Low Starcraft2 Frame Rate (9800GT issue?)

My system seems to be having trouble keeping up with Starcraft 2 even when I turn settings down as low as possible. Whenever there are more than 3-4 people in a game and a decent amount of units exist or a battle is going on my machine slows down to a crawl. Frame rate drops < 5 FPS no matter if settings are on ultra or low. The game recommends Ultra settings for my machine which makes me wonder why I am having frame rate problems even on the lowest settings.

My system: (by no means a gaming machine but shouldn't be having so much trouble with SCII)

CPU: AMD Phenom X4 9500 2.2 GHZ
GPU: Nvidia 9800GT 1024MB DDR3
HDD: 640 GB 7200 RPM
MOBO: ASUS (HP) M2N68-LA Narra 3

I have been told CPU is usually not the culprit unless the game takes up around 70% CPU utilization and I have determined average CPU utilization when running SCII is around 50% (which runs on two cores).

The 9800GT GPU is also not top of the line but with a full gig of onboard DDR3 video memory it seems hard to believe that this would be my bottleneck. I have verified the drivers are all up to date (258.96 July 2010) and have tried tweaking some Nvidia control panel settings to boost performance but nothing seems to be working. After doing some benchmarking though and comparing my results to others who have the same exact video card it seems my benchmarking results (for the graphics card alone) are always around 3 times lower than everyone elses (with the same card). I ran SpeedFan to check temps and GPU sits at about 65C during these times in the game.

Anyone have any ideas?
10 answers Last reply
More about starcraft2 frame rate 9800gt issue
  1. Well, both your graphics and CPU aren't exactly great, But should not be causing issues to that extent SFAIK.

    What OS are you running? 64bit I hope. that MAY or may-not help.

    Maybe you should consider a upgrade at this point, I'll check the stats on all of these items you specified just to see whats the most worth while, but either way ill need a price limit and location.

    ALSO: run a bio update, and report back if that helps.

    EDIT: 9500 is 7x as slow as a current 955 so it's worth a upgrade, TBH I think some of the dual core offerings beat it these days, Your GPU isn't great but it should be fine for the job. I'd recommend a CPU upgrade however seeing as your motherboards only AM2 it may be a overhaul situation.
  2. Running Windows 7 64 Bit.

    I started to go down the path of upgrading my CPU/MOBO but I am not certain this is my bottleneck and am afraid this will prove to be a more expensive route than anticipated.

    I believe my mobo is AM2+, which from my understanding AM3 chips are backwards compatible with AM2+ boards but not AM2, however you won't see the full benefits of the AM3 chip on an AM2+ board. But I was thinking I could get a compatible 95W (all that my mobo will allow) AM3 processor (AMD Phenom II 945 possibly) and then I could upgrade to an AM3 board sometime in the future and bring along the 945 to put in it.

    I am hesitant to upgrade at this point however because I can see this turning into a money pit. My desktop is an OEM HP machine that is a couple years old and there are other things are going to need upgrading as well if I upgrade the CPU. (i.e. a new CPU will most likely mean a new mobo; a new mobo means i would have to upgrade my 6GB of DDR2 ram to a sufficient amount DDR3 ram; next to go would be my PSU which is only 300W right now, ...etc.)

    Also, as far as a bios update goes, as mentioned in my first post my mobo is an HP branded ASUS board which there have been no bios updates for since it was released in 2008. This also worries me, as far as whether or not an AM3 chip would even work with the board since HP is incharge of updates.

    It just seems weird how the game bogs down the way it does. When a new game starts, even with 8 people on Ultra, my frame rate monitor shows 60+ FPS but as the game goes on it slowly works its way down and when battles start to take place it hits about 3 FPS...
  3. The site I visited stated it was AM2, Ill look for a cheap upgrade path for you.
  4. Try overclocking your CPU. Starcraft 2 only uses two cores, so the two cores that it uses may be maxed out.

    Try getting it to around 2.6GHz or so.
  5. +1 to CPU bottleneck. My friend has an 9800gt with an i3 and he can max the game out aside from a textures on high instead of ultra. He get's playable frame rates in every situation we've encountered in-game so far. His resolution is 1440x900 i think.

    My 8800GTS 512 did pretty good, same settings driven by a 3.2ghz Q6600.
  6. Here's a Phenom 955 CPU for 154.99 paired with this am3 DDR2 board from biostar you should be able to save money seeing as you don't have to pay for ddr3 memory.

    All up the total for these is $239.98

    For a little under $390 theres a few phenom 955 with ram and mobo combos plus either a HDD or case. otherwise heres the individual costs:

    RAM = 84.99/74.99 after rebate
    Mobo = 84.99 ~ I could have found cheaper, but this has alot of worthwhile features.
    CPU, Phenom 955 = 154.99

    For a grand total of $324.97, More expensive cause of the features and ram needed, but future proofed.
  7. And pray your HP OEM license for windows moves over to the new machine.

    Machine free of crapware?
  8. Should be able to, even if not just call up HP and bullsh!t them about reinstalling your OS on your old machines and say you've already formatted it all.
  9. Here is the link to my mobo:

    Also, the native resolution of my monitor is 1680x1050 which is what I run the game at.

    I also forgot that I have a 'low-power' consumption BFG 9800GT (which I needed for my for lower output PSU). After looking at the specs for the GPU ( it looks like BFG just underclocks the 'low-power' consumption 9800GTs (550 MHz core clock speed vs 625 MHz in the standart 9800s). So this may explain why my benchmark results are lower than other 9800GTs out there.
  10. Hate to dig up a 2 year old thread but thought I would give an update (I actually forgot about this thread but it is one of the first things that comes up when you google "9800GT StarcraftII").

    So I gave up on the idea of upgrading my old HP machine a while ago, mainly due to the fact that I was pretty much going to have to replace the whole thing anyways. Luckily I have been able to use my work laptop for the past while for my gaming needs. In the mean time I have just been using my old HP for web browsing and other basic stuff, pretty much everything besides gaming. Well recently I have been experiencing some FPS issues with my laptop while playing SCII. This got me thinking again about building my own PC and that is where I am at now.

    I just ordered an i5-2500K CPU along with the MSI P67A-G55 mobo. I ended up spending $700 total including a new 24" ASUS monitor, 8GB of DDR3 ram (G. SKILL Ripjaws), 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6 HDD, 630W PSU and a nice case. I have been thinking it would cost at least a grand or more to upgrade to a decent gaming machine (including a monitor) but that ended up not being the case once I seriously started to look into it. I am planning on bringing over the optical drive, HDD (use it as a slave drive), and 9800GT video card from my old HP.

    I am prepared to upgrade the 9800 right away if need be (that will be the next thing regardless, it's just a matter of time) but hopefully I am able to play games like SCII and SimCity in the mean time without major frame rate issues.

    I'll report back later next week once I get the thing built and it's up and running.
Ask a new question

Read More

Graphics Cards Starcraft 2 Graphics Product