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To solve this one ....

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April 27, 2008 12:39:20 PM

I imagine you must be an graphics expert - and nothing less!
Therefore, if you manage to solve/sufficiently explain to me how/if this can be solved, I will salute you as an graphics expert in my signature indeffinetly (and I'll be here a lot since I know I can find REAL help here to hard problems)!

First off, I'm using XP on a T61p, 2gb of RAM, 2.4ghz / Nvidia Quadro FX 570 type.

This problem is related to LOTRO, or Lord of the Rings: Online.

So this is how it is: When I'm playing, even in the highest resolutions, I get decent framerate, around 20-30 fps. However, what happens is, my gameplay gets very very choppy when entering areas with high graphical detail. It was my understanding that shouldn't happen .. that the only thing that you should suffer was lower FPS (which has always been the case with every other computer I've ever had).

Now, to rule a few things out which have been thoroughly tested:

1. Not a ping issue
2. Not a RAM issue (it's well known with LOTRO that if you don't have high enough RAM (usually 2gigs) you may experience choppy gameplay when entering different zones, such as big towns etc.)
3. Not a "process working in the background" problem.

I've basically filtered out everything imaginable with my computer, even drivers. This is what I've done so far regarding drivers:

1. Uninstalled the LENOVO display drivers, using both 3dGURU Driver Sweeper and CCcleaner as mentioned in this post: http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=209796
2. Installed the laptop2go driver mentioned in the above post with the modified INF to try out the semi-GeForce setting - no change.
3. Installed both the nvidia_wxp_omega_16693_7z.exe and nvidia_omega_xp2k_216921.exe - but to no avail.

So drivers as well don't seem to be the problem.

To fix my problem and make the game playable, I had to lower my resolution down to 1440x900, where I can play the game with decent graphics.

But here's what I find very interesting:

When I switch between windowed and full screen mode, I get chopless performance for a short while (depending on which resolution I'm in how long that choppless performance lasts), even in the highest resolutions!

So what I'm thinking this is, is something of a buffer/cache issue related to my graphics card, something that possibly can be fixed, rather than the card not handling the game (since it gives decent FPS almost at every graphic settings).

I know I'm using a laptop and the performance of laptop graphics cards is limited. But since FPS stays good - then why the choppy performance?? Is this a unsolvable problem related to laptop graphics card performance, or can this be fixed with an manual increase of cache/buffers or BIOS settings?

So - does anyone understand the nature of my problem and how or if it can be fixed?

If anyone wants to give this a go and feels he needs my DxDiag, let me know and I'll email it to you.

Thanks a lot in advance! I truly hope there's someone out there that can fix this/explain this - so I do not have to use (or think so at least) my computer at a much less efficiency level than it truly can muster.

(sorry for my crappy English - from Iceland).

Regards,
Preacher

More about : solve

April 27, 2008 1:11:25 PM

If I remember correctly, that is almost a normal and unavoidable issue regarding MMORPG's unless the game precaches ALL the data in the. They don't, they only load when it is demanded by the game, usually when those things appear.

The best solution I can think of is RAM, or maybe a processor with a bigger cache. =P
April 27, 2008 1:19:56 PM

Thanks for your reply!

Just one question - why doesn't the same thing happen to normal graphics cards / desktop computers (didn't have this problem with my X1950 pro card) or computer (in a sense, this computer is stronger in every aspect CPU/performance wise and has the same amount of ram as my old computer did) if the problem lies in cache?
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a b U Graphics card
April 27, 2008 1:57:00 PM

The problem is mobile graphics. Your laptop is nowhere near the power of that x1950 pro graphically.
You'll never get a mobile solution that'll beat it.
Sorry to say you should have kept that desktop for gamming and used the laptop for what it was desiged to do..,mobile work!
Most laptops are ok for some games at less than highest resolutions and detail but there's always a trade-off!
a b U Graphics card
April 27, 2008 2:13:31 PM

Second that, if you want to game fast and flawlessly, use a desktop.
Laptops are made for mobile computing.
They use energy saving components thu-out. They lower their CPU speed by as much as 50% until a demand is placed to save energy, hard drives are slow- to save energy, memory is slow- to save energy, GPU is slow- to save energy....getting the idea?
April 27, 2008 2:40:55 PM

Thank you both for your answers.

I kind of new that it was related to mobile graphics - but the reason I asked was to find out the technical difference involved (for example smaller cache size) and find a workaround to the problem.

I don't see how less power output to save energy etc, should be a factor if I got the computer plugged in/ in my docking station? Doesn't that only apply on batterie power, which I NEVER play games on?

