tech counsel - stuttering

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tech counsel - stuttering

Postposted on Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:28 pm

Dear TR-forum members,

I'd like to ask all of you, who have more or less experience with Battlefield 3, for your advises.
I've been playing the game's multiplayer for over a a year without having a hiccup. Then I got somewhat bored of it, after some 50-something hrs of gameplay. I have a full-time job, a family, so I think playing over 50hrs in a year is not that bad. I wouldn't compare my skills to those youngsters who had over 50hrs of multi-gameplay in 3 days after the game was released...Anyways, after seeing the BF4 trailers, I thought I play a couple rounds so I got back online just to get annoyed in minutes.
The formerly fluid gameplay was completely destroyed by the stuttering I haven't experienced before. It's driving me nuts. I googled the hell out of the internetz but I still don't know what to do, every reasonable idea I found turned out useless. Where else to turn in such cases when not to the TR-forums?

I've got a i5 2500k, 2x2GB Corsair Vengeance 1600MHz, a factory OC-d GTX 560Ti from Gigabyte, and a samsung 840 evo (I got this recently), and win7 ultimate. Before the SSD my main harddrive was a plain Samsung 300GB HDD with 7200rpm. I have a creative SB Xfi as well.
I used to play on high settings, on a 22" screen with 1680x1050.

After installing the latest nvidia drivers, the gameplay just s..ks, it's unenjoyable. Interestingly enough, it used to work fine with the drivers up to...31x.xx I think. With 320.xx and after, it's just plain bad.
I tried to revert to 317 and below, but it didn't help either.
I tried tweaking the config files of the game, the settings in nvidia's controll panel, I overclocked the CPU, turned off Aero, and so on. By the way, it's funny that the new SSD gave me a boost of ca. 8-10 FPS in average, but it didn't help the stuttering.

So, does anybody have any idea, what to do, where to check,etc?

on the side note: it's just exactly the same what happened to me with BFBC2. Fine for a good while, and then -after an unidentified point- pathetic. I thought it must be some sort of cheap conspiracy,in which nvidia tries to force its customers to buy new hardware by releasing drivers that practically cripple graphics cards. Or they just don't give a damn at simply kill off some software's support.

thanks for your comments!
Last edited by kravo on Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: tech counsel - stuttering

Postposted on Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:57 pm

The very first thing I usually do in these sorts of situations is re-install the game. You didn't mention it in your first post, so I would recommend trying that first.
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Re: tech counsel - stuttering

Postposted on Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:04 pm

I see you only have 4 GiB of RAM. That may be an issue. Particularly if you are not on a 64-bit OS. You may only be addressing 3.2 GiB of RAM.

Have you tried lowering the resolution? AA level? Keep at the 1680x1050 resolution, but try turning down some eye-candy. You may get a smooth experience without having to shell out for more memory/OS. I believe W7 Ultimate had both 64-bit and 32-bit versions included, but check your installation.
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Re: tech counsel - stuttering

Postposted on Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:13 pm

I reinstalled the whole system, not just the game. It didn't help.
I have a 64bit win7, so using all of the memory shouldn't be a problem either.
I lowered the video settings in the game, didn't help. This one's particularly interesting, because the game lags on settings that were totally flawless a couple months ago :S
I checked Punkbuster as well, it's up to date.
Also tried with antivirus software turned off....
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Re: tech counsel - stuttering

Postposted on Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:27 pm

Anything new running in the background like Folding @ home? I have to cut Folding @ homes priority back a few notches to play newer games.
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Re: tech counsel - stuttering

Postposted on Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:47 pm

Have you moved the GPU to a different slot in the motherboard?

Perhaps you're running out of memory while running the game causing Windows to page on the SSD? BF3 only uses around 1GB of RAM for me though.

