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Microstutter and page tearing on discrete GPUs but not consoles, why?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 24, 2012 1:36:42 PM

Hey All,

Just a general query really. I've always played games on the PC because by and large the graphics are crisper and more detailed, and I prefer "prettiness" over the relative convenience of playing a not so graphically nice version of a game on a console.

I had not noticed it so much until I started using my friends PS3 but it really struck me that the console doesn't seem to suffer from page tearing and microstuttering nearly as on many titles that I've seen played on the PC even with vsync turned on. Load up Fraps in nearly any PC game and you'll see at least some noticeable change in fps, which often in my experience causes a degree of stuttering, which in itself is often made worse by SLI.

Whilst I'm not thinking of switching from my PC (Nvidia can breath easy!) it made me realise just how much of an issue microstuttering and page tearing is on the PC if you notice it (which i now do!!) and how higher fps on it's own doesn't necessarily equate to a better gaming experience.

I was just wondering why consoles such as the PS3 whilst they don't have quite as good graphics as their high end gaming PC counterparts generally seem to have consistently smoother graphics, and whether it would really be so hard to implement a similar system on PCs? Granted Nvidia's "Adaptive Vsync" in their latest drivers goes some way towards sorting the problem out but would it really be that hard to "fix" completely? Also what is the route cause? Is it simply because most games are designed first for a console and then ported to the PC and these ports are not well optimised or more that a PS3 is a fixed hardware configuration so therefore it is easier for game designers to design and optimise games to run on a fixed specification rather than having to worry about minimum and recommended system requirements we see with pcs. Also what about LucidLogix Virtu MVP and Hyperperformance, (see link) is middleware such as this likely to be the long term solution?

http://www.anandtech.com/show/5728/intel-z77-panther-po...

I Look forward to hearing your explanations and thoughts!
a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 1:43:18 PM

I would look at it this way. PC is always stronger than consoles if the components are good. You can experience stuttering when a massive drop in FPS occurs. You would notice it even better if you load up fraps (like you did). There is no solid fps on most pc's unless the user went overkill and there is no need to. You won't notice the drop between 60fps and 55 or 55 to 50 and back up to 55. Fraps makes you look even closer and closer and you will try to see the difference, even if the difference is extremely small. The playstation 3 is also not running on solid FPS. There is almost always micro stuttering but you are not able to see that unless you try to find the difference...

- Fastreaction
a c 218 U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 2:04:26 PM

Game consoles are designed with a "closed system" approach where the hardware options are limited to those included by the original design. This allows developers to optimize games to maximize this limited hardware more efficiently. So, if you know all of the limitations and the user can't really mess with anything, you can design a game to take full advantage of that.

PCs use a more "open system" approach. PC variance is nearly limitless. Just think of all of the things a user can do to customize a PC. This leads to variability and, quite honestly, issues. Issues like heat and power problems, for example, the leading cause of tearing/pixelation/video corruption. Add to that, the things users can do (or not) with drivers and it is amazing that PCs work at all (not really, but think about it)!

Thoughts?
a c 115 U Graphics card
August 24, 2012 2:12:30 PM

COLGeek said:
Game consoles are designed with a "closed system" approach where the hardware options are limited to those included by the original design. This allows developers to optimize games to maximize this limited hardware more efficiently. So, if you know all of the limitations and the user can't really mess with anything, you can design a game to take full advantage of that.

PCs use a more "open system" approach. PC variance is nearly limitless. Just think of all of the things a user can do to customize a PC. This leads to variability and, quite honestly, issues. Issues like heat and power problems, for example, the leading cause of tearing/pixelation/video corruption. Add to that, the things users can do (or not) with drivers and it is amazing that PCs work at all (not really, but think about it)!

Thoughts?


+1

A game that runs on one 360 will run identically on all 360s. Same for the PS3. Same for the Wii

A game that's written for PC will perform differently depending on what components the user has and what they're doing in the background. Users who don't take care of their machines and/or users who install crapware will experience choppier gameplay than someone with an identical machine that does take care of it.

It's not possible to bugcheck for stupidity
August 24, 2012 2:17:55 PM

And also, most PS3 games are only 720p. That resolution is very low compared to what you are probably running on your PC.

On a PC most users want to run games at higher resolutions and dont necessarily have the hardware to run it.
!