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GTX 590, dual GPUs not at 100%, lagging during certain games. why???

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July 17, 2011 6:21:33 AM

I have an Asus Nvidia Geforce GTX 590, which is a dual-gpu card.

Recently, I have installed Supreme Commander 1 on my computer at full graphics settings (8xAA with everything as high as possible), which has an SLI profile that the computer recognizes, and runs it in the "recommended" dual-GPU mode.

However, when I play it, at certain parts, SUCH AS during areas of smoke (burning trees/whatever) looking closely into the smoke, the game lags up and the performance drops by a loooooot.
I wanted to see if my GPUs are not working at 100% capacity so i booted up Nvidia inspector and the game. I zoomed into an area of thick smoke and alt-tabbed to see if the GPU usage was above 90%, and it wasnt - it was only around 38-44%. Logically if the game lags, then the GPUs must be working at full capacity to try to make it perform as well as they can... ?

Does anyone know if my video card may not be working properly?

System specs:
Asus Nvidia Geforce GTX 590 3gb
8GB of G.Skill Ripjaws RAM
i7 2600k 3.4 ghz (overclocked to 3.8ghz)
1000W power supply.


EDIT: I am playing at 1920x1200 resolution, on one 24-inch acer monitor, all maxed out, with the most recent (275.33) Nvidia graphics drivers.
thanks everyone for your help thus far, really hope i can resolve this issue (:

EDIT: took a picture of my CPU usage when playing supcom:



only the first core is being really stressed.. is something wrong? ):
a c 216 U Graphics card
a c 80 Î Nvidia
July 17, 2011 6:29:39 AM

When a game lags, it means some part of your system isn't keeping up. It often times is the CPU. What resolution do you play at? If you don't have a high resolution, you'll often times see lower GPU usage than expected, depending on the game.
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July 17, 2011 6:35:52 AM

Certain games can tax certain parts. Maybe it is a driver issues or try toggling through different setting and see if it is the aa or some other glitch with the game. You have a nice setup so I wouldn't suspect it would be hardware performance related.
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a b U Graphics card
July 17, 2011 6:36:43 AM

His 2600K isn't the problem.

Are you using multiple monitors?
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a b U Graphics card
July 17, 2011 7:12:20 AM

Do you have a lot of monitors?
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July 17, 2011 7:37:24 AM

Supreme Commander 1 can be a beast.

What map size are you playing on, whats the unit cap set to, and how many AI's are you playing against? Also do you have the core maximizer mini app that re-distributes the games threads to run more effectively on multi-core systems?

If you're playing vs 7 AI's on an 81x81 map with he 1k unit cap, you could very easily be bottle necked by the CPU. (especially if you don't have the core maximizer.

If you're zoomed in all the way with max shadows and AA you could also be hitting the video card pretty hard. (Although CPU is much more likely) If you're running the mini-map in full mode (especially on a 2nd monitor) you're hitting it twice as hard because it renders the mini-map as an entire second screen for the game.

Finally, What is your memory frequency/timing like? I remember Supreme Commander 1 gaining significant FPS from increasing memory bandwidth.

Supreme Commander 1 was basically the Crysis of RTS's, poorly optimized, and a computer killer with huge maps and tons of AI's/units. It's not at all outside the realm of possibility that in massive battles you could legitimately be completely taxing your system in one of these aspects even today. I believe the core optimizer app I linked is designed to benefit from up to 12 cores, and this was made 4 years ago, to give you an indication of how hard it can pound a system. (Also I believe the games overall performance benefited greatly from a dedicated sound card, which seems to be something not many people have anymore)

I'd suggest the app I linked 1st, followed by increasing your CPU clock and memory frequencies second. (Look to GPU itself last, but it is possible)
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a b U Graphics card
July 17, 2011 8:41:07 AM

some strategy games which aren`t generally demanding can be very demanding under certain conditions.

I have this old RTS game from 1997. whenever there is an extreme crapload of AI units on the map, and the speed is turned all the way up, it brings my i7 to its knees :D 
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July 17, 2011 8:55:02 AM

Overclocked Toaster said:
some strategy games which aren`t generally demanding can be very demanding under certain conditions.

