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Really Low Min Framerate, but really High Average!?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
May 10, 2006 5:57:42 PM

Hi, ive done alot of similar posts on the subject of my framerates but i just cant let it rest cause something in my system is definately holding my gaming back from running as good as it used to. I own a 7800GTX and, once again using FEAR as an example, i am getting 34fps Min, 69fps Avg and 169fps Max with the game on Highest settings (SoftS. off) / 1024x768 Res. Results from FEAR performance test. Now i am not at all happy with the 34fps min that i get cause it has the game running nowhere near how it should be running with a 7800GTX or even a GT... Every time i get into a firefight (using fraps) i drop right down to low 30's and even low 20's sometimes! What i dont understand is that my Avg. framerate is very good and likewise the Max. framerate! :? I have done clean installs and even got my card replaced for a higher clocked one and still no improvement! Im pretty sure that my card is not the problem but what im not sure of is what is. Plz someone explain my problem. What is wrong??
May 10, 2006 6:26:06 PM

The "graphics test" on FEAR is base only on that small scene, and does not reflect the card's actuall performance during an actual game play.

Fight scenarios in FEAR or any shooting games will task the cpu and graphics card(s) for a lot of things is happening at the same time like lot of movements and effects. So it takes a heavy toll on the system and dropping off the frame rates.

FEAR is currently the most graphically demanding game, so don't be surprise that your card is having a hard time producing smooth frame rate. So you do not need to max out everything. I have an 840 and 2x7800GTX 256 and I don't even set the graphics to max.

By the way, what's the rest of your system if you don't mind me asking.
May 10, 2006 7:06:10 PM

My guess is that your CPU is slowing down your machine. You can either overclock it or get a faster CPU. Another thing to keep in mind is the number of programs you have running in the background. Its not uncommon to have 50 to 60 programs running at the same time these days. That eats up your ram and forces a lot of hard disc useage for swap files, which in turn slows the machine down. I don't know how much ram you have, but I think 2 gig is a minimum these days.

Try using the taskmanager to see how many programs are running, then end as many as you can live without. I've seen some machines that are using as much as 800 mb just idling, which only leaves 200 mb for programs in a system with 1 gig of ram. After that ending what you can, try running Fear again and see if your framerates go up.

Only suggestions, and maybe you've already done these, but its all I can think of at the moment.
Related resources
May 10, 2006 7:07:19 PM

Chuckhissle said

FEAR is currently the most graphically demanding game

Actually, that would be Oblivion...
May 10, 2006 7:07:42 PM

But FEAR is a close second.
May 10, 2006 7:41:44 PM

My system is in my sig. I might buy an Athlon 4000+ but would it be a waste considering its just one up from the 3700+ or will there be a big improvement in general? Im just trying to find a way of just improving my performance even a tad bit.
May 10, 2006 8:13:57 PM

FEAR demands the best, but Oblivion demands the bestest! :D 

EDIT: Most bestest

EDIT 2: Most bestester
May 10, 2006 8:16:46 PM

You'd be looking at about a 9% improvement. So, yes it would be a tad bit better. Enough to spend $330 USD on? Well, that's between you and your wallet.
May 10, 2006 8:19:15 PM

1. Minimum framerate will always be low. It's a fact that things wil slow down when a scene changes, enemies are added, and things have to be loaded from the hard disk.

If you want to raise your minimum framerate, 2gb of RAM might help. But minimukm framerate will always be low, not too much you can do about that.

A 4000+ from a 3700+ is a waste, you might see 3 frames per second difference, and maybe no difference in minimum framerate...
May 10, 2006 8:53:12 PM

Right well thats not worth it then but what other gaming CPU is there cause i mean i dont wanna get dual core cause ive heard that they are really bad for gaming, so that would mean that the only options i have are the Athlon FX CPU's, which are way out of my range :?
a c 360 U Graphics card
May 10, 2006 9:02:19 PM

My guess is that your CPU is slowing down your machine. You can either overclock it or get a faster CPU.

I don't believe the A64 3700+ is a bottleneck. It's just that F.E.A.R. and Oblivion are power hungry games. You would be very hard pressed to get 70fps even with Crossfire X1900XT in outdoor scenes.

Just accept the fact that both games pushes both CPU and GPU to the performance limit. The only way to cure it is to get a next generation GPU whose's architecture is designed to be more efficient than all the GPUs available today.
May 10, 2006 9:12:53 PM

Well i wouldnt say that they are really bad for gaming, just a little immature. When creators start either coding their games for dual core or current games start releasing patches for dual core CPU's then you wont see much of a benefit, but it shouldnt hit you too hard because of the MS dual core hotfix and the amd driver available to fix some of the more prominent problems. With the kind of money that you are willing to spend going to the 4000+ i would just get an X2 3800+ or an Opty 165 since it seems that you will want to dabble in a bit of overclocking. This way you will better off when the dual core games hit. As for your current frame rates, i really dont know what the problem could be, but as others have stated, FEAR is a very taxing game and it is not out of the ordinary to have low min FPS numbers, especially with everything on ultra super duper high. How does it do if you kick the detail down a notch?
May 10, 2006 9:23:19 PM

some stuff you might try if you havent already,

tighten up memory as much as possible, my rig (in sig) got 5 or so fps in FEAR (average) by going from 3-3-3-6 2t to 2-2-2-5 1t I dont know if your memory can go that tight but make them low as possible and go for 1t

oc the video card, it helps a little.

even if you dont oc I suggest taking off the hsf on the gpu and putting some as5 on to lower temps, prolly wont help the fps but I would still do it.

one last thing do you run the FEAR test more than once? The first run sucks but after FEAR loads some stuff into ram on the first run the second will be faster.

In game just play a few moments then reload, I have heard that works but no idea if it acctualy does.
a b U Graphics card
May 10, 2006 9:27:57 PM

Basicaly the only good way to up minimum frame rate is to run your rig in SLI mode i.e get another 7800gtx that realy the only good thing (price and preformance wise IMHO) about SLI.
May 10, 2006 9:52:46 PM

If the minimum framerate is caused by having to swap in a bunch of textures, then I don't think SLI will help much.
If that is the problem, additional texture memory might help, but only in the case where a previously used texture is needed again. A 256MB texture memory card may need to swap that old texture out while a 512MB card might be able to keep it around.
And if the minimum framerate is caused by a massive first time load of textures, then what you really need is a faster path from memory to the video card. And I don't think SLI will help with that either.
The only way in which SLI could help in this situation is if the cards are not mirroring the textures, but from my understanding that is how they work.
Just my two cents. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about that. Not that anyone on these boards needs permission to do that :D  .
May 10, 2006 9:53:54 PM

How does it do if you kick the detail down a notch?

Actually its good you asked that question. See when i do try reduce the detail my framerates still stay roughly the same!? Even when i try putting the detail really low id probly get only like 40 min! What i tried recently was put AA and AF off compelely but even with that i had like 38-40 min on the stress test (only 4fps above when it was on Max detail)! So basically reducing the detail does nothing so i may as well have it on max :? The framerate just refuses to go up. Now thats definately not right is it?? By the way it used to run fine, just one day all this suddenly happened!
May 10, 2006 10:27:34 PM

Just so you know my 3DMark05 score was in the 11500 range with my rig. The only noticeable differences are my processor and my SLI with 2 7800GTXs. I haven't had FRAPS running while playing FEAR but I can do so and let you know what I get if you'd like just for comparison sake.
May 10, 2006 10:39:12 PM

Yeah that would be great, really appreciate, but seein as you are using SLI 7800's im not really gonna be able to compare so if its not too much trouble could you do it with just one card enabled so that it will be an easier comparison for me?
May 10, 2006 11:03:24 PM

WELL THEN.... try this:-

by forcing triple buffering (which you dont have an option for ingame!!) you should get your average fps up by about 10-15fps and your lowest fps up by about 40fps opr higher..... I know it sounds crazy but just try it... its free! you might have to leave aa and fsaa at x2 or off. try them both to see what works for you!

