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Thread: Addons, Memory, and You

  1. #1
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    Addons, Memory, and You

    We get a lot of people who come here asking about "lightweight" addons. I get tired of writing this repeatedly, so here we go in one happy sticky place:

    When talking about addon performance, you really need to consider two things: How much memory the addon consumes, and how much of your computer's processing time (CPU time) it uses. Of the two, CPU time is by far the one you should be caring about the most.


    But I only have 2GB of memory!

    For most people, WoW uses somewhere between 600 and 700 megabytes of memory. I was running about 35 addons when I took that screenshot, about 30 megabytes of memory to addons (which is already included in the big number.) Compared to how much memory the game itself uses, even if you use double or triple the amount I was there - it's a nonissue.

    Yeah, if you ran it up to 200 or 300 megabytes of memory used by addons, it might become a problem. Then again, if you have a fast system with a lot of memory in it, it probably isn't a problem.

    But addons kill my framerate!
    Addons can affect your framerate, but that's because of addons that are poorly coded and chew up lots of CPU time. You are not losing performance because of the amount of memory an addon uses. Almost never.

    Case 1: Gatherer uses a ton of memory to store the locations of resource nodes. Gatherer does nothing at all in an instance, so that memory just sits there and causes you no grief.

    Case 2: Many addon authors will memoize (pre-calculate and store) data ahead of time. This might mean that when you are in combat, the result is simply a memory lookup instead of a calculation. This is done to increase performance. You are trading space, which is cheap, for CPU time, which is expensive. You are gaining performance by using more memory.

    With that said, memory that is bloating in an addon for no apparent reason can be an indicator of a badly written addon. In this case, the problem is the addon using memory badly, indicating excessive CPU time used that shouldn't be and an addon that does not manage its resources well. The other side effect is that the Lua garbage collector has to work overtime to keep up with the memory churn, which can degrade performance. In this case, the culprit is still not memory. The memory usage is simply a clue for you. Note that things like Recount are a good example. Recount simply stores a hell of a lot of data.

    TL;DR: Memory is the least of your concern in 95% of all cases.
    Got a question? Try here: Evil Empire Guides and here: Tankspot Guides and Articles Library first!

  2. #2
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    First!

    Is 8GB enuf memories to play addons? O.o

    True Knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.
    Agg's tanking guide

  3. #3
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    2nd..
    yes 8gb is more than enough. ( depending on which addons --- leaky addons BAD, and more importantly CPU )

    Doc

  4. #4
    I always try to prune out less useful addons.

    At the same time I have some addons which definitely take too much memory cause it's either a very big addon (Carbonite) or simply seem less than neat in coding (tbag, auctioneer, dbm).

    I'm not much of a coder myself, so I really can't judge all that much about it, but it seems some addon creaters just want to build too much, as in making a reasonable core and just adding more and more less usefull and more buggy coding/modules etc.

  5. #5
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    Tools to measure resource use

    I've been using an addon called Addon Profiler which shows CPU and Memory used by active addons.

    Addon Profiler - Addons - Curse

    For example when I was changing my unit frames a while back, I ran tests with Underhood, Shadowed Unit Frames and Stuf all active at the same time.

    I'm not really sure how accurate the assessment was, but it showed me relative resource usage (which led to me deciding on Stuf btw).

    It hasn't been updated for about 4 months but still seems to work just fine.

    Would be interested to hear how others assess the performance impact of their add-ons.

  6. #6
    Broker_CPU memory does the same thing.

  7. #7
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    Nice write up.

    Question however;

    What truly affects FPS and how does one go about ensuring that his FPS doesn't fluctuate to the point that it drives him mad?

    For myself, I always seem to avg around 20 fps. This used to be when I was using the higher vid settings. I now use lower vid settings and my fps is a bit higher.




    Don't let the 120 fps fool you. I'm in a part of Ashenvale that has very little going on.

    Most times I'mve going anywhere from 20 fps - 60 fps, but then there will be times where it will end up lagging for one reason or another.

    Below shows which addons I currently are using ( the enabled ones ). I had to switch a lot of them off because I was finding my fps was dropping due either the amount of addons or something else, I am unsure of which.




    So, back to my original question, how does one regulate their FPS so they are getting optimal fps?
    Last edited by Djtk; 01-16-2010 at 07:16 PM.

  8. #8
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    I like the size of your images...
    anyways there is no way to truly regulate your fps,Only thing u can do is not bog down your computer with useless addons and never go into dalaran on peak hours(I can,but not the point).

  9. #9
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    How are you able to without getting FPS lag? Does it have to do with the video card you're running?