I had a desktop, which crashed and burned, therefore I'm using my mobile for the job since I don't have endless $$$ to purchase a new one :) 

So I'm still looking for a technical breadown on the problem .. that is, if someone can explain the difference that's happening here between the workings of my mobile and desktop machines, therefore possibly (only possibly) finding a workaround for the problem.

Thanks everyone who takes the time to reply!
a b U Graphics card
April 27, 2008 2:43:26 PM

Mythoughts said:
When I switch between windowed and full screen mode, I get chopless performance for a short while (depending on which resolution I'm in how long that choppless performance lasts), even in the highest resolutions!

So what I'm thinking this is, is something of a buffer/cache issue related to my graphics card, something that possibly can be fixed, rather than the card not handling the game (since it gives decent FPS almost at every graphic settings).
What graphics options are you using for LOTRO? Any AA/AF settings used? And if so - did you notice any differences between when AA/AF not in use?
Test performance also using 1280x800 resolution in Windowed mode (not full screen). Any differences there?
And no need to apologize for your English - it's better than mine.


April 27, 2008 3:09:42 PM

WR2 said:
What graphics options are you using for LOTRO? Any AA/AF settings used? And if so - did you notice any differences between when AA/AF not in use?
Test performance also using 1280x800 resolution in Windowed mode (not full screen). Any differences there?
And no need to apologize for your English - it's better than mine.


Yes, I've no AA/AF enabled - which increases performance considerably. There's a very noticable difference, as to be suspected. The choppiness decreases with lowered resolution, which of course is also to be suspected.

The choppiness is directly related to increased detail, no matter what kind really, both increased detail/AA and raised resolution. So if anyone knows basically how to increase cache/buffer size for both/either game and graphics cards to solve the issue, would be great! :) 

Any BIOS or game -settings that might make a difference anyone? :) 

April 27, 2008 3:11:38 PM

Mythoughts said:
Yes, I've no AA/AF enabled - which increases performance considerably. There's a very noticable difference, as to be expected. The choppiness decreases with lowered resolution, which of course is also to be expected.

The choppiness is directly related to increased detail, no matter what kind really, both increased detail/AA and raised resolution. So if anyone knows basically how to increase cache/buffer size for both/either game and graphics cards to solve the issue, would be great! :) 

Any BIOS or game -settings that might make a difference anyone? :) 

April 27, 2008 3:14:04 PM

Sorry .. was trying to edit my previous post to fix grammatic - made a quote instead :(  Well, at least the quote is somewhat more grammatically correct :) 
April 27, 2008 3:19:12 PM

Mythoughts said:

I kind of new that it was related to mobile graphics - but the reason I asked was to find out the technical difference involved (for example smaller cache size) and find a workaround to the problem.

I don't see how less power output to save energy etc, should be a factor if I got the computer plugged in/ in my docking station? Doesn't that only apply on batterie power, which I NEVER play games on?

So I'm still looking for a technical breadown on the problem .. that is, if someone can explain the difference that's happening here between the workings of my mobile and desktop machines, therefore possibly (only possibly) finding a workaround for the problem.


Your laptop doesn't know if you're running on batteries or plugged into the wall, so that doesn't affect performance in and of itself. What is limiting is that all the laptop components have to be designed to run as if you never plugged into the wall, but always run on batteries. So what jitpublisher applies, everything is designed to run slow compared to a desktop and to save power in any way possible. Even when pressed to use full power, they still are slow compared to desktops. There is no workaround to the problem, as it lies in the nature of the design.
April 27, 2008 3:58:04 PM

Could be overheating that causes cpu and gpu to throttle down. I don't know how is cooling organized in T61 but check out gaming laptops like alienware or clevo - they have 5-6 fans on the bottom. And even then they do overheat if you are not making sure they get enough cooling.
April 27, 2008 6:23:19 PM

Thanks everyone for your replies.

But I'm afraid they're not spot on. See, my problem doesn't lie in me not knowing that I won't be able to play with the same ultra graphic settings, this I know and have always known.

I considered Sailer's answer, however when I consider my previous experience with gaming, for example Crysis - it just doesn't add up. Sure, I experience a lack of FPS and a need for much lower setting therefore, however that problem is ALWAYS RELATED to FPS for every other game, not this choppiness in gameplay with decent/high FPS!

As of yet, I think Stridervm came closest to the real answer, because no other game except MMORGP games I've played, have I experienced this choppyness in gameplay. Low FPS, sure .. choppiness, no.

So my question is still out there .. something I think no answer as of yet can fully explain .. (perhaps because I didn't include the information I now am going to).

I've played many graphically and resource tense games before. Low FPS I've often experienced and the need to lower graphic settings ... but NEVER have I experienced this choppiness in performance before .. THAT problem is only related to LOTRO, nothing else.

