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Old 03-10-2004, 09:35 AM   #141
BigScreen
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I set my Matrox G450 to span the desktop across both monitors for an effective monitor resolution of 2560x1024.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get MA to span the monitors.

In this mode, the settings dialog only contains "Monitor 1" in the dropdown, and when it runs, only the first monitor is used for the display.

I tried to play with the widescreen and anamophic settings, but it just wouldn't go to the other monitor.

Oh well, it was worth a shot...
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Old 03-10-2004, 11:54 AM   #142
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Spanning to multiple monitors really require another set UI design and also DirectX 8 and above for stability. This current version of multi-display will not support that.

We do have another engine in the works that will handle the spanning and control where the extra monitors are with respect to the main monitor as the program sees it. ETA of that version is not known at this time

I am working on fixing the window mode bug where the extra monitors are not able run the screensaver. That bug is actually a little more difficult so I have to wait until Prolific allocates time for me to actually fix it.

Note that I have a version (private) now that fixed the Win98 bugs (random fish bug, and CTRL+ALT+DEL bug), and that has a little speed up for machines where the bottleneck is the CPU.
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Old 03-10-2004, 12:09 PM   #143
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Originally posted by Edgar
and that has a little speed up for machines where the bottleneck is the CPU.
Ahh, Cliff will be very happy about it.
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Old 03-10-2004, 01:25 PM   #144
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blank screen

I'm looking forward to seeing this version, but no luck so far -- I haven't seen this problem posted before: MA 2 MD runs (judging by bubble sound) but the screens are completely blank (black) in either full screen or windowed modes. No changes in MA settings seem to make any difference. MA2 and all previous versions ran fine. Is this related in some way to my configuration?:

Win2K P4 1.8 GHz 512MB RAM
DirectX 8.1
Two video cards for two monitors: (1) Nvidia GEforce3 Drivers 6.13.10.2942 (I know, they are old, but they are stable and I don't do any other 3D on this PC) on a 1920x1200 native LCD; (2) ATI Xpert 128 (Rage 128 pro PCI) on a 1024x768 LCD (yes, crummy refresh rates for MA, but MA has only been run on the primary up to now).

Any ideas from the forum whiz kids?

Thanks!
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Old 03-10-2004, 03:11 PM   #145
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That sounds a little like a problem that Mark was having a while back. If I remember correctly, it was solved by uninstalling all older versions, and then re-installing the latest one again.
I would definitely get rid or MA2 (none MD!), and try a re-boot between each stage as you uninstall/re-install.
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Old 03-10-2004, 04:26 PM   #146
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YT, - Indeed he is! ..... See my post a few pages back, that ends 'Drinks all round!'

I am very grateful for the help I received! - Thank you!

But about the switching off of, Limit frame rate (fps) - I would like to say this:-
It should be realised that for all those who don't have high-end systems, not only is it pointless to limit the FPS, (because the CPU Usage may not even be affected at all), but also it is detrimental to limit it! (because doing so may reduce your FPS further, even though the point of limit is much higher than you are currently running) .......... Therefore, nothing is gained by it's use, and needed FPS are lost!

Also I don't think the 'Limit FPS' default should be 'On' - The onus should be on those with super fast CPUs, to set the limit 'On' if they want it so. - Defaulting to 'On' is crippling the less fortunate masses even more! - And I assume that sales are aimed at the mass market?

Michael said:-
Just because your system can't push the SS past 60fps, doesn't mean that others don't have one that can. Some at full steam can do 200+fps, and its nice for them to have the option to reduce the cpu usage under those conditions.
Agreed ! - they should have that option, - but not the default!

None of the above debate would be necessary of course, if there were instructions explaining the settings!
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Old 03-10-2004, 04:50 PM   #147
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peter piscis,

2942 drivers are pretty ancient. I'd look at something newer.

Are you sure the ATI card can run the Aquarium?
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Old 03-10-2004, 06:31 PM   #148
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Cliff,

I believe the reason for having the "Limit FPS" is because those of us with faster computers running at extreme rates like 100 fps and above were just using wasted CPU cycles and creating excess heat.

Why run your CPU HOT at 80% when you can limit the fps to say 50, and in doing so your CPU usage is only 15% and running much cooler. Cooler equals a longer life
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Old 03-10-2004, 06:45 PM   #149
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And less customer-service complaints.
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Old 03-10-2004, 07:27 PM   #150
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Right, which is one of the points. I think in the long run it makes more sense to have the settings there so that they DO default to on for the best possible outcome without causing people to take unnecessary risks with their equipment. If someone wants to change settings and push their system, then that is their choice and fine. But its not the software's place to make that judgement for them. JMO
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Old 03-10-2004, 08:40 PM   #151
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It kind of already does that now... I was going to make another point, but found this out when I tried to make a case for it:

1280x1024x32 wide screen 8 fish no bubbles:

Limit frame rate 62fps = ~4-5% CPU usage

No fps limit, vsync off = 246fps ~40-45% CPU usage

No fps limit, vsync on = 85fps ~75-85% CPU usage

Interesting... I wasn't like that before...
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Old 03-10-2004, 10:28 PM   #152
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DrFish,

Sounds like your bottleneck is now the video card even though your video card looks excellent. The CPU won't reach 100% because the the system is waiting for the Video card.

