Do we really need Packed Textures?

Discussion in 'Improvement Suggestions' started by Swede, February 27, 2009.

  1. Swede

    Swede Portal Pro

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    If you experience stuttering skin pages/ high CPU usage/ lagging mouse, this is possibly because you're out of video/GPU memory.

    I have done some testing to see if the packed textures (Cache) really are needed and I cannot find any positive sides at all. They might reduce GPU processing for some, but they are also a great GPU memory thief. Without them everything works a lot better in low spec PC's. Maybe it's even nessesery to use my ugly hack if you want to use texture-rich skins or plugins like My Movies and TV Series.



    This ugly hack is very simple and only makes sure that no packed textures are used, so that video memory is left as high as possible. The packed textures are meant to make MP start faster, but that seems to only work in theory. I have not seen any difference in startup speed, with or without. Only a lot less memory. First start is a lot faster with the ugly hack. Using this ugly hack, you will have a smooth running MP with as much video memory as possible, left for other stuff. Even a little less CPU usage and a bit faster channel change, in my tests.

    This ugly hack works with all skins.

    Delete all files starting with "Packedgfx" in the used skinfolder in CACHE:
    XP: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Team MediaPortal\MediaPortal\Cache\UsedSkinFolder.
    Vista: C:\ProgramData\Team MediaPortal\MediaPortal\Cache\UsedSkinFolder.
    Unpack the file from my zip to the same folder. Restart MP.
    If the Cache folder is empty, you will have to run MP once before you can do the ugly hack.
    If you change skin, you will have to redo the ugly hack for the new skin in cache.


    If you want to remove the ugly hack, all you have to do is delete the previously mentioned cache folder and restart MP.


    Since SVN 22029, it works nicely in Vista too as a result of ::THIS tread::.

    2009-03-23 New version: Now it is not deleted when a newer MP starts

    In SVN versions since 21864, RTV has fixed so that you can do this:

    2009-04-15 New version that includes reflections. Thanks Bleazle


    Edit 2009-06-13: I must also report that the team has done great improvements in this matter (packed gfx). The reason I started this tread was that my laptop with 128MB gpu couldn't run MP without serious problems, but now I tried to run 1.0.2 without my ugly hack, and it runs smoothly even with Moving Pictures plugin. Great job everyone! My hack will probably not be needed anymore.
     

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  3. tourettes
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    tourettes Retired Team Member

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    Those are at least used to reduce the startup times, maybe for something else...
     
  4. Swede

    Swede Portal Pro

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    Maybe they reduce a little in second, third... start but they really waste the videomemory. Maybe an option cache or no cache? I mean with movingpictures installed the cache contains 6x32Mb (2048x2048 = 32Mb). No wonder if people have strange issues.
     
  5. Swede

    Swede Portal Pro

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    We can make a quick test like this:

    Time your normal start up.
    Go to your movie folder and browse around a little.
    Close MP again
    Delete all files beginning with "packedgfx" in the used skin folder in cache.
    Copy my attached file to the used skin folder in cache
    Time this startup.
    Go to your movie folder and browse around a little.
    Close MP again
    Now compare Mediaportal.log with Mediaportal.bak
    Search for all instances of "Mem left:"

    My results are:
    No difference in startup time
    Around 50Mb less mem left in the normal start.

    In my opinion the packed textures makes more trouble than good. :sorry:
     

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  6. jonaskp

    jonaskp Portal Pro

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    This is very interesting. I have no idea if this is correct or not, but if there is a way to reduce resources, I wouldn't mind that. Even if this means MP being a couple of seconds slower in the startup or taking more space on the HDD when installed.
     
  7. pharaohamps

    pharaohamps Portal Member

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    I don't know if it reduces startup time, but on my low-end HTPC Swede's packedgfx file improves things a lot! The PC has only 64MB of shared gfx mem (Intel 845 onboard) and so with Blue3 Wide I was getting 90% CPU utilization with the PC at the Home screen in MP. With Swede's fix, now I'm under 20% at the menu. On my other two HTPC's I don't need the fix, as they both have a lot more gfx mem (256 and 512 MB respectively.)

    I'm not concerned about startup time, since none of my PC's is ever really running anything other than MP.
     
  8. Coach
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    Coach MP Donator

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    I have an nVidia 7600 GT with 256MB but I've tried the fix because sometimes I have strange diagonal lines (usually on tv guide screen).
    I've tested yestarday without strange effects or lines.

    The only problem I have is that I cannot see the volume level (I'm using Xface skin).

    Coach
     
  9. guytpetj
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    guytpetj MP Donator

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    I tested this fix on one of my old pc's, works great, MP running much smoother than before. Also found the same xface volume level problem.
     
  10. infinite.loop
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    infinite.loop Retired Team Member

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    i am surprised that MP even works without the packedgfx (i think MP always used them).

    i will ensure that our dev team takes a look at this topic. :)

    :D
     
  11. Swede

    Swede Portal Pro

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    If you only delete the packed textures, MP will not work very well, but if you use my packedgfx2.bxml it will. My special packedgfx2.bxml were made when there were nothing in the media folder (Sub folders were still there but they are not packed).

    I use this in all my setups now and cannot find any drawbacks at all.
     
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