December 30, 2009

IRQ Priority Tweak

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ System \ CurrentControlSet \ Control \ PriorityControl]

You will need to create a new DWORD: IRQ#Priority (where # is the number of the IRQ you want to prioritize) and give it a setting of 1. This setting gives the requisite IRQ channel priority over the other IRQs on a software level. This can be extremely important for functions and hardware subsystems that need real-time access to other parts of the system. There are several different subsystems that might benefit from this tweak. Generally, I recommend giving either the System CMOS or the video card priority. The System CMOS generally has an IRQ setting of 8, and giving it priority enhances the I/O performance of the system. Giving priority to the video card can increase frame rates and make AGP more effective.

You can give several IRQs priority, but I am not entirely certain how the system interacts when several IRQs are given priority – it may cause random instabilities in the system, although it is more likely that there's a parsing system built into Windows XP to handle such an occurrence. Either way, I would not recommend it.

QoS tweak

QoS (Quality of Service) is a networking subsystem which is supposed to insure that the network runs properly. The problem with the system is that it eats up 20% of the total bandwidth of any networking service on the computer (including your internet connection). If you are running XP Professional, you can disable the bandwidth quota reserved for the system using the Group Policy Editor [gpedit.msc].

You can run the group policy editor from the Run command line. To find the setting, expand "Local Computer Policy" and go to "Administrative Templates" under "Computer Configuration." Then find the "Network" branch and select "QoS Packet Scheduler." In the right hand box, double click on the "Limit Reservable Bandwidth." From within the Settings tab, enable the setting and then go into the "Bandwidth Limit %" and set it to 0%. The reason for this is that if you disable this setting, the computer defaults to 20%. This is true even when you aren't using QoS.

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