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Windows 7: Fluctuating FPS in games

12 Jul 2013   #1

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
Fluctuating FPS in games

So uh, lately my computer has been a little moody. It's been getting pretty hot so I went out and bought a cooling pad, which may or may not be useless. Anyway, my main issue that I've noticed is that my FPS in games, mostly TF2, rapidly fluctuates. I can be standing in a map with no other players and the FPS can shoot from 112 to 24 and back within a second. I've tried many things, like using an FPS config (I used max quality and max frames and surprisingly there was very little difference), as well as throttlestopping and overclocking. Neither worked, so I'm back at my defaults. Anyone got some tips?

I realize I've created similar threads, but I believe this is a different issue.

Edit: Another thing that may be part of the problem is that when I'm in a clustered area for too long with a lot of action, my audio starts bugging out. It keeps bugging for a bit even after I've left the area or quit out of the game.

Another thing that's been happening is the audio sometimes stops coming through my headphones and comes out my speakers instead for a second or two for no real reason. This always happens when I get a low FPS and my audio starts buzzing.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

12 Jul 2013   #2

Windows 7 Home premium 64bit SP1

Have you tried turning on multi core rendering in tf2? If you have a duo core or better this option should be available, gives one core to do the work for stuff like particles and the other core handles everything else leaving it with less stress and so on from what I know about it. I get 20 extra fps with it on. Also try verifying tf2's cache and running without any huds or skin mods , which can sometimes cause issues. Try updating your video and chipset drivers as well. What temperatures are your cpu and gpu in the laptop getting with the cooling pad on and off, could be to insufficient cooling like you said and making the laptop throttle down trying to save its self from overheating thus killing your fps.

You can limit your fps to 60 fps too which in my case makes it seem less jumpy if it ever drops from say 100 to 45 without it and would be say 60 to 45 ect.. like it would do sometimes on my system when playing on 32 player severs. I run these in my launch options "-novid -windowed -noborder -noforceparms -noforcemaccel -noipx -refresh 60" running in windowed mode with no borders to make it look like it's fullscreen and cap to 60fps could help make the fps jumps a tad less noticeable and your gpu will work less since it's not having to pump up more frames thus making more heat. Keep in mind that the source engine made for hl2 which tf2 runs on is very cpu dependent and lowering settings might not help but a higher clocked cpu or more cores would help more then anything though I really don't advise overclocking a laptop due to them having very little space to push air out and getting very hot.

I use this config for running tf2 that has some cpu command line options that I run that keep my game pretty smooth which you save in the cfg folder as autoexec.cfg You remove the // if you want to use that option for example //mat_queue_mode 0 to mat_queue_mode 0 or to -1 depending on what you want. Yea it's from a config I found and I use only 3 of them but you can mix and match.

// Multithreading (1/4 Life's settings, which he tweaked for stability)
host_thread_mode 1 //Forces on multithreading. Defaults to 0.
//mat_queue_mode 0 //Default is -1. Single Synchronized thread. CAUSES INSTABILITY ON MOST SYSTEMS.
r_threaded_client_shadow_manager 1 //Threaded world and flashlight shadows.
r_threaded_particles 1 //Threaded particles (Defaults to 1)
r_threaded_renderables 1 //Threaded renderables
//r_queued_decals 1 //Queued decals. CAUSES INSTABILITY ON MOST SYSTEMS.
//r_queued_post_processing 1 //Queued post processing. CAUSES INSTABILITY ON MOST SYSTEMS.
//r_queued_ropes 1 //Queued ropes. CAUSES INSTABILITY ON MOST SYSTEMS.
//cl_threaded_bone_setup 1 //Threaded bones and animations. CAUSES INSTABILITY ON MOST SYSTEMS.
//cl_interp_threadmodeticks 1 //ONLY USE IN SINGLEPLAYER GAMES! Adds some extra interpolation ticks for multithread mode.
//snd_mix_async 1 //Multithreaded sound. Causes the first few milliseconds of sounds to be cut off on some systems.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jul 2013   #3

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1

I've always used multicore rendering, but thanks for the tip.
I think I'll try adding in that last line for launch options (I'm already using everything else there)

I really need to emphasize how odd my issue is though, because using the lowest possible graphical settings and the highest doesn't seem to affect my situation at all.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

12 Jul 2013   #4

Windows 7 Home premium 64bit SP1

Yea that's probably a sign that the cpu is the one struggling and not the graphics card or could be something up with tf2 its self or steam not sure. I would try reinstalling the drivers and possibly steam though remember to backup your games if going to the reinstall steam route because if you just uninstall steam then it deletes everything and I mean everything. Every game you had it will delete it, happen to me before so just warning you. So you copy the steamapps folder and keep a copy on another drive or somewhere on your drive that's not in the steam folder. Then put it back in the steam folder after it's reinstalled.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jul 2013   #5

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1

Oh, okay. Well at least it's been pinpointed now. I appreciate the help.

Is there anything I can do to fix this?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jul 2013   #6

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1

My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jul 2013   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

TF2 is really an overkill for most systems (some high-end PCs end up having this problem also)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jul 2013   #8

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by RoasterMen View Post
TF2 is really an overkill for most systems (some high-end PCs end up having this problem also)
It just bothers me because I used to be able to run this game perfectly.

I think it has something to do with heat, since I can run it fairly well for a few minutes until it begins to slow down. Does thermal paste really make that much of a difference? I've had this laptop for about 1 1/2 years without replacing it. Maybe it's time?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jul 2013   #9

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1

Thermal paste should help but don't expect something like 20 degrees Celsius drop in load temps. Just probably around 5 -7 degrees. However in the mean time, since TF2 is overkill even for a 2nd Gen i7 mobile CPU (as long as multi-core rendering is enabled), you can disable turbo boost and run the game at stock CPU speed (2.2 GHz). To do this, on your current power plan, go to advanced power settings then scroll down to processor power management. Then change the maximum processor state to 99% and the minimum processor state to 5%. This should make the CPU not too hot since it's not running at ~2.8 GHz while running TF2 and thus won't throttle. I highly doubt you lose FPS with the stock 2.2 GHz speed in multi-core optmized games.

Also, make sure you clean the fan and heatsink vents with compressed air. Just open the back cover and spray compressed air through the fans and out of the heatsink. Dust buildup is the most likely cause of overheating rather than driedup thermal paste.

BTW, I can also run TF2 at 80 FPS maxed out with 8x CSAA and 2x AF on a NVIDIA GT 520M at 1366 x 768 resolution which is far weaker than the 555M. FPS only drops to 45 during heavy battles with lots of players around. I run my games with Turbo boost off since I don't notice any difference in FPS. But in video editing and encoding, I can run the CPU at 100% Turbo boost load (2.8 GHz on 4 cores) without throttling or overheating. It's just that the cooling system of GPU and CPU sharing only 1 fan and 1 heatsink isn't enough to cool them down when both running at maximum load. I haven't replaced the thermal paste since I have to take the whole laptop apart to access the CPU. I'm pretty sure Alienware allows easy access to the CPU so you can easily use an aftermarket thermal paste.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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