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Old 12-25-2006, 09:33 PM   #1
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Vista DRM to slow down gaming?

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We've posted before on how the Vista brand will change the PC gaming market. But how will the OS affect the gameplay experience itself? An in-depth analysis of the operating system's draconian digital rights management features suggests gamers might not be too happy with some of the system's unintended performance effects.

The write-up itself is long and rather technical, but the main section of interest to gamers deals with unnecessary CPU resource consumption. Apparently, Vista does a sweep of all computer hardware over 30 times every second to make sure no one is trying to leech a digital video signal through a modification. Besides taking up valuable computing cycles, this method also makes it harder for the computer to perform video decompression, especially in low-end graphics chips.

While it remains to be seen how these "features" will actually impact Vista games, the fact that it's even an issue is enough to make us question Microsoft's devotion to Vista gaming. As the analysis' author puts it, "I wonder how [the gaming] market segment will react to knowing that their top-of-the-line hardware is being hamstrung by all of the content-protection "features" that Vista hogties it with?"
Hmm. M$'s new Vista seems to be a thorny OS all over. Ram heavy one end, a DMR monster on the other. If M$ slips up this be a ideal time for Linux to offer itself as a alternitve gaming platform.
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Old 12-25-2006, 09:57 PM   #2
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All Linux/Game designers/Apple would have to do is sue MS and force them to allow OpenGL to be HW accelerated. Especially with MS now in console gaming they have a pretty strong case.
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Old 12-25-2006, 10:45 PM   #3
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gawd, everytime I hear more about Vista, the more I don't want it. But yet... I need it. It can do awesome graphics with DX10!
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Old 12-25-2006, 10:46 PM   #4
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They did some 3D benchmarking with Vista on both ATI and nVidia drivers (betas) a while back. It turned out that you were losing anywhere from 10-20% of your FPS compared to XP benchmarks. But those were with beta drivers and a early Vista build. As long as your machine isn't in the lesser end of the Vista spectrum (near minimum requirements) you likely won't have that much of an issue with gaming. The benchmarks on higher end machines are all still well above 60 FPS.
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Old 12-25-2006, 11:59 PM   #5
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Link?

I'm not sure how accurate this article is but it seems somewhat off-mark. The remark about CPU cycles being wasted checking on hardware 30 times a second is inaccurate - modern CPUs incorporate several advanced technologies designed to speed up the execution of frequently executed instructions. Windows XP already performs a fair amount of "housekeeping" behind your back. I cannot see how this would be a problem with modern day processors, however. Multicore CPUs are also becoming more popular and these technologies (along with Vista) would allow the additional "burden" to be shared between multiple cores - further lessening the impact.

It is likely that Vista (I am assuming it follows the same behavior as XP) automatically assigns more resources and priority to full-screen applications for performance. Given this, it is probable then that any DRM software would receive a lower priority. Vista also comes with a performance tuner that games can directly interface with to optimize performance. I have yet to see it but it may provide options for prioritizing.

Also, the slowest part of any hardware is not usually the inadequate CPU - it's more like the inadequate RAM, inadequate FSB and/or inadequate graphics card memory. Rendering the graphical scene is actually the slowest part of the entire process of any game but Microsoft claims DX10 will be able to render graphics up to 8 times faster than DX9c.

I don't know if they are being realistic with those figures because I have yet to see performance tests on DX10. To me, it sounds like Microsoft trying to hype up up their new API - but it would be good if they could pull it off.
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Old 12-26-2006, 12:07 AM   #6
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I'm against copy protection.
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Old 12-26-2006, 12:49 AM   #7
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I'd ignore all the doom and gloom for now till its released next month and see how it goes. Just remember theres always ways of making Vista perform better. Example is disabling all the pretty desktop features to save on ram.
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Old 12-26-2006, 04:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flowForth
Link?
http://www.joystiq.com/2006/12/25/vi...-end-graphics/
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Old 12-26-2006, 06:28 AM   #9
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Thanks for that - I was too lazy/preoccupied to find it myself.
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Old 12-26-2006, 07:29 AM   #10
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After having read the full article (which the Joystiq article links to) - it seems to me to be more scare-mongering than anything else. The device hardware polling is unlikely to be a significant on your processor. Most of the DRM features that do degrade performance (such as the channel encryption and bus encryption) only affect DRM enabled content. Most games (at least not yet) do not feature DRM and use other copy protection mechanisms.

In other words, unless you play DRM (HD-DVD/BluRay) enabled garbage, most of it shouldn't apply to you and you shouldn't get the performance hit.

This seems to disagree with the assertion Vista will be slow for general purposes.
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Old 12-26-2006, 09:30 AM   #11
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NP about the link, Does anyone even plan on getting a HD-DVD/BLURAY drive.

I mean ****, DVDs aren't even standard in PC gaming yet... and its been 10 fucking years.
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Old 12-26-2006, 09:44 AM   #12
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I dont realy see this as a big deal just yet. Until I see it with my owns eyes and have issues then I will count this as anti-Windows propaganda.
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Old 12-26-2006, 11:53 AM   #13
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Oh noes my 8800 plays half-life2 at 10 fps lower on vista, damn it 190 fps just wont do! esp. with the new driver system making effects look damn nicer
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Old 12-26-2006, 09:03 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Nephilim
Oh noes my 8800 plays half-life2 at 10 fps lower on vista, damn it 190 fps just wont do! esp. with the new driver system making effects look damn nicer

this chatty text makes a very good point! we need the full 200 fps!
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Old 12-26-2006, 09:12 PM   #15
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What do you suppose you'd get if DX10 was supported in XP? 190 to 50,000? Yes.
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