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Half life + Pentium II = Stutter ?

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Reply 20 of 28, by bloodem

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The glitch at 7:15 doesn't seem like CPU related stutter, it's more like RAM related. Depending on how much RAM your OS is using and what other programs are running in the background, 128 MB might not be enough (the game does have 96 MB as minimum requirement). Since you also seem to be playing with EAX enabled, requirements such as RAM and CPU power are also higher.
Try with 256 MB and see how it goes.

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Reply 21 of 28, by auron

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bloodem wrote on 2021-05-27, 11:10:

The glitch at 7:15 doesn't seem like CPU related stutter, it's more like RAM related. Depending on how much RAM your OS is using and what other programs are running in the background, 128 MB might not be enough (the game does have 96 MB as minimum requirement). Since you also seem to be playing with EAX enabled, requirements such as RAM and CPU power are also higher.
Try with 256 MB and see how it goes.

uh, no, 96mb is not the minimum requirement for this game. don't copy nonsense from google without sanity checking, imagine how well the game would have sold when your average computer back then came with 32/64mb.

the actual numbers for the original release were 24mb minimum/32mb recommended, i have tested the game with 64mb and saw no noticeable issues. also as OP said he had whatever he's using for storage running on PIO for that capture so that's where the loading stutters on level traversal/sound loading probably came from.

Reply 22 of 28, by bloodem

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auron wrote on 2021-05-27, 11:42:

uh, no, 96mb is not the minimum requirement for this game. don't copy nonsense from google without sanity checking, imagine how well the game would have sold when your average computer back then came with 32/64mb.

the actual numbers for the original release were 24mb minimum/32mb recommended, i have tested the game with 64mb and saw no noticeable issues. also as OP said he had whatever he's using for storage running on PIO for that capture so that's where the loading stutters on level traversal/sound loading probably came from.

You're right, you're right! (don't get your panties in a bunch, though! 😁 )
I actually have the original Half Life CD, but checking on Google was obviously easier 😀

I. MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
Windows(r) 95, Windows 98 or Windows NT 4.0
Pentium 133+, 24 MB RAM
SVGA, high color (16-bit)
2x CD-ROM drive
Windows-compatible sound card
Mouse, keyboard

Now, also true is that I specifically remember that many games at the time had MUCH lower official requirements than they actually needed - Pentium 133 as a minimum for this game is a real joke. So... there's that.
Bottom line, I think the OP should test with more memory, he might be running into a RAM bottleneck for different reasons.

2 x PGA132 / 5 x Socket 3 / 4 x Socket 7 / 6 x Super Socket 7 / 5 x Slot 1 / 3 x Slot A
5 x Socket 370 / 5 x Socket A / 1 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 4 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
Current rig: Ryzen 5 3600X
Backup rig: Core i7 7700k

Reply 23 of 28, by Garrett W

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128MB is probably alright for Half-Life , although it wouldn't hurt to have more seeing as stuff like Creative's drivers for the Live! can install a bunch of crap that takes up resources.
I missed the whole PIO/DMA thing, I guess that stutter at 7:12 might just be because of that. OP perhaps you could take another, shorter video with a particular area of the game where the stutters get pretty bad.

Reply 27 of 28, by auron

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did a little bit of testing on a 98se p2 233+gf2mx setup, 128mb pc66, maxtor UDMA-2 drive, sb16. not really surprisingly from the opening sequence it's clear that framerate is highly variable, it might be in the 20s and then at the default max of 72 in the span of a second, depending on view position. it never drops into the single digits unlike on a pentium mmx though so even though it's not great i'd say the game is kind of playable on this type of setup.

now the interesting part was, i immediately noticed a jarring constant stutter when moving the mouse, as if the game was skipping frames or something. i tried to pinpoint this by just trying to move left and right without the mouse, and even in low framerate scenes, it was indeed much better than when moving the mouse... then it occurred to me that i was using a (optical) ps/2 mouse, which i usually didn't do before with this game. i swapped it for a usb mouse and it was really a night and day change, looking around was a ton smoother now and any remaining stutter could be clearly traced to framerate drops. now it's no surprise that usb mice have a much higher polling rate but for the difference to be this jarring, i have never seen this to be honest. my setup includes disabling all mouse acceleration via windows registry. OP, what kind of mouse are you using? i'll also mention that mouse filtering did reduce the stutter a little bit, but i don't like that option as it seems to introduce a bit of input lag.

as for the other kinds of stutters mentioned, i definitely did get a couple of minor hitches when running around the scientists and one time a little audio hitch on the tram announcement, but i'd probably just put this down as a CPU or even HDD bottleneck. these are certainly much less of a thing on fast p3s. IME a lot of games from that time are really bad about actually leveraging large amounts of RAM to precache all their assets so i don't put much hope in going with higher than period correct RAM sizes, not to mention that 128mb was really top-end for 1998 anyway.

for an "ideal" video capture naturally a 60fps cap would be the way to go. even on a setup where you get a constant 72fps the game will look more stuttery than necessary because the 72 fps from the game doesn't evenly divide into the 60fps video.