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i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

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Reply 40 of 62, by Joseph_Joestar

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Hooked up my wired Xbox360 controller to this rig. There are drivers for WinXP as well as Win7, and it works great under both operating systems. The intent is to use it with certain games from the 2006-2013 period which use the Xbox button layout and symbols by default.

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A good example would be the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot, which supports this controller out of the box. Even vibration works correctly, so it pretty much feels like playing the game on a console. This suits me fine, because sometimes, I'm in the mood for a couch gaming session, and using a controller is more convenient for that.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 41 of 62, by Joseph_Joestar

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Guess I'm finally ready to join the Vogons Art Club. 😁 My ASUS ProArt PA248QV 24.1" monitor arrived this morning:

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I briefly tested some games under WinXP, and I'm very pleased to say that this monitor allows for proper 4:3 aspect ratio adjustments even while running over a HDMI or Display Port connection. Meaning, the 1600x1200 resolution looks correct without having to mess with Nvidia drivers' craptastic scaling options:

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I'll be doing a more thorough review after I've had some time to test everything. So far, the first impressions are great!

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 42 of 62, by Joseph_Joestar

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After some more testing, I've decided to hook up all of my non-DOS retro systems to the ProArt. Right now, I have my WinXP/Win7 PC connected via Display Port cable, while my Win9x systems are using a simple DVI to HDMI adapter and connect via the HDMI cable. Lastly, older systems which are VGA only (e.g. my Voodoo 3 rig) use the VGA cable. So far, all of this seems to be working perfectly, and I'm very happy with the results.

I'll post a detailed review of the ProArt a bit later, including a small INF mod that I made, which allows for installing the monitor drivers under WinXP and Win9x.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 43 of 62, by Joseph_Joestar

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Mini guide: Installing ASUS ProArt PA248QV drivers under Windows XP

Note: ASUS doesn't officially support Windows XP (or older) for this monitor. However, with a simple modification to the INF file, you can allow the driver to be installed on Windows XP or even Windows 98SE. Here are the relevant steps:

  • Download the official Windows 7 32-bit drivers from the ASUS support website.
  • Extract the archive, and then copy pa248qv.cat, PA248QV.icm and PA248QV.inf to C:\ProArt
  • Open C:\ProArt\PA248QV.inf in Notepad
  • Delete the following lines, then save your changes:
    [PA248QV_A_H.Install.Services]
    AddService=monitor, %SPSVCINST_ASSOCSERVICE%, Monitor_Service.Install

    [PA248QV_DisplayPort.Install.Services]
    AddService=monitor, %SPSVCINST_ASSOCSERVICE%, Monitor_Service.Install
  • Under WinXP, go to Device Manager > Monitor > Update Driver > Install from a list or specific location (Advanced) > Don't search. I will choose the driver to install > Have Disk > C:\ProArt
  • If all goes well, you should now have the proper driver installed, along with the corresponding color profile
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As a bonus, this modification also allows the drivers to be installed under Windows 98SE. The driver update process is slightly different there, but as long as you get the "Have Disk" option, you're good to go.

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PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 44 of 62, by Joseph_Joestar

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Mini review: ASUS ProArt PA248QV monitor

For reference, this is a 24.1" widescreen monitor (16:10) which is still sold brand new in stores, at the time of this writing. It has a native resolution of 1920x1200, but it can enforce a 4:3 aspect ratio when using the 1600x1200 resolution, without being dependent on any GPU driver scaling options. This works fine whether you're using a HDMI, Display Port or VGA connection. Note that 1600x1200 is an officially supported resolution, which is listed in the monitor's manual. This means that it is properly exposed to Windows and can be used out of the box. I'm mentioning this because some other 16:10 monitors do not officially support 1600x1200 and you need to manually create it as a custom resolution, which is driver and GPU dependent. BTW, while this monitor only officially supports Windows 7 and up, with a slight INF file modification, the drivers can be installed under WinXP and Win9x as well.

One of the highlights of the ProArt is its professional color calibration. I dare say, this is the first time ever that I bought a new monitor where I didn't feel the need to adjust any of the settings manually. The picture was great out of the box, and I just left everything at default values. The colors are vibrant, the image is sharp, and the response time is pretty decent (5ms gtg) especially for retro gaming purposes. It supports refresh rates up to 75Hz, but I keep it at 60Hz because some WinXP era games like Star Wars: KOTOR expect that, and have physics issues with higher values.

