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BF3 intermittent stutter in multiplayer

  • 14-03-2012 7:16pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 82 ✭✭✭ big_heart_on


    Hi,

    I have had this problem since BF3 was released, every 4-5 seconds the game stutters for 1 second. Its like the game pauses and resumes rendering the game unplayable.

    Only happens in multiplayer. I can stand still and I will see the spinning radar dishes give that same stutter every 4-5 seconds but I can mouselook smoothly around with no problems.

    I have been troubleshooting for the month of November and on and off since. I was a big fan of older Battlefield games so this is very frustrating. EA "support" are only concerned with disconnecting me when I contact. Behaviour I would have been reprimanded for when I did PC game support. :mad:

    Many people saw the same problems as me according to the BF3 forums and many gave up on the game, I have been trying all kinds of solutions over the last few months. Only twice has the game run normally, once after modifying the page file and once after manually updating punkbuster. Neither action has worked again since.

    The best EA support could ever suggest was disabling hyperthreading which worked for some but not for me.

    My specs:
    I7 920,
    Club3D 6870x2 2GB,
    8GB Crucial DDR3 @ 1333Mhz,
    Corsair Force3 120GB SSD,
    RAID0 (WD500GB SATA2 x2)
    Creative X-FI XtremeMusic
    Gigabyte EX-58 UD3R.

    Previously used this configuration with a Radeon 4870x2 and no SSD, same problems.

    I tried the following (not complete list, sorry!):
    Reinstalled Windows 7x64 (thrice)
    Tested with no Anti virus.
    Installed all latest drivers.
    Disabled Hyperthreading in BIOS.
    Disabled overclocking.
    Disabled USB keyboard support in BIOS.
    Updated Punkbuster.
    Reinstalled Origin/BF3 multiple times on different drives, including SSD.
    Set affinity to different numbers of CPU cores.
    Disabled Crossfire.
    Tried all manner of graphic settings and different lines in the console to lower settings.

    Tried different routers (3!)
    Opened ports recommended by EA support.

    All my multiplayer games run fine online (TF2, MOH, DOD, L4D, HL:DM, SC2, DOW2, Bulletstorm etc.)

    This really has me stumped. Anyone got any news of a fix or antyhing that worked for them?

    I've tried every rumoured fix I've heard so I cant list everything here.

    Thanks for reading.

    TL:DR
    Multiplayer Game stutters/lags/freezes enough to make it unplayable, tried everything I can think of, single player runs fine on any detail level.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 912 ✭✭✭ TheFairy


    Possibly Punkbuster. Reinstall and see how you get on.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,200 ✭✭✭✭ Blazer


    use MSI afterburner...it looks like you're getting the infamous microstutter for ATI cards in BF3..
    Check to see usage on both cards and temps (you can see msiafterburner to display these on -screen).
    Also..a lot of people with crossfire found the best drivers were the 11.12 drivers with the 11.12 cap 3 profiles.


  • Registered Users Posts: 231 ✭✭ mick-fitz8585


    It could also be ur anti-virus scanning the game.

    Try add all origin and bf3 .exe to ur AV exception list


  • Registered Users Posts: 231 ✭✭ mick-fitz8585


    It could also be ur anti-virus scanning the game.

    Try add all origin and bf3 .exe to ur AV exception list


  • Registered Users Posts: 82 ✭✭✭ big_heart_on


    Thanks for the replies everyone, you've already passed EA "support" in terms of customer service! ;)

    I've tested your suggestions but alas it still goes on. Heartbreaking really...

    Disabled 1 GPU to eliminate the microstuttering but it didnt cure the 4-5 second lags. Afterburner monitoring didnt show anything out of the ordinary compared to running other games. Currently running the 11.12 drivers.

    Punkbuster: an uninstall, manual cleanup and reinstall showed no change.

    Anti-virus wise, I tested BF3 in a clean install of Windows 7 with no anti virus installed but the same problem was present. :(

    You wouldnt believe how much time I've spent at this, I wonder is it even worth it?


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  • Moderators, Computer Games Moderators Posts: 3,063 Mod ✭✭✭✭ ktulu123


    What is it like when you turn all the graphics down low?


  • Registered Users Posts: 82 ✭✭✭ big_heart_on


    Unfortunately detail levels don't affect the problem.

    Set everything to LOW or a mix of HIGH/ULTRA and the stutter/freezing issue remains the same.

