Testing the KB940105 Hotfix

Unfortunately the fix is not all roses at this time. Microsoft classifies this as a hotfix which may still be undergoing further testing, which means they aren't recommending that most users install this fix, nor are they even making the fix easy to get. Microsoft's official recommendation is that users not severely affected wait until the fix is delivered as part of a service pack, which would mean that it will not be normally distributed until Vista SP1 in late 2007 or early 2008, and it certainly won't be part of the next "Patch Tuesday".

Right now the only official way to acquire the hotfix is to directly call Microsoft and ask them for the hotfix, which they will supply for free. On August 23rd, Microsoft will publish the fix on the KB article page for anyone who wants to download it ahead SP1's release. For those not wanting to wait until the 23rd, we have seen the hotfix for download on various websites; however, we'd advise an extra level of caution if downloading the hotfix from an unofficial site due to the popularity of fake Microsoft patches loaded with Trojan horses.

The patch is officially supported by Microsoft, so we do not believe there are any serious problems with it, and in our testing we did not encounter any issues. We have however heard from one source that this fix is dependent on some changes that also need to happen at the video driver level. We can't substantiate this, but all the same we would recommend not installing this patch without first installing the most recent drivers for your video card.

To get an idea of how much the hotfix can reduce virtual address space usage, and if this comes with any kind of performance tradeoff, we once again ran our battery of games that have extreme virtual address space usage against Vista with and without the hotfix, and against XP as a baseline.

Software Test Bed
Processor Intel Core 2 Quad QX6850
RAM G.Skill DDR2-800 (2x2GB)
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-P35-DR3R (Intel P35)
System Platform Drivers Intel
Hard Drive Maxtor MaXLine Pro 500GB SATA
Video Cards 1 x GeForce 8800GTX
Video Drivers NV ForceWare 163.11
Power Supply OCZ GameXStream 700W
Desktop Resolution 1600x1200
Operating Systems Windows Vista Ultimate 32-Bit
Windows XP SP2

We'll start with Company of Heroes mission 6, which as we saw in part 2 had the biggest difference in virtual address space usage of all the games in comparing Vista and XP.

Whereas Company of Heroes would surpass the 2GB barrier under Vista just loading this mission without the hotfix, the game is safely under the 2GB barrier with the hotfix applied. Under Vista the game is still using an additional 160MB of virtual address space compared to XP, but this is far better than the gap being the entire size of the video memory on our 8800GTX prior to the hotfix.

Both STALKER and Supreme Commander show similar, albeit not as great improvements, shaving off 420MB and 260MB respectively. This shows that not all games benefit from the hotfix to the exact same degree, although from our limited sample we can extrapolate that every game should be reduced to near its optimal situation, as Vista is consistently using around 160-200MB more virtual address space than XP with the hotfix installed.

However, we also need to ask: Does the hotfix incur any performance penalty compared to not using the hotfix?

Overall Vista Game Performance
Company of Heroes
Supreme Commander

With performance numbers literally the same with and without the hotfix, we can safely say that there is not a performance penalty for using this hotfix.

Index Final Thoughts
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  • MadBoris - Monday, August 13, 2007 - link

    bah no edit function...correction...

    "the problem is all developers are being handicapped by RAM for PC now."

    ...handicapped by the 2GB memory ceiling for PC now. (handicapped in development)
  • stash - Monday, August 13, 2007 - link

    Calling PSS for hotfixes is no longer required. You can request hotfixes through the web.

  • Rebel44 - Tuesday, August 14, 2007 - link

    Direct link to hotfix download http://hotfixv4.microsoft.com/Windows%20Vista/sp1/...">http://hotfixv4.microsoft.com/Windows%2...2739/600... - its password protected (password: {8ly8YX2 is valid untill 8.17.07)
  • leexgx - Tuesday, August 14, 2007 - link

    password must change offen link


    has both files to x86 and x64 (useing the 64 one now)

    uses with cards that are less then 512mb (e.g. 256mb) are likey to be less affected or not affected at all as most games would be unplayable on Very high detail settings on them type of games so running out of ram probly not happen on lower end cards
  • n0nsense - Tuesday, August 14, 2007 - link

    stay with "quality" buggy products of MS and you will experience much more :)
    Linux (and all xNIX OSes including Mac OS X) moved to native 64 bit few years ago. I'm personally use Gentoo x64 since my upgrade to C2D (more then year) and i didn't felt the transfer. Almost every software available as native 64 (including commercial soft like Nero). and what is not, working seamless (even 32bit drivers on 64bit system).
    for people that does not have 64 bit hardware, there is a kernel (OS) support for 64GB of RAM. and first 4GB can be shared between system and user spaces as 1/3 GB (respectively) 2/2GB and 3/1GB. this can solve the issue for microsoft, but it seems they are too greedy to solve the problems for what you already have paid, they will force you to pay for something else with different problems ;)
    this is not anti MS or pro xNIX post, the suggestion for solution is inside.

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