Question Can hard drive performance affect game quality?

noahmorgans

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Nov 9, 2017
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Built this computer about 2 and 1/4 years ago. I used a HDD because it was a cheap build. Recently, download speeds have been awful. When downloading a program 2 days ago, the hard drive was downloading at about 10MB/s. I am almost certain I remember it at about 80MB/s just 4 days ago. Also, I've been trying to play COD Warzone with my brother on PS4. He has 0 frame issues on an older PS4 while I would guess I am around 20 a lot of the time on low settings. In task manager, I use about 40% of CPU and about 80% RAM, but disk is always at 100% which is why I wonder about this.

My questions:

  1. Can hard drive performance affect game quality/frames?
  2. How can I test hard drive performance apart from task manager?
 
1. We all know that game launch and level loads will be faster with a ssd.
But, there are other possibilities such as the time to take checkpoints or to load graphics textures.

2. Go to the web site of the hard drive maker and download their diagnostic program.Seatools for seagate, Data lifeguard for WD.....

What are the rest of your specs? Your problem is likely elsewhere.
 

noahmorgans

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Nov 9, 2017
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1. We all know that game launch and level loads will be faster with a ssd.
But, there are other possibilities such as the time to take checkpoints or to load graphics textures.

2. Go to the web site of the hard drive maker and download their diagnostic program.Seatools for seagate, Data lifeguard for WD.....

What are the rest of your specs? Your problem is likely elsewhere.
i5-7600k and gtx 1050 ti. Any other specs that matter?

Also, it passed the quick test.
 
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Look at task manager to find out which component is using your cpu the most.

If you are multitasking, you need sufficient ram.
If your task manager hard fault page rate is much more than zero, you have a ram shortage.

On occasion, a cheap power supply can cause strange problems.

What is your idle temperature?
If it is more than 10-15c. over ambient, you may be having a heat issue and are throttling.

Might you have malware or a virus?
 

noahmorgans

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Nov 9, 2017
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Look at task manager to find out which component is using your cpu the most.

If you are multitasking, you need sufficient ram.
If your task manager hard fault page rate is much more than zero, you have a ram shortage.

On occasion, a cheap power supply can cause strange problems.

What is your idle temperature?
If it is more than 10-15c. over ambient, you may be having a heat issue and are throttling.

Might you have malware or a virus?
Which component is using my CPU the most during gameplay or out of it?
My hard fault page rate usually is around 2-3, but spikes to 80-100 fairly frequently.
My PSU is a Corsair CX 550M, which I'm pretty sure is solid.
What program do you recommend for checking for viruses for free? I've tried a few like Avast and Bitdefender, but Bitdefender was a big file and Avast tried to install a broswer. Which ones don't do that?

Edit: Reopened the task manager hard fault rate page and it doesn't spike above 5 anymore.

When you say ambient, do you mean room temp? The hard drive is running at about 26 C which should be only about 2-3 above ambient. The CPU is at about 40 C if that matters.
 
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WoW!!
It may take perhaps 40 ms to resolve a hard page fault on a typical 7200 rpm HDD.
While that page fault is being resolved, your app stops dead.
In effect you are losing some 15% cpu capability normally and 100% at peak.
Your only real solution is more ram.
Normally you should see a rate of zero.

In the interim, look to cut down on the number of competing apps.
A SSD will resolve page faults some 40x faster, but that is still a lot of overhead.
If you do not have 16gb of ram, I would look to that first.

I am looking at the cpu temperature.
If the operating cpu temperature reaches 100c. you will slow down the cpu.
I use the idle temperature of the cpu as a quick check to verify that the cooler is working.

If you are using windows defender, that is a quite good program.
It is free and low impact.
You should be using some sort of a anti virus program.

If cpu is your issue, look for anything past your game that has a high usage.
Malware can be one such thing.
Try malwarebytes free edition once to see of you have anything nasty.
 

noahmorgans

Commendable
Nov 9, 2017
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WoW!!
It may take perhaps 40 ms to resolve a hard page fault on a typical 7200 rpm HDD.
While that page fault is being resolved, your app stops dead.
In effect you are losing some 15% cpu capability normally and 100% at peak.
Your only real solution is more ram.
Normally you should see a rate of zero.

In the interim, look to cut down on the number of competing apps.
A SSD will resolve page faults some 40x faster, but that is still a lot of overhead.
If you do not have 16gb of ram, I would look to that first.

I am looking at the cpu temperature.
If the operating cpu temperature reaches 100c. you will slow down the cpu.
I use the idle temperature of the cpu as a quick check to verify that the cooler is working.

If you are using windows defender, that is a quite good program.
It is free and low impact.
You should be using some sort of a anti virus program.

If cpu is your issue, look for anything past your game that has a high usage.
Malware can be one such thing.
Try malwarebytes free edition once to see of you have anything nasty.
I have 8gb of RAM at 3200MHz. I can't find the same RAM in stock anywhere, would it matter if I settled for a different type at 3200 MHz? The CPU temp is definitely not a problem. I am currently using a Malwarebytes scan, we'll see how it goes.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
Built this computer about 2 and 1/4 years ago. I used a HDD because it was a cheap build. Recently, download speeds have been awful. When downloading a program 2 days ago, the hard drive was downloading at about 10MB/s. I am almost certain I remember it at about 80MB/s just 4 days ago. Also, I've been trying to play COD Warzone with my brother on PS4. He has 0 frame issues on an older PS4 while I would guess I am around 20 a lot of the time on low settings. In task manager, I use about 40% of CPU and about 80% RAM, but disk is always at 100% which is why I wonder about this.