I have this old RTS game from 1997. whenever there is an extreme crapload of AI units on the map, and the speed is turned all the way up, it brings my i7 to its knees :D 



Total Annihilation? ;) 

Supreme Commander is actually the "spiritual successor" to TA, and basically just took over crushing computers just when they finally got fast enough to (almost always) brute force their way though TA having ten thousand or more units on the map at one time. :p  (Even then a couple thousand aircraft flying around onscreen at once can make even relatively new PC's cry)

RTS's can bring very powerful systems to their knees quite easily if they aren't forced into extremely low unit cap's like Warcraft/Starcraft and the like. Especially if they use real physics calculations for all units/weapons like TA/Sup Com do, unlike most other RTS's. Seriously, you can use aircraft flying over your base to intercept artillery shells/ballistic missiles and the like, they'll actually hit the aircraft on the way down and detonate. That's a LOT of physics calculations for the CPU with thousands of units firing at once.
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July 17, 2011 5:53:51 PM

I am playing at 1920x1200 resolution, on one 24-inch acer monitor, all maxed out, with the most recent (275.33) Nvidia graphics drivers.
thanks everyone for your help thus far, really hope i can resolve this issue (:
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a b U Graphics card
July 17, 2011 5:56:41 PM

Is performance poor in just this game or is everything else as it should be? If it's just this one game I'd try the beta drivers.
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July 17, 2011 6:00:24 PM

Yargnit said:
Supreme Commander 1 can be a beast.

What map size are you playing on, whats the unit cap set to, and how many AI's are you playing against? Also do you have the core maximizer mini app that re-distributes the games threads to run more effectively on multi-core systems?

If you're playing vs 7 AI's on an 81x81 map with he 1k unit cap, you could very easily be bottle necked by the CPU. (especially if you don't have the core maximizer.

If you're zoomed in all the way with max shadows and AA you could also be hitting the video card pretty hard. (Although CPU is much more likely) If you're running the mini-map in full mode (especially on a 2nd monitor) you're hitting it twice as hard because it renders the mini-map as an entire second screen for the game.

Finally, What is your memory frequency/timing like? I remember Supreme Commander 1 gaining significant FPS from increasing memory bandwidth.

Supreme Commander 1 was basically the Crysis of RTS's, poorly optimized, and a computer killer with huge maps and tons of AI's/units. It's not at all outside the realm of possibility that in massive battles you could legitimately be completely taxing your system in one of these aspects even today. I believe the core optimizer app I linked is designed to benefit from up to 12 cores, and this was made 4 years ago, to give you an indication of how hard it can pound a system. (Also I believe the games overall performance benefited greatly from a dedicated sound card, which seems to be something not many people have anymore)

I'd suggest the app I linked 1st, followed by increasing your CPU clock and memory frequencies second. (Look to GPU itself last, but it is possible)


I'm not playing vs 7 ais, i just have one of those gunship things on the map as well as my acu and something else (first cybran mission) and i just zoom into the smoke emitted from the gunship engines - it makes my computer lag up, and given that the computer lags because of that, i would assume that the video card is working 100% to try to minimize the impact but it was only working around 38-44 percent! I don't know what the problem could be... and i'm only running on one monitor, 1920x1200.

Anyways, I'll try out your core maximizer app later on, and let you know what happens. I don't know if i should overclock the cpu any more, i think 3.4 to 3.8 is enough to be honest, i have a liquid cooler installed that keeps it completely fine all the time.

Last, Could you provide an explanation as to how to increase my memory frequency? I'm not completely sure what you mean by that.. thanks for helping (:
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July 17, 2011 6:01:57 PM

browsingtheworld said:
Is performance poor in just this game or is everything else as it should be? If it's just this one game I'd try the beta drivers.


