What sort of rig plays huge Old World maps well?

Quintillus

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I've noticed that late-game, even on standard maps (say turn 150+) the game can slow down considerably, and that I'll occasionally run out of memory on larger maps (despite having 20 GB of RAM). So I was wondering, what are the most important components for fast, huge Old World maps?

My first thought was CPU, since that's such a large factor in Civ3/Civ4, but I am not sure if that's really the bottleneck here, or if there is good multi-threaded scaling. Is a hex core noticeably faster than a quad, all else equal? Does CPU cache make a considerable difference? Some Civ3 players used to swear by Cedar Mill Pentium 4 CPUs being faster due to having twice the cache, and I'm wondering if the Ryzen 5800X3D would have an impact on Old World for the same basic reason.

But now I'm thinking memory might be the main component, the more the better. It looks like I'm using a lot of virtual memory, so maybe I should put 64 GB of main memory in my rebuild this fall.

Graphics, I'm less sure about. I usually play on Medium on an 8 GB RX480. It gets slow late sometimes, but is the GPU the limiting factor? It feels like both the graphics/scrolling, and the AI turn times slow down, so I'm really not sure what the bottleneck is. But my hunch is putting an RTX 3080 in my computer probably wouldn't make everything blazing fast.

I'm especially interested to hear from players who regularly play on larger maps, or who made upgrades and can speak to whether they made a difference or not. It would also be cool to have some sort of benchmark - back in the Civ3 days I had a notoriously slow save file that I shared, and a few people posted back how long the AI turn took, so we got a better idea of which CPUs were relatively fast for Civ and which were underwhelming.

No particular hurry - I plan to wait until AMD's next round of processors are on the market - but once they're available I'd like to have a good idea of which components to focus on. And while non-gaming tasks will be a significant factor, at this point Old World is the only game that I kind of want to make run significantly faster than it does today. Well, and maybe those humungous Civ3/4 games that have been on my back burner for a few years...
 

Quintillus

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I haven't been, either, and less so in recent years. It just hasn't been necessary for what I play, whereas it used to be more necessary. Are you an Old World player, @Aiken_Drumn ?

These are the official recommended specs:
  • OS: Windows® 10 Home 64 Bit
  • Processor: Intel i5-8500 3ghz or similar
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 1060 / AMD RX 5500-XT
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Storage: 14 GB available space
But it does run on Windows 7 and 8.1 (<3)! I'm not sure if it would run any better on 10.

The i5-8500 is indeed 3 GHz, and a hex-core processor. The minimum is an i5-6400, 2.7 GHz quad-core. I'm arguably below the minimum there without overclocking (3.3 GHz it-2500K, quad-core), depending on how much credit you give Intel's generational improvements. That probably affects AI turn times. My guess is there's some benefit to at least 6 cores given the recommendation.

Memory is 8 GB minimum, 16 GB recommended, Old World likes memory. On the 128x128 Middle East map, I ran out of memory + virtual memory with 20 GB of memory (above the recommended 16 GB) plus 10 GB of virtual memory. After adding 20 GB of virtual memory, I was okay, peaking at somewhere around 35 GB total (I posted 33.3 GB in another thread, but it later inched up).

The GTX 1060 offers either 3 GB of 6 GB of VRAM, and the 5500XT offers either 4 GB or 8 GB. On the minimum specs, the R9 290 offers 4 GB, and the GTX 770 offers 2 GB or 4 GB.

The storage recommendations do not mention an SSD, and I have it installed on a hard drive. The load time is not bad. I expect it's like many strategy games in that once you've loaded it, HDD versus SSD doesn't matter much.

Based on what I know now, I'd recommend:

CPU: AMD Ryzen hex-core or Intel 8000-series or later hex-core. (Although honestly, Intel's per-generation improvements were so modest for so long that a 5000-series or later hex core is probably almost indistinguishable)
Memory: 32 GB RAM (16 GB okay if you don't play humungous maps, but it ships with some so they're hard to resist)
GPU: The 1060/5500 XT rec is probably fine, but I'd err on the side of the larger VRAM models (6/8 GB). Would love to learn more on whether this makes a difference, but what I've seen locally suggests on humungous maps, it may be using a lot, and that may be part of why main memory was using a lot too (if VRAM is overflowing into main memory)
Storage: 14 GB, hard drive is fine

Overall, I'd recommend memory as the first upgrade when in doubt, assuming playing Old World is the main reason for the upgrade. I'm seriously considering maxing out my computer with an upgrade to 32 GB, if I weren't planning to rebuild it this year I probably would have already ordered it.

Goal for my next post: Have a benchmark from one of my save files so we can start comparing AI turn times, and perhaps memory use, on different systems.
 

Fistleaf

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For some reason, the game lags a lot after resuming a saved game after about turn 100. The game was running fine around turn 100 before I saved the game, but once I exited and resumed the saved game, I need to tune down the graphics setting to play. This is on 8 GB RAM.
 

PiR

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The storage recommendations do not mention an SSD, and I have it installed on a hard drive. The load time is not bad. I expect it's like many strategy games in that once you've loaded it, HDD versus SSD doesn't matter much.
My experience with HDD is when Windows starts to swap (because of OW), then the loading times will become crazy. Even saving game.
 

Quintillus

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My experience with HDD is when Windows starts to swap (because of OW), then the loading times will become crazy. Even saving game.
I should clarify that my main drive (and swap/virtual memory drive) is an SSD, it's just Old World that's installed on the hard drive. I'm sure things would be faster if it were all in main memory, but things like saving/loading seem pretty reasonable even when it's well into virtual memory (on SSD).
 
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