My questions:

  1. Can hard drive performance affect game quality/frames?
  2. How can I test hard drive performance apart from task manager?
Download speeds are not game performance. Are games running slow or are you just downloading them to install or update games? The hard drive is not what is downloading things, that is your internet connection speed.
 
I have 8gb of RAM at 3200MHz. I can't find the same RAM in stock anywhere, would it matter if I settled for a different type at 3200 MHz? The CPU temp is definitely not a problem. I am currently using a Malwarebytes scan, we'll see how it goes.
What is the make/model of your motherboard?
Adding ram is not guaranteed to work.
Ram is sold in kits for a reason.
A motherboard must manage all the ram using the same specs of voltage, cas and speed.
The internal workings are designed for the capacity of the kit.
Ram from the same vendor and part number can be made up of differing manufacturing components over time.
Some motherboards, can be very sensitive to this.
This is more difficult when more sticks are involved.

If you do buy more disparate sticks, they should be the same speed, voltage and cas numbers.
Even then your chances of working are less than 100%
I might guess 90% success for intel and less for amd.

What is your plan "B" if the new stick/s do not work?

If you want 16gb, my suggestion if you have an intel motherboard is to buy a 2 x 8gb kit that matches your current specs.
Then, try adding in your old 8gb,
If it works, good; you now have extra ram.
If not, sell the old ram or keep it as a spare.
 

noahmorgans

Commendable
Nov 9, 2017
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What is the make/model of your motherboard?
Adding ram is not guaranteed to work.
Ram is sold in kits for a reason.
A motherboard must manage all the ram using the same specs of voltage, cas and speed.
The internal workings are designed for the capacity of the kit.
Ram from the same vendor and part number can be made up of differing manufacturing components over time.
Some motherboards, can be very sensitive to this.
This is more difficult when more sticks are involved.

If you do buy more disparate sticks, they should be the same speed, voltage and cas numbers.
Even then your chances of working are less than 100%
I might guess 90% success for intel and less for amd.

What is your plan "B" if the new stick/s do not work?

If you want 16gb, my suggestion if you have an intel motherboard is to buy a 2 x 8gb kit that matches your current specs.
Then, try adding in your old 8gb,
If it works, good; you now have extra ram.
If not, sell the old ram or keep it as a spare.
MSI Z270-A Pro. As I said earlier, cheap build. I checked the compatibility on MSI's website and the kind I found is compatible. Does that mean it will work for sure or not? The current RAM and one I'm looking at have the same voltage, cas, and speed. But, the current one shows something called "timing" whereas the new one doesn't. Should I be concerned about that?

Also, the scan was completed. 2,189 threats. If I just quarantine them, is that all I need to do?
 
Yes, quarantine them.
Reconsider your browsing habits; sketchy web sites can introduce malware.

On the ram, even the same part number and batch number may not work together since they have not been matched by the factory.
The two sticks must exactly match not only in speed, voltage, timings but also in internal construction.
That is why ram is sold in matched kits.

Intel is quite tolerant on mismatched ram.
Just consider your plan B if it turns out that your new ram does not work properly.
If you buy from a place where you can return it, then ok.
Sometimes adding ram voltage in the bios will make mismatched ram work.
 

noahmorgans

Commendable
Nov 9, 2017
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Yes, quarantine them.
Reconsider your browsing habits; sketchy web sites can introduce malware.

On the ram, even the same part number and batch number may not work together since they have not been matched by the factory.
The two sticks must exactly match not only in speed, voltage, timings but also in internal construction.
That is why ram is sold in matched kits.

Intel is quite tolerant on mismatched ram.
Just consider your plan B if it turns out that your new ram does not work properly.
If you buy from a place where you can return it, then ok.
Sometimes adding ram voltage in the bios will make mismatched ram work.
I have a 10 year old that uses the computer and is my likely suspect for the threats.

I do use Intel, so hopefully that will work. Even doing a simple task such as opening Chrome will spike faults/sec to around 80.
 
Apr 28, 2020
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@noahmorgans I have read a lot about this and have experienced the same myself as well. The thing is hard drive performance DOES NOT affect the game's performance in terms of FPS. But, it has a significant impact on loading time.

Basically, a better hard drive means faster read/write operation. So, when a game has to pull resources from the hard drive at the time of loading, the process becomes faster. But, FPS is more dependent on VRAM and not your hard drive. I hope this helps!

You can read more about the same here:
 
How does vram get loaded??
It comes from the hard drive and the game.
How important this can be is not known.

VRAM has become a marketing issue.
My understanding is that vram is more of a performance issue than a functional issue.
A game needs to have most of the data in vram that it uses most of the time.
Somewhat like real ram.
If a game needs something not in vram, it needs to get it across the pcie boundary
hopefully from real ram and hopefully not from a hard drive.
It is not informative to know to what level the available vram is filled.
Possibly much of what is there is not needed.
What is not known is the rate of vram exchange.
Vram is managed by the Graphics card driver, and by the game. There may be differences in effectiveness between amd and nvidia cards.
And differences between games.
Here is an older performance test comparing 2gb with 4gb vram.
Spoiler... not a significant difference.
A more current set of tests shows the same results:
http://www.techspot.com/review/1114-vram-comparison-test/page5.html

And... no game maker wants to limit their market by
requiring huge amounts of vram. The vram you see will be appropriate to the particular card.

On ram, 80 hard faults per second can be forever particularly on a laptop 5400 rpm drive.
The process of swapping a page out to a drive and loading in the needed code can take 40ms effectively stopping the cpu from advancing the app for the duration.
The only fix is to use less or get more ram.
 

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