HOWTO:Tweak your framerate
First of all, let us be clear: your framerate (FPS) with Inner Space and ISBoxer should not usually be significantly lower than your framerate without Inner Space and ISBoxer with the same size, number, and position of game windows. This guide should help you achieve at least the same FPS, if not higher.
Recent Hardware or Driver changes
- If you have a new computer, graphics card, monitor, have moved some cables around, have recently updated graphics drivers, or upgraded/reinstalled your OS, or copied this profile from another computer, then you may need to make a new Window Layout. The aforementioned things can cause the internal Windows display references to "shuffle" around, and it makes your old Window Layout try and present to a physical display which is no longer connected to the same internal virtual port. Windows can accommodate this, but usually at the expense of FPS.
- Your Power Profile in Windows can throttle your CPU; selecting the "High Performance" power profile will usually improve framerate if it is not selected. Disabling Core Parking may also help. See How to disable CPU throttling for more information.
- This may seem a bit obvious, but increase or disable the game's FPS limit setting if it has one.
- Disable anti-aliasing/multi-sampling!: Anti-aliasing is likely to have a significant performance impact when multiboxing. NOTE: WoW has a habit of setting high anti-aliasing level after a graphics driver update!
- Disable vertical sync: Vertical Sync (or V-Sync, also called "Present Interval" in EVE Online) intends to synchronize the rendering speed against your monitor's refresh rate. When multiboxing, disabling V-Sync may significantly improve your framerate.
- Favor high performance over high quality where possible for all other settings
- As a last resort, lowering the game resolution may significantly improve framerate as well. If selecting a game resolution in-game does not affect the actual resolution, your actual resolution can likely be adjusted through your Window Layout (see "Window Layout" section below).
CPU Strategy and FPS Limiting
- FPS Limiting can be adjusted any time through the CPU Strategy Wizard. Selecting a low number for the Background FPS limit can improve overall performance for both CPU and GPU bottlenecks. For some games, notably EverQuest 1, this will negatively affect your characters' ability to auto-follow each other. (Although for EverQuest 1, EQPlayNice can be used to improve auto-follow performance while rendering a low FPS.)
- For multi-CPU or multi-core CPUs, as are quite popular among multiboxers, the CPU Strategy Wizard offers a few different settings you can try. In most cases, having ISBoxer assign all CPU cores to all game instances will improve framerates. In the odd case, round-robin should be used on older games that do not support multi-core CPU's.
- Your game resolution can easily be significantly reduced through your Window Layout, by using the 3D Render Size option during the Window Layout Wizard (useful if your GPU just wont handle many copies of games at 4K resolution).
- You may also want to run different game resolutions for each instance, e.g. 1 large normal resolution and several smaller resolutions. This is able to be done by disabling Instant swapping during the Window Layout Wizard, with one of the layouts that uses smaller windows.
- If you have multiple Video cards (GPUs), your Window Layout is extra important; see GPU Management for details. In a nutshell, you may need to avoid letting ISBoxer swap windows from one monitor (powered by one GPU) onto another monitor (powered by another GPU). This can be done using the Cross-monitor swapping option in the Window Layout Wizard, or by manually configuring a layout.
- If you are on Windows XP (really??? still?) and have multiple monitors, you will need to avoid letting ISBoxer swap windows from one monitor onto another, using the Cross-monitor swapping option in the Window Layout Wizard.
There are some known pieces of software that do not work well with Inner Space / ISBoxer. There are several side effects to look out for, such as poor framerate, launch issues, or the Inner Space console showing a grey screen.
Other software not mentioned below may also affect your multiboxing experience. The most common factor is software with overlay functionality.
- Mumble: Disable the in-game (overlay) features while multiboxing.
- AMD PlayTV: Comes as part of Raptr. Seems to be the problem child, and unless you use it, then uninstall it. Shut it down for multiboxing.
- AMD Raptr: Shut down Raptr while multiboxing. Note: If you want to uninstall it, this is installed with the AMD graphics drivers, It may require your to uninstall the drivers and install afresh, remembering not to select to install Raptr.
- Steam: The in-game Steam overlay may not work correctly.
- X-Fire: Disable the in-game features while multiboxing.
- Antivirus: If you notice that the CPU time on your antivirus is increasing while multiboxing, then you should consider excluding InnerSpace.exe and your game executable from Real Time scanning. Trend Micro currently does not work with Inner Space and would need to be uninstalled.