For other people, if the the CPU is the bottleneck, it will reach very close to 100%.
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Old 03-11-2004, 04:25 AM   #153
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But why is CPU usage so much higher when it's only going to 85fps? 246 is almost three times as much as 85, so why does the 85 take about twice the CPU time?

Edit: CPU is Athlon XP 2600, GPU is Radeon 9700Pro
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Old 03-11-2004, 08:14 AM   #154
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But it's not limited to 85fps. You are confusing what the Aquarium is doing vs. what DirectX is sending to the video card.

With FPS limit off, the Aquarium generates hundreds of frames per second which are never displayed.


I still hope one day that the Limit FPS will offer a range up to 85fps.
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Old 03-11-2004, 08:29 AM   #155
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Smile Great programs , the five fish are fine but MAT ?

Once again, Thanks Jim for the updated Marine Aquarium.
I saw the new Marine MD download being available and did so , have tried it for some days and have to say now that it is very nice ,the 5 fish look very good and the little Square Spot is much improved and with the larger tail fins, the Queen Angelfish is a beaut. I have read all the comments in this thread above although a lot of the technical stuff is way over my head , it seems that a lot of the guys are trying to get so much more out of their systems and 'spread ' your goodies in panorama. Reading all this technical stuff I wonder if some of us "fans of yours " who are not so tech minded,may be a little shy in making comment and passing on our praise .
My problem is still that I like BOTH your old program (updated now) but like Cliff am reluctant to discard the original.(I still remember the thrill when I first installed it and it "came to life " on my screen " and then when MAT was available that was even better, so as I said at that time, which one to use ?? When will we have the extra 5 fish on MAT . Well getting back to technical stuff I do not understand , my answer to unitiated is - when you upgrade your computer, hang onto the old one , run MAT on that one (as display most of the time ) and have the MA MD2 running on the new one , both monitors adjacent and you have the time all the time and the best of both worlds and with double the fish in apparent Panorama and the other benifit is that that nice large Coral can still be seen as well as the Crystal Clock.
I am posting this as I do see that the forum has many members and only a few ardent ones trying to solve very tricky problems filling up the posts. I am sure that there must be many others wishing you the best of luck and thanks for these programs you have devised .. THANKS I will get a photo one day to post.
regards from downunder
Paul
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Old 03-11-2004, 08:29 AM   #156
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I understand that, my question was why is the CPU usage so much higher with vsync on and no FPS limit vs. vsync off with no fps limit?

Shouldn't it at least be the same even if the aquarium isn't smart enough to know not to generate more frames than the 85Hhz can display?

Simply put, why does 246fps take half the CPU power of 85fps when the only variable is vsync???
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Old 03-11-2004, 08:30 AM   #157
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But it is very interesting that if you can't reach the frame rate limit you get more frames pec sec with the limit off - I get that too!
At 1280x1024 I get 44-48fps with limit set to 62 and 48-52fps with no limit.
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Old 03-11-2004, 09:30 AM   #158
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DrFish,

At FPS limit ON, it uses the hardware timer to control the FPS thus the CPU is able to Sleep when waiting for the Timer interrupt.

When the SS is running at FPS limit OFF, it is not using the hardware timer but actually has a max limit of 250 fps so Sleep is called directly to keep it max at 250 fps thus CPU is able to rest.

Note that MA2-MD using DirectX 6 sourcebase which may not take advantage of new advances in DirectX.

When VSync On, DirectX is in control of the CPU when waiting for the Vertical Blank. My guess here based on some tests is that DirectX is actually looping the CPU while waiting for the vertical blank, thus uses more CPU at FPS limit OFF.

I am beginning to agree with Morgan about raising the MaxSpeed for FPS Limit higher than 60 fps so people with higher Monitor rates can take advantage of less CPU usage and VSync on.
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Old 03-11-2004, 09:36 AM   #159
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jleslie,

There is some overhead in using the hardware timer which is why you get higher FPS when the FPS limit is OFF.

I myself found that it is better to set the FPS limit ON at about 2-3 fps less than the highest framerate the system can run. This way you get as close to max FPS as before but with much less CPU usage.
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Old 03-11-2004, 09:48 AM   #160
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Thanks - you're right, the extra 4 fps come at reducing the free cpu time from 19-33% down to 5-7%. (Kinda unscientific, as couldn't run full-screen and see the task manager, but useful to know.)
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