer switch to your boot.ini file manually Right Click My Computer Properties Advanced Tab Startup and Recovery -> Settings To edit the startup options manually, click edit -> Edit This should bring up a .txt file with your boot.ini file Add the /usepmtimer as noted above and it will do what the driver does for you. If it is already there and you still have problems, you might want to take it out and try again, or try one of the other fixes. Fix #3 - The Microsoft Hotfix NOTE: This Hotfix is only for Windows XP w/SP2 per the documentation at the link below. Not required for XP SP3 as it is already installed. Here is the official Microsoft link to v.4 of the Hotfix. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/...FamilyID=C2AB5A48-8240-4934-BBD8-34FB8A0FCE3B Other versions (v.3) can be found at one of these mirrors: http://exphose.com/upfiles/1/WindowsXP-KB896256-v3-x86-ENU.exe http://www.evilkitty.org/misc/WindowsXP-KB896256-v3-x86-ENU.exe http://static.hardwareluxx.de:443/hardware/andreas/Software/WindowsXP-KB896256-v3-x86-ENU.exe http://techtype.msfnhosting.com/windowsxp-kb896256-v3-x86-enu.exe http://www.perambula.net/res/WindowsXP-KB896256-v3-x86-ENU.exe If you need to disable the hotfix, edit the registry as noted here (specifically note #7 which details how to deactivate/activate the hotfix): http://support.microsoft.com/Default.aspx?id=896256 Specifics as to what is being done from the power management side of things can be read at the link above. These are just the changes that need to be made in the registry. Also note that in the DWORD value box, you enter a "0" to disable the power state created by the hotfix and enter a "1" to enable it. For the purposes of fixing the games, enter a "1". Fix #4 - Set the Affinity Manually Finally, the last and least glorious of the fixes is to manually set the CPU affinity of certain programs. This can be done in several ways. 1. Alt-Tab out of your game, CTRL-ALT-DEL to the Task Manager, Under the Processes tab, right click the .exe file for your game and go to Set Affinity, Uncheck CPU 1. 2. Use a program to launch games Win2000/WinXP Launcher to load games. (Available here: http://www.majorgeeks.com/Win2000_Launcher_d438.html or http://www.majorgeeks.com/WinLauncherXP_d870.html). This will allow you to set the CPU affinity before loading the game, which is useful for games that don't respond well to Alt-Tabbing. 3. Use an affinity masking tool such as ImageCFG (http://www.robpol86.com/Pages/imagecfg.php for instructions on how to use). Backup your .exe before using this program. Imagecfg has a problem with some directories with spaces in them, so its easiest to stick it in the folder with the *.exe file you want to change. Then use the command you need (knowledge of the DOS prompt is a must ): imagecfg -a 0x1 game.exe for core 1 imagecfg -a 0x2 game.exe for core 2 This will alter your .exe file, so make a backup of it. Especially since future game patches might not work with a patched .exe. RunFirst - http://www.activeplus.com/us/freeware/runfirst/ Affinity Set Command by JakFrost http://www.hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1029075750&postcount=431 Alternate Fix #5 - Newer video drivers for your graphics card If you're using an Nvidia video card. Download one of the Forceware 80 or 90 series drivers which are dual core optimized. Latest are available here: http://www.nvidia.com/content/drivers/drivers.asp Some older drivers may/may not work with some games/benchmarks and dual core processors. Nvidia drivers have been clearing up some dual core crashing problems and some other games without having to go through the optimizations below. http://www.nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx?lang=en-us ATI drivers available here: http://support.amd.com/us/gpudownload/Pages/index.aspx I would assume dual core support to be forthcoming in future Catalyst releases. Nvidia Dual Core Driver Optimization Warning, still testing this, if you have results please post If you are experiencing problems with the Nvidia dual core driver optimizations, you can turn them off in the registry by using the following steps (or use the older 77.77 drivers). As always, backup your registry before editing. Conclusion One of the above solutions should fix 98% of your gaming problems with dual core CPU's. Any comments or suggestions are welcome.