View Full Version : Question on upgrade

January 15th, 2008, 12:30 PM
Greetings, I am a friend of an avid Train guy who loves the sim. He has been constructing cities and yards and has created some very large files. Several months ago, he asked for assistance in upgrading his video card. He had an ATI Radeon 256, I helped him upgrade to a NVIDIA 8800 GTS, 512 MB. The purpose was to speed his machine up as when he "flys" around the yard/city, the program "stutters" loading all the graphics. He said the upgrade helped a little...but he wants it smoother. He has asked me to help him upgrade the motherboad. Before he spends any more $$$, I thought I would ask this community. His current specs:

GA-K8N Pro SLI (Gigabyte)
AMD Athlon 64 X2
4 GB ram (pc 2700 333)
NVIDIA 8800 GTS 512
Page file size is XP default I think....

He runs both 2004 and 2006 sim...prefers 2004.

I assumed the video card upgrade would have done the trick but he is not happy.

He is wanting to replace the MB with an Intel board (Core 2 Duo, P4 around 3.0). I know this is a faster board but since he has these huge files (he is recreating New Orleans including downtown and all rail yards) would he see and improvement on his "stutters" so he can fly smoothly around the map or is it plausible that the files are so large and upgrade might not improve his situation.

I don't know his frame rates (I know nothing of the simulator...I'm a FPS gamer myself) but don't want him to spend any money if it will not help his situation.

Also, would another 8800 GTS and set up SLI help more than a new MB?

Is this just hopeless with such large files.....?

Thanking anyone in advance....a train sim n00b!


January 15th, 2008, 01:12 PM
A faster CPU will probably help -- Trainz is very CPU heavy.

However, is the stuttering your friend is experiencing really just occurring when he moves to another area and new models are being loaded from disk for display (as opposed to just generally slow frame-rates)? If so, then his disk is probably the bottleneck. Unfortunately disk speeds have not increased nearly as much as other parts of the computer have over the years, so even the fastest, most modern disk might not improve things as much as he would like. But it might be worth it.

Hope some of this helps,

- Madeline

PS: The speed at which you drive trains through an area usually isn't anywhere near as fast as when you're "flying" around the area in Surveyor. So if his complaint isn't really about general frame-rates and instead is about the stuttering from loading new models, he might find the stuttering a non-issue when actually driving. (I say this without knowing anything about his route(s), of course. Since Trainz is so open-ended, it's always possible to design routes that are way beyond the capabilities of any computer in existence today.)

PPS: One more thing ... this is only one data point so extrapolate at your own risk, but on my own fairly large and fairly complex Willow Lake & Grandville route, overclocking my 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo E6600 CPU to 3.0 GHz helped my frame-rates more than upgrading my graphics card from a 512 MB nVidia 7900GTX to a 768 MB nVidia 8800GTX. Both upgrades helped, so I don't regret either, but the CPU speed increase definitely helped more. Trainz just really pounds the CPU.:confused: (For reference here are some other pertinent stats about my machine: 3 GB DDR2-800 RAM, front-side bus overclocked to 1333 MHz, and Trainz and all its models are installed on my 10k RPM WD Raptor drive.)

January 15th, 2008, 02:28 PM
The size of the files shouldn't make that much difference. To get better than you are seeing means a top end machine.

Having said that you are reading from the hard drive so RAID five to spread the load wouldn't hurt. The new X38 Intel io chip set has it built in.

ASUS motherboard with one of the new 45 nm Intel cpus, dual core only gains you as far as XP runs on one and Trainz on the other. 2 gigs of memory for Trainz plus whatever for the operating system, 64 bit Vista seems trendy, 32 bit XP might be faster. However having more memory with 64 bit Vista means the disks will be cached more so you should get a performance gain here.

Video cards, I'll stick my neck out and suggest the new ATI card that is two 512 mb 3870 cards stuck together, PCI express 2.0. It should run cooler than nVidia cards of the same processing power.

The other option is to optimise the trainzoptions.txt file and the performance settings. Set the distance slider etc. back a bit. Dig in the forums this option is cheaper.

Cheerio John