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Recording with FRAPS or Afterburner fixes stutter? PLEASE HELP

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May 14, 2012 7:18:19 PM

UPDATE: I FOUND OUT WHY TF2 IS STUTTERING!

Its antialiasing.....Even though I get tons of FPS with X4 antialias, if I set it to none then the game is perfectly smooth as if I was recording. Now why in the hell would recording with fraps completely fix stutter that was introduced by antialiasing?!?!?!

4xaa + not recording with FRAPS = Stuttery mess.
4xaa + recording = Perfectly smooth.
0xaa + not recording = Perfectly smooth.

Unfortunately I can't disable the 1 antialiasing that is enabled in 3dmark11 and 3dmark vantage to confirm this fixes those situations too.

Posting this here in hopes of someone being able to help me fix this issue. specs:

i7 920
gigabyte X58-UD3R SLI
6GB DDR3
GTX460

I have been struggling to find a fix for stuttering that I have been experiencing in games and benchmarks. I went through a number of different drivers but none of them helped. Typing "GTX460 stutter" in google brings up a frightening amount of people having stutter problems with their GTX460's so I was hoping to find a fix but I didn't. I wanted to contact MSI to troubleshoot the problem and provide them proof of the stuttering and while recording with fraps it was fixed. It just makes no sense to me.

For an example, 3dmark11's second and third tests both stutter like crazy (the first one is fine for whatever reason), the FPS is very erratic shooting up and then plummeting down but as soon as I hit record with fraps the FPS stabilizes and the stutter is gone. Does anyone know what could be causing this? Google only showed a couple people saying the same thing.

Things that I have tried so far without success:

- Tried an old 60hz 1440x900. The other monitor is a 60hz 1680x1050 VW224U.
- Disabled all CPU related power saving features in the bios and windows.
- Disabled Hyperthreading.
- Removed sound card and uninstalled its drivers to try using on-board audio.
- Reinstalled windows and along with it chipset/lan/sound card drivers.
- Reinstalled games and benchmarks.
- Tried old and current Nvidia drivers.
- Stress tested the GPU with kombustor and runs of 3dmark11 and vantage.
- Stress tested the CPU/RAM with IBT/OCCT/HCI memtest and prime95 blend at stock optimized defaults and at my 3.5Ghz normal overclock. (all passed)
- Ran DPC latency checker. (nothing over 500 while playing)
- Tried disabling and enabling 64 bit HPET.
- Ran chkdsk and an error check with HDtune on my hard drive.(no errors found with either test)
- Tried testing with Avast! free completely disabled and even tried with MSE instead.
- Replaced SATA cables and tried gigabyte sata ports instead of the normal and better ICH10R sata ports.

Recording with MSI afterburner also stablizes my FPS and completely fixes the stutter just like FRAPS does.

Another example from a couple others having this problem: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/117551-13-stutter-iss...

Another similar example: http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=180832

My videos showing the second GPU test of 3dmark11:

WITHOUT fraps recording:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=...

WITH fraps recording:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=...
May 14, 2012 8:04:42 PM

Well, from all the tests that you've run I think we might conclude that all your hardware is in order, and this has something to do with software.

Have you checked the clock rates and % utilization on your GPU with and without fraps running?
Do you have any programs that might manage the power settings for you? if yes, try disabling them. Set windows power settings to full/max performance profile
May 14, 2012 8:08:33 PM

1) What are your CPU & GPU temperatures during gaming or benchmarking?
- High temperatures can cause serious performance problems.

2) FRAPS or Afterburner help smooth your image by forcing VSync while it records. This allows it to maintain a consistant framerate so your recorded video doesn't stutter. You may want to Enable the "VSync" option in all your games (or do so within your video drivers).

3) What kind of hard disk are you using?

4)Do you game online using WiFi?
Related resources
May 14, 2012 9:16:47 PM

AntiZig said:
Well, from all the tests that you've run I think we might conclude that all your hardware is in order, and this has something to do with software.

Have you checked the clock rates and % utilization on your GPU with and without fraps running?
Do you have any programs that might manage the power settings for you? if yes, try disabling them. Set windows power settings to full/max performance profile


I have previously tested with the CPU running at its full speed by disabling the power saving features in the bios and windows that throttle the CPU when the load is low. Since it didn't help my situation I have since turned them back on. You can see that the GPU clock rates stay at their highest value. I can have absolutely nothing else running besides the game or benchmark and the stutter remains.

For CPU/GPU utilization here are a couple screen shots showing the usage after the first three GPU tests of 3dmark11.

GPU: http://img210.imageshack.us/img210/1321/27579506.png (the drops are from the loading screen between tests)

CPU: http://imageshack.us/f/832/gputest2and3.png/


jerreece said:
1) What are your CPU & GPU temperatures during gaming or benchmarking?
- High temperatures can cause serious performance problems.

2) FRAPS or Afterburner help smooth your image by forcing VSync while it records. This allows it to maintain a consistant framerate so your recorded video doesn't stutter. You may want to Enable the "VSync" option in all your games (or do so within your video drivers).

3) What kind of hard disk are you using?

4)Do you game online using WiFi?


1:
GPU idle = 31C.
GPU load during 3dmark11 = 50-52C

CPU cores idle = ~35C.
CPU cores load during 3dmark11 = ~45C
CPU cores load during Prime95 = ~58C

2. I mentioned that even with Vsync on in TF2 the stutter is there and starting a recording fixes it.

3. WD6401AALS with 519GB free. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4. I game wired to the router directly. The TF2 example I mentioned was after creating a local server and the stutter is still there and fixed by recording with FRAPS so my internet shouldn't be a suspect.
May 14, 2012 11:49:34 PM

I noticed something while messing with TF2 in a created server all alone. If I turn vsync on and stand still the built in net graph shows a 100% solid 59 FPS. If I start moving or spinning the camera the FPS starts to spike up and down from what I can see is 55-62. Its very hard to see because it refreshes so fast in the net graph. When I start a recording with fraps the FPS stays on 59-60 and only those two values, it doesn't bounce around as much and the stutter is gone.


