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Fallout 3: 100+ fps indoors, 35- in the wasteland

Last response: in Video Games
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November 1, 2012 8:29:44 AM

I thank you in advance for reading my post, as many forums don't even bother to look at technical support threads :) 

As titled, I get a perfectly smooth frame-rate indoors, but when I go outside, it gets hit HARD. I've reinstalled several times, no dice, .ini file tweak (iNumHWThreads and bUseThreadedAI), no dice. The only mod/plugin I have installed is fallout stutter remover (I also have FOSE and the 1.7 update set up). Additionally, I've made sure to install the game NOT in my program files x86 folder, but right in the C: drive. Any solutions?
P.S., I also get some nasty input lag when the fps drops. I can look at the sky and my fps will go back to normal, but once I look down at the terrain or whatever, that's when it goes down. I've fiddled around with the nVidia control panel, doing things like setting pre-rendered ahead frames to 1 and 2, forcing v-sync off etc. Apparently, I should be able to max this game out and run it smoothly. It's just not happening.

Specs:
Intel i7 3770 at 3.4GHz (not overclocked)
nVidia GT 640 2GB (brand: Asus)
8GB RAM
2TB Seagate Barracuda hard drive at 7200RPM
running Windows 7 Home Premium at 64-bit
November 1, 2012 9:40:33 AM

There's nothing wrong with your installation or card settings, you're simply pushing the system too hard. Framerates in almost any game will be much higher indoors because the model geometry is so much simpler. If you've ever seen wireframe images of 3D models, that's what's behind the graphics in the game.

Outdoors areas are far more complex because the ground isn't perfectly flat as floor, walls and ceiling are. Additionally (and in Fallout especially), you can see for miles in several directions, placing far greater strain on your graphics hardware. Looking up at the sky means the card is no longer having to render that scenery geometry, so no strain on it.

As far as a solution goes, drop the graphics settings in the game way down, reduce resolution if needed, disable anti-aliasing etc... or buy a new graphics card that is better able to handle the game at high settings.
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November 1, 2012 10:05:46 AM

Thanks for your response, Sam_p_lay

I understand the huge difference between loading an interior and exterior environment, but my main concern is that people with weaker rigs than mine are maxing out the game and getting better frame-rates than me :(  How?

The settings I usually try to play the game with are:
1920x1080
x2 AA
x6 AF
all shadow settings: medium
everything else: high
ambient occlusion: off
v-sync: off

Is my graphics card really too weak to max the game out? :( 
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November 1, 2012 10:31:47 AM

Well judging from the performance you're experiencing, I'm sorry to say 'yes'. I should mention that I'm not familiar with your particular model, but I do know the GeForce models below the GTX650 are a pretty confusing bunch interms of model numbering. Many of the sub-650 models are rebranded previous-gen GPUs (and some of those are rebranded from the generation before). To add to the confusion, an OEM (so provided with a factory-built computer) example of some models will actually be different hardware to a retail card of the same model number. So in summary, I don't know exactly what you have there :-)

But it's clearly struggling, so I'd say your best bet is to drop those settings a bit... I know it sucks, but I think smooth gameplay is preferable to slightly less unrealistic graphics :-) Those settings are fairly decent and evidently just a bit too much for the card. I'd drop all the high stuff down to medium or low first, then the shadows and leave the other settings where they are unless you absolutely have to drop them. 2X AA is a nice way of mitigating the jagged diagonals without impacting too much on performance.

I know it's frustrating to have to drop settings when you have an excellent processor and not even running a new game, but Fallout 3 was known as pretty demanding for its graphics (much like Oblivion was, same engine)... and it's a year newer than Crysis too! Only other advice... max your Sneak and Small Arms - sneak attack critical headshots for the win ;-)
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November 1, 2012 10:36:06 AM

Best answer selected by mrmctommy.
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November 1, 2012 10:37:56 AM

Thanks for your help :) 

It's unfortunate to find out that a computer I bought 2 weeks ago is being bottlenecked :(  But I guess it would be a long-term benefit to upgrade my graphics card.