The monitor has Display Port, HDMI and VGA connectors on the back (one of each) as well as headphone, audio and USB 3.0 ports. The USB passthrough is kinda neat if you want to connect your keyboard, mouse or a wired gamepad without creating too much cable clutter. Inside the box, you get Display Port, HDMI and USB 3.0 cables, along with a power cord. No brick adapter or anything, just your standard PC power cable. I like the adjustable stand, which goes up to 130mm in height. The hole in the center makes cable management easy. With this stand, you can also swivel, tilt or even pivot the monitor if you like. The ProArt also has built-in 2W speakers, but I haven't used them since I have a dedicated 5.1 surround sound speaker setup.

Upscaling from lower resolutions works fairly well. This is especially true when using 800x600 which gets a clean 2x upscale on each axis. You can also adjust the sharpness, even when using digital connections like HDMI or Display Port. This can help to fine tune the upscaled image to your liking. Unfortunately, this monitor does not allow for aspect ratio correction when displaying the 320x200 resolution, which is what most DOS games use. Therefore, such games will always be stretched to full screen, so I don't recommend this monitor for DOS gaming.

In summary, this is an excellent monitor for Win9x and WinXP retro gaming when using the 1600x1200 or 800x600 resolutions. And some later WinXP titles even support its native 1920x1200 widescreen resolution, which looks great as well. For me, the excellent color calibration and decent response time make the ProArt a much better choice than any of the period-correct LCD monitors from the mid 2000s. It's a great fit for a high-end retro gaming setup.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 45 of 62, by Shponglefan

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Welcome to the ProArt club! 'tis a nice a monitor indeed! 😁

The goods to know about the modified INF for XP. I've got my ProArt hooked up to my XP rig, but haven't used a modded INF. At the moment, it still thinks I'm hooked up to a TV set.

Couple questions:

1) You mention "clean upscaling" at 800x600? What do you mean by "clean"? My experience is the ProArt still applies smoothing algorithm to its output even at 800x600. So it doesn't technically do pixel perfect scaling even at resolutions that could theoretically support it. Unless you have a way to turn off the image smoothing? I've tried searching its options but couldn't find anything.

2) Do you know if there is a list of games that don't work well above 60Hz? I've been usually leaving my display at 75Hz, although haven't tried to play KOTOR specifically. I'm wondering if there is a list of such games; would be handy to have for reference.

Pentium 4 Multi-OS Build
486 DX4-100 with 6 sound cards
486 DX-33 with 5 sound cards

Reply 46 of 62, by Joseph_Joestar

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Shponglefan wrote on 2024-03-20, 12:31:

Welcome to the ProArt club! 'tis a nice a monitor indeed! 😁

Cheers! 😀 I actually got it based on recommendations by you and a few other people on this forum.

1) You mention "clean upscaling" at 800x600? What do you mean by "clean"? My experience is the ProArt still applies smoothing algorithm to its output even at 800x600. So it doesn't technically do pixel perfect scaling even at resolutions that could theoretically support it. Unless you have a way to turn off the image smoothing? I've tried searching its options but couldn't find anything.

Just that 800x600 can integer upscale (2x) to 1600x1200 and therefore looks cleaner than a non-integer upscale (e.g. 1024x768 to 1600x1200). Back in my console emulation days, I learned that you want integer scaling whenever possible. I haven't discovered any way to get rid of the smoothing, but you can mitigate it somewhat by increasing the monitor's Sharpness setting. I find the end result to be satisfactory.

2) Do you know if there is a list of games that don't work well above 60Hz? I've been usually leaving my display at 75Hz, although haven't tried to play KOTOR specifically. I'm wondering if there is a list of such games; would be handy to have for reference.

I'm not aware of a list, but I regularly check games for potential issues on the PC Gaming Wiki before (re)playing them. With KOTOR, I personally encountered the broken physics while playing on a CRT monitor a few years ago. It's explained here. Another game which has similar problems is Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow as described here. Rule of thumb: if a game from the 2000s is a console port, it was likely designed for 60Hz TVs of that time, and might not work correctly at higher refresh rates. But again, check the PC Gaming Wiki for each game to be sure.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 47 of 62, by Shponglefan

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Your experience with the scaling / sharpening mirrors my experience. For a moment, I had hope there might have been a way to turn it off altogether. I've been using the two user settings options to set different sharpen settings depending on which resolution I switch to.

And that's good to know about games that have issues with >60Hz. I'll probably start combing PC Gaming Wiki and maybe make a list myself just to keep on hand.

Pentium 4 Multi-OS Build
486 DX4-100 with 6 sound cards
486 DX-33 with 5 sound cards

Reply 48 of 62, by bZbZbZ

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2024-02-21, 14:21:

Hooked up my wired Xbox360 controller to this rig. There are drivers for WinXP as well as Win7, and it works great under both operating systems. The intent is to use it with certain games from the 2006-2013 period which use the Xbox button layout and symbols by default.