I've only had BF3 a few days but I have noticed that the game stutters heavily when there is lag. Make sure your ports are forwarded to your PC and that your router is in good health. Have you switched to or are using WiFi? If so then perhaps the signal is poor. If it was all on one server perhaps it was simply a problem on their end though.
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Re: tech counsel - stuttering

Postposted on Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:03 pm

I had a very similar problem a while ago (~1 year) and it came out of the blue. The issue for me was my wifi driver (took a long time to troubleshoot this). Are you using a wifi card?
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Re: tech counsel - stuttering

Postposted on Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:06 pm

BF3 is known for stuttering for just about any imaginable reason, including stuff like enabled CPU hyperthreading or core parking, background programs or OS services, GPU/CPU throttling down (have you tried to monitor them with stuff like EVGA Precision or similar tools with graphs?), internet connection issues (including issues with your modem/router/network adapter), RAM issues, motherboard issues (like a capacitor going bad), power supply issues, video driver issues, solar flares, moon phases and so on... There are dozens of threads about "stuttering" on BF3's official forums (many of posters never resolved their issues), you should try reading these.

First thing you should do is to try playing other games, preferrably multiplayer ones (TF2 is free), to see if you get same kind of stuttering.
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Re: tech counsel - stuttering

Postposted on Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:33 am

JohnC wrote:BF3 is known for stuttering for just about any imaginable reason, including stuff (...) video driver issues, solar flares, moon phases and so on...


Thank you JohnC, your comment made my day :D
Reading the BF3 and EA forums didn´t help, for the reason you wrote too: their issues got never resolved. Believe me, I read so many threads that I got bloodshot eyes. I played FC3, Dishonored and CSS, non of these made my rig lag.

@puppetworx: moving the graphics card to a different slot won´t work, I only have one on the mobo. Except if I´d try to force it into a PCE-e slot. :o I don´t think the memory would be an issue, I had the same problems with my old HDD as well, and -as mountrack wrote it too- it came out of nowhere. I use WiFi with a USB-Stick with antenna. I haven´t try port-forwarding yet, I´ll check on this one. Still, what on earth has changed that makes it necessary after a year of gaming?

@Khali: I don´t run it anymore. I used to, but I had to reduce my overhead expenses, so I stopped after a while. So no, no background programs are running.

@mountrack: I´ll check the drivers of the wifi-stick, although I´ve already installed the proper drivers when I reinstalled win7. What exactly did you do to see if yours working fine?
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Re: tech counsel - stuttering

Postposted on Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:07 am

Try it on a fast and stable wired connection. Else try playing with another mouse.
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Re: tech counsel - stuttering

Postposted on Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:41 am

I have read that disabling Core parking helped out a ton of people with stuttering issues in BF3.

There is a thread on here somewhere about disabling core parking...or you can just GOOGLE how to disable core parking.
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Re: tech counsel - stuttering

Postposted on Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:17 am

Heatsinks all blown out, nothing running hot?

Nothing obvious in the task manager etc?

Does your machine settle to 5% or less processing power in use when you are not playing a game?

Is your hard drive being indexed, anti-virus scan running? etc.

Yes disabling core parking, turning off lower power states, etc. an help with this as well.

I've kicked myself several times for forgetting to keep my heat sinks dusts free and then wondering why the machine is stuttering, locking up, or just plain acting weird.

Sometimes it really is a driver issue though, I was having issues getting COD to work properly, turns out I did not have the latest audio driver. Put that in and everything is smooth.
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Re: tech counsel - stuttering

Postposted on Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:16 pm

thanks guys, I'll try a few things you've suggested as soon as I finish my work (wife and kid are away so here's the big chance :wink: )

I found this for core parking
http://bitsum.com/about_cpu_core_parking.php
I'll give it a try.

By the way, my pc is clean as a new one.
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Re: tech counsel - stuttering

Postposted on Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:49 am

If you are worried about power usage and temps don't is very minimal that I could not tell the difference when I Disabled Core parking. But i only observed my temps that I observe 24/7 and I did'nt notice a change in temps.

Just shut core parking off it is a feature that may be helpful on notebooks/laptops to give you a few more minutes of battery time but it has no use on the desktop.
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Re: tech counsel - stuttering

Postposted on Sat Aug 24, 2013 10:18 am

I play a lot of BF3 and have had a lot of micro stuttering issues back when I had the GTX 560ti EVGA oc card. The micro stuttering on that card got worse whenever I tried to push the card harder by trying to use higher settings. Another issue I had was tearing (explained here http://www.tweakguides.com/Graphics_9.html ). I could hardly get rid of the tearing issues completely even with VSynch on and when I ran VSynch I had a lot of issues with mouse lag that I could mitigate but never get rid of.