Big up the CrazyRhino!
a b U Graphics card
May 10, 2006 11:18:40 PM

But FEAR is a close second.

I'd think Oblivion is a clear first with either Fear or COD2 coming next.
May 11, 2006 12:09:20 AM

I didnt see a mention of your sound card. I had an Audigy 2 plat. just last week and had similar lag/min frame rates. I put my Xfi in and it was fixed...and then some. Thats on my old AMD Xp based machien (OC'd to 2100mhz/200fsb though). Maybe thats your issue. people dont realize that when in a firefight the immense sounds overwelm most soun cards (and worse on built in sound) so it offloads processing to your CPU and it gets raped...Get an Xfi and solve your problem. if ya got a buddy with one, borrow it and test my theory. Only gonna cost ya 30 minutes of time.

May 11, 2006 5:27:43 AM


I've run FEAR on highest settings with both SLI and single card and with SLI my average FPS is around 90, lowest is 60 (max around 200), single card avg is 80 and lowest is 45 (max is around 180).

I'm guessing that you're processor is your bottleneck at this point because if I run my system on single card the only real difference between our systems is my X2 4800.

Hope that helps.
May 11, 2006 9:10:43 AM

Hmm... yeah well it is way better. Thanks for your time, it could be my CPU bottlenecking but it could also be a serious problem with my system :(  I might just go for a new proccessor, i guess dual core, a 4400 or sumthin. Thanks again for doing this for me, its really helped, preciate it.
May 11, 2006 1:00:17 PM

If you think it is your cpu causing your problem, try lowering the setting for the cpu in FEAR. That might be a inexpensive way to troubleshoot instead of buying an expensive cpu to find out it helped you about as much as lowering the graphics settings.

Or you could oc your cpu a little. (im seeing a theme develop in my thoughts)
May 11, 2006 1:05:45 PM

Hey thats an idea. Yeah i have not got a sound card at all at the moment, just using integrated (Audigy), so i might actually try getting a good sound card in my system before resorting to a new CPU cause they are pretty cheap right? What sound card exactly do you suggest i should get?
May 11, 2006 1:09:08 PM

Or you could oc your cpu a little.

Im too scared! :oops:  Too much problems already.
May 11, 2006 1:30:28 PM

I feel that FEAR is close primarily due to the fact that it's a first-person shooter. Graphically it's not as awe-inspiring as Oblivion, but you have to figure how hard it is for a FPS to look that good and not stutter like Ken from 'A Fish Called Wanda."
May 11, 2006 1:47:35 PM

I feel that FEAR is close primarily due to the fact that it's a first-person shooter. Graphically it's not as awe-inspiring as Oblivion, but you have to figure how hard it is for a FPS to look that good and not stutter like Ken from 'A Fish Called Wanda."

I think Oblivion looks beautiful and so does FEAR but I think you need to use both to test a system not just one uber game to end all. Oblivion loads massive areas with gobs of info to flood the video card, cpu and ram. That is good just because of the volume of info being processed is so great. FEAR on the other hand needs gobs of info to flow through and have high fps. That is good because the amount of info is large and is changing rapidly.

Both run the pc into the ground just in different ways, and lucky me I have both games so my pc is on the ground quite a lot.
May 11, 2006 2:08:08 PM

one more question, did you notice the low fps while playing then decide to test or did you just want to see what you pc could do then once you saw the numbers get all worked up because its not as good as you thought?
May 11, 2006 2:31:37 PM

The reason im getting worked up is cause i decided to test using the fear benchmark one day and i had noticed that my Min Fps had just gotten worse than the results i had from it a week back. And like i said before, even when i tried setting absolutely everything on lowest settings the min only went up to about 42fps (from 34 on max detail)! while the Avg and Max fps flew up!
May 11, 2006 4:08:46 PM

Ok sorry I had forgotten you lowered settings before. It would help if I would remember stuff like that

You said you did a clean install, was this windows or just FEAR? If it was windows and all you just might have a hardware prob, but if not you might have gotten a virus or spyware? Check for those if you haven’t all ready.