One more thing, do you suggest any card or maker (AMD or nVidia) in particular? Also, would I have to change my motherboard as well as my power supply if I were to upgrade?
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November 1, 2012 10:42:23 AM

mrmctommy said:
Thanks for your help :) 

It's unfortunate to find out that a computer I bought 2 weeks ago is being bottlenecked :(  But I guess it would be a long-term benefit to upgrade my graphics card.

One more thing, do you suggest any card or maker (AMD or nVidia) in particular? Also, would I have to change my motherboard as well as my power supply if I were to upgrade?


Glad I could help! I'd strongly recommend the GeForce GTX660 - although the model number looks similar to your's, trust me - it's a superb card. If you want to go higher, I'd recommend skipping the GTX660 Ti and going straight for the GTX670. There's no need to change motherboard, though PSU is a maybe. The GTX660 is not a power-hungry card (rated 130W or 140W I think) so you'd likely be fine... could you find out what PSU you have to be sure though?

And yeah it is a shame, but at least very little of what you paid would have been going towards the graphics. And you could always try selling it as 'almost new' on eBay!
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November 1, 2012 10:51:16 AM

Well, I can't open up the computer right now to see it, but I believe the guys at the store said it's got 'native power' to the GPU; something around the 350w mark I believe?
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November 1, 2012 11:01:50 AM

mrmctommy said:
Well, I can't open up the computer right now to see it, but I believe the guys at the store said it's got 'native power' to the GPU; something around the 350w mark I believe?


OK that would be a bit tight. I'm guessing what they mean by 'native power' is the 75W provided by the PCI-E slot on the motherboard the card is in. All four versions of the GT640 are rated at 75W or less, so that's likely the case. And would mean the system probably doesn't include a PSU that would have PCI-E auxiliary power connectors to plug into a more powerful card. Besides, 350W wouldn't do for a GTX660 anyway.

I'd highly recommend PSUs from Antec, Corsair and Seasonic. Some people on here recommend XFX power supplies, but I've never used one so couldn't vouch for them personally. 550W or 650W will be ample if you don't plan on SLI further down the road. Obviously make sure there's a 6-pin PCI-E connector on it, or two if you have SLI plans. If you go with the GTX670, two 6-pin connectors per card.
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November 1, 2012 11:06:26 AM

Thanks for the info, the current PSU is from Cooler Master, and I'll look to get a better one alongside my graphics card. I don't plan on getting dual cards, preferably just one high-end card to max out most games, and that'd be it :)  If I were to replace this card with something by AMD, would I need to reformat my computer or something? Sorry for the random questions, just curious
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November 1, 2012 11:13:40 AM

mrmctommy said:
Thanks for the info, the current PSU is from Cooler Master, and I'll look to get a better one alongside my graphics card. I don't plan on getting dual cards, preferably just one high-end card to max out most games, and that'd be it :)  If I were to replace this card with something by AMD, would I need to reformat my computer or something? Sorry for the random questions, just curious


No problem - curiosity is one of the best reasons to ask questions :-) After talking about SLI, I realised that first, those wattages actually probably would be sufficient for SLI and second, your motherboard probably isn't suitable for SLI anyway! I also prefer a single-GPU setup with one powerful GPU.

As for using AMD graphics, no need to reformat, though it would be best to uninstall your nVidia graphics drivers first. I never recommend AMD graphics now anyway - too many bad experiences with them. My current (well, formerly current) Radeon just died on me, and it's not the first Radeon I've had die within a couple of months of the warranty expiring. It wasn't even a good purchase when it was alive (despite setting me back £500).

I used to regard Coolermaster as a top quality PSU manufacturer (along with Thermaltake) but both have let me down - died within a few months. They had excellent warranties though so at least I got my money back.

As for maxing most games, GTX660 should serve you well at 1080p, and will certainly handle Fallout and Elder Scrolls stuff :-)
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