A good example would be the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot, which supports this controller out of the box. Even vibration works correctly, so it pretty much feels like playing the game on a console. This suits me fine, because sometimes, I'm in the mood for a couch gaming session, and using a controller is more convenient for that.

Nice... the Xbox 360 controller is one of my favorite retro gaming accessories. I actually went through the trouble of patching/modding Need for Speed Porsche Unleashed to run in WinXP (including nGlide), so that I could use the analogue triggers for gas/brake. The official Microsoft Xbox 360 wireless controller adapter also works in Windows XP using the same driver...

Reply 49 of 62, by Joseph_Joestar

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bZbZbZ wrote on 2024-03-26, 22:10:

Nice... the Xbox 360 controller is one of my favorite retro gaming accessories. I actually went through the trouble of patching/modding Need for Speed Porsche Unleashed to run in WinXP (including nGlide), so that I could use the analogue triggers for gas/brake.

I too prefer playing the NFS games using a gamepad. The analog sticks make it easier for me to steer, and the triggers are nice for having finer control over the gas/brake pedals.

That said, someone successfully used a PS4 DualShock4 under Win98. I haven't tried this myself, but it might be useful for having functional analog triggers, if they work. Also, an unofficial Win98 driver for the Xbox360 controller is mentioned in that thread as well. I might check that out.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 50 of 62, by Joseph_Joestar

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I've been testing some older WinXP titles on this system to check for compatibility issues. Since I'm dual-booting WinXP and Win7, I can run dgVoodoo2 on the latter, if that becomes necessary for any problematic games.

So far, my only use case for that are the first two Splinter Cell games (mostly the original one), due to the reliance on Shadow Buffers which only work properly on GeForce 3/4/FX cards. Thankfully, dgVoodoo2 can handle that, and Creative ALchemy can restore EAX under Win7, making Splinter Cell 1 and 2 quite playable on this rig. While I usually prefer using real hardware for retro gaming, the first Splinter Cell runs very poorly on period-correct GPUs, especially when targeting higher resolutions with fully maxed out settings. But using dgVoodoo2, I can play Splinter Cell 1 and 2 at 1600x1200 with AA and AF cranked up, while having 60+ FPS.

Another game that I tested was Star Wars: KOTOR. I was surprised to find that it kept crashing randomly under WinXP on this system. After unsuccessfully trying a bunch of driver tweaks, I found this Steam guide and followed the suggestion for setting Disable Vertex Buffer Objects=1. That seems to have solved all the crashes, but I'm not sure if it has any impact on visual quality. Funny thing is, I remember playing KOTOR on a GeForce 9500GT several years ago and not experiencing any crashes, even without that setting.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 51 of 62, by Sombrero

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2024-04-03, 19:42:

Creative ALchemy can restore EAX under Win7, making Splinter Cell 1 and 2 quite playable on this rig.

ALchemy actually works well? Still haven't tried it and I've been sceptical just how comparative it is to the real thing.

Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2024-04-03, 19:42:

After unsuccessfully trying a bunch of driver tweaks, I came upon this post and followed the suggestion for setting Disable Vertex Buffer Objects=1.

If I recall correctly that Vertex Buffer Objects thing with both KotOR games was a trick to improve performance with hardware of the time which started to cause issues on later systems, as far as I know it has zero visual impact. I've yet to try them with my GTX 960 system but working soft shadows and frame buffer effects could be an issue.

I still have a bunch of early XP era games to test, but I've ran into surprisingly few problems with GTX 960. So far just Aliens vs. Predator 2 (issues with vision modes, apparently fixable with dgVoodoo), Red Faction (too much VRAM, fixable but requires Win7) and the Unreal Engine 2 stuff. More issues with Win9x era games to nobodys surprise.

Reply 52 of 62, by Joseph_Joestar

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Sombrero wrote on 2024-04-03, 20:10:

ALchemy actually works well? Still haven't tried it and I've been sceptical just how comparative it is to the real thing.

I've tried it with a few officially supported games like Splinter Cell, Star Wars: KOTOR and Baldur's Gate 2. Results were mostly fine, but I think I noticed some small discrepancies. Nothing huge, just certain sounds being slightly louder than on XP. Also, for some reason, Baldur's Gate 2 seemed to have too much reverb after moving into the expansion areas (Throne of Bhaal) when using ALchemy. I don't think that happens on WinXP.

You can also add unsupported games manually, though your mileage may vary with that. For example, I copied the DSOUND.INI and DSOUND.DLL files that ALchemy applies to the original Splinter Cell, and pasted them into the relevant subfolder of Pandora Tomorrow (unsupported game). That seemed to work fine, and I figured it might, because both games use the same engine.