  10. #10
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    If your computer can't handle dalaran then you should probably avoid that place.I don't have the top of the line laptop it isn't like I have the settings on the highest value,I have them on good ranges.I personally don't bog down my laptop with useless addons and stuff.

    This all depends on your wow setting,your computer itself and the amount of addons that you have on.(along with some others stuff,but its good to start with these 3.)

  11. #11
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    Any addon that affects your framerate is almost certainly the same one that is cheweing excessive CPU time. That said, it's somewhat rare for addons to have an appreciable effect on framerates. In general, it's going to be your graphics card + CPU (+ system memory to a certain extent) that will dictate your framerates.
    Got a question? Try here: Evil Empire Guides and here: Tankspot Guides and Articles Library first!

  12. #12
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    Well right now I am running a Intel Duo Core 2.8gh with a 8600gt card.

  13. #13
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    Poorly coded addons are more of a cause of degraded game performanse than anything else.


    Even with a CPU capable of handling large loads and wide open expanse of memory, i've had my gameplay go down considerably when using certain addons. Neither the FPS drop nor the amount of memory used ever got to worrying levels but i started experiencing lags, random disconnects, frame misses even though my fps stayed at around 70. Rigorously replacing them with alternatives has pretty much solved the problem.

    Here are a few culprits that i found that can mess up your gaming experience if used for long periods of time:

    Recount: Major, major MAJOR machine killer. After 2 hrs of raiding it really messes up your pc. Even resetting the data & clearing the cache doesnt solve it. (Yup not simply a cpu/memory problem). I ended up switching to skada. Unfortunately skada & recount use different dps (not damage done) calculations so my results usually differ from others. But damage done is equal in both.

    Bartender: Sad that an addon i loved so much turned out to be such a mess. Switching to dominos got rid of a ton of problems including frame losses.

    FuBar: I dont know how an addon that's simply a container can end up consuming ram at such fast increasing rates. Ended up ditching it completely as i havent come across a good alternative.

    Bagnon: The addon i loved and the one i'm missing a lot. But when it starts collecting info on what your other toons have in their bags/banks, the addon starts spiralling out of control.

    I made this list not because i wanted to name & shame (i really loved all those addons and would immediately revert to using them again if i knew they were fixed). Problem is, the mess they create is almost invisible and it took me hours of installing/uninstalling addons to pinpoint problems. I used to run with 25-30 MiB of addons, i still end up using similar memory, except this time my gaming performance isnt going down the drain.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for that list. I used to use Bartender and Bagnon, but now I will definitely remove them.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Djtk View Post
    Thanks for that list. I used to use Bartender and Bagnon, but now I will definitely remove them.
    I've used both of those since TBC and I've never had issues with them.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bloodwraith View Post
    I've used both of those since TBC and I've never had issues with them.
    I completely agree with Bloodwraith. I've used all those addons and never had an issue with my machine. Maybe it's your machine that's the issue.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fledern View Post
    Recount: Major, major MAJOR machine killer. After 2 hrs of raiding it really messes up your pc. Even resetting the data & clearing the cache doesnt solve it. (Yup not simply a cpu/memory problem). I ended up switching to skada. Unfortunately skada & recount use different dps (not damage done) calculations so my results usually differ from others. But damage done is equal in both.
    This is only true if you let it stack up data. I made a macro /recount reset and use it after every wipe. Combined with that and proper settings recount should not be an issue.

    Bartender: Sad that an addon i loved so much turned out to be such a mess. Switching to dominos got rid of a ton of problems including frame losses.
    I have never experienced an issue with Bartender.

    As far as the Bag mod I can't comment. I use the default bags which work just fine. Personal preference I suppose, but when considering frame rates, I would assume the concern is in a raid environment. In which case how often do you have your bags open in a raid?

    For Fubar I have never used it, however I find Satrina's mod Statuswindow, to work just fine.
    There is something so appealing about backhanding someone across the face with a shield.

  18. #18
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    Haha, I can't even remember the last time I updated StatusWindow
    Got a question? Try here: Evil Empire Guides and here: Tankspot Guides and Articles Library first!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satrina View Post
    Haha, I can't even remember the last time I updated StatusWindow
    LOL, no need to as far as I can see, works just great! Enable out of date addons and done!
    There is something so appealing about backhanding someone across the face with a shield.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aleanathem View Post
    I completely agree with Bloodwraith. I've used all those addons and never had an issue with my machine. Maybe it's your machine that's the issue.
    As I posted I have a Intel Duo Core 2.8gh with a 8600gt card and 3 gigs of ram but can encure slow fps.

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