The ways I improved the micro stuttering issues was to lower the games graphics settings to a combination of medium and low so that my average FPS was just over 60 FPS. I then either locked the frame rate in game to 60 FPS or I used the Adaptive VSync setting to limit the frames and reduce tearing. One other thing that will help take the load off the GPU is to turn off the "dx deferred cs path". What this will do is to shift this workload of off the GPU and have the CPU render this. Again, I have found that lowering the workload on the GPU will reduce the micro stuttering. I also found that when I went to Win8 the game got much smoother with the GTX 560ti.

If you are running Win8 64 bit YOU NEED MORE RAM!!! 4 gig will not cut it and you will hit the swap file repeatedly while playing this game. A MAJOR improvement in gameplay will result in running 8 gig of ram. I had 4 gig and I couldn't believe the increase in smoothness of the game by just upping my ram. Just do it.

Ultimately the only thing that really solved the issue with my GTX 560ti was to get rid of it. I got a great price on a GTX 660 ASUS with DirectCU II cooler. The card overclocks it's self to 1175 Mhz when I'm gaming, runs mid 50's with the fan set to 60% . No stuttering, no lag, BF3 on ultra settings and it maintains 60 FPS. Awesome card. If you can upgrade, I'd do it. The 560ti is a dog.
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Re: tech counsel - stuttering

Postposted on Sat Aug 24, 2013 10:37 am

"dx deferred cs path" was a patch some months back and created major havoc because the frame rates dropped on all weak GPUs. And yes, the 560 ti is weak (as is my GTX 660)! The easiest way to turn it off it to download the BF3 settings editor at http://bf3.realmware.co.uk/settings-editor.

As for ram, it won't look bad when you look at the usage but you will see almost all of the ram is taken up by "reserved'. This reserved causes you to hit the swap file regularly, causing in game lagging.

MSI Afterburner is a great tuning tool that logs just about anything to do with the GPU in a graph so you can see what is going on overtime. When i am tuning I will look at it whenever I get an issue or when I am waiting to re-spawn. http://event.msi.com/vga/afterburner/download.htm It monitors Frametime which is how long it takes to build a frame and when you are micro-stuttering you can see the time spike. I used this to tune the card by gradually increasing settings until the spikes got bad and backing off. My goal was to get the game as smooth as possible with the best graphics while maintaining 60 FPS.
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Re: tech counsel - stuttering

Postposted on Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:15 pm

Have you checked CPU usage when you play BF3? BF3 really hits the CPU hard. If your CPU is maxing out then that may be the cause of the stutter.

I've got the latest Nvidia drivers installed and BF3 was nice and smooth on my GTX 570 setup.
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Re: tech counsel - stuttering

Postposted on Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:47 am

Alright, I'll try the BF3 editor together with the tools you suggested. Thanks for the tips.
Core parking and wired net connection didn't help. First I thought they would because the first lag/stutter only hit me ca 20mins after I joined a match, which is way better than the previously experienced issues after 3-4mins of gameplay.
I'm also thinking to going be to nvidia's 310.xx or 314.xx drivers, just to see if these help.
I still haven't tried port forwarding,we'll see what it does.

One thing is sure: I'm not going to buy BF4 on its release day (or preorder it), I'm gonna wait 2-3 months, watching the EA/DICE-forums with all the raging users.
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Re: tech counsel - stuttering

Postposted on Sun Aug 25, 2013 9:27 am

kravo wrote:One thing is sure: I'm not going to buy BF4 on its release day (or preorder it), I'm gonna wait 2-3 months, watching the EA/DICE-forums with all the raging users.


One thing is for sure...There will be plenty of ragers no matter what. I stay away from the forums as they are damn near useless. They need need to do a much better job of moderating than they do.
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