Pentium 4 3.0 Ghz
2 GB DDR400
Albatron PX865PE Pro Motherboard w/800 Mhz FSB
Sapphire HD 3850 AGP (Catalyst 9.12 Hotfix)
Fresh install of Windows XP Pro SP3 (Fully Updated)
SATA 2.0 System drive (defragged)
SATA 2.0 Game files drive (defragged)
I am suffering from heavy visual microstuttering in Direct3D games: HL2, HL2DM, CS:Source, L4D2, Far Cry 2. The microstuttering is most apparent in HL2DM and CS: Source. It is exactly like in the video below, except for the longer pauses, I do not suffer from them. I only get the smaller, insta-second twitches:
I get this with or without V-Sync. I get it at all settings, even if I play on all low, at all resolutions. I have tested this on two different monitors: a 19-inch CRT w/1600x1200 maximum and a 22-inch LCD widescreen w/1920x1080 native.
I notice on HL2DM and CS:Source that my FPS is a solid 59/60 but when I encounter a microstutter, it jumps into the 100s. The jump happens so fast that it is barely noticable but can be seen by using the command "cl_showfps 1". Using the command "fps_max" for any number does not stop the microstuttering.
This problem is new... sort of. I was used to seeing a little bit of microstutter in Source games with the same system and a 6800GT, but the stuttering would end after a level had been explored and it only happened when turning certain corners into new areas for the first time.
I bought the 3850 a month ago and I'm convinced that I did not have this problem until last week. Since then I have tried reinstalling windows and tested the card out with different Catalyst sets and nothing has helped.
what im seeing in that video is not "microstuttering" its a straight up pause. You said it used to happen with your old card when you were entering new areas, which would have required it pulling details from the hard drive which would tax the CPU some, i bet the source of your issues is not the card, but instead a CPU bottleneck as a P4 is old and is likely causing it whenever it must make a context switch to a background task. Even a low end dual core would out perform it in most games.
Hunter: watch the video more closely. They're hard to detect, but there are tiny, fractal hitches which are isolated instances of the jerking that I'm talking about. Sure, I'd get them for a few minutes upon starting a level with the 6800GT, but I upgraded my card to a 3850 and now the hitching is constant? That doesn't make sense.
the nature of that still looks CPU based to me not GPU based. Also realize that you are running HOTFIX drivers so they arent as smoothed out as regular drivers and are more CPU intensive, so if you were maxing your CPU out when you had a 6800GT upgrading to a 3850 with custom drivers wasnt going to help.
I've also used the regular ATI drivers. No change.
CS:Source runs fine with my 6800GT. I only get FPS drops in large areas on custom maps with the settings maxed out. The transition between low and high FPS is smooth. The only time I get hitching is when exploring a map for the first time.
With the HD 3850, CS:Source hitches constantly. It never stops.
I forgot games could look so bad..... The processor is slow. There isn't enough memory. The video card is ancient history. Nothing you have will keep up with time. Looks like there's not enough cache anywhere and the textures are getting dumped onto the hard drive. You can try and enable more virtual memory but it won't help you.
I've tried them all, unfortunately. From 8.1 to 9.12, both ATI and Hotfix. I even tried the last set of Omega drivers. Nothing.
What's really strange is that when I first got the card, I did have issues with several driver sets and I was testing them all out with L4D2. I noticed a lot of jerkiness - unsmooth FPS transitions - and I finally found a driver set that worked. I could swear it was the 9.10s, but installing them now doesn't get me back to that point.
Did you work your way through the CCC and set everything to let application decide ? And did you try with vsync off and on ? And make all settings in the CCC set to lowest ? AA/AF, etc. And go through the games control panel and make adjustments. And when you ran the drivers...... did you do a custom or advanced install ? If not, you probably installed the ATI sound driver along with the video driver and you may be having conflicts ..??
In my fist post I explain that I have tried with and without V-Sync. I have left the CCC alone for many trials. I am testing the game with settings on all low, so no AA and no AF.
I always do custom installations. There are no sound drivers being installed. I have also tested this on a fresh install of XP with no sound card and no sound drivers. I also do not get any audible stuttering in the game, only visual.
I appreciate the attempt to help, but if you're not familliar with the problem I'm not sure you're going to be able to get me on the right track. I need to get the attention of someone who owns or has owned a similar machine and who has experienced this. However, what you mentioned before about caching was interesting. Perhaps if I can find a way to completely eliminate the microstuttering with the 6800GT, it will go away with the HD 3850.
Playing around with AA and Vsync in-game/catalyst combo's sometimes worked for me, driver versions, different tuners. I'd be confident to say that there is a 90 percent chance it's driver/graphics card related and has little or nothing to do with the CPU when it's clear in the video it's a methodical hitch.
i was running the same system specs except ram , i had 1.5g. css played smooth as silk with my 3850. all i can advise is cleaning out the dust because something might be overheating.
i just wanted to say mine ran smooth. i mean smooth. constant frames above 100. i hope you figure it out. i hate hearing agp is dead even though a lot of us use them to play old games like CS:S.