Author Topic: Frame Rate Drop  (Read 3784 times)

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Offline AV8R

  • 28
Hey everyone, I'm wondering if someone can have me try some things that may help me find what causing a sudden drop in frame rate when I play a mission with a Sathanas on screen. The frame rate drop starts to occur when I get within 4000m of the Sath at which point my fps drops from 75 (v-sync on) to 37.5. When I get really close to it (less than 1000 meters) my fps will drop to 25. When I turn my ship away from the Sath, as soon as it's off screen my fps instantly jumps back to 75 again. I can't image why my system would struggle with this.

System stats:

Windows 7 SP1 x86
Intel i5 3350P (3.1Ghz)
2GB DDR3 @ 1600Mhz 9-9-9-24
ATI FirePro 3D v4800 1GB GDDR5 (PCIe 2.1)
Monitor resolution 1440x900 @ 32-bit

There are plenty of resources available on my system (I run it very lean) but I can't seem to find where the bottleneck is. It's strange because it seems that this just started happening recently. Here's what I've done so far:

1) Tried different FSO exes (3.7 - 3.7.5)
2) Tried different video drivers (from recent to up to 2 years ago)
3) Tried various resolutions (1024x768 - 1440x900)
4) Tried turning FXAA and other features off in the launcher

And just to rule anything else out, since I recently upgraded my processor from a Sandy Bridge-based Pentium dual-core @ 3.0Ghz to an Ivy Bridge-based i5 quad-core @ 3.1Ghz I took it upon myself to format my HD and reload Windows 7 from scratch this past weekend - but no dice; even after a clean OS install the FPS drop remains.

Any suggestions on systematically tracking this down?

 

Offline zookeeper

  • *knock knock* Who's there? Poe. Poe who?
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Well, the distances where the FPS changes are probably the LOD distances, and my first guess would be that it's struggling with the textures somehow. If it's one of the fancy HTL/MediaVPs models then it probably has pretty heavy textures (in addition to the model itself being complex). You could try lowering the "3D Hardware Textures" slider in the in-game detail options screen, or toggling normal, specular and glow maps off in the launcher. If none of those help, then the problem ought to be something else.

 

Offline AdmiralRalwood

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1) Tried different FSO exes (3.7 - 3.7.5)
3.7.5!? Care to share your time machine with the rest of us? ;)

In all seriousness, I'm looking askance at your GPU:
ATI FirePro 3D v4800 1GB GDDR5 (PCIe 2.1)
That's a workstation graphics card, not one optimized for gaming.
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Codethulhu GitHub wgah'nagl fhtagn.

schrödinbug (noun) - a bug that manifests itself in running software after a programmer notices that the code should never have worked in the first place.

When you gaze long into BMPMAN, BMPMAN also gazes into you.

"I am one of the best FREDders on Earth" -General Battuta

<Aesaar> literary criticism is vladimir putin

<MageKing17> "There's probably a reason the code is the way it is" is a very dangerous line of thought. :P
<MageKing17> Because the "reason" often turns out to be "nobody noticed it was wrong".
(the very next day)
<MageKing17> this ****ing code did it to me again
<MageKing17> "That doesn't really make sense to me, but I'll assume it was being done for a reason."
<MageKing17> **** ME
<MageKing17> THE REASON IS PEOPLE ARE STUPID
<MageKing17> ESPECIALLY ME

<MageKing17> God damn, I do not understand how this is breaking.
<MageKing17> Everything points to "this should work fine", and yet it's clearly not working.
<MjnMixael> 2 hours later... "God damn, how did this ever work at all?!"
(...)
<MageKing17> so
<MageKing17> more than two hours
<MageKing17> but once again we have reached the inevitable conclusion
<MageKing17> How did this code ever work in the first place!?

<@The_E> Welcome to OpenGL, where standards compliance is optional, and error reporting inconsistent

<MageKing17> It was all working perfectly until I actually tried it on an actual mission.

<IronWorks> I am useful for FSO stuff again. This is a red-letter day!
* z64555 erases "Thursday" and rewrites it in red ink

<MageKing17> TIL the entire homing code is held up by shoestrings and duct tape, basically.

 

Offline AV8R

  • 28
Well, the distances where the FPS changes are probably the LOD distances, and my first guess would be that it's struggling with the textures somehow. If it's one of the fancy HTL/MediaVPs models then it probably has pretty heavy textures (in addition to the model itself being complex). You could try lowering the "3D Hardware Textures" slider in the in-game detail options screen, or toggling normal, specular and glow maps off in the launcher. If none of those help, then the problem ought to be something else.

Thanks, I'll give those suggestions a try and report back.

 

Offline AV8R

  • 28
1) Tried different FSO exes (3.7 - 3.7.5)
3.7.5!? Care to share your time machine with the rest of us? ;)

In all seriousness, I'm looking askance at your GPU:
ATI FirePro 3D v4800 1GB GDDR5 (PCIe 2.1)
That's a workstation graphics card, not one optimized for gaming.

3.7.5 was a short-handed was of saying 3.7 RC5.   ;)

Hmm, the FirePro card has never giving me an issue with Freespace or any other OpenGL optimized game. I prefer it since workstation-class drivers are super-optimized for OpenGL whereas "gaming cards" are super-optimized for DirectX. Also, workstation-class drivers are optimized for visual quality while gaming card drivers are optimized for frame rate. To each his own.

I'll keep poking around and see if I can narrow it down. More suggestions are welcome.

 

Offline AdmiralRalwood

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3.7.5 was a short-handed was of saying 3.7 RC5.   ;)
There was no 3.7.0 RC5. :P

I don't mind shorthand, but "3.7.5" is in no way a useful shorthand for "3.7.2 Release Candidate 5".

Hmm, the FirePro card has never giving me an issue with Freespace or any other OpenGL optimized game. I prefer it since workