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Vinceant
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Guild Wars 2 performance

Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:40 pm

Ok, so I have a weird problem and I thought maybe a bunch of tech guys might be able to help me here...

Since the announcement of the new Guild Wars 2 expansion I've been trying to get back into the game. I haven't played in a few years and not since upgrading my hardware significantly and the release of the 64 bit client. Upon my return I was rather disappointed with the performance. Regardless of settings sometimes I don't get more than 30-40 FPS. I have an i7-3770K running at 4.4, and a 980 with 16 gigs of RAM. At first I just assumed the engine was ****, but talking to people with slightly lesser hardware has revealed that no, it's supposed to run at 60 or higher at any decent hardware specc. The question now is, why can't I?

Going down the rabbit hole I've tried all the reasonable things. Reinstall game from scratch, reinstall video driver, reinstall video driver as a clean install. Had messed around with it for about a week till I finally just grabbed a spare SSD, did a fresh windows install with just the game and drivers only to find the same result.

At this point I'm out of ideas. It happening on a new install of Windows 10 suggests it's either something with the game, or my hardware, and my hardware runs everything else just fine. I've posted on the subreddit for GW2, posted on the forums, and last night I put in a ticket but I'm not holding my breath. Anybody else have any ideas? It's become clear that this game should run MUCH better than it does, but for no obvious reason it just doesn't.
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Vhalidictes
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:01 pm

Sounds like you've covered most of the bases... for your video card drivers and the game itself.

A few things to look at:

1) Any programs running in the background that are taking a lot of CPU time? Low frames can be a sign that too much else is going on. You might want to check Task Manager before the game starts.

2) Is your video card hardware (and its associated memory) running at full speed? I had a similar situation where my card was consistently running at desktop clock rates even when running games.
 
JustAnEngineer
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:58 pm

You should expect game performance to vary depending on how many characters are on the screen at one time. In the busiest boss fights with hundreds of players, if you're trying to render every character's wardrobe and post-processed weapons effects at the highest detail, there's too much for the CPU and the graphics card to keep up with. Do you get better performance in the mostly-empty guild hall than when everyone in the game is trying to kill Jormag at the same time for a daily achievement? What resolution are you using for the game? Are your settings similar to mine?
http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee12 ... /gw006.jpg
http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee12 ... 20Fire.png

(Click on the magnifying glass to enlarge the image to fill your browser window. In Firefox, you can then right-click "view image", then click again to view it at native resolution (2560x1600).)

You should expect your GeForce GTX980 to provide performance at 1920x1080 equal to or better than my GeForce GTX980Ti does at 2560x1600.
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Vinceant
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:07 pm

Vhalidictes wrote:
Sounds like you've covered most of the bases... for your video card drivers and the game itself.

A few things to look at:

1) Any programs running in the background that are taking a lot of CPU time? Low frames can be a sign that too much else is going on. You might want to check Task Manager before the game starts.

2) Is your video card hardware (and its associated memory) running at full speed? I had a similar situation where my card was consistently running at desktop clock rates even when running games.


Number 1: No. That aside, a fresh install would've eliminated this as a possibility as well. Nothing on the new windows installed to do that. A good thought though, but I did double check this.

Number 2: I don't think it's been downclocked... but how do I know for sure?

JustAnEngineer wrote:
You should expect game performance to vary depending on how many characters are on the screen at one time. In the busiest boss fights with hundreds of players, if you're trying to render every character's wardrobe and post-processed weapons effects at the highest detail, there's too much for the CPU and the graphics card to keep up with. Do you get better performance in the mostly-empty guild hall than when everyone in the game is trying to kill Jormag at the same time for a daily achievement? What resolution are you using for the game? Are your settings similar to mine?
http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee12 ... /gw006.jpg
(Click on the magnifying glass to enlarge the image to fill your browser window. In Firefox, you can then right-click "view image", then click again to view it at native resolution (2560x1600).)

You should expect your GeForce GTX980 to provide performance at 1920x1080 equal to or better than my GeForce GTX980Ti does at 2560x1600.


I expect varying performance, but I also expect to run at >30 FPS in most open world environments, which I don't seem to be able to do.

My settings are similar. I don't run AA, and often turn shadows to medium. That helps a little, but I still struggle to maintain >45 FPS no matter the settings or location unless I'm looking at a wall and doing nothing. Even with vsync off I've never seen more than 70 FPS even on low, even on subsample resolution. So I'm nowhere near the performance level you are at. See what I mean by weird?

I run fullscreen windowed. Desktop resolution is 1920x1200.
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Vhalidictes
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:20 pm

Vinceant, any kind of overclocking or monitoring utility will show that the video card clocks are either not changing or not correct.