So the best or the most spot on reply I've had so far I would say is this

Quote:
If I remember correctly, that is almost a normal and unavoidable issue regarding MMORPG's unless the game precaches ALL the data in the. They don't, they only load when it is demanded by the game, usually when those things appear.

The best solution I can think of is RAM, or maybe a processor with a bigger cache. =P
.

So if someone can continue on these lines with a solution, I'd be most grateful!
a b U Graphics card
April 27, 2008 6:27:13 PM

One thing to mention no one has brought to light yet in the thread, the Quadro cards are workstation cards meant for 3D rendering programs like CAD. They were never intended as a gaming card and the drivers are not optimized for gaming, but for rendering in 3D applications.

And to that end, the FX 570 is an entry-level Quadro card.

The stuttering you are experiencing in high detail areas is exactly what a graphic card that is simply not up to the task does, it gets choppy and stutters.

But, since you firmly believe that something else may be happening, it could also be the speed of your drive. What is the HDD activity like when the slowdowns occur? Maybe the Laptops HDD cannot load information fast enough?
April 27, 2008 7:26:00 PM

jitpublisher said:
One thing to mention no one has brought to light yet in the thread, the Quadro cards are workstation cards meant for 3D rendering programs like CAD. They were never intended as a gaming card and the drivers are not optimized for gaming, but for rendering in 3D applications.

And to that end, the FX 570 is an entry-level Quadro card.

The stuttering you are experiencing in high detail areas is exactly what a graphic card that is simply not up to the task does, it gets choppy and stutters.

But, since you firmly believe that something else may be happening, it could also be the speed of your drive. What is the HDD activity like when the slowdowns occur? Maybe the Laptops HDD cannot load information fast enough?



For what it's worth,and in addition to the above................

What is the state of your pagefile.sys??if you are on a non partitioned hdd the file can get chopped all to hell,plus windoze usually uses whatever is available on the hdd,altho it is only supposed to be 1.5x the installed ram,personally i prefer to put the pagefile on it's own 3g partiton thus i never have to,worry about it,or defrag it..just my$2.00[inflation]..:) 
a b U Graphics card
April 27, 2008 7:59:28 PM

jitpublisher said:
One thing to mention no one has brought to light yet in the thread, the Quadro cards are workstation cards meant for 3D rendering programs like CAD. They were never intended as a gaming card and the drivers are not optimized for gaming, but for rendering in 3D applications.

And to that end, the FX 570 is an entry-level Quadro card.

The stuttering you are experiencing in high detail areas is exactly what a graphic card that is simply not up to the task does, it gets choppy and stutters.


But, since you firmly believe that something else may be happening, it could also be the speed of your drive. What is the HDD activity like when the slowdowns occur? Maybe the Laptops HDD cannot load information fast enough?

Yeah that's what I was thinking too.
April 27, 2008 8:13:10 PM

Hi,

I think your problem might be related to video frame buffer.
let my try rephrasing your issue (just to make sure I understand this correctly):
1. OK initial FPS (rules out the GPU rendering power issue)
2. laptop capable of playing other recent games at decent performance continuously (rules out GPU/CPU overheating)
3. after a while performance goes down, now here I assumed you suddenly have low FPS.... without any major change in the actual in game levels/town/etc. (buffer/memory issue)
4. if you went out from the game (alt-tab) or minimize in the windowed mode and come back in, you'll have good FPS again for a while (how much time before it goes down depends on your resolution and detail setting).

Now, if it these statements cover all of your symptoms, I have a guess what might be happening to you:

you might ran out of frame buffer memory and/or system memory... with my money at the frame buffer, considering you have 2 GB memory on the system.

the frame buffer is the video card's memory, it typically use this to store all data for the GPU. However, once you fill all of your GPU's memory, it'll start going after your system's memory, in which case will obscenely slows down your FPS due to the GPU waiting for data stored in system memory.
(GPU memory have a direct path to the GPU while the system's have to go thru memory controller -> PCI-express/AGP interface -> GPU)

there's an easy way to check for this with ATI cards, ATI TRAY TOOLS have a built in fraps feature that will display your frame buffer utilization in-game, and once you hit 0 on that.... the FPS usually tanked... which somewhat explains going out-in the game helping you out. since it might flush partial/most of the stored data in GPU's memory.

I'm not really sure if the plain, vanilla FRAPS have this features built in.... or if NVIDIA have similiar tools like this, although I imagine something bound to be out there for the green dudes.

