1. #1

    FPS drops and performance leaks

    Hey guys,

    lately I've been trying out SC2 which brought up an old problem for me: Whenever I run any given "high-end" graphics game such as Just Cause2, SC2 or Call Of Duty: MW2 on decent graphics settings (not ultra or anything crazy), my computer starts to have serious FPS issues and heavy FPS drops which makes the game unenjoyable, but not unplayable. This happens in a very strict routine and pattern after about 4-5 minutes running the game and starts to increase in time, which means that the FPS drops are getting heavier while playing. What bothers me is that it's not the usual kind of lag you would expect from an outdated system (and yes my system happens to be outdated). The effect of my problem quite comparable to the known FPS drops that occur while recording with FRAPS, just not as heavy.

    My setup:
    # Operating system: Windows Vista
    # CPU type:Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU 6600 @ 2.40GHz
    # CPU Speed (GHz):2.42
    # System memory (GB):2.998
    # Graphics card model:ATI Radeon HD 3800 Series
    # Desktop resolution:1920x1080
    (Note: I don't use any AA or other performance boosters)

    So far I've updated everything possible to fix the problem (i.e. update graphics card drivers, windows, drivers, etc.) yet only one solution remains useful:
    lowering graphics settings of games to the minimum, which in turn makes the game rather ugly and not really enjoyable. So long story short: do these lags occur due to my gear and if yes which replacements have to be done in order to enjoy said games with acceptable graphics.

  2. #2

    Re: FPS drops and performance leaks

    Sounds like a temperature issue. As temperature goes up, the cpu/gpu throttles back to prevent it from cooking itself.

    What's your temperature of CPU/GPU when you're running these things?

    Edit: The video card is getting on a bit too.

  3. #3

    Re: FPS drops and performance leaks

    Quote Originally Posted by op3l
    Sounds like a temperature issue. As temperature goes up, the cpu/gpu throttles back to prevent it from cooking itself.

    What's your temperature of CPU/GPU when you're running these things?

    Edit: The video card is getting on a bit too.
    I'll check that out soon, thanks for the quick reply.

    Edit: Are there any decent tools to check this stuff out?

  4. #4

    Re: FPS drops and performance leaks

    For the GPU, just download the latest set of the ATI Catalyst tools and it'll have a temp monitor deal.

    For CPU temperature, I just use the intel thermal assist tool. Just google for CPU temp monitor and you'll get lots of hits.

  5. #5
    Moderator Cilraaz's Avatar
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    Re: FPS drops and performance leaks

    Core Temp to monitor CPU temperatures. It will tell you current and peak temperatures.

    GPU-Z to monitor GPU temperatures. Go to the Sensors tab and click the dropdown next to GPU Temperature. Select "Show Highest Reading". This will display the max temp your GPU achieved since the program was opened.

    Check both and report the max temps back here.

  6. #6

    Re: FPS drops and performance leaks

    Ok tested it with SC2 now. Graphic settings put to high, some settings on Medium. Resolution is 1600x1200

    Fluent gameplay at 50-60 FPS before lag.

    GPU: 107°C when the lag starts
    CPU: Low: 44°C
    High: 54°C (on both cores the same)

    (Note: When I tab out and get a temperature fall as result which is obvious, then tab back in after 5 minutes it doesn't lag - so it indeed is a temperature problem as it seems)

    107°C sounds terribly high...

  7. #7
    Moderator Cilraaz's Avatar
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    Re: FPS drops and performance leaks

    107°C is horrendously high. Usually you want it to hover at around 90°C maximum. I would open your case and check to see if you have any dust clogging the GPU fan.

  8. #8

    Re: FPS drops and performance leaks

    Quote Originally Posted by Cilraaz
    107°C is horrendously high. Usually you want it to hover at around 90°C maximum. I would open your case and check to see if you have any dust clogging the GPU fan.
    Yea that's super duper high. Even my old 8800GTS only ran around 70 with highs around 77C.

    If you the heatsink fins are clogged and you don't have access to canned air(like me...) then just use a standard house fan and use a old toothbrush and very very carefully try to dislodge some of the dust.

