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Old 01-08-2020, 08:50 AM
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Why do my games take so long to UNload ?


Kind of a tech support question, but I've noticed it over the past year or so : every time I play a tech heavy game (like Total War Warhammer, Red Dead 2, the last Tomb Raider...) and quit it, my computer takes *ages* to become useable again. I'm talking a good 10 minutes of what can only be described as feverish disk & proc access and churning. In the meantime, firefox, explorer, every other process struggles to display even text.
It doesn't happen with less graphically demanding games.

Mind you, *launching* those games is not much issue - I mean the loading times can be heavy at times but no worse than they ever were and my computer doesn't sound like it's about to have a heart attack. The games run fine, maybe a little lag or slowdown once in a while because it's not in its prime any more but nothing dramatic. It's just when I quit that suddenly the box needs to breathe heavily into a paper bag.

Any ideas about what gives ? Is it firefox in the background fucking things up, is it a sneaky new Steam thing I can toggle off ?
  #2  
Old 01-08-2020, 09:14 AM
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Are you running out of memory or something, and needing to un-page everything from disk?

Try opening Process Explorer (or even just Task Manager) while the game is running and looking at things?
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Old 01-08-2020, 09:15 AM
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It sounds like memory isn’t being released right away, possibly. But if it’s really taking 10 minutes that’s extremely bizarre. I’ve supported PCs professionally for 20 years now and I’ve never seen that behavior, which should tell you something. Yes, I’ve seen a machine be sluggish for a bit after running something that takes a lot of system resources but nowhere near that long, not even close to a minute. So something is seriously wrong with your system.

The issues that I would suspect could lead to something like this would probably also lead to poor performance in the game itself though; are you seeing that?

Either way if I was supporting this machine I’d have to get my hands on it to properly troubleshoot it. Run some diagnostics and try to stress it to see what happens. You should consider having it serviced.
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Old 01-08-2020, 09:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airk View Post
Are you running out of memory or something, and needing to un-page everything from disk?

Try opening Process Explorer (or even just Task Manager) while the game is running and looking at things?
That's the thing : I'm not sure I am. I've managed to open Process Explorer during the intense churning and it shows neither the UC nor RAM under any particularly heavy load, both somewhere around 50%. I have noticed both the Steam and main firefox process write entire gigs of data however, not sure why.
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Old 01-08-2020, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atamasama View Post
It sounds like memory isnít being released right away, possibly. But if itís really taking 10 minutes thatís extremely bizarre. Iíve supported PCs professionally for 20 years now and Iíve never seen that behavior, which should tell you something. Yes, Iíve seen a machine be sluggish for a bit after running something that takes a lot of system resources but nowhere near that long, not even close to a minute. So something is seriously wrong with your system.
I mean, I suck at telling time so maybe 10 minutes is exaggerated - it seems overly long though. Like, I can go take a comfortable dump with my phone, come back and it'll still be churning.

Quote:
The issues that I would suspect could lead to something like this would probably also lead to poor performance in the game itself though; are you seeing that?
Not really. Like I said, sometimes there's some hidden loading/swapping that my comp can't *quite* do seamlessly and the games will chug for a few seconds but that's about it. RDR2 is the first game where it happens frequently enough to be noticeable and annoying ; but from what I understand it's a very badly optimized port (also a very demanding game in general).
  #6  
Old 01-08-2020, 09:53 AM
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Do you notice a difference if you have freshly rebooted the PC as opposed to having it run for a few hours/days? Is there a difference if you run the game for a few minutes vs for a few hours?

Are you running windows 10?
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Old 01-08-2020, 10:03 AM
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Do you notice a difference if you have freshly rebooted the PC as opposed to having it run for a few hours/days? Is there a difference if you run the game for a few minutes vs for a few hours?

Are you running windows 10?
Windows 7.
It does take longer the longer the game has been running, even though even just loading in and quitting produces a small churning period. Couldn't tell with the fresh reboot - this computer is basically up all of the time ; which might admittedly be part of the issue (but I thought the late Win incarnations had resolved the issue of 95/98/XP fucking itself up over time memory wise ?)
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Old 01-08-2020, 10:32 AM
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Do you have the Steam client off otherwise? Maybe it's closing out your game and then taking the opportunity to download/install patches and updates for other games you have installed.
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Old 01-08-2020, 10:41 AM
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Nah I thought about that and checked, no downloads listed (but yes, steam is running in the background)
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Old 01-08-2020, 10:46 AM
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(although in checking out what could cause it I did learn that Windows schedules defragging and indexing weekly by default, which explained another puzzling heavy disk access I'd noticed in the middle of the night. Turned that off, I can do my own defragging thankyouverymuch)
  #11  
Old 01-08-2020, 01:12 PM
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Yeah, 10 minutes does seem super long.

If you want to rule out Steam and Firefox (Note: Both can be pretty memory hungry) then just kill them after you start the game and see what happens when you close it down.

Does this happen if you start a game and then immediately exit, or only if you've been playing for a while?

Also, maybe consider running a RAM test overnight, though honestly, I don't see how that would cause this either.

