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Excessive Tearing (vsync off) or Regular Stuttering (vsync on)- GTX260

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December 31, 2010 6:38:05 PM

Hello,

I am using a Zotac GTX260-216. In many games (oddly a few seem immune...) I am getting excessive amounts of tearing when vsync is off. This is a combination of many fast tears and a slow tear moving up the screen. For example, if I position my characters so there is a pole (like a lamp post or something) in the foreground of the image, and move my character so it pans across the screen, it will look like its sliced across the screen, with the two pieces noticeably displaced. This tear will run up the screen repeatedly.

Turning on vsync solves this problem, but introduces a regular stutter. In this case the pole will hop across the screen instead of smoothly sliding.

This seems to be slightly resolution dependent. The tears/stuttering are faster at lower resolution so it looks more like the object is vibrating rather than hopping.

Anyone have any idea what this might be? Or how I can start diagnosing it?

I have tried reinstalling windows, and tried every archived nvidia driver release (on a clean system started with the oldest and moved forward one at a time). The problem persists.

My system:

Motherboard: Asus P5Q
CPU: Intel E8400 Core2duo
Ram: 4GB OCZ DDR2
PSU: Coolmaster 650W
GPU: Zotac GTX260 216

Thank you very much for your assistance :) 
a c 217 U Graphics card
December 31, 2010 7:32:14 PM

V-sync is your only solution. Pair it up with triple buffering.

The way it slowly moves up and down, or doesn't is just a matter of random luck.

What's happening is while your monitor is updating the screen during vertical refresh with the frame buffer, the video card is updating the frame buffer. The end result is the monitor only gets half way through updating the screen before the buffer it's using to update it with is altered. You end up with multiple images spliced together. The vertical line is the point where the two images were spliced together.

Vertical sync (v-sync) prevents the video card from updating that buffer while it's being displayed. This delay will force the video card to stand idle while this takes place. If the video card can't update the frame buffer fast enough to output a frame every refresh, you wind up waiting another refresh. If that occurs consistantly, you end up with half as many frames as your monitor can allow, ending up with 30 FPS, even if it could handle 40-50 fps without v-sync on. This is why things kind of stutter.

This is why you see stuttering. You've lost a lot of FPS as a result of v-sync. In most games there is a solution. Turn on triple buffering. If it's not availible in game, there is an option in the video card control panel. Triple buffering allows the video card to write to alternate frame buffers while the monitor is in vertical refresh, there for not slowing down the video card.
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December 31, 2010 10:57:43 PM

I guess my concern is that it never used to tear/stutter like this; it is a new development.

It is unfortunate because the tearing and stuttering are both quite severe, neither is enjoyable :/ .

I also notice that stuttering occurs even when the game claims it is maintaining a steady ~60fps (my monitor at the time was set at 60Hz). Although it is possible that the framerate indicator does not update fast enough.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
December 31, 2010 11:03:16 PM

ddtemplar said:
I guess my concern is that it never used to tear/stutter like this; it is a new development.

It is unfortunate because the tearing and stuttering are both quite severe, neither is enjoyable :/ .

I also notice that stuttering occurs even when the game claims it is maintaining a steady ~60fps (my monitor at the time was set at 60Hz). Although it is possible that the framerate indicator does not update fast enough.


Unless v-sync is on, there is no FPS you can have that is immune to tearing.

If you have 60 FPS with a 60hz monitor, it's very possible for your video card to start a new frame in the middle of vertical sync (which also happens 60 times a second). If it just lines up that way, it creates a tear every single frame.
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December 31, 2010 11:09:00 PM

The steady 60fps is with v-sync is on, the game maintains > 60fps with vsync off.

The produced stutter is not random but regular; perhaps a 0.5-1.0s interval.

It reminds me of the time when I had a multi-core rendering synchronisation issue in Half-Life2 that was solved by installing an older Nvidia driver. It does not seem to be driver related this time.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
December 31, 2010 11:10:41 PM

Ah, in that case, we have system or game issue. Does this only happen in 1 game, all or a couple?
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December 31, 2010 11:18:01 PM

It seems to happen in most games I have tried (Oblivion, Borderlands, Half Life 2) but did not see it occur in Mass Effect 2. I should probably try out a few more games, just need to install them.