I do have an idea to try and determine the problem: Does changing the resolution change the framerate significantly? If not, and if you've eliminated CPU issues, then that means the video card isn't being fully used.

Is the game running off an SSD? Some games (MMOs, mainly) stream so much texture data so often that the video card might be waiting on disk access.
 
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:40 pm

Vhalidictes wrote:
Vinceant, any kind of overclocking or monitoring utility will show that the video card clocks are either not changing or not correct.

I do have an idea to try and determine the problem: Does changing the resolution change the framerate significantly? If not, and if you've eliminated CPU issues, then that means the video card isn't being fully used.

Is the game running off an SSD? Some games (MMOs, mainly) stream so much texture data so often that the video card might be waiting on disk access.


GPU-Z says it runs at 1227Mhz on the desktop, and in game, in game it sometimes goes to 1390 for boost clock. The specs of the card say that's about normal.

Changing res or settings does change framerate slightly, but I'm still running at what seems to be a fraction of the speed it's supposed to. I don't think the video card is being utilized fully at all. Task manager and GPU-Z indicate it's only using about half my GPU and 20% of the memory controllers throughput.

Yes I'm running on an SSD. And I even tried a different SSD for the fresh install.
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:46 pm

At this point it's likely the card, but the clocks are correct. I'd simply try another video card if you have one to test with.

If the other card works, then you know that the rest of your system is performing well and isn't contributing to the problem.

Are you running multiple monitors? It's possible that the video card is underperforming because of running in some sort of windowed/multimonitor mode. For checking that, can the game be run in a not-desktop-size window? If you're running it in a window (seamless or not) could you try running it in fullscreen mode?

Assuming that you're using Gsync, maybe you could try turning it off (or on)?
 
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:53 pm

No Gsync. And I've tried single monitor and full screen. No luck.

I highly doubt it's the card, it performs well everywhere else. It's JUST GW2. Plays everything else I have as expected. Unfortunately I do not have another card, nor system to plug this into to test it to be as definitive as possible, but I would be very surprised if the card was faulty somehow. It is far more likely to be a problem with Guild Wars 2 specifically.
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JustAnEngineer
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:08 pm

Vinceant wrote:
I don't think it's been downclocked... but how do I know for sure?
https://www.techpowerup.com/gpuz/

My GPU core runs at 135 MHz at the desktop and at 1265 MHz while GW2 is running.
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:13 pm

Hello, I play Guild Wars 2 also. And I too have noticed a drop in performance lately, to be honest most players have. The general consensus is that it is a server issue. Keep in mind the GW2 team has ways of managing the digital glut in data, like hiding the mini's. So if you don't see any mini's you know the servers are getting overloaded and cannot handle the visual fluff. Nevertheless, every update is rough, and the last expansion was brutal, eventually things calmed down, whether that means the code was further DE-bugged is a mystery.

For me, WVW and PVP kill my system in every area. The best place to really test your system is in a PVE dungeon; fewer players = fewer variables. If your setup can handle a dungeon then you are fine. And play with your graphic setting there too (test the full run of the dungeon). Good luck.
 
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:19 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:
Vinceant wrote:
I don't think it's been downclocked... but how do I know for sure?
https://www.techpowerup.com/gpuz/

My GPU core runs at 135 MHz at the desktop and at 1265 MHz while GW2 is running.


Yeah, I checked that. My GPU doesn't downclock on the desktop according to GPU-Z, but it does seem to be running normally in game.

d@mn'd wrote:
Hello, I play Guild Wars 2 also. And I too have noticed a drop in performance lately, to be honest most players have. The general consensus is that it is a server issue. Keep in mind the GW2 team has ways of managing the digital glut in data, like hiding the mini's. So if you don't see any mini's you know the servers are getting overloaded and cannot handle the visual fluff. Nevertheless, every update is rough, and the last expansion was brutal, eventually things calmed down, whether that means the code was further DE-bugged is a mystery.

For me, WVW and PVP kill my system in every area. The best place to really test your system is in a PVE dungeon; fewer players = fewer variables. If your setup can handle a dungeon then you are fine. And play with your graphic setting there too (test the full run of the dungeon). Good luck.