Oh hey, and look, Windows has a tool that tells you what's hitting disks:
https://superuser.com/questions/4770...ive-on-windows (Though apparently you can do this sort of thing with Process Explorer as well.)

Last edited by Airk; 01-08-2020 at 01:15 PM.
  #12  
Old 01-08-2020, 01:40 PM
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I haven't played the other games listed, but I've noticed something similar with Shadow of the Tomb Raider. When quitting the game, it churns for a long time before going back to the main menu, even if the game has just saved, and the whole PC is sluggish for a bit afterward. It also suffers severe performance degradation if you tab out of the game, and that degradation persists until I restart the game.

To me, that smacks of bollixed memory management. Throwing more RAM in the box might help make up for the poor optimization.
  #13  
Old 01-09-2020, 05:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kobal2 View Post
Windows 7.
It does take longer the longer the game has been running, even though even just loading in and quitting produces a small churning period. Couldn't tell with the fresh reboot - this computer is basically up all of the time ; which might admittedly be part of the issue (but I thought the late Win incarnations had resolved the issue of 95/98/XP fucking itself up over time memory wise ?)
I run win 10 and still experience somewhat longer loading/unloading times if I do not reboot say once a week, or at least once a fortnight. I usually just hibernate the PC at night, most of the time.

But nothing nearly as much as 10 minutes - I suspect, as others have noted, that there is something hugging memory and not letting go in the background, forcing the OS to unload a lot of memory from the HDD cache (I assume you do not have a SSD seeing as its an older PC?)

How long ago (if ever) is it since you did a clean reinstall of the OS? It should not be necessary for Win 7 as it was back in the 98/ME/XP days, but it could perhaps solve the issue (altough it is a pain to do, of course )
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Old 01-09-2020, 05:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airk
Does this happen if you start a game and then immediately exit, or only if you've been playing for a while?
It's deffo worse after long sessions, just load/quit only slows things down for a few seconds.

But I did a long RDR2 session yesterday and took care to shut off firefox before starting and not restart it until after the unpleasantness - the post-game chugging was much reduced. So I think that's where crap gets funky. I think it might be trying to load or write stuff while steam is busy deleting temp files from the same drive and things get messy ? Not sure. But now I know at least one paliative measure.

Abel, I haven't reinstalled in ages, 5+ years. You're right, and I know, it's dumb and I really should at some point... but it's such a giant pain in my tiny dick... And I do have an SSD, but too small to fit multiple giant games.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balance
To me, that smacks of bollixed memory management. Throwing more RAM in the box might help make up for the poor optimization.
Yeah, that's definitely on the wishlist. 8 Gb just doesn't seem to cut it any more.

Last edited by Kobal2; 01-09-2020 at 05:44 AM.
  #15  
Old 01-09-2020, 07:48 AM
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I got by with 8 GB for years but finally got around to bumping it up to 16 a couple years ago. It made a huge difference. Not long ago you’d almost never need that much, now I’d almost consider it mandatory for many modern PC games. Not that they won’t run without it but you’re going to have performance issues.
  #16  
Old 01-27-2020, 10:22 PM
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It's almost certainly caused by insufficient RAM. The computer I had until relatively recently really struggled with multiple things open, and I could tell from System Monitor that physical memory was basically always full. The HD making noise all the time during this was a good clue as well that it was basically caused by constant page faults due to having to constantly reload data from the HD when there wasn't enough room in RAM. I got a new fairly cheap machine with twice the RAM and everything runs just fine. I'm guessing with better memory management it would be better, but once the program ends, it has to deallocate all the memory, and that means reloading the memory to be deallocated from the HD if it got pushed over there.
  #17  
Old 01-28-2020, 02:42 PM
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Another vote for needing more memory. Also, I might have missed it, but are you leaving stuff like Firefox running in the background while you game? A browser with a few pages loaded can easily take half a gigabyte of RAM.

Also a reboot is in order.

If you're low in disk space on your system drive that could cause issues.

If your swap file is dynamic and is on a disk with low space that could cause issues. Change swap file to a static size.
  #18  
Old 01-28-2020, 09:48 PM
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Another vote for needing more memory. Also, I might have missed it, but are you leaving stuff like Firefox running in the background while you game? A browser with a few pages loaded can easily take half a gigabyte of RAM.

Also a reboot is in order.

If you're low in disk space on your system drive that could cause issues.

If your swap file is dynamic and is on a disk with low space that could cause issues. Change swap file to a static size.
Yeah, turns out firefox is a major hog ; remembering to shut it down helped a lot. Although now that another game -Monster Hunter World - is making my machine gasp and pant (for other reasons), it's dawning on me that my setup miiight just be a little bit outdated . Guess I know what to spend some of my massive fortune on soon as I get it - that Nigerian prince should be unlocking the funds any day now.
  #19  
Old 01-29-2020, 10:04 AM
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You're running these games in Steam, right?

How long does Steam take to transfer your saved game into its cloud storage? That could be a fair bit of disk read and network I/O, if the save file is large.
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