Is there a good method for testing hardware? I could pull a stick of RAM at a time and try each independently (I have 2x2GB). I also have a spare GPU (7900GTX) but it may be a bit difficult to diagnose with since its a few generations behind my current GPU.
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January 12, 2011 9:33:25 PM

I've tried each stick of RAM individually with the same results, so I am going to assume they are okay (so long as both arnt bad). Next I am going to try swapping out the GPU for an older one.

EDIT:

My diagnosing the GPU by putting in a spare was foiled by my discover that my old GPU is busted.
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January 19, 2011 1:11:30 PM

I have the same problem with my ati card 6870. excessive tearing is quite annoying i agree. and turning vsync on is not really a viable solution, especially considering the fact that my older card could pump out similar FPS without tearing.

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a c 124 U Graphics card
January 19, 2011 2:03:30 PM

Does triple buffering change anything with regards to the stuttering? On/Off? It's supposed to help smooth out Vsync gameplay but it uses more VRAM.
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January 20, 2011 12:55:46 AM

Quote:
Does triple buffering change anything with regards to the stuttering? On/Off? It's supposed to help smooth out Vsync gameplay but it uses more VRAM.


No, but definitely used to back before these issues cropped up.

I'm going to borrow a friends old 9800GTX this weekend and see if that makes a difference. I'll post here the results of that test.

I wonder if it is possible something went wrong with my hardware. Seems odd. Usually hardware works or doesn't at all, but I guess it might be on its way out. It has 2yr manufacture warranty so perhaps I can get a replacement if it is the problem.
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a b U Graphics card
January 20, 2011 3:43:09 AM

what game are you playing?

edit: i just saw the list. anyway, make sure you're on 60hz refresh rate. i had this bug using the latest beta driver where in almost all my in game resolutions that were set to 1920x1080x60hz were switched to 1920x1080x50hz and a lot of stuttering happened (although in your case it's not the driver).

you can also go to the nvidia control panel and restore everything to default. after doing that on the global settings, do triple buffering. turn ambient occlusion off.
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January 20, 2011 3:49:28 AM

wh3resmycar said:
what game are you playing?


Oblivion, Half Life 2, Portal, and Borderlands are the games I have seen it in so far. A mix of engines, so makes it seem not software-dependent. Previously Half Life 2 / Portal / Borderlands didn't have this problem (HL2, Portal ran silky smooth perfection). Oblivion has always been a bit of a mess, but not this bad; and not this regular of an occurrence.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
January 20, 2011 4:07:31 AM

Obviously the tearing and vsync fix isn't an issue, and works as intended. The stuttering is the issue. So it sounds like the stuttering doesn't happen in all games. Do you know if it could be DX9 or DX10 only?

I've never known vsync to cause stuttering. It can cause your FPS to tank, which might be viewed as stuttering. If it was that, triple-buffering should have fixed it.

I'm at a loss as to why you are experiencing stuttering.
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January 20, 2011 4:50:09 AM

bystander said:
Obviously the tearing and vsync fix isn't an issue, and works as intended. The stuttering is the issue. So it sounds like the stuttering doesn't happen in all games. Do you know if it could be DX9 or DX10 only?

I've never known vsync to cause stuttering. It can cause your FPS to tank, which might be viewed as stuttering. If it was that, triple-buffering should have fixed it.

I'm at a loss as to why you are experiencing stuttering.


Unfortunately I think all these games are using DirectX9.

The framerate is 59-61fps in these games with v-sync on, so I don't think the stutter is framerate related, unless its dropping and raising faster then the FPS meter can detect.

Another oddity is the stutter scales with resolution (the sudden jump of the graphics across the screen is longer for higher resolutions). Recall that is perfectly smooth in-between these jumps.

I am also at a loss, but I can update this thread after I try the 9800.

Thanks again for all your help so far :) . Hopefully swapping in the other GPU will be the remedy.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
January 20, 2011 5:26:35 AM

Is that an old ATI 9800 pro? Duh, 9800 gt(s/x).
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January 20, 2011 5:29:43 AM

bystander said:
Is that an old ATI 9800 pro? Duh, 9800 gt(s/x).


One of GT(s/x) lol. I am not exactly sure which, I think GTX. It might even be another number value (somewhere in the 9000s though). The performance on it is not that different then the 260GTX, I think. I think the card is an higher end 9000series where the 260GTX is sorta mid.
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