I don't think I've ever seen this game run decently, honestly. I attributed that to engine problems years ago. It has been made clear to me lately that the engine has improved to a degree that I should be getting 30-50% better performance than I currently do.
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:27 pm

If you didn't let the whole 3½ GB demo of the Path of Fire expansion download before you started playing, you may be streaming in the background. Slow internet makes Guild Wars 2 much less fun. On the first options page, I have Content Streaming set to "Idle." My Guild Wars 2 directory is taking up 34 GB on my SSD.
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Vinceant
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:33 pm

The problem has been happening far longer than that patch existing. But yes, it's always a good idea to let the game finish downloading before playing. I have a complete dat though.
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:55 pm

I have heard recent changes to WDDM in Windows 10 have caused problems with dx9 game perf, though I honestly wouldn't know.

Got any other dx9 games to test?
And now I'm no longer primarily a PC gamer. *shrug*
 
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:17 pm

What's your RAM speed and is it running properly (on both channels and all that)? What's the PCIe link utilization, and is it in 3.0 x16 mode? What's the game's CPU use pattern? (Windows makes it tough to tell that one, but if it weren't using much it might be relevant.)

I think your graphics card is fine. Between the problem not scaling with resolution and getting better when you look at a wall, there are few to no ways a game of GW2's tech level might load your GPU that behave like that.
 
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:05 pm

RAM is at 1600, and dual channel. CPU utilization is between 30 and 50% even in heavier areas. When the framerate chugs, CPU and GPU usage goes down, suggesting bottleneck is elsewhere. PCIe is in 3.0 mode, and 16x (It's the only PCIe device I have).

LostCat wrote:
I have heard recent changes to WDDM in Windows 10 have caused problems with dx9 game perf, though I honestly wouldn't know.

Got any other dx9 games to test?


Probably plenty, but I've not noticed any that have this kind of issue. Have a particularly demanding one that you might suggest?
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:20 pm

Planetside 2? It isn't heavy in the ways it first appears and may or may not stress the relevant stuff much, but it is heavy and DX9 (and free to play).

CPU and GPU usage both going down when it's having trouble points to the bottleneck being a single thread, memory bandwidth, or PCIe bandwidth, about as expected if a very late part of the CPU render pipe is the issue. (Shadows being an important setting also points to that.) One thread having trouble can only soak 12.5% CPU time, so it won't show up well in overall stats.

Ivy Bridge at 4.4 really has no excuse as far as raw single-threaded performance, as I'm sure you know well. I'm leaning towards what LostCat said, but some other stuff is easier to confirm/debug:

* Something is confused and hogging all the PCIe bandwidth. Unlikely, but some Nvidia tool or other should make it easy to check. Sorry, I don't know where it would be more precisely on Windows.

* Something is confused and the critical thread is getting hyperthreaded alongside something else heavy. If you look at CPU use on a per-logical-core basis, which logical cores tend to be occupied at the same time? This assumes that Windows doesn't switch hardware threads so often that you can't tell.

Something about RAM is even less likely than the rest, so this can be revisited if everything else dead-ends. It is easy to confirm OK with some basic bandwidth testing, though. What doesn't seem so implausible is that a potential Win10 issue may increase memory bandwidth demands, and gamers running Win10 with DDR4 may not notice it so much.
 
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:15 am

I suppose I'll test Planetside 2 here in a bit. These are some great suggestions thus far.

I'd think if WDDM was cutting DX9 performance potentially in half it would be a much wider reported issue, though.

synthel2's thoughts sound like a good track to go down. Any ideas on how one would go about testing or monitoring the PCIe bandwidth? I've never heard of such a thing personally. I know GPU-Z definitely reports gen 3 at 16x, but that's not exactly testing it. Any ideas why GW2 alone would suffer so badly?

I'll see if I can carefully study thread distribution more, maybe that'll give a clue. I want to say that it seemed to be evenly distributed before, but I didn't look TOO carefully at it. Windows does switch threads a lot from what I understand so this may not be easy.

Edit= So as a quick aside, I did some benchmarks in passmark just now. The DX9 test and the memory and processor tests seem to fall in line with similar hardware other users have benchmarked with the software.
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:24 am

Vinceant wrote:
JustAnEngineer wrote:
Vinceant wrote:
I don't think it's been downclocked... but how do I know for sure?
https://www.techpowerup.com/gpuz/
My GPU core runs at 135 MHz at the desktop and at 1265 MHz while GW2 is running.
Yeah, I checked that. My GPU doesn't downclock on the desktop according to GPU-Z,
Your GPU should be slowing down a bunch at the desktop and when the game shows the loading screens between maps. Are you folding proteins, mining altcoins, transcoding video or doing something else unnecessary with your GPU when it should be devoting its full resources to its primary job - gaming?

