Using Dual Core features or hyperthreading

A forum for anything about the Steem Engine STE emulator, comments, problems, bug reports etc. Steven Seagal regularly provides updated versions of the original STEem code. The current version is v3.9.4.

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MSueper
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Using Dual Core features or hyperthreading

Postby MSueper » Thu Jan 12, 2006 7:14 pm

Hi,
is there a way to make use of such "multi processor goodies" in steem?
If not, maybe this is an idea for a next release.
Thanks for tips.
Martin

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Postby ggn » Fri Jan 13, 2006 7:12 am

???

Care to clarify that?

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Postby RetroGamerUK » Fri Jan 13, 2006 3:09 pm

Run 2 copies of Steem??

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Postby MSueper » Fri Jan 13, 2006 3:13 pm

ok, i try it:

When i installed steem on a 2 cpu maschine, i can set it to 128 MHz and it creates a high load on one cpu while the second one is idle.
It is also true with a HT cpu, one thread is much more active than the other one.

The idea was, to bring the emulation of, i.e. the blitter or an other "big" chip, to an other thread.

It's an idea...
Martin

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Postby MSueper » Fri Jan 13, 2006 3:17 pm

When you run steem within vmware it's much slower than it is native on the maschine. I'm using vmware guest's for most things, but steem does not work correctly there (mouse is nearly unusable, etc.). vmware allows you to use more than 1 cpu.

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Postby Steem Authors » Sun Jan 15, 2006 1:55 pm

Steem can't really make use of multiple processors without a major rewrite, and we don't have time to do a minor rewrite ATM.

For mouse problems on VMWare try the command line option "crossmouse" - I must put that in the readme.

Russ

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Postby MSueper » Mon Jan 16, 2006 3:23 pm

Thanks a lot for that tip!
I will test it in the evening.
Greetings, Martin

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Postby Sarek » Thu Jan 19, 2006 7:23 pm

Steem has many more CLAs than are listed in the docs:

Would you clarify what these are for Russ?

NOSHM -- disables something. what is SHM? Simple harmonic motion!
HELP -- seems to do nothing
H -- don't know. Alternative to HELP?
QUITQUICKLY -- something to do with saving the emu state on exit?
DONTLIMITSPEED -- haven't tried it incase it melts my graphics card :)
ACCURATEFDC -- something which slows FDC :)
SCREENSHOTALWAYSADDNUM -- screenshot files carry numbers
PSGCAPTURE -- no idea
CROSSMOUSE -- continue to show the windows cursor after mouse capture
GDIFSBORDER -- does something with gdi for full screen display. Disables exclusive mode, causing DD errors.
FONT= -- for the scrolly message I presume.
DIVUTIME= -- Hmm, perhaps sets how tight the timers run for development/testing.
DIVSTIME= -- same again.
PABUFSIZE= --buffer size for PA
RTBUFSIZE -- buffer size for RT
RTBUFNUM -- number of buffers for RT
CUTS= -- specifies a shortcurts file?

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Postby Sarek » Thu Jan 19, 2006 7:25 pm

ON RUNNING 2 COPIES


2 copies can already be run simultaneously on machines that are P3 or higher. I'm wondering whether some people are having trouble with this perhaps because they have emulated heavy overclocking?

When I tested this about a month ago, I had 6 steems each running a game/demo simultaneously at full speed. I expected it could go further but I didn't try any more because the mixture of sounds was intolerable and my screen getting cluttered. These were rendering at full frame rate, double size windows, and stereo sound.

My machine isn't ultra fast - Athlon 1.6GHz, but steem is not at all demanding on modern processors. On FF it runs at 16x with a minimum size window, or 13x with a large size window. But only just 1x when clocked at 128MHz.

For comparison:

- it ran comfortably on my celeron500, and upto something like 4x max.
- and I even tried it on my old Cyrix-150, on which it ran at 90% full speed with minimal features, although the sound was a little untidy too.



So I have determined these Minimum Specs for adding to the steem docs:

MINIMUM - No definite minimum specs, but you shouldn't try with less than...
- 166Mhz Pentium
- 2MB graphics system (eg S3 Virge)
- Optional sound system.
- 32MB RAM, although memory usage is not high.
- 10MB HDD space for install, and around 10MB more to mount & run software.


HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - For comfortable performance and use of all features...
- 450Mhz Pentium-III or equivalent
- 8MB graphics system or higher (eg Rage/TNT)
- Support for direct draw and direct sound.
- 100MB available HDD space which will allow you to install and run the program, mount useful related software, take multiple screenshots/snapshots, record sound output etc.


PERFECT - As good as you would ever practically need, permitting multiple sessions each with enlarged displays and cpus accelerated over 32MHz.
- 1600MHz Pentium 4 or equivalent
- 32MB graphics system or higher
- Support for direct draw and direct sound.
- 100MB or more available HDD space which will allow you to install and run the program, mount useful related software, take multiple screenshots/snapshots, record sound output etc.

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Postby MSueper » Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:54 pm

Hello Sarek,
i guess it has to do with vmware emulating a graphic card. On normal hw the cpu can rely on real cards for this, but vmware emulates a vesa compliant card, so the cpu gets really busy, you had to reduce the gui to "draw only every 4th frame" and even than the mouse makes trouble.
I was not able to test the hint above, because i'm not at home right now (and for the next 10 days :cry: ).
Greetings, Martin

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Postby ijor » Thu Jan 19, 2006 10:35 pm

Russ will correct me if I’m wrong, but I guess that Steem already has some multithread features. Probably for the GUI and sound.

Doing true parallel processing for emulation is a very complicates issue. You could in theory, have one thread emulating the CPU and other the SHIFTER plus some other hardware chips. But this would require so much synchronization that is difficult to know if you’ll get any advantage from this.

Not that I know the internals of every emulator, but AFAIK no vintage computer emulator perform actual emulation with multiple threads in parallel. This could conceivably be the future, if Intel theory is right and future CPUs will have only a slight increase in the clock speed, but will include a huge number of cores.

However you do still benefit from multiple CPU cores (logical or physical). The OS runs other processes plus kernel system code in other core if it’s free. And this probably should have a bigger impact under virtualization such as Vmware.

But btw, just out of curiosity, why you are running Steem under Vmware?

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Postby MSueper » Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:50 am

ijor wrote:But btw, just out of curiosity, why you are running Steem under Vmware?


Hello ijor,
just want to keep the host as simple as possible. So there is nearly nothing else than the os and vmware installed. This is for backup/restore purposes and security reasons. All data and progs are within the vm (except STEEM).
Greetings, Martin

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Obscure command line options

Postby Steem Authors » Tue Jan 31, 2006 9:50 pm

I'll see if I can remember them. I'm sure Russ will correct me if I get them wrong!

NOSHM -- disables something. what is SHM? Simple harmonic motion!
SHM = Shared Memory Extension. This is a Linux thing which makes drawing graphics quicker but might not work on bad systems.

HELP -- seems to do nothing
H -- don't know. Alternative to HELP?

Print basic options to console in a UNIX stylee.

QUITQUICKLY -- something to do with saving the emu state on exit?

I think this makes Steem quit immediately. Very useful I'm sure!

DONTLIMITSPEED -- haven't tried it incase it melts my graphics card

This makes Steem go as fast as it can, useful for running raytracing or something like that

ACCURATEFDC -- something which slows FDC

Usually Steem's FDC is quicker than a real ST, which works for most programs but not all.

SCREENSHOTALWAYSADDNUM -- screenshot files carry numbers
PSGCAPTURE -- no idea

Start recording sound output at start.

CROSSMOUSE -- continue to show the windows cursor after mouse capture
GDIFSBORDER -- does something with gdi for full screen display. Disables exclusive mode, causing DD errors.

Obscure option to draw black letterbox with GDI instead of DirectDraw

FONT= -- for the scrolly message I presume.

No: font for Linux dialog boxes

DIVUTIME= -- Hmm, perhaps sets how tight the timers run for development/testing.
DIVSTIME= -- same again.

DIVU and DIVS are CPU instructions. Some protection routines rely on accurate timings for these instructions but the current release of Steem can't work these out. This option can be used to get round some of these protection routines but are mainly useless.

PABUFSIZE= --buffer size for PA
RTBUFSIZE -- buffer size for RT
RTBUFNUM -- number of buffers for RT
CUTS= -- specifies a shortcurts file?

Yes!

Ant (Steem)


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