Well there are a bunch of other games where the video card GPUs are not being used to 100%, but this is the only game in which that is the case along with performance problems.
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a b U Graphics card
July 17, 2011 6:08:41 PM

I run Supreme Commander 1 at the same settings as yourself, but i'm using an HD5970 and Core i7 920 at 3.6. Consequently your hardware is more powerful than mine so I'm thinking it may be your Nvidia drivers. It may be that as the 590 is so new the drivers haven't matured yet. Also there is no point running 8xaa at that resolution. Just try turing the aa to 4x and see if it makes any difference.
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a b U Graphics card
July 17, 2011 6:11:16 PM

Check your CPU utilization when it lags with task manager. No games should stress your 590 at that resolution to be honest. If you don't have performance problems I suspect it's the game.
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July 17, 2011 9:14:35 PM

browsingtheworld said:
Check your CPU utilization when it lags with task manager. No games should stress your 590 at that resolution to be honest. If you don't have performance problems I suspect it's the game.


thanks for the help (: how do i check CPU utilization? I can't find how to do that with Nvidia inspector

I'm running windows 7 64 bit
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a b U Graphics card
July 17, 2011 9:16:13 PM

Control + Alt + Delete -> Task Manager

Just keep it open when you game and tab out to check your usage.
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July 17, 2011 9:37:07 PM

Okay, i'll get that done- i'm going out right now, so i'll report what i find using the task manager CPU usage history once i get back.


Again, thank you all for helping me out (: i really want to solve this issue
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July 18, 2011 9:18:33 PM

Ok, I played a big round of supreme commander and kept task manager CPU usage history open, alt tabbed out and took this picture of it:



I don't know if this is normal or not.. It seems to be really stressing only the first core.

Is there anything wrong with my CPU? maybe the i7 2600k isn't configured properly, or something?
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a c 216 U Graphics card
a c 80 Î Nvidia
July 18, 2011 9:44:44 PM

It's more likely that game was not designed to use more than 1 core. It's a rather old game.
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July 19, 2011 1:25:43 AM

bystander said:
It's more likely that game was not designed to use more than 1 core. It's a rather old game.



But, as well as only using one core (it seems), it only seems to use about 40% of the two gpu's power... Do you have any idea how i can fix it to use %90+ of the GPU power?
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a c 216 U Graphics card
a c 80 Î Nvidia
July 19, 2011 1:27:44 AM

If the CPU is the part holding back power, probably due to using 1 core and over working the core, there is not likely anything you can do short of overclocking the CPU. I don't think this one game is worth all the trouble.
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July 19, 2011 1:43:46 AM

bystander said:
If the CPU is the part holding back power, probably due to using 1 core and over working the core, there is not likely anything you can do short of overclocking the CPU. I don't think this one game is worth all the trouble.


I see.. Well, i guess that answers my question :(  i downloaded the core maximizer though, so maybe that will make a difference? we'll see.

Last thing, what does it mean when my GPUs are not at 100% usage in an SLI-enabled game? Is there anything I can do to make the video card usage go to 100% for all games?
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a c 216 U Graphics card
a c 80 Î Nvidia
July 19, 2011 1:50:18 AM

There are 3 reasons a game won't max out the cores:
1) there is a bottleneck, most likely the CPU.
2) the game doesn't support SLI, or it's disabled due to windowed mode.
3) you have v-sync on, not letting it produce more frames than your window can display.
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July 19, 2011 7:12:21 AM

Supreme Commander was only partially dual-core optimized by the developers, leading to what you see on the chart. Heavy Core0 utilization, with moderate utilization across primarily a second core.

That Core Maximiser program is designed to place the primary game thread on its own core, and spread the rest of them out as best as possible across however many cores you have selected to use.

Without this program, a dual core system was usually at 100% on Core0, and 40-60% on Core1. With it dual core systems maintained over 95% across both cores usually when the game required it. Obviously the effiiency isn't quite as high on systems with more cores, as you are still limited by the primary thread, but having 4 cores (or more) with the program enables the sound processing thread (which was pretty intensive with onboard sound), and the AI threads to be further separated from pathfinding etc. (effectively meaning playing with large numbers of units or AI's didn't hammer you as hard)

A crazy suggestion, disable SLI and only use one video card. I seem to recall SupCom Having an issue where video card almost seemed to get information starved from the CPU at times (even when it shouldn't have) and this would cause FPS drops at odd times. (This is where memory frequency seemed to help also, overclocking my DDR2 800 RAM to DDR2 960 bumped my minim framerate at times nearly 50%) and SLI cards require more work from the CPU. If one card (which as almost a GTX580 it should be) is plenty fast enough, then SLI very well could be hammering your FPS through increased CPU work that is unnessisary.