If I recall correctly that Vertex Buffer Objects thing with both KotOR games was a trick to improve performance with hardware of the time which started to cause issues on later systems, as far as I know it has zero visual impact. I've yet to try them with my GTX 960 system but working soft shadows and frame buffer effects could be an issue.

I initially tried turning every graphical option off, and lowering the detail level to the lowest setting. Nothing helped with the crashes, except for the aforementioned Disable Vertex Buffer Objects=1.

Good to know that it doesn't affect the visuals. I found a reference to that setting in the troubleshooting document that shipped with KOTOR, but it doesn't clarify what the setting does. Just says to use it as a last resort.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 53 of 62, by swaaye

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Have you tried running it with the oldest drivers possible for the 970? I don't know if I've tried the game on anything newer than a Radeon HD 2900. Also, I think I usually set this game up for single core affinity.

VBO are a performance optimization. It's interesting that this would cause problems with NVidia now. The game ran well at least up to GF 9. I don't remember if I've tried it with anything newer.

My preferred location for KOTOR 1 & 2 these days is on the TV with my old NVidia Shield Tablet. I like that they added 16:9 and gamepad support. The games run quite well on it at 1080p, with a few location exceptions, and the Android versions can even run many PC mods.

Reply 54 of 62, by Joseph_Joestar

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swaaye wrote on 2024-04-05, 19:20:

Have you tried running it with the oldest drivers possible for the 970? I don't know if I've tried the game on anything newer than a Radeon HD 2900.

I tried the official 344.11 drivers and the modded 355.98 drivers. Made no difference, still crashed like crazy. Playing the game under Win7 instead of XP resulted in the same behavior. Only the aforementioned INI setting made it possible to run the game properly.

On a side note, KOTOR is pretty awesome at 1600x1200 with everything fully maxed out, including AA and AF. The text and the UI elements are a bit small, but the characters and environments look great.

Also, I think I usually set this game up for single core affinity.

I tried this as well, but it didn't have any effect on the crashes.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 55 of 62, by swaaye

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Yeah but a 6800 Ultra should be able to do that too. I wonder what your GPU core and memory controller utilization is. That shouldn't be much of a load for a GTX 970. Driver hang ups with OpenGL 1.4 could be a problem though.

I don't remember if you can force SGSSAA with OpenGL games but that might be interesting. I also like to try NV's Quincunx AA on old games run at high resolutions. You'd need NVidia Inspector for either.

Reply 56 of 62, by Joseph_Joestar

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swaaye wrote on 2024-04-05, 21:41:

I don't remember if you can force SGSSAA with OpenGL games but that might be interesting. I also like to try NV's Quincunx AA on old games run at high resolutions. You'd need NVidia Inspector for either.

I did try turning on SGSSAA under Win7 using the Nvidia Profile Inspector, with more or less success. Looks very good when it works, but I wasn't able to use it in some games like Pandora Tomorrow.

Quincunx AA looks too blurry to my eyes, and it tends to also affect the game's UI, which is a big turn off for me. Granted, I only tried it a few times on a GeForce 4 Ti 4200 card, and quickly gave up after seeing the initial results.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 57 of 62, by Sombrero

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That Vertex Buffer Objects issue is very wide spread, I think the GOG versions disable it from the box. Though this might be the first time I've heard it causing crashing, it's usually known from utterly tanking the framerate on the second planet you go. I ran into that like a decade ago myself, no idea was this with ATI 4870 or NVIDIA GTX 660.

KotOR actually is cranky with multicore CPUs. Or it can be cranky? It might be the first game I've ever had to force to use one CPU core when I finally upgraded from AXP 3200+ to Q9550. But it's interesting how I've seen people say KotOR and NWN have worked just fine without forcing them to use one core while I've have had issues with both of them if I don't, so it somehow seems to be system dependant.

Reply 58 of 62, by Shponglefan

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Sombrero wrote on 2024-04-06, 04:53:

KotOR actually is cranky with multicore CPUs.

Do you know if this includes multi-threaded CPUs (e.g. Pentium 4 w/ hyperthreading) or just multiple physical cores?

Pentium 4 Multi-OS Build
486 DX4-100 with 6 sound cards
486 DX-33 with 5 sound cards

Reply 59 of 62, by Sombrero

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Shponglefan wrote on 2024-04-06, 06:37:

Do you know if this includes multi-threaded CPUs (e.g. Pentium 4 w/ hyperthreading) or just multiple physical cores?

No idea whatsoever, but my guess is games don't care are there two or more physical cores or one physical and one extra thread via hyperthreading. If the game doesn't like more than one thread -> issues either way.