    Absolutely baffled by this problem. Been a PC gamer since the 90's so I'm well used to troubleshooting (and finding a solution for) the odd problem with a game but I cant make any progress with this.

    Plus I work in IT support and used to specifically do PC game support but this has me tearing my hair out. :(


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,920 AnCapaillMor


    Could be the net connection, always found the battlefields were kind of iffy, i remember back in the day i'd the original chorus wirless net which worked perfectly on every game i had and couldn't get BF1942 going at all, i'd get the same stuttering same with BF2 until i changed my net provider.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,013 SirLemonhead


    I have a weird problem too.. game runs super smooth but my framerate dies when the knifing animation is running. really weird.


  • Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 17,092 Mod ✭✭✭✭ cherryghost


    Strange suggestion, but try downclocking your GPUs. Works for my friend.

    IF that doesn't work try installing BF3 onto a different hard drive.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 20,524 ✭✭✭✭ dreamers75


    Reinstalling windows and not using Asus mobo drivers fixed my similiar issue.


  • Registered Users Posts: 82 ✭✭✭ big_heart_on


    Thanks again for your replies everyone! Much appreciated!
    Could be the net connection, always found the battlefields were kind of iffy, i remember back in the day i'd the original chorus wirless net which worked perfectly on every game i had and couldn't get BF1942 going at all, i'd get the same stuttering same with BF2 until i changed my net provider.

    That is interesting because I'm using Eircom broadband, 7MB is the max I can get due to having a Eircom phonewatch alarm, but I signed up for UPC 25MB this week and my modem arrived today so if all goes well I'll try it on UPC tonight!
    I have a weird problem too.. game runs super smooth but my framerate dies when the knifing animation is running. really weird.

    I have noticed an intermittent frame rate drop when I toggle the sights, havent used the knife yet far as I can recall.
    Strange suggestion, but try downclocking your GPUs. Works for my friend.

    IF that doesn't work try installing BF3 onto a different hard drive.

    Thanks I will try that out tonight!
    dreamers75 wrote: »
    Reinstalling windows and not using Asus mobo drivers fixed my similiar issue.

    I have read posts from others who thought this was related to the mainboard chipset or drivers so I will see if I can upgrade or downgrade the drivers. I know of someone else using the same mainboard as me without problems though they had a Beta bios (amongst other differences), which I'm kind of reluctant to install. :confused:


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,200 ✭✭✭✭ Blazer


    actually now I remember another thing...turn off hyperthreading in your bios..
    Lots of people had this issue and had to disable HT as that was one of the main causes for it...


  • Registered Users Posts: 82 ✭✭✭ big_heart_on


    Okay got my 25MB UPC broadband but the problem is the same. So I have tested with different internet providers on different routers and still have the same problem.

    Thanks Blazer for the reply, I tested with hyperthreading off but alas the problem remains. :(


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,200 ✭✭✭✭ Blazer


    quoting this from another site...seems to be a fairly common issue with crossfired 6870s


    i have the same setup (6870´s crossfire) and i managed to fix 99% of the microsluter without 3rd party apps.

    Try this:


    create a file named "user.cfg" in the Battlefield 3 game folder (the same folder that has bf3.exe, NOT the "my documents" one)

    paste this inside:
    ---
    renderdevice.forcerenderaheadlimit 5
    renderdevice.triplebufferingenable 1
    GameTime.MaxVariableFps 62
    render.drawfps 1
    render.perfoverlayvisible 0
    ---
    with "perfoverlayvisible" you can show the frame times on the screen, it may help to find some problems related to lack of vram on some situations.

    the microsluter will "almost disapear" with vsync, but it adds some latency to the controls, with the ".forcerenderaheadlimit" you can have most of the "low latency controls" without vsync and microsluttering.

    the "MaxVariableFps" is 62 insted of 60 because at 60 (at least here), the tear line stays at a fixed point at the screen, what anoys me more than a "moving tear line".

    the "drawfps" thingy is just a native fps counter on the screen, change it to 0 if you want.