May 15, 2012 8:21:56 AM

I FOUND OUT WHY TF2 IS STUTTERING!

Its antialiasing.....Even though I get tons of FPS with X4 antialias, if I set it to none then the game is perfectly smooth as if I was recording. Now why in the hell would recording with fraps completely fix stutter that was introduced by antialiasing?!?!?!

4xaa + not recording with FRAPS = Stuttery mess.
4xaa + recording = Perfectly smooth.
0xaa + not recording = Perfectly smooth.

Unfortunately I can't disable the 1 antialiasing that is enabled in 3dmark11 and 3dmark vantage to confirm this fixes those situations too.
May 15, 2012 3:04:52 PM

well, it could be that fraps forces a frame cap on top of the game engine which ends up being more stringent than the game engine itself. And what driver version are you running on it?

Looking at those benchmark graphs, your GPU does bump into 100% usage in those 3 peaks, which I assume are the tests.

CPU is hard to tell since it's all over the place as you can see, but none of it hits 100%.

My guess would be you're pushing your card to the max (is that the case during TF2? does it hit 100%?). Now it could be that TF2 AA mode is crappy and perhaps you should use the built in nvidia AA that is forced through the nV control panel. (I know this is the case with skyrim, because the AA the engine uses is horrific, but you can force MSAA through nVCP and get little performance loss and less artifacts with same visual results)

fraps probably has en effect because it's an external fps limiter that is not tied into the game engine. Or maybe not, it's an interesting effect though.
May 15, 2012 10:49:35 PM

AntiZig said:
well, it could be that fraps forces a frame cap on top of the game engine which ends up being more stringent than the game engine itself. And what driver version are you running on it?

Looking at those benchmark graphs, your GPU does bump into 100% usage in those 3 peaks, which I assume are the tests.

CPU is hard to tell since it's all over the place as you can see, but none of it hits 100%.

My guess would be you're pushing your card to the max (is that the case during TF2? does it hit 100%?). Now it could be that TF2 AA mode is crappy and perhaps you should use the built in nvidia AA that is forced through the nV control panel. (I know this is the case with skyrim, because the AA the engine uses is horrific, but you can force MSAA through nVCP and get little performance loss and less artifacts with same visual results)

fraps probably has en effect because it's an external fps limiter that is not tied into the game engine. Or maybe not, it's an interesting effect though.


4xAA without recording = 60fps with Stutter @ 19% GPU usage.
4xAA WITH recording = 60fps Perfectly smooth with 22% GPU usage.
4xAA without vsync = 270 FPS and 90% usage.

TF2 is not stressing my card. This stutter wasn't always there and recording with afterburner or fraps fixes it. I specifically remember running 3dmark11 when I first got this card and it didn't stutter like that at all as I would have immediately returned it.

I need to find out what is broken in my system that would cause a recording to fix stutter that was introduced by antialiasing.
May 16, 2012 2:48:02 PM

only 22% utilization, I expected it to be at least 30%, haha. And, on that 90% utilization it still stutters? Dam, guess that proves there's no power saving issues.

alright, so lets ask this question, has any hardware changed since you ran 3dmark11 with no stutters?

if not, this is likely a software issue then.

Something else that can cause stutter... erm no, it doesn't make sense because AA is purely a GPU operation, unless TF2 specifically tells CPU to do it. Could you check the CPU % load at those same 3 conditions you listed for GPU?

If it were an HDD then you'd be stuttering regardless of AA setting.

Check your settings for triple buffering and render ahead frames. (Both are in nvidia CP) Check that you aren't forcing some other AA mode on top of the in-game setting, maybe it's causing a conflict.

I'll see if I have any more ideas later in the day on what it could be.
May 16, 2012 11:38:53 PM

AntiZig said:
only 22% utilization, I expected it to be at least 30%, haha. And, on that 90% utilization it still stutters? Dam, guess that proves there's no power saving issues.

alright, so lets ask this question, has any hardware changed since you ran 3dmark11 with no stutters?

if not, this is likely a software issue then.

Something else that can cause stutter... erm no, it doesn't make sense because AA is purely a GPU operation, unless TF2 specifically tells CPU to do it. Could you check the CPU % load at those same 3 conditions you listed for GPU?

If it were an HDD then you'd be stuttering regardless of AA setting.

Check your settings for triple buffering and render ahead frames. (Both are in nvidia CP) Check that you aren't forcing some other AA mode on top of the in-game setting, maybe it's causing a conflict.

I'll see if I have any more ideas later in the day on what it could be.


After getting MSI up to date on the situation they said that I should just RMA my card. I really don't think the card is at fault because if that was the case it should stutter whether I was recording or not. But they insisted so I sent it in which means I can't give you further troubleshooting info until I get a replacement. I have had cards die on me in the past but when they die they usually artifact, crash and then refuse to boot. This GTX460 has never done any of those.

I can tell you that the Nvidia control panel was all at global defaults. TF2 is always CPU bound but even then TF2 can't use all four cores of my quad so CPU usage never hits anything over 70% while playing without vsync. Its much lower with Vsync on.

If the replacement card fixes it then ill be sure to post it here as a possible solution in case anyone else finds themselves in this weird situation. If it doesn't fix it then ill probably be back begging for help again. :cry: 

I appreciate the help, thank you.
May 17, 2012 5:59:38 PM

alright, def give us an update once you get the card back. I'm wondering if they are familiar with the issue which is why they asked you to RMA it.
!