- Internet Security: It's been noticed that McAfee Internet Security may throttle your bandwidth when it incorrectly identifies multiboxed games as a threat. Presumably the multiple connections makes it a bit suss. Try setting some exclusions.
- Sonic Suite (mainly seen on systems with ASUS mainboards), causes crashes and prevents Inner Space from displaying the Console/Patcher windows (it just shows a grey screen).
- GeForce Experience: Mostly innocuous, however be aware it can adjust your games settings to run for the best quality/fps for your graphics card based on NVidia's settings, BUT, this software doesn't know you are multiboxing, so the settings it applies will be for 1 game instance on your machine only, meaning if you are running 2 or more, there is a good chance you will be stressing your graphics card. Either prevent GeForce Experience from changing this games settings, or remove it.
- Razer Kraken/Man o War headset software has recently been causing issues.
If you happen to come across others, let us know so we can update the list, or look into the compatibility issues.
Identifying framerate bottlenecks
The limiting factor for your performance is referred to as a bottleneck, meaning that if this bottleneck were replaced then the system as a whole could possibly perform much faster.
Framerate bottlenecks are usually either GPU (video card), Processor (CPU) or Memory (system RAM and video RAM). Bottlenecks of these sorts can easily be identified at the time of the performance problem, by checking the load % (e.g. from 0% in use to 100% in use) of each of these pieces of hardware. Your bottleneck will be "maxed out" at the time of your performance problems (e.g. "lag"), while the load of the others may be significantly lower due to waiting on the bottleneck.
Open Hardware Monitor and HWInfo are free (donateware) programs that can pull information from many sensors on your computer, including GPU and VRAM, CPU and RAM loads. There are others out there too.
Download and run your program of choice (as Administrator, or it may not be able to access all of the sensors), and it will provide a relatively simple list of sensor data such as temperatures, speed, and load. Once the hardware monitor is running, get to multiboxing and do whatever it is that you do when it goes too slow for your liking. When it is performing poorly, check the sensor data, particularly the GPU Load, CPU Load, and Memory Load! If you want help figuring it out, open the File menu and select "Save report...", which will save a report that you can share with us via e-mail or on the forums.
The closer to "maxed out" (100% in use) any of these three resources (CPU, GPU, RAM) are, the more likely it is to be your bottleneck. For example if RAM is 100% (or nearly 100%) in use, things that should be readily accessible may be placed in storage instead. If your GPU is 100%, then it's pumping out frames as fast as it can and either changing settings to reduce quality and/or resolution, or a GPU upgrade, can probably improve framerates. If your CPU is 100%, then settings related to your CPU rather than GPU will have more of an impact.
If none of these three are near maxed, then a Power Profile (Windows), CPU Strategy (in ISBoxer), FPS Limiting (in ISBoxer, and in some games), or Vertical Sync (in-game) change may be just what the doctor has ordered; see the sections above for these configuration tips.
On a final note, the sensors may report that they are not near their max, but you may still be overloading your hardware while running your entire team at once. You should also try shutting down one, or more game clients to see if your framerate rises, or start one game client at a time, while monitoring your hardware, to see what the sensors report as you slowly increase the load on your machine.
As a last resort, or if you'd rather just upgrade your old hunk o' junk, there is always the Fancy New Hardware option.
There are three main pieces of hardware that can affect overall framerate (see the bottlenecks section), here's some general advice:
- Video card (GPU): Video card upgrades will have a more significant impact when upgrading by more than one generation of GPU, or when upgrading from a low-end to high end video card. If you're thinking about getting multiple GPUs, tread carefully as there are significant related performance hits you will want to avoid (see GPU Management). More Video RAM (VRAM) is good, but will not usually have a significant performance impact except in the case where your VRAM is 100% in use and resources are placed in the slower System RAM.
- Processor (CPU): Processor upgrades will have a more significant impact when the number of CPU Cores per game instance will be increased closer to 1 per instance. Surpassing 1 per instance will not usually be beneficial, for most current games. A higher speed rating is always nice, but may not be significant when multiboxing.
- Memory (RAM): Memory upgrades will not usually have a significant impact on your framerate, except in the case where you are running out of memory -- so make sure you have at least enough RAM to not run out. Faster memory clocks, or additional memory channels, may help to some degree.
Additionally, Storage (HDD or SSD) affects loading times which are sometimes related to framerate. For example, how fast the game initially loads, and how fast the game can load additional textures from Storage into Memory while playing. Upgrading your Storage will only help your framerate during these loading times.