I know it sounds crazy, but RTS's, and SupCom in particular, have weird performance quirks you don't run into with other game types. (due to sim speed and framerate being completely separate, combined with the exponential increasing load as the game progresses as it needs to calculate AI for thousands of individual units plus as a cohesive whole) I can go into detail if you'd like on why SupCom is like this, but if all you want is performance and don't care why, then just know it is. ;) 
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July 19, 2011 7:30:55 AM

Yargnit said:
Supreme Commander was only partially dual-core optimized by the developers, leading to what you see on the chart. Heavy Core0 utilization, with moderate utilization across primarily a second core.

That Core Maximiser program is designed to place the primary game thread on its own core, and spread the rest of them out as best as possible across however many cores you have selected to use.

Without this program, a dual core system was usually at 100% on Core0, and 40-60% on Core1. With it dual core systems maintained over 95% across both cores usually when the game required it. Obviously the effiiency isn't quite as high on systems with more cores, as you are still limited by the primary thread, but having 4 cores (or more) with the program enables the sound processing thread (which was pretty intensive with onboard sound), and the AI threads to be further separated from pathfinding etc. (effectively meaning playing with large numbers of units or AI's didn't hammer you as hard)

A crazy suggestion, disable SLI and only use one video card. I seem to recall SupCom Having an issue where video card almost seemed to get information starved from the CPU at times (even when it shouldn't have) and this would cause FPS drops at odd times. (This is where memory frequency seemed to help also, overclocking my DDR2 800 RAM to DDR2 960 bumped my minim framerate at times nearly 50%) and SLI cards require more work from the CPU. If one card (which as almost a GTX580 it should be) is plenty fast enough, then SLI very well could be hammering your FPS through increased CPU work that is unnessisary.

I know it sounds crazy, but RTS's, and SupCom in particular, have weird performance quirks you don't run into with other game types. (due to sim speed and framerate being completely separate, combined with the exponential increasing load as the game progresses as it needs to calculate AI for thousands of individual units plus as a cohesive whole) I can go into detail if you'd like on why SupCom is like this, but if all you want is performance and don't care why, then just know it is. ;) 



Wow, I guess I'll do that - disable SLI that is. You're right about me just wanting an FPS increase, and not really caring why :p  I guess in the future i'll just ask about increasing memory frequency, although i'm not sure it will be necessary. What you said makes sense, It just seems wierd.. anyways, i'll do that, and hopefully get an FPS increase - i'll give you the best answer only because you put the most work into it it seems,

Thanks everybody for your help :) 
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July 19, 2011 7:31:13 AM

Best answer selected by DTsoy.
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July 19, 2011 8:37:42 AM

Well I was just involved with early testing of the optimizer (Though I didn't actually work on the development) so I happen to have a bit of experience learning its oddities. Again, I can't promise my suggestions will work, I haven't experimented at all in it with the intel I series processors specifically, this is from testing with the Core 2 line chips. But there should be no technical reason it wouldn't work the same.

The SLI thing is basically a shot in the dark, with a bit of vague technical theorycrafting behind it, but as easy as it is to test, it's worth the check.

I just have a funny feeling the video card is being starved for data. I've actually seen the games graphic performance increase when the CPU load got heavier as well. (when I had the slower RAM frequency more-so) Because the CPU was needing to do more calculations and used up less RAM bandwidth as a result. (Crazy sounding, I know)

Also keep in mind that higher SIM speeds result in a lower FPS, so if you run at 10 speed, your framerate will tank, compared
to 0 speed, which very likely could have more than enough FPS.
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a c 271 U Graphics card
a c 171 Î Nvidia
July 19, 2011 11:45:35 AM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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