There once was memory

For the last couple days I have started up the Windows Task Manager before logging into EVE.

Most of my play involves having two game clients active at the same time. Since Inferno 1.1 my client memory use has increased and this has become unplayable.

I have been trying to get a base line on the Memory usage so I could in turn test the impact of changing various client options. Turns out the base line is a moving target.

A single client starts out using around 800-850MB of private memory when in space, but this varies by +/- 100MB as you jump, warp, dock and so on. As you make more and more session changes this seems to slowly increase until the average hovers between 950- 1,100MB. (The largest I saw was just a touch under 1,200GB)

Just when you think you have a grasp on this however, the memory will drop to 640MB (after having the client minimised for a while), or leap +200MB just by opening up the Planet View Mode.

So, very simplistically, it looks like the client makes use of any spare memory it finds, but cleans up regularly. The gradual increase in private memory use until (an apparent) cap just under 1.2GB could be a sign of a memory leak, or the fact the client finds there is that much memory free so makes full use of it.

Opening two client windows sees a change.

The Private Memory values stay more consistent and lower, generally around 850MB. However with two clients in space and regular session changes occurring I am now getting constant stuttering and client freezes as the system basically runs out of memory.

I can close down everything else on the PC to free up an extra 200MB of RAM, but within a minute or two the memory issues return.

I don’t however think this is as simple as needing X amount of memory, which is more than my system can handle.

When you watch the allocation of physical memory across the in use, modified, standby and free categories with two clients running, you see dramatic changes with available memory fluctuating between 0 and 500MB.

It looks as if each client tries to grab as much memory as it can (for performance reasons), but doesn’t take into account there is another EVE client trying to do the same thing. That results in constant memory contention issues every time a session change occurs.

I could have it entirely wrong, but that’s the way I am explaining the experience in my own mind. (I actually have an extensive background in System Performance Monitoring and Tuning – but it relates to reports which are run against Terabytes of data on substantial hardware, and not PC games.)

So where does that leave me? Basically not doing anything in EVE that requires more than one account logged in – so things like my mobile mission base, mobile exploration base, moving around 0.0, moving Capitals, my wormhole exploration and so on are off the cards.

This sort of thing has happened multiple times before with game updates, and generally CCP make changes over time and things become playable again. The patch notes for Infernal 1.1.5 noted:

“Improvements have been made to the FPS drop that some players are experiencing, particularly when running multiple clients. We do not consider the problem solved however and are still continuing to investigate.”

My situation and the issues they are looking into might well relate. Or they might not.

The other “solution” is fast tracking my PC upgrade. I was forced to run 32 Bit Windows (and so have limited RAM) at my last upgrade due to support for older hardware (an expensive printer and scanner). I custom pick every aspect of my PC’s, which can take a while. I’ve got most of the components decided now, I just need to bite the bullet and start the purchasing process.

Until either CCP improves things or I take delivery of a new PC, then I guess I’ll be playing less EVE.

6 thoughts on “There once was memory

  1. You know, I often wonder if I am in the minority who play one client and as one main char allatime. I play on my 4yo laptop, maxed vid FX, but I have never wanted to run a 2nd toon even though I know it can greatly increase your effectiveness solo, I vastly prefer to play out my virtual life as I live my real life… as just one little ol me… so much moar virtually ‘real’… =]

    • I got my second account to allow me to mine straight into a hauler. Then I found it helped speed up missions, made better use of POS slots when I anchored one, acted as a scout in Low and Null Sec, and was almost a prerequisite for getting into Capitals. The third account allowed me to live in Null and still have my empire industry going without interuption. I could also branch out in my training (like T2 invention) without disrupting my main’s skill plans.

      I don’t consider the dollar cost too bad – I pay for my accounts in 12 month blocks, and it works out at the moment to around $1.20 a day to have all of them. (Or less than 1/2 of a coffee.)

      It can however require a lot of in game effort to keep each toon running, with the assets, skill books etc all in the right place at the right time. It can also take away from the time you spend on your main. Overall I like the self-sufficiency it provides, and the fact it allows me to try out more of the options available within the game.

  2. Oddly enough the PC I built at Christmas has been able to step up from running three clients to four since inferno and does it quite well. A pleasant surprise. Win 64 with 8 gig of memory. CPU and GPU combined. It sits at about 80% mem usage with the four running. Its not a high spec machine at all as it was intended for family use with a bit of casual gaming on the side.

    My older PC is also running Win 64 with 8 gig. It’s dual core Athlon 3.2 chip that struggles when you run a 3rd client. Four is right out. OS is on an SSD. Separate graphics card.

    In other words I have CPU constraints as opposed to anything else. Time for a new CPU/Mobo methinks.

  3. AMD A4-3400 2.7 Ghz with Radeon HD 6410D Graphics on die
    8 GB Ram (7.48 usable)

    Window mode for all clients

    Resource Cache disabled
    HDR disabled
    Load Station Environment enabled
    Anti-Aliasing disabled
    Post Processing none
    Shader Quality medium
    Texture Quality high
    LOD Quality medium
    Shadow Quality disabled
    Interior Effects high
    Interior Shader Quality low

    Four clients at log in screen about 50% memory usage
    Four clients logged in and in station about 55% memory usage
    Four clients in space about 75% usage

    Hope that helps

    • Excellent – thank you. I might try to replicate those settings and see the impact. (I also kicked off plan B just before, putting an order in for a new PC)

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