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Hardware requirements and performance expectations

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:22 pm
by Delk
Hi, and thanks for this surprisingly well-functioning software.

Sorry if this is obvious or already covered somewhere, but I didn't find specifics matching my situation with a quick look through the forums.

I'm running NHL 99 on Windows 10 with nGlide, and it seems to work okay and stable so far, which is quite a feat in itself. (I also tried the game with a Direct3D setup but there were graphical glitches and the game crashed after a while.)

However, the game does slow down quite a bit now and then. The basic game is mostly smooth apart from some random slowdowns, at least if I turn down the details to about midway. The menus(!) feel sluggish, though, and they're definitely slower than either in the Direct3D mode or on Linux through Wine when I tried that (both in Direct3D and software rendering). Any time the actual game zooms in to more detail there also tends to be a slowdown to single-digit FPS.

My laptop is definitely no gaming powerhouse, with an Intel i5-4200U CPU (nominally rated at 1.6 GHz, turbos at 2.3-2.6 GHz) and the corresponding integrated GPU. However, considering that the rendering that's eventually done on the GPU probably shouldn't be massively taxing in this game, I was wondering if there's anything I could try to get better performance, or if this is simply to be expected.

I assume it would most likely be the CPU limiting the performance since the rendering probably shouldn't be too taxing while the Glide-to-Direct3D translation probably is. Also, the in-game resolution didn't seem to have a great effect on performance, although a higher resolution might have made the slow things slightly slower. If it were the GPU limiting the performance, I would expect the resolution to have a greater effect.

I'm not absolutely sure what kind of a clock rate the CPU can maintain while the integrated GPU is also under load. (There are no thermal issues, but the TDP of the CPU/GPU combo is quite low and it's thus limited by the power it can draw.) Based on experience with other games, I *think* it should generally be able to maintain around 1.6 GHz on a single core even when the iGPU is maxed out, which may fall short of the requirements. However, I did some logging on the clock rates while starting the game and going through the menus, and the GPU actually does get more or less maxed out while just browsing the menus, which seems a bit weird. Is that to be expected?

Any ideas, or is the hardware just not adequate?

Has anybody else tried using nGlide with integrated graphics?

I'm using the DirectX backend since there's no Vulkan support for this hardware on Windows.