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9800 Pro Unexplained Frame Drop in Farcry

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September 27, 2004 10:24:43 AM

Afternoon folks

I'm running farcry for the most part perfectly with everything set to High / Very High with low AA and Trilinear filtering with 2x Aniso. There is almost no frame rate lag. However, in certain areas of the game, the frame rate just drops to <1fps and sufferes HUGE response lag, and stays there while looking at the offending area.

This is really bizzare as the card should handle it no problems really, or at least only suffer from a hiccup. It manages large out door areas with dense foleage and views of the sea with dozens of monsters / people running around no problem, i.e. the battle scene with the trigens and guards outside the archive runs perfectly.

The following areas really seem to cripple the card:
Training - Looking at the first big merc base with the guy at the shooting range through binoculars.
Treehouse - Looking at the supervision building just outside after the cat walk. Particularly the front and from the merc camp behind looking through the bushes near the gate.
Boat - Looking at any of the three Jamming Towers.
Boat - Looking at the big jungle base at the third jamming tower.

Now, these problems occur only when looking at the actual area, if i look up slightly, or do a 360 turn, the rest of the enviroment is fine. It's just the areas mentiond that absoloutley crawl and pressing keys or moving the mouse takes about 5-6 seconds to do anything.

After playing around with the settings, i managed to get a dramatic improvement with most things (except the tree house) at Very High, with the exception of shadows at Medium. But still suffer from the continuous FPS drop when zooming into some scenes. 2x binocs and 3x,6x sniper cause all kinds of slow down.

The treehouse problem with the central building is a major issue that seems to be affected by lighting. Looking inside the boxes causes this massive lag issue for a few seconds, and if i move away and back again it happens repeatedly. Turn lighting down and the issue is resolved.

So it comes down to some really bizzare shadow and lighting issues in most cases.

This only seems to happen with High and Very High textures. And it's really frustrating because I can REALLY see the difference between Medium and High (I don't care about very high, but as a note it makes things even worse).

My system is:

XP Barton 2500+ (overclocked by 120mhz, so it should be 2600/2700)
1 Gig PC3200 Ram at 333fsb.
Saphire Radeon 9800 Pro 128 OC'd to 400/366
550 Watt PSU

Running DirectX 9.0c, Omega Drivers based on Catalyst 4.7, and Farcry 1.1.
Just switched from GF4600, unistalled drivers out etc. Although I hear there can be issues with residue drivers.

Could this problem be caused by only having 128 memory on the card? It just doesn't strike me as a purely graphics memory problem, nothing should cripple a 9800 pro that badly. I could understand a drop to 10 or so fps, but less than 1, with all the bars + the scanner display flashing full to empty, and the AI stopping responding... is really weird.

Any advice guys?

Cheers

Cata
September 27, 2004 6:02:48 PM

You didn't mention what resolution you're using. When you gun zoom/use binoculars the framerates always plummet. Try dropping to a lower resolution.

Athlon 2500+, Asus A7N8X Deluxe Rev2, 768Mb Corsair XMS 5-2-2-2.5, Sapphire 9800 Pro 128Mb, Seagate SATA 80Gb, Fortron-Source FSP400-60PFN
September 27, 2004 10:47:21 PM

I'm only running at 1024x768 res.

I could understand a bit of transition lag when zooming in, but this is a persistant issue that doesn't go away while zoomed, the framerate stays below 1fps. It's driving me NUTS!

Generaly, in all issues including the zooming bug, I know it's a Lighting and Shadow issue as the problems dissapear when both are set to medium with High Detail Textures.
I can run shadows and lighting at very high if i set textures to medium.
They appear to be mutualy exclusive, which seems really daft. I know they both work in most situations, it's only very specific areas where there are problems, almost as if there is a bug in the map or something.

Cheers

Cata
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September 27, 2004 11:09:19 PM

What are your temps like?

Any programs running the background (ie Norton)?

"Who is General Failure, and why is he reading my drive?"
P4 3.0C HT, Intel D865GBF, 1GB Crucial PC3200 DDR, 2x WD 36GB Raptor 10kRPM, BBA Radeon 9800PRO, SB Audigy, Hauppage WinTV
September 28, 2004 12:30:45 AM

Closed all programs in background, including explorer. There is absoloutley nothing else eating CPU power.

Case is well ventilated, but the omega drivers I have don't tell me what the temperature is. Where can i get that from?
This occurs even right after boot however.

For specific examples of locations that cause Mega Lag(tm):

1) Looking inside the right hand open cage in the supervision area from any distance.

2) Looking at the door towards the pipes behind the supervision area cages, while standing on the veranda next to the elevator.

3) Looking at the side door around the corner that leads into the lab place.

4) Looking towards the treehouse wall through some bushes and the fence next to the rock just ouside the road gate to the merc camp.