Hope this helps! ;) 
April 27, 2008 8:21:26 PM

PEJUman said:
Hi,

I think your problem might be related to video frame buffer.
let my try rephrasing your issue (just to make sure I understand this correctly):
1. OK initial FPS (rules out the GPU rendering power issue)
2. laptop capable of playing other recent games at decent performance continuously (rules out GPU/CPU overheating)
3. after a while performance goes down, now here I assumed you suddenly have low FPS.... without any major change in the actual in game levels/town/etc. (buffer/memory issue)
4. if you went out from the game (alt-tab) or minimize in the windowed mode and come back in, you'll have good FPS again for a while (how much time before it goes down depends on your resolution and detail setting).

Now, if it these statements cover all of your symptoms, I have a guess what might be happening to you:

you might ran out of frame buffer memory and/or system memory... with my money at the frame buffer, considering you have 2 GB memory on the system.

the frame buffer is the video card's memory, it typically use this to store all data for the GPU. However, once you fill all of your GPU's memory, it'll start going after your system's memory, in which case will obscenely slows down your FPS due to the GPU waiting for data stored in system memory.
(GPU memory have a direct path to the GPU while the system's have to go thru memory controller -> PCI-express/AGP interface -> GPU)

there's an easy way to check for this with ATI cards, ATI TRAY TOOLS have a built in fraps feature that will display your frame buffer utilization in-game, and once you hit 0 on that.... the FPS usually tanked... which somewhat explains going out-in the game helping you out. since it might flush partial/most of the stored data in GPU's memory.

I'm not really sure if the plain, vanilla FRAPS have this features built in.... or if NVIDIA have similiar tools like this, although I imagine something bound to be out there for the green dudes.

Hope this helps! ;) 


Thanks a lot, both you and those before you. This is something I had in mind - though previous replies regarding my graphics card also might be spot on.

But I'm almost certain this is a buffer problem of some sorts - something like you describe.

There's just one thing. My framerate stays constant .. but the game starts to studder/becomes choppy. So not FPS exacly, but something perhaps quite similar, and perhaps related to the same frame buffer? What do you/others think?

Unfortunately I have a NVIDIA card, so if anyone knows of a way to check this/similar buffers for this kind of problem, it would be most appreciated! :) 

I still think it's different from all of the other replies based on the single fact that this only happens in LOTRO, no other graphically intense game, so I'm quite certain it's a LOTRO buffer issue or a bad use of video memory related to LOTRO sucking at resource management, and therefore the need to increase that buffer/increase LOTRO cache settings or something in that fashion.

Thanks a lot, think you are closest to the real problem :) 
April 28, 2008 12:00:40 AM

Can you test to see if AA has a difference on the FPS, it might be an indication of sorts. But yea, that card doesnt have much frame-buffer: 256Mb, and its running on a 128-bit memory controller to boot. 12.8Gb/s bandwidth is very mediocre as well. I sometimes experience this too with my 8800GT when playing Rome Total War and Medieval 2 Total War, where I have high FPS but the game ocassionally stutters. You might want to defrag that disc.
April 28, 2008 12:33:02 AM

Mythoughts said:
Thanks a lot, both you and those before you. This is something I had in mind - though previous replies regarding my graphics card also might be spot on.

But I'm almost certain this is a buffer problem of some sorts - something like you describe.

There's just one thing. My framerate stays constant .. but the game starts to studder/becomes choppy. So not FPS exacly, but something perhaps quite similar, and perhaps related to the same frame buffer? What do you/others think?

Unfortunately I have a NVIDIA card, so if anyone knows of a way to check this/similar buffers for this kind of problem, it would be most appreciated! :) 

I still think it's different from all of the other replies based on the single fact that this only happens in LOTRO, no other graphically intense game, so I'm quite certain it's a LOTRO buffer issue or a bad use of video memory related to LOTRO sucking at resource management, and therefore the need to increase that buffer/increase LOTRO cache settings or something in that fashion.

Thanks a lot, think you are closest to the real problem :) 


I did a quick search and found this:

http://nvtweak.laptopvideo2go.com/

download the NVTray 1051 beta, this is a clone of ati tray tools that might be able to do the frame buffer and system memory logging during in-game session.
also note they marked this as beta... so use with caution

However, since I don't own a NVIDIA card, I can't really tell you if it works.... :p 
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
February 2, 2010 5:13:47 AM

I think I have this very same problem, In game with 35-60 fps , no matter what settings very low to max fps dont change much at all , seems odd. then every 3-5 secs it drops to 3-7, but only for a fraction of a sec. normally when running. Try stand in a town and casting a heal on yourself, mine freezes every time i cast heal. not during but right after it finishes. Did you digital download yours? because i did. and it seems like a file problem to me. like the game is having problems finding graphics files. Did you try to defrag after you installed?
a c 272 U Graphics card
February 2, 2010 10:34:15 AM

!