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Old 02 March 2016, 16:41   #1
Amigajay
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Optimising CD32 Boot Times

Was today wondering if with my discs for example there is a way to optimise and bring down load times, albeit by a few seconds, it all counts.

Obviously the smaller the menu picture will help alot, my last image was around 16-17k in size and 320x256 in resolution which helps too.
Same thing for the size of the .mod file, which i think it does have a delay whilst it loads before you can select a game to play.

So bar the stuff i can do to reduce loading times, is there other smaller utilities (image viewers and mod players) I think Akiko named one once but i forget the name to use that will help.

Other than those, i noticed in another thread that having less files on the disc may also help with disc accessing, if this is true can someone upload a minimum folder structure for a cd32 iso, i tend to copy files to the next disc so the files tend to grow with each release!
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Old 02 March 2016, 17:05   #2
Akira
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There are CLI module players that will be smaller than Hippoplayer.
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Old 02 March 2016, 17:30   #3
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A few things that will help is to keep as few commands in the startup-sequence as possible, seek times on a real CD32 are really slow so each new file that needs to be read will take quite some time. Always use direct paths, if you have Assign in C: type C:Assign in Startup-Sequence instead of just Assign (less seek on the CD). Sorting the file order in ISOCD can also help a bit, put often accessed files close together on the CD. To reorder the files, start creating a CD using ISOCD as normal but when you've done everything and are ready to build the .iso - save the layout-file, open it with a text-editor and edit the last part of it (it contains 3 lists) by just reordering the lines - save it and load the edited layout-file back into ISOCD.

On our CD we have all rootdirs: C/, S/, Devs/, Games/ ... and so on first and then S/Startup-Sequence, C/SetPatch, C/Assign, C/Execute, C/CD32Load, C/WHDLoadCD32 and such stuff. Then all game stuff in the order ISOCD put them in.
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Old 02 March 2016, 18:05   #4
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Depending on what programs you need to be able to run afterwards, then perhaps you could put some of the small, commonly used tools into RAM:? You could also just delete everything in RAM: when you need to boot some memory-hungry piece of software and then copy the files back on exit.

If seek times on the CD is a very big bottleneck, then perhaps those tools could simply be put in a single LHA file which is then copied to RAM:, extracted, and the LHA file deleted again. Then the CD will be read at 100% speed without any seeking. I have done something similar on a floppy once and it did reduce the overall loading time significantly (although I extracted directly from floppy to RAM). Even on a plain 68k, the CPU could more or less keep up extracting the file with the max sustained reading speed of the floppy drive. Not sure how that compares to the 020 and a CD since I never had a CD32.
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Old 02 March 2016, 18:17   #5
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Not a bad idea, lha files can always be stored without compression if read-speed is faster than decoding speed. If I recall correctly, lzx is actually faster to decompress than lha but I could be totally wrong here.
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Old 02 March 2016, 19:08   #6
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@demolition
Oh and I just noticed, you typed copy the file to RAM: and then extract it, why copy it to RAM: ? Just feels like like a totally unnecessary extra step, especially if we're trying to win time here
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Old 02 March 2016, 19:21   #7
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Most optimal way would be to have all needed files in single big file that is read sequentially and is also located in sequential physical CD sectors. Even if it means duplicating files. Seeks kill the performance. Pausing or stopping reading and then restarting also means seeking. CD keeps rotating and laser keeps tracking the CD's "track" even when not reading.

As long as sectors are sequential, CD32 can keep reading it at full 300kb/s speed without any pauses or seeks.
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Old 02 March 2016, 19:22   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayminer View Post
@demolition
Oh and I just noticed, you typed copy the file to RAM: and then extract it, why copy it to RAM: ? Just feels like like a totally unnecessary extra step, especially if we're trying to win time here
Question was how much time it takes to continue reading after stopping, even if it does not require movement of the head. If that can be done fast, then extracting directly from the CD should be ok.
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Old 03 March 2016, 17:02   #9
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Depending on if the cd32 is CAV or CLV, placing files closer to the edge should give a slight read speedup (if seeking can be avoided)

Last edited by spiff; 03 March 2016 at 20:32.
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Old 03 March 2016, 23:01   #10
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You can perhaps place a single big (empty) space-filling file in root to make sure the rest of the data is on the outside of the CD, taking advantage of the above mentioned. So there would be only one (big) seek to the outer rim.;-)
The cd2speed (afaik, doublespeed enabler) for the cd drive is already enabled (by standard, perhaps)?
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Old 04 March 2016, 09:52   #11
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CLV, it is not a "MAX" drive.

Regarding optimal disk layout for low boot time, as jayminer said, order the dirs and files exactly as they are accessed during boot with help of the ISOCD layout file.
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Old 05 March 2016, 13:30   #12
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They used to put a large dummy file at the beginning of Playstation CDs to bring
files to toward the edge of the CD to supposedly help wearing CD drives which can apparently read the outside easier.
I assume this is because most of the wear on the sled was done toward the inside
where most games would stick the first data.
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