  • Registered Users Posts: 82 ✭✭✭ big_heart_on


    Thanks! I tried the config file but it didnt affect the freeze/lag/stutter (not even sure what to call it!). I dont think its microstutter in that it doesnt have a problem in single player, I've also seen the problem using only one GPU, I'm feeling the rage at EA at this point :mad:


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,200 ✭✭✭✭ Blazer


    Thanks! I tried the config file but it didnt affect the freeze/lag/stutter (not even sure what to call it!). I dont think its microstutter in that it doesnt have a problem in single player, I've also seen the problem using only one GPU, I'm feeling the rage at EA at this point :mad:

    that sucks...you've basically tried everything out there...:(
    Unless now you just hang on for the patch and hope something in that works...



    jsut seen a post on guru3d.com that the latest 12.2 drivers actually fixes the fps drops in BF3....no harm in trying ?
    Testing it out now myself..


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,143 ✭✭✭ jumbobreakfast


    I read something recently about Vsync that I didnt realise before. Vsync will keep your framerate from exceeding 60fps to prevent tearing which I knew about. The problem is that if your framerate drops even a small bit below 60, it will sync down to 30fps to keep a steady framerate. I always thought that once you dropped below 60fps, the vsync switched off and you would run at the framerate that your card could handle but that doesn seem to be the case. I always turn off vsync anyway and increase my graphics detail levels so that my fps floats around 60fops anyway

    This review of the nvidia 680 and it's adaptive vsync probably explains it better (half way down the page):
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-680-review-benchmark,3161-5.html

    I'm sure you've played with the vsync settings already but have a look at the description in that article


  • Registered Users Posts: 82 ✭✭✭ big_heart_on


    Thanks again everyone!

    I got the 12.2 drivers and latest available CAPs for my graphics card but no change.

    I am going to record a little video and upload it to youtube showing the problem.


  • Registered Users Posts: 82 ✭✭✭ big_heart_on


    Finally a change in my predicament!

    Installed the 1.5GB patch last night and the game ran stutter free :D

    Now if that will be the case tonight remains to be seen but I'm inclined to think it was as EA "support" said, a "known issue".

    I read an article on Toms hardware that said a last minute patch before release had introduced stuttering, hopefully this patch finally fixed it.

    Fingers crossed!! ;)

    Edit:

    Yeah, tried it tonight, same as it ever was :mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:

    I swear this has me driven ******* crazy. Never encountered the like of this in 15 years PC gaming. If it was entirely consistent that would be one thing, but make changes and it works briefly then resumes stuttering.

    Gaaaahhhhhh


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,143 ✭✭✭ jumbobreakfast


    1. It's a long shot but perhaps this might help. This tool led me to discover that I had a dodgy piece of software which was causing problems with one of my games:

    http://www.thesycon.de/deu/latency_check.shtml

    Just run it for about 5 minutes and see if all the measuerments are consistent. I had spikes in the graph every few seconds and I started removing software and drivers until the spikes went away (in my case it was one of those stupid motherboard utilities that I got with the motherboard)

    If the graph is consistent though then you are back to square one

    Also,
    2. you can monitor your framerate in BF3 by going into the console during the game: Press the tilde key to the left of number 1 on your keyboard then type in render.drawfps 1 , hit return and press tilde again to close the console. (quick note sometime pressing tilde will enter a tilde character so you might have to hit backspace when you first enter the console.)

    3. I'd turn back on hyperthreading and remove those config changes as well as you shouldnt really need them with your spec (was worth a shot though)

    4. The x-fi cards used to cause trouble too (maybe not these days) so try removing it and using your onboard audio for now

    5. run a continuos ping to the server you are connected to while you are playing. You can get the ip address of the server from the server's battlelog page, it will look like this: 123.321.132.312:25550.
    Open the command prompt (type cmd in the windows search box)
    type in ping 123.321.132.312 -t (replace the ip with the correct one & leave out the port number) and leave it run in the background
    when you get stutters, alt-tab back out to the cmd window and see if the pings are behaving inconsistently (the output to look for is the time=xx ms and it should be well below 100ms)
    this will help determine if it is a network problem

    p.s it's a slow day at work :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 82 ✭✭✭ big_heart_on


    Thanks jumbobreakfast!

    I ran the tests you suggested but didnt see anything out of the ordinary so I made a video just to illustrate the problem.

    Standing still and looking at the radar dish shows the stutter, where it appears the game freezes for a fraction of a second.Doesnt look very spectacular, but it makes infantry combat very difficult and vehicles, forget about it!



    Oh well I will just have to chalk this to experience and boycott EA in future :pac:


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