The current version of GPU-Z has a chart (near the bottom of the second tab) of what "PerfCap Reaon" is limiting your GPU's operating speed. For mine, this is usually "VRel" when gaming, but this switches to "Idle" on map loading screens or at the desktop. If your GPU is constantly thermally constrained ("Thm"), you might look for cooling issues.
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Vinceant
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Sat Aug 12, 2017 5:27 am

I dunno, it definitely doesn't... and no, I don't mine altoids while on my desktop.

Checking the Perfcap reason shows exactly as you describe. When in heavy load shows VRel, and in loading screens it goes to idle. Oddly, I loaded into DR a bit ago and it stayed at Idle, and ran perfectly... there was almost nobody around though, lol, as the beta demo is up. Temps under load never break 60c.

I also noticed the "bus interface load" sensor. Which was at 10% or lower the whole time.
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:24 am

Have you tried game mode (WinKey + G)? Particularly if you're still on the default balanced power profile.
 
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:31 am

Have you updated your directx, especially if its a recent install since you last palyed a game.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/download/details.aspx?id=35
 
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:50 am

is your video card getting a full PCI-e 16x 3.0 connection when the game is running?

GW2 is strangely sensitive to PCI-e bandwidth. if you aren't getting a full 16x connection, the game would often start stuttering. there's been quite a few people who solved performance issues by simply reseating their video cards, or changing to a different slot.

this is ESPECIALLY noticeable on external GPU docks. my dell XPS 15 only has a 2x connection on its thunderbolt 3 port. this isn't an issue in any game EXCEPT GW2, where my performance would vary between 60+ to ~1 fps depending on the scene and models on screen. it gets so bad, that the USB sound card i have running off of the dock would start stuttering alongside the game.
 
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:04 am

Guild Wars 2 just plain runs poorly. It could be slow on my Core 2 Duo and GTX 460. It was slow on my Ivy Bridge/660Ti/290X. And there are still parts that slow down to embarrassing lows on my 7700K/1080Ti. All fresh installs.
 
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:31 am

Kretschmer wrote:
Guild Wars 2 just plain runs poorly. It could be slow on my Core 2 Duo and GTX 460. It was slow on my Ivy Bridge/660Ti/290X. And there are still parts that slow down to embarrassing lows on my 7700K/1080Ti. All fresh installs.

Yeah people have suggested it's very single core heavy and they've done little work to do multiple cores right. I honestly don't know, but I have very low expectations of their engine team.

I played through GW2 but I can't be bothered to get any of the expansions unless they get serious.
And now I'm no longer primarily a PC gamer. *shrug*
 
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:43 am

I played the base game in 2012 I think, on a OCed 2500K and HD5850. It already wasn't a well-optimized game back then, FPS would drop to sub 30s during WvW and Karma farm areas. I still have fond memories of the game but I quit after the Ascendend gear patch which turned the endgame into a WoW-esque gear grind that I despised and got tired of in as a former WoW addict.
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:47 am

Heart of Thorns brought a number of new features to the game. The guild hall and gliding are my two favorite things from HoT. Path of Fire will introduce mounts, which also seem great so far. We're almost 24 hours into the first free demo weekend of this upcoming expansion. Log in, create a demo character, and try it out. Heart of Thorns did give us a 9th profession (Revenant), but Path of Fire will not give us a new profession, nor a new playable race (Tengu, please!).
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:53 pm

strangerguy wrote:
I still have fond memories of the game but I quit after the Ascendend gear patch which turned the endgame into a WoW-esque gear grind that I despised and got tired of in as a former WoW addict.


this is not even remotely true.

1st, ascended gear is very marginally better than exotic, the second highest gear tier. ascended is nice to have, but not absolutely required.

2nd, obtaining ascended gear is very easy. anyone playing endgame PvE are basically showered with the stuff. even if you want to manually craft them, they are still easily obtainable. a friend of mine was decked out in ascended gear within a few weeks after he started playing.

3rd, ascended are still the highest gear tier after 5 years. there's no continuous gear treadmill, and there will never be another gear tier above ascended.
 
Vinceant
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:09 pm

The gear grind in GW2 is kind of insane. Legendary armor and weapons are so daunting of a task to acquire I don't even care to bother. The itemization is all over the map and the crafting system requires a giant script to tackle in any sort of efficient fashion, it's crazy. Because of this the meta isn't really a meta, and it has caused the playerbase to stop really thinking objectively about builds and classes. When swapping builds can cost 100+ gold, you've got a problem, it discourages experimentation of any kind. Funnily enough, I think the gear grind is WORSE in GW2 than it is in Diablo 3, a game that is almost entirely about making end game builds with gear.

