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What is my bottleneck? (Fallout: New Vegas)

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March 23, 2012 2:32:22 AM

I recently bought and started playing Fallout: New Vegas, and saw that I constantly had 60 FPS with Vsync on (I monitor via ATI Tray Tools On Screen Display) with everything maxed.

So, I (through the .ini file) disabled Vsync to see what framerates my HD6870 and i7-860 2.8Ghz were truly capable of.

Most of the time, my framerates are now 70-90, occasionally dipping down to 60s as my below screenshot shows. Yet, no matter what the framerate is, neither my graphics card nor cpu is ever operating at 100%.



OSD says im at 64FPS with 35% CPU use and 52% GPU use.

If neither my gfx card or cpu is my bottleneck, what is holding me in the 60's range in the below shot? My RAM? (RAM info included below courtesy of CPUz).

and

Thanks for the help, I'm rather confused as I believed that at any given moment, your FPS was defined by either your GPU or CPU operating at max.

P.S. in Battlefield 3 I see 99% GPU use, so I know my card is capable of full function.
March 26, 2012 5:13:49 PM

some games the video card don't goes to 99% of use, that is normal, and 60fps is no bad, actually unless you are using a 120hz display (that you are not since Vsync locks you at 60frames) there is no need going over 60 FPS... this is the maximum you will be able to notice, and it is a good value for Fallout new vegas.
March 26, 2012 8:42:34 PM

I play with Vsync force disabled across all titles.

What prevents "some games" from reaching maximum hardware-potential FPS? Driver limitations? I've seen similar things in older titles as well. For example when playing Halo: Combat Evolved I'll only use half my CPU and GPU resources for some 200 frames per second (which is of course totally unnecessary); but out of curiousity, what's preventing full resource use for 400 Fraps instead?

I'm quite content with 60+ FPS, I was just interested in what was holding my rig back from even more. In some spots I'll see New Vegas dip to 45FPS, despite still only using 60% of my main processor core, 70% of my GPU, and ~60% of my video ram.

Enabling 8x MSAA increases my VRAM usage to about 75% but has no impact on framerate, and while enabling Vsync will of course cap me at 60FPS, disabling it in the 45FPS spots doesn't affect framerate at all either. Weird.


As best I can tell, my hardware isn't defining my FPS, which really shouldn't be the case for a major title like New Vegas.
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March 28, 2012 2:19:54 PM

nothing is holding anything back, it is just that the game was programmed that way, some games are just designed that way, they simply don't need to use 100% and or don't are using specific graphics effect what will cause them to only use a specific gpu area or simply don't have enough graphics to cause the gpu to work at 100% power. much of those problems are fixed by updating game, sometimes drivers can increase that too. but that is normal, a lot of games don't use 100% of gpu simply because the games isn't designed for that, even if you could get more frames with that gpu the game is not ready for that...

that is it, the some games don't reach maximum hardware potential because they simply aren't designed for that, and or don't have enough graphics to cause the hardware to get up there.
March 28, 2012 5:24:31 PM

Interesting. So would I see an increase in FPS if I bought a more powerful card/cpu (maybe the part of the card being used will be bigger?), or am I basically getting the max the game will allow regardless?
March 28, 2012 8:03:00 PM

elsnerj said:
Interesting. So would I see an increase in FPS if I bought a more powerful card/cpu (maybe the part of the card being used will be bigger?), or am I basically getting the max the game will allow regardless?


hardly, your psu is not a problem, i'm just saying that sometimes your GPU is not at full power because sometimes the game is not coded to do that, and or share some power with CPU.

you will only get more frames with a better video card, but i'm just saying that no matter what video card you have, a lot of games will do 99% of usage and a lot will stay at 50% or variating your video card performance is ok.

you could try some tweakin in the graphics to improve that, changing AA,V-SYNC,Shadows,ETC...sometimes the CPU is the bottleneck but for your case i think your CPU is enough. it is just normal some games using 100% and some games using less, no matter what video card you have, it is not like memory, when the video card is at full load means the game is actually using it, it is good that it is at 100%...
March 30, 2012 10:34:11 AM

I would say it's the Fallout New Vegas that is pulling your system back. It uses a fairly old engine, so maybe it can't utilize all that your PC has to offer.
And 60fps is not even bad, it's not like you can even notice.
March 30, 2012 12:30:56 PM

I capped at 60 fps too, without vsync.
I guess it's the game's own limit
March 30, 2012 2:13:44 PM

laiskapummi said:
I capped at 60 fps too, without vsync.
I guess it's the game's own limit


Thanks for checking, I've seen this confirmed on a lot of forums. New Vegas simply doesn't maximize any better on high end hardware.
March 30, 2012 4:10:57 PM

elsnerj said:
Thanks for checking, I've seen this confirmed on a lot of forums. New Vegas simply doesn't maximize any better on high end hardware.


it is probably capped at Refresh rate speed, it is worthless going over the monitor refresh rate, any framerate over 60frames are wasted and can cause tearing in the image.

didn't tested yet, but probably with a higher refresh rate you can go over 60hz, in my opinion all games should do that Max Frames at Refresh Rate CAP.
April 2, 2012 6:03:23 PM

ricardois said:
it is probably capped at Refresh rate speed, it is worthless going over the monitor refresh rate, any framerate over 60frames are wasted and can cause tearing in the image.

didn't tested yet, but probably with a higher refresh rate you can go over 60hz, in my opinion all games should do that Max Frames at Refresh Rate CAP.


Perhaps.
All the Call of Duty games that I have max out at 91 fps.
I can't test if New Vegas actually limits itself to the refresh rate regardless of the vsync setting, because my monitor is also a TV so it has only 60hz option.
April 6, 2012 2:21:10 AM

The strange thing is that I get 70-80 FPS in a lot of places, and only 50-60 in others, despite using only 50-75% of CPU and/or GPU in both cases.

It doesn't still caps at 60 without Vsync, more that the driver/game stops utilizing the hardware past 50%, and that just happens to produce about 50-60FPS in the most intensive spots. I tried running Oblivion to see if it was game engine related, but I easily get 100+ FPS and full graphics utilization in Oblivion, so it's New Vegas specific.

Obviously, this game engine can use my card to 100%.

And, New Vegas doesn't cap me at 60; I get 70+ while only using half my hardware's power.

THIS is the weird part. I'm now struggling to get 50 FPS despite only using half my hardware. Why isn't the game using ALL my hardware to get something closer to 70FPS?

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April 7, 2012 6:18:44 PM
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I have downloaded and tested fallout new vegas, no it is not capped i am playing without Vsync, here is a Screenshot 93 fps and in some areas it goes up to 120fps.

http://i.imgur.com/M0q5b.jpg

But yes just like you the games is only using 50% of my gpu because like i have said, the game graphics are simple, it will not use all the graphics card power because there is not enough details that cause the gpu to be at full load, but it is at full load for that graphics, understood? something like the gpu still have power but the game itself didn't implemented it to be used.

i am using 560 ti sli and both video cards can't go over 30, normally they are at 50% sum of both. because this game was not coded to use 100% this is normal, and there is no bottleneck in your system. your graphics card should be at those frames; and will not go over alone.
April 7, 2012 6:56:29 PM

Thank you for the clarification, unfortunate that it is an inherent software limitation. I think their newer (skyrim) engine fixed this issue and now uses 100% of all GPU's I've seen benchmarked, so this shouldn't pop up any more in Bethesda games.

Many thanks Ricardois.
April 7, 2012 6:56:40 PM

Best answer selected by elsnerj.
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