5) Looking at the boxes outside Jammer 1 on boat mission from the side of approach. (well, my approach) The pile of three boxes with grass infront of them.

These are all relatively simple, small scenes compared to the outside world, but they abosloutley cripple my rig.

Outdoor Areas:
1) On the first part of Boat, where you pick up the explosives. From the pier, looking towards the island where the guys on the beach are guarding another boat. Then using any zoom.

2) From the first jammer on boat, looking at the guard island in between that and island 2. Only seems to occur when the gun is pointed at the island on the vertical level. Moving it towards either side, regardless of elevation seems to aleviate the problem.

3) The beach landing from island 3 on boat, turning around and looking back past the island with jammer 2 to the island with jammer 1.

4) Looking at the base on training with the guy shooting the gun in the range using binoculars.

These are scenes I could accept a frame drop in, or maybe a second load time before resuming normal rendering, but they get locked in 1-3 fps while looking at them.

One other strange thing. On Bunker, in the rocky enclosure with the walkways and water at the bottom, and the guy with the minigun. The lag issue is reversed. It's unplayable unless I wander around with my gun zoomed in (M4 Assault Rifle) or any other kind of minor zoom.

Cheers for help guys

Cata

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by CatalystXS on 09/27/04 09:19 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
September 28, 2004 4:31:50 AM

That definitely is super strange. I'd say that maybe you have a deffective card. Do you play any other games with similar errors? What are your 3dmark and aquamark scores? Do you see frame drops on any paticular tests?

"Who is General Failure, and why is he reading my drive?"
P4 3.0C HT, Intel D865GBF, 1GB Crucial PC3200 DDR, 2x WD 36GB Raptor 10kRPM, BBA Radeon 9800PRO, SB Audigy, Hauppage WinTV
September 28, 2004 5:32:00 AM

While I can't explain your problem with any certainty ATM, I can tell you how it runs on my system, which is very similar to yours. I have an athlon xp2400 mobile @ 225x11 (2475) and a 9800 Pro flashed to XT (read my thread <A HREF="http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/modules.php?nam..." target="_new">here</A>) at stock XT speeds (412/365), and I play Far Cry (v1.2, catalyst 4.7-4.9 [current]) at 1024x768 with all options at very high / ultra high (the highest any of them will go, besides texture filtering which = aniso, which I set via the ATI CP), trilinear filtering, 8x 'performance' aniso, NO anti-aliasing, and get no such slowdowns. The game plays great.

Are you using surround sound? I do sometimes and while it does slow it down it's still playable at the same settings with no slowdowns such as you are describing. Also, using AA increases video memory requirements, which you may be exceeding which would cause slowdown (when it has to load/unload stuff onto the vram, as it won't all fit)... but it still wouldn't cause what you are describing. Try getting the ATI catalyst 4.9s, and also go to version 1.2 (you can find it privately hosted online still).

I don't think you have a bad card though.

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September 28, 2004 11:05:42 AM

Ahhh..

I've had some success here.

I played around with my AA settings and turned them all off. No more problem. But i had a thought and checked by default AA settings, and it was set to 4x Performance as well as the in game settings being on. I set this to application prefference.

In game, i set it to low, and that's fixed the issues with TreeHouse and other small scenes that seemed to cripple my machine.

However, with AA on, outdoor scenes that stretch for a long way tended to batter my card about still, although the zooming issue has greatly reduced for the most part. I got everything at very high with the exception of textures (I can't see the difference tbh between that and very high).

So, i'm going to try and patch the game and my drivers and see if I can get AA working on low without any real detrimental effect.

Cheers guys

Cata
September 28, 2004 6:39:25 PM

I have an Athlon 2500+ and a 9800 Pro, and at 1024x768, with everything cranked and 2xAA/8xAF the FPS dip below 30 constantly. The 9800 Pro is a great card, but Far Cry's graphics can be hardcore and the 9800 has its limitations.

Athlon 2500+, Asus A7N8X Deluxe Rev2, 768Mb Corsair XMS 5-2-2-2.5, Sapphire 9800 Pro 128Mb, Seagate SATA 80Gb, Fortron-Source FSP400-60PFN <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by sweatlaserxp on 09/28/04 05:57 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
September 30, 2004 9:57:55 AM

I've done some further investigation, and i'm getting some artifacts at very long distances in certain scenes. These artifacts have to be the thing causing the low FPS when looking at it, as everything else is fine.

The FPS drops only occur with AA or at 1200x800 res or higher without AA.

Are there new beta drivers?

Cata
September 30, 2004 1:16:15 PM

if U had 256mb then I would say wait for the 4.10's
try running at stock speeds & see if that goes

my 9700pro & barton 2500+@ 2.2Ghz runs fine as far as i mind (though I am too busy with JO to have played farcry recently)

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