Heart of Thorns is.... ok. I hate the new maps, they are terrible to navigate, and the events have so many group checks it's hard but in a very annoying way. I made my thief a tank just to make these areas tolerable. Gliding is fun kinda, but REALLLY slow. It's NOT fun in the HoT areas, but is fun in the rest of Tyria.

Elite specs were a poor answer to the lack of subclassing, IMO, and made the game have even less build diversity. At this point the build system is so limited in scope I don't know why we have the build system. They could remove it and just integrate it with weapons and make it way more balanced.

With the new directors and designers working on the game though, seems like Path of Fire is heading in a very good direction. Mounts fix a lot of problems for a lot of people in this game, and they seem extremely well implemented, not tacked on at all. The new elite specs will finally make elite specs give choices and are going to be reinforcing the soft trinity even more (look at the Necro one, it's a healer that uses overheal, clearly a strong support). I do wish tank was more of a thing though, I miss tanking. :(

Also, they really need to implement proper matchmaking and duty finder queues. This is 2017. There is no excuse.

Anyway, so I tried Planetside 2. Ran at 60 the whole time, even in heavy combat. Also, god that game is awful.

I also figured out why my GPU wasn't downclocking. I had my power profile set to high performance. Not that this fixes anything in GW2, but yeah, that's why.

Game mode makes things run worse for me. Also, do NOT use the game bar to swap between game mode on and off in GW2, it will break the mouse pretty hardcore.

Running the Direct X web installer just says I have equivalent or greater already installed. A good idea, but nope. :(

According to GPU-Z it runs at a full 16x@3.0 while in game. I have no reason to distrust that readout really. I don't have a second slot to try the card in I don't think. Board is only a single x16 slot (think there's another one as long, but is only x8 electrically).

Kretschmer wrote:
Guild Wars 2 just plain runs poorly. It could be slow on my Core 2 Duo and GTX 460. It was slow on my Ivy Bridge/660Ti/290X. And there are still parts that slow down to embarrassing lows on my 7700K/1080Ti. All fresh installs.


This doesn't explain why people with lesser hardware than me can run at twice the performance with similar settings. I had assumed this for the longest time, but objectively, isn't what's happening here. Buddy of mine with a 780 runs this game much better than my 980. That doesn't compute.

I mean, sure, there's probably no computer that can run GW2 at constant 60 everywhere. It's a DX9 game in a DX12 world with sort of poorly optimized netcode, and that probably isn't going to be fixed ever, if not any time soon. I mean WoW's performance was equally **** for years and while they did eventually fix it, Blizzard was printing their own money for 3-4 years before it happened. But I should be able to get 60 FPS in a general open world type of play. Lots of people with less hardware than I have done so.
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synthtel2
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Re: Guild Wars 2 performance

Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:47 pm

Vinceant wrote:
I'd think if WDDM was cutting DX9 performance potentially in half it would be a much wider reported issue, though.

Edit= So as a quick aside, I did some benchmarks in passmark just now. The DX9 test and the memory and processor tests seem to fall in line with similar hardware other users have benchmarked with the software.

Cool, we can probably count memory out of the running aside from maybe DDR3 compounding some other problem then.

Vinceant wrote:
I also noticed the "bus interface load" sensor. Which was at 10% or lower the whole time.
moriz wrote:
GW2 is strangely sensitive to PCI-e bandwidth. if you aren't getting a full 16x connection, the game would often start stuttering. there's been quite a few people who solved performance issues by simply reseating their video cards, or changing to a different slot.

this is ESPECIALLY noticeable on external GPU docks. my dell XPS 15 only has a 2x connection on its thunderbolt 3 port. this isn't an issue in any game EXCEPT GW2, where my performance would vary between 60+ to ~1 fps depending on the scene and models on screen. it gets so bad, that the USB sound card i have running off of the dock would start stuttering alongside the game.

"Bus interface load" sounds like the right readout (sorry I couldn't help in finding it, Nvidia's Linux driver looks fairly different). 10% is actually high-ish, which meshes with what moriz is saying. Read ~10% as ~20%, because it's full-duplex and saturating one direction only takes that meter to 50%. Even if it's stopping the world for 20% of the time and isn't doing that for anyone else, that shouldn't explain this issue, but if 20% were just an average and some frames were much higher that could be it. It this slowness stuttery or more consistent?

If Win10 were causing some issue with this, I'd expect it to manifest as either extra RAM BW or PCIe BW load.

Vinceant wrote:
Anyway, so I tried Planetside 2. Ran at 60 the whole time, even in heavy combat. Also, god that game is awful.

Awful? What? :P

I think most of what that does at this point is doubly rule out RAM issues, which Planetside is a bit sensitive to.

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