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Video Speed Tweaks

Video is VITAL

• Correct functioning of the Video card is vital to performance. Get the latest driver. If its set-up is not absolutely spot-on, then overall performance will be degraded substantially.

Network Server as Computer Role will improve the file system.



The graphics adapter card controls your monitor.

The sub-system can control the resolution, the number of colours displayed, the frequency at which the screen will be refreshed.

Its correct function is absolutely VITAL. Upgrading from a poor to a good video card can give some systems a 30% performance boost. However this is not usually a practical financial proposition, and such a boost may also require a new monitor! It is often better to accept a smaller improvement by ensuring you get the maximum from your present card.

Video drivers play a huge role in determining how well a video card will perform. Your video driver loads every time you boot-up, and manages the interaction between your computer and your display unit (monitor).

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Memory on the Graphics Card More video memory does not speed up the video system on the card - a common misconception. The onboard video chipset is the single most important ingredient in video performance. You should know which type you have to facilitate locating and downloading new drivers.

Video memory affect how many colors it can show at higher resolutions. The higher the resolution and color depth, then the more memory you need, because each and every pixel on your screen must have a space in video memory for its data.

However increasing from 1MB to 2MB on a 64-bit video card will help performance. 1MB allows it to be only 32-bit, while 2MB allows it to take the full 64-bit benefits. Other than this, adding memory to a card will not significantly increase video performance, but will allow higher resolution/color depth.

Video memory quality is of much greater importance to video speed. Likewise for the width (32, 64, or 128-bit) of the local bus (between the video chipset and the video memory)

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You can set how Windows 95/98 will use your graphics hardware.

Select Start • Settings • Control Panel • System • Properties - Performance tab • Graphics..

In Advanced Graphics Settings set Hardware Acceleration to Full

This specifies the amount of acceleration you want for your graphics hardware. Full acceleration is the fastest and is recommended for most computers.

Note: If your computer is having problems, and you suspect graphics acceleration to be the cause, then use the highest setting at which you don't have problems.

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Keep these tips in mind when checking the video

1 Ensure you have the latest video driver(s) appropriate for that video card. Use only the latest 32-bit drivers. If the drivers that shipped with your video card are not up to date, not optimized, or are unstable, then you may get miserable performance. Visit the card manufacturer's site, or the chipset manufacturer's site (often Trident, S3, or Cirrus). Install them carefully.

2 Make sure the software is properly installed. Select Start • Settings • Control Panel • Display • Settings • Change Display Type. If it just says VGA, you are using Windows default drivers, and you are not achieving the best speed for your video. Also look for a yellow exclamation mark, indicating a problem.

When installing a new driver it is often best to first uninstall the existing video, then set it to VGA (or SVGA), and then select Change. Now point the setup to the pathway of the new driver (floppy or HDD).

3 Set the resolution and number of colours as low as possible to get the fastest performance. Balanced this against efficiency and your viewing comfort. The most basic configuration is 640x480 resolution with 16 colours. Many computer users prefer higher resolutions and at least 256 colours for displaying graphics - your graphics sub-system may be optimized for 256 colours and higher resolutions. Read your user's manual and/or experiment with this.

4 You need to become very familiar with all the video display options available to you - in recent years they have become very user-friendly. Use settings appropriate to both your own requirements and your systems capability (especially video memory, main memory, and CPU).

5 Put Graphics Acceleration to Maximum. As stated earlier Windows 95/98 lets you control the amount of acceleration that you get from your graphics card.
Select Start • Settings • Control Panel • System • Performance • Graphics.
Put the slider to maximum to enable full hardware acceleration.

6 Most graphics sub-systems are software configurable. This means all adjustments can be made with the set-up files on your computer or floppy install disks.

7 Some sub-systems may have better performance by setting jumpers, or flipping switches, on the video card. Consult your manual.

8 Many cards come with 'flash' video BIOS which can be undated with software available free at the manufacturer's Web site. Do not expect a speed improvement from this.

9 You should be using DirectX, Direct 3D, ... - visit

Note:   It is well known that a flickering monitor causes discomfort and eye strain. Imperceptible flicker causes similar problems. A simple test is to stand well back from the monitor - if it appears to flicker now, then you need to increase the Refresh Rate (reduce the screen resolution and/or the colour depth).

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'Network Server' is better than 'Desktop Computer'

Optimize the File System. You can increase performance by changing the computer's 'Role' from 'Desktop Computer' to 'Network Server'. Your operation as a stand-alone PC is not affected.

The improvement should be moderate - depending on your usage.

Changing your Computer Role

• Select Control Panel • System • Performance • File System
• Enable Network server

While here, set the Read-ahead optimization to Full
Caution You must read the caution (second next).


Explanation of 'Role'

Windows 95/98 (through VFAT) allocates a small amount of memory to store the locations of most recently accessed files and folders - this speeds up their retrieval when next called.

If your type of usage dictates that your Hard Disk(s) is frequently accessed then you will benefit from this tweak.

In the Desktop Role your system is judged to be primarily a 'network client'. VFAT will allocate 16K of memory to record the 32 most recently accessed directory paths (PathCache) and 677 filenames of the most recently accessed files (NameCache).

In the Network Server Role your system is judged to be primarily a 'peer server'. VFAT will set aside 40K of memory for a more acceptable 64 paths (PathCache) and 2,729 filenames (NameCache).

Also involved are BufferIdleTimeout, BufferAgeTimeout, and VolumeIdleTimeout. They control the time between changes being made in the buffer and when they are written to the hard disk.

ROLE & Original WINDOWS 95, or 95a [3]       Advanced Users

95 Original Windows 95, or 95a

If you have the original Windows 95, or 95a (OSR1), you need to apply a Registry bug-fix before making this change.

There was a Registry error in the original release of Windows 95. Two entries were transposed. This problem was corrected in Windows 95 OSR2 and Windows 98.

Fix Windows 95 or 95a

You can download a fix from this Site - it is a .reg file that installs by double-clicking it in Windows Explorer - installation is immediate and without confirmation so BACKUP the Registry first! now

Read Correcting Windows 95 or 95a (next)

ROLE in the REG       Advanced Users

95 Manually correcting Windows 95 or 95a

You have to:

• Enter the Registry using Regedit, locate and modify the NameCache and PathCache values in the registry key:
Hkey Local Machine\ Software\ Microsoft\ Windows\ CurrentVersion\ FS Templates
The entries are made in Hexadecimal.

•For the Network Server profile, use these:
    NameCache a9 0a 00 00
    PathCache 40 00 00 00

•The default profile (Desktop Computer) does not use the NameCache or PathCache values in the Registry -the file system defaults are used. This allows you to make the Registry change once only, and then you can toggle the Role ON or OFF (if you wish).

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Please remember that you alone are responsible for the consequences of any changes you make to your computer hardware or software.

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