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System slowdown when gaming with a gamepad


VincentVanGozer
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So, not necessarily launchbox related, but it occurs when using launchbox... I repurposed my old desktop into a launchbox-dedicated system, hooked up to the TV. It's running Windows 8.1, and the gamepad is the Xbox360 controller. What I've noticed is that when I'm playing a game with the gamepad, after a few minutes the system gets incredibly choppy and slow (this is any game - from playing in FCEUX or SNES9X or PCSX2, up to windows games like Borderlands 2 or Deus Ex). This is a system that runs with Windows Update disabled and no anti-virus, because I want it to have as much resources available for gaming. At first, I'd hit ctrl-shift-esc to bring up the task manager, and see if something was eating up resources, but there wasn't. What I discovered is that all I had to do was hit any key on the keyboard - space, letter, number - and instantly it would come back to normal speed... until it happens again in a few minutes. All the power-saving settings are disabled (even the advanced settings, regarding cooling of CPU) - I thought it might be the disk powering down, but it doesn't appear to be as a result of power-saving settings. Of course, if I'm gaming with a mouse and keyboard, it never happens, because... well... keyboard. Any ideas? Thanks in advance! :) System specs: AMD Athlon II X4 630 8 GB memory 7200 RPM SATA-2 1 TB drive (primary) 7200 RPM SATA-2 2 TB drive (secondary, with 12 GB fixed page file)
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VincentVanGozer said So, not necessarily launchbox related, but it occurs when using launchbox... I repurposed my old desktop into a launchbox-dedicated system, hooked up to the TV. It's running Windows 8.1, and the gamepad is the Xbox360 controller. What I've noticed is that when I'm playing a game with the gamepad, after a few minutes the system gets incredibly choppy and slow (this is any game - from playing in FCEUX or SNES9X or PCSX2, up to windows games like Borderlands 2 or Deus Ex). This is a system that runs with Windows Update disabled and no anti-virus, because I want it to have as much resources available for gaming. At first, I'd hit ctrl-shift-esc to bring up the task manager, and see if something was eating up resources, but there wasn't. What I discovered is that all I had to do was hit any key on the keyboard - space, letter, number - and instantly it would come back to normal speed... until it happens again in a few minutes. All the power-saving settings are disabled (even the advanced settings, regarding cooling of CPU) - I thought it might be the disk powering down, but it doesn't appear to be as a result of power-saving settings. Of course, if I'm gaming with a mouse and keyboard, it never happens, because... well... keyboard. Any ideas? Thanks in advance! :) System specs: AMD Athlon II X4 630 8 GB memory 7200 RPM SATA-2 1 TB drive (primary) 7200 RPM SATA-2 2 TB drive (secondary, with 12 GB fixed page file)
It is LaunchBox related. Open up Options. Then go to Input -> Gamepad/Joystick. Uncheck "Enable Gamepad". There is a nasty bug in a lot of systems. I first encountered this months ago and slowly more and more users are reporting this. Once disabled performance should go back to normal right away. Edit: Also, just a note, you don't need that large of a page file. Actually, the bigger a page file it could impact performance negatively. Not that this is the issue here, its unrelated. 6-8GB page file should honestly be fine. Not to mention, you'll get some drive space back.
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Also, re-reading through your post. If you go online, you certainly need to keep windows up-to-date. You don't need automatic updates on, but are you updating Windows? Also, if you are going online, you need some programs to help keep your system in check. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and IOBit Advanced System Care. Both free versions are great, but I do suggest buying a license for ASC. It can really help keep your system clean. Run the scan it provides. For first time computers I run the scan with most of the check boxes checked. My daily scan however I just leave Registry Fix, Junk Files Clean and Shortcuts Fix checked. I do that 3-4 times a week. Even if all you are doing is playing games, it is never worth it to not do proper upkeep on a computer. It could give poor performance. In Advanced System Care, there are a ton of other programs. Startup Manager can help you the most. That can disable a lot of things you don't need at start up. Just make sure you don't disable something your PC actually needs. Next, Driver Booster can scan your PC and find all out of date drivers and update them for you with out you having to go around and look at them. Also, just because a piece of software is installed, doesn't mean it will just eat performance. Turning off auto start up options is a good start. Malwarebytes and ASC do sit in the background, but if you want to free them up while you play a game you can run Game Booster. I personally don't think it helps, actually it can do the opposite since I keep my system clean and lean as it is. Those two programs don't eat up many resources though. Hell, I am almost always watching video and have Firefox open with tabs while I play games and I am generally fine. If I do need to free up some RAM or CPU I'll make sure Firefox is closed first.
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While I truly do appreciate the concern, I actually do computer security as part of my job, and am responsible for keeping around 10,000 systems virus free on a daily basis - so I'm definitely not worried about this PC, because of the way it's configured. It doesn't go online, save for Steam, and Launchbox looking for updates. Heck, as it's using a roaming profile on a windows domain, I add the games to launchbox from another PC entirely (which is heavily secured), as all the roms for classic gaming reside on a NAS. Traffic in and out is inspected at a hardware firewall. The PC where I'm encountering this issue is very much dedicated to only the task of playing games with a gamepad (there is zero web browsing at all), and nothing else, so I have no stress about security or updates. The install on this PC is only about 3 weeks old, and prior to having Windows Update disabled, it was brought completely up to date. The reason I disabled Windows Update is the same reason there's no antivirus installed - minimize all disk I/O. I don't want Windows Update caching updates locally prior to install. The issue is something to do with OS or hardware settings (it's reproduceable outside of launchbox) - I'm just at a loss, as it's something I've not run into before.
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Alright, sorry about that then. :P I can't assume most users know how to take care of their PC's. It's just the nature of the internet. What game pad are you using? 360? Random Logitech? PS4? I'll also go ahead and assume then too that drivers are up-to-date. Going down the list, bad Controller, bad USB cable, bad USB port? When you unplug the controller, performance goes back to normal? It's only ever bad when the controller is plugged in?
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Good things to check, @SentaiBrad. The only other thing that comes to mind for me is a possible interrupt conflict, or something of that nature. Those happen very rarely, but I have seen them on modern machines, and they can cause some really weird things to happen. I would try swapping out hardware left and right, to see if you can narrow it down. Try switching between a PS/2 and USB keyboard, removing the game controllers, trying different game controllers, different mice, etc. You probably already know all that stuff though. I'd make sure absolutely everything is disconnected from the back of the computer, and test things one at a time. If that doesn't fix it, then it probably comes down to pulling out all hardware inside of the machine, swapping RAM, video cards, etc. Finally, one thing that always helps me out is booting onto a Linux live CD to see if the issue is hardware or software. If it happens in Linux too, it's probably hardware somehow. If it only happens in Windows, it's probably software- or driver-related.
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  • 1 month later...
So, after a long break (remodeling, had no time to fiddle with this), I appear to have this sorted out. Even though I'd gone into the advance power settings in windows and told it to never hibernate the disk, the disk drive was still powering down. I ended up installing KeepAliveHD (http://keepalivehd.codeplex.com/) and set it to write to the c: drive every 10 seconds. Bingo, slowdown problem is solved - I don't have to hit a key on the keyboard to un-slow the system anymore when I'm gaming with a gamepad. I can't recall, since it's been awhile since I've been inside that case, but I believe the drive is a western digital "green" drive - it probably has some sort of overriding power-conservation setting. I imagine I'm not the only person who has, or will run into this. KeepAliveHD is a handy little program - thankfully, totally free.
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