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jmke 3rd January 2006 13:34

HOWTO: Dual Core Gaming Fix Guide
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Dual Core Gaming Fix Guide

Since I purchased my X2 and then my dual core Opteron, I noticed that gaming performance suffers while running certain games. [H]ardOCP noted this in one of their reviews as the "Benny Hill Effect." There is a certain amount of stuttering or random speedup/slowdowns while running dual core CPU's in single threaded games. The reason for these problems has to do with power management in some form or another, as these fixes are designed to address specific power management issues. This thread is intended to consolidate a number of fixes I've come across in this forum and elsewhere.

Fix #1 - The AMD Driver ( /usepmtimer switch)

1. Install the AMD Processor driver found here:,00.html
AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 Dual Core Processor Driver for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 Version (exe) (or other driver depending on your OS).

This driver will add the /usepmtimer line to your boot.ini file. This will both fix problems in some games (BF2) and will raise problems in others (WoW). So depending on what games you are playing, you might have to edit your boot.ini to reflect the game you are playing.

2. Add the /usepmtimer switch to your boot.ini file manually
Right Click My Computer
Advanced Tab
Startup and Recovery -> Settings
To edit the startup options manually, click edit -> Edit

This should bring up a .txt file with your boot.ini file

Add the /usepmtimer as noted above and it will do what the driver does for you. If it is already there and you still have problems, you might want to take it out and try again, or try one of the other fixes.

Fix #2 - The Microsoft Hotfix

NOTE: This Hotfix is only for Windows XP w/SP2 per the documentation at the link below

Install the hotfix file found at one of these mirrors:

If you need to disable the hotfix, edit the registry as noted here (specifically note #7 which details how to deactivate/activate the hotfix):

Specifics as to what is being done from the power management side of things can be read at the link above. These are just the changes that need to be made in the registry. Also note that in the DWORD value box, you enter a "0" to disable the power state created by the hotfix and enter a "1" to enable it. For the purposes of fixing the games, enter a "1".

Fix #3 - Set the Affinity Manually

Finally, the last and least glorious of the fixes is to manually set the CPU affinity of certain programs. This can be done in several ways.
1. Alt-Tab out of your game, CTRL-ALT-DEL to the Task Manager, Under the Processes tab, right click the .exe file for your game and go to Set Affinity, Uncheck CPU 1.

2. Use a program such as Win2000/WinXP Launcher to load games. (Available here: or This will allow you to set the CPU affinity before loading the game, which is useful for games that don't respond well to Alt-Tabbing.

3. Use an affinity masking tool such as ImageCFG ( for instructions on how to use). Backup your .exe before using this program. Imagecfg has a problem with some directories with spaces in them, so its easiest to stick it in the folder with the *.exe file you want to change. Then use the command you need (knowledge of the DOS prompt is a must ;) ):

imagecfg -a 0x1 game.exe for core 1
imagecfg -a 0x2 game.exe for core 2

This will alter your .exe file, so make a backup of it. Especially since future game patches might not work with a patched .exe.

Alternate Fix #4 - Newer video drivers for your graphics card
If you're using an Nvidia video card. Download one of the Forceware 80 series drivers which are dual core optimized. Latest are available here:
Some older drivers may/may not work with some games/benchmarks and dual core processors.

ATI drivers available here:
I would assume dual core support to be forthcoming in future Catalyst releases.

One of the above solutions should fix 98% of your gaming problems with dual core CPU's. Any comments or suggestions are welcome


Games Fixed by #1
HalfLife2 (Source Engine games)

Games Fixed by #2
HalfLife1 (CS/DoD)
Need For Speed:MW
Unreal Tournament (Original)
Lineage 2 (in some cases)
Serious Sam 2

Games Fixed by #3
If the above fixes don't work
Lineage 2 (in some cases)
Warcraft 3
Call of Duty 1

Games/Benchmarks Fixed by #4

187(V)URD@ 3rd January 2006 15:01

nice how-to, can be handy when installing the x2 proc :)

RichBa5tard 11th January 2006 11:42

In a nutshell, an X2 processor is not recommended for a gamer who knows nothing about computers?

jmke 11th January 2006 11:52

well; the latest patches seem to resolve most issues

187(V)URD@ 11th January 2006 23:13

Maybe add the patch links in the 1st post?

jmke 12th January 2006 01:03

uhm, they are under #2 ? :)

187(V)URD@ 13th January 2006 00:19

yeah but i don't have english xp :)

jmke 13th January 2006 08:27

that was a bad choice of OS than

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