    It's probably not the recommended fix to this problem buuuuut it works for me...

    Or if you're really tech savy, just disassemble it and clean it out good.

  9. #9

    Re: FPS drops and performance leaks

    I've just checked the GPU fan and to my surprise: theres next to nothing in terms of dust. I might take it out entirely soon and take a closer look at it.
    For now I'll leave the case open, as the side wall was really really hot too.

  10. #10

    Re: FPS drops and performance leaks

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverhands
    I've just checked the GPU fan and to my surprise: theres next to nothing in terms of dust. I might take it out entirely soon and take a closer look at it.
    For now I'll leave the case open, as the side wall was really really hot too.
    Is the fan turning smoothly?

    I found a picture of the HD 3800 card... and I noticed that it's the same design as my old 8800GTS which is it takes up two slots with a vent out the back. I made the mistake of not knowing i had to undo the set of "flaps" on the read or the case for the PCI slots to let it vent out. It's a stupid noob mistake but it affected the temperature quite a bit as the fans couldn't push the hot air out the back, instead it just circulated it back into the system...

    I mean like.. http://blog.evaria.com/wp-content/up...ati-hd3800.jpg if your card is like that, then the slot opening at the back of the computer tower beside the output needs to be open as well... don't be a fool like me

  11. #11

    Re: FPS drops and performance leaks

    Yep, the fan seems to work smoothly.

    http://www.3dfx.ch/gallery/d/30314-1...1+0802+Top.JPG
    Thats mine. Doesn't seem to take up more than 1 slot nor is there any vent.

  12. #12

    Re: FPS drops and performance leaks

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverhands
    Yep, the fan seems to work smoothly.

    http://www.3dfx.ch/gallery/d/30314-1...1+0802+Top.JPG
    Thats mine. Doesn't seem to take up more than 1 slot nor is there any vent.
    Does your case have good circulation of air? That could be a cause but is unlikely since your CPU is running ok.

    Fan is ok, no dust... might be a thermal compound issue also ooooor... it's just borked.

    Edit: I googled the 3800 and overheating and seems this card runs quite hot and apparently your card's heatsink/fan design isn't optimal enough for the GPU. I would check system circulation and maybe get more intake/exhaust fans to help keep cool air floating in.

  13. #13

    Re: FPS drops and performance leaks

    Quote Originally Posted by op3l
    Does your case have good circulation of air? That could be a cause but is unlikely since your CPU is running ok.

    Fan is ok, no dust... might be a thermal compound issue also ooooor... it's just borked.

    Edit: I googled the 3800 and overheating and seems this card runs quite hot and apparently your card's heatsink/fan design isn't optimal enough for the GPU. I would check system circulation and maybe get more intake/exhaust fans to help keep cool air floating in.
    I think you were right with the air circulation inside my case! Now that I've opened up my case I ran another game of SC2 and at the time when I already were at 109°C I now circulated around the 90's. And there wasn't any lag after 10 minutes of playing.

  14. #14

    Re: FPS drops and performance leaks

    Good to hear.

    If your case has slots for additional fans, put some fans near the top of the case as exhaust, and some fans at the bottom in the front as intake.

    Or just cram one of them big box fans and point the back towards the case and let that do your exhaust for ya. It is quite noisy(yes I have done that...)

  15. #15

    Re: FPS drops and performance leaks

    Quote Originally Posted by op3l
    Good to hear.

    If your case has slots for additional fans, put some fans near the top of the case as exhaust, and some fans at the bottom in the front as intake.

    Or just cram one of them big box fans and point the back towards the case and let that do your exhaust for ya. It is quite noisy(yes I have done that...)
    Will do, haha.
    Thanks for all the help - after all these hours of rage on these lags it was so "simple" and I didn't find the solution on my own. Shame on me...

  16. #16
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    Re: FPS drops and performance leaks

    Definately the graphics card without a shadow of a doubt, i though my previous system was old using the 4450 ati radeon lol. Get a graphics card update and im sure it will be fine, if not, follow the advice about temperature, get some fans in.

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