Heck I always have my data backed up in 2 places so a format and reinstall of xp pro is a quick weekend job I don’t even know why I mess with av at all bc if I get a virus by the weekend its sure as hell gone with a reinstall of xp

Have you checked your system memory with memtest 86? Maybe one stick went south for summer and now you’re running with only a gig stick (I assumed you got 2 1gb sticks not a 2gb stick)

Maybe this will be some help unlike my last few posts again sorry for wasting your time with those
May 11, 2006 4:35:31 PM

You said you did a clean install, was this windows or just FEAR?

Well both, first reinstalled FEAR, then did a clean install. I dont know if this would be the cause of the problem but i never install the latest patches for FEAR cause i cant as they never work for me, think that could be the problem?

Have you checked your system memory with memtest 86?

No, i cant get the dam think working :oops:  i downloaded it then tried to copy it onto a disk but it didnt work... And yes i have 2 1gb sticks. Thanks for your patience so far by the way, really preciate you help.
May 11, 2006 4:51:22 PM

Though you only got a few FPS higher with the detail lower in the game test, is the difference more prominent during in-game play? Just be sure that you do good testing before ruling that something dosnt work, not just that timedemo test.
May 11, 2006 5:08:22 PM

yeah I would dl the updates before dropping a few bills on a cpu. If your worried bout the updates and not useing a cd, by now there should be a no cd crack that works.

I never like using my cd because taking them in and out scratches them and some games the game runs faser with out the cd, (thought that wasnt a prob anymore?) But most the time I just image the game disk and mount it to avoid f-ing up my $50.00 game disk. I need to learn to handle disks better, but Im lazy, throw them hear, there, $50.00 coaster on the coffee table over in the living room, yeah not good.

as for memtest not working I dont know, but maybe you could bring up the task manager to see if you got 2gb, it may still be bad even if it shows up as 2gb but if you get 1gb showing you know thats a prob.
May 11, 2006 5:19:28 PM

Em well i did try setting Volumetric Lights down to Medium and i now get 37fps min which is making gameplay a bit more decent, but i mean i dont see how a 3fps increase could do that so i see what you mean. Hmm....
May 11, 2006 5:22:47 PM

Did you use the memtest86 from If so that is an ISO and must be written to a CD correctly. If you want to use a 3.5 floppy then just download it from like fileplanet or
May 11, 2006 7:12:16 PM

Ive also had a big and constant increase in temperature for the last 3 days on my non OC'd system!. Using nvidia monitor my GPU idles at 46C!, MB/System 34C and CPU at 31. They used to be amazing temps; 40, 28 and 27 :evil:  :? Ive actually started leaving my case open for 10mins after playing cause my system wont cool completely down to idle temps on its own!! I have a dam Thermaltake Armor for crying out loud! How is this big and sudden rise possible?
May 11, 2006 7:29:16 PM

Is your room ambient temperature getting higher as summer comes?
May 11, 2006 7:31:19 PM

Well yeah, a bit i guess but can that really increase temps so much??
May 11, 2006 8:59:42 PM

I would get that memtest going, temp thing is weird.

oh yeah fyi my bro had a temp issue when he first built his rig, and it turned out to be the mobo was messed up but not so bad that the pc wouldnt work, just over heat the cpu like hell for some odd reason. just something more for you to chew on. maybe if a friend has a simmiler set up you could swap parts and test
May 11, 2006 9:19:41 PM

Yeah ill try get memtest going again, i dont think it could be the same problem cause my CPU temps are alright (30C at moment) but its my graphics card temps that have shot up to 45/46C idle from 40Cidle :(  , rises to 70C max at full load. Used to be 69max at load... But i really just hope it is just my room temperature thats causing the rise...
May 11, 2006 10:09:34 PM

I would definetly say that if the temp outside increases, and your room temp is rising with it (IE you dont have a fan blowing or AC on or anything) then the PC temps will rise for sure. I was idle @ 30C and load @ 45C last month. Now that the weather is getting sunny, its hotter during the day and now im idle @ 32C and load @ 47.5C. Nothing else was changed during that month time to increase temps...if anything, they should be better because the AS5 should have cured more. Keep in mind that this is only the beginning of summer, as it goes will just get hotter and hotter. Thats why if you overclock in the winter, you might have to scale down or get better cooling for the summer months or you will most likely suffer from overheating.
May 11, 2006 10:11:47 PM

I'm not really suggesting that the room temperature should make that much difference but it will have some impact as it gets warmer.
May 11, 2006 10:15:55 PM

ok um well the stupid computer guy my mom took the computer i built to install windows xp used pirate windows and i cant get the .net framework so can i like force triplebufering in d3d any other way.
May 13, 2006 4:36:54 AM

still using onboard sound...
May 13, 2006 5:49:14 AM

OK , rHy0 ... I 100% Sure That Your Minimum Frame Rate Is Right For Your Graphic Card ... & The Reason That Waylander Got The 45 Frame For Minimum Is That His 7800GTX is OverClocked !!
Listen ... Go See Some Benchmarks ... 7800GTX@ Stock Speed Cant Get More Than 33~38 Frame For Minimum ... As You Can See I Have A 7800GT & I OverClock It A Little (My 3DMark 2005 Score Is 7600) ... My Minimum Frame Rate In Fear Is 34 & It Dropped To Even 20 In Some Parts Of The Game ... So I Reduced The Resolution To 800x600 ( Everything Else Max ,4xAA) & Then I Got Some Good Frame Rates ,But Still Minimum Frame Rate Was Under 40 Frame !! , Try To OverClock You GPU By 25 or 50 MHz & Then Test Again ... F.E.A.R. Is an ATI Game , I Don`t Like To Say That But As You Can See Here An X1800XL Can Kill You Graphic Card in F.E.A.R. ... :evil: 
I Say Max All Settings , No Soft Shadows , 4xAA ,16xAF , But 800x600 & You Will Enjoy The Game Much More ... I Finished The Game on These Setting !! & One More Thing Is Don`t Waste Your Money on Buying A New CPU , Your CPU is More Than Fine !! :twisted:
May 13, 2006 10:07:00 AM

Okay i here yah. But just to be clear, my 7800GTX is Factory OC'd (475Mhz). Anyway while your about i have a more serious problem to mention. Just last night when i took my comp out of standby the screen wouldnt display anything and the computer crashed! Then when i tried resuming out of standby again later on, i got an error message this time saying 'Unknown Hard Error' and then when i tried clicking my mouse it crashed again. So i just restarted went into windows and found some error reports in event log. Here they are; 'The Device HardDisk, has a bad block'. I got two of those and one 'System Error' report that was pretty much just numbers. I ran WD Diagnostics and my harddrive failed the test for the first time ever! and offered to repair the block so it did so. I still cant come out of standby though cause it still crashes or stops responding with the error message! Do you think my harddrive is failing??
If it is then im not gonna bother getting a free replacement as it will take over a month like my replaced graphics card!! so ill just have to buy a new dam Raptor!!
May 13, 2006 10:59:06 AM

Before Changing Hard Drive , I Suggest To Format All Of Your Drives , & Install A Fresh Windows XP With Service Pack 2 ... This May Help ... :evil: 
May 13, 2006 11:12:41 AM

Okay but i just re-installed XP yesterday... Really i just want to know if you think my Hard drive is broken and if i should replace.
May 13, 2006 11:43:48 AM

Maybe ... I`m Not Sure ... If You Can Test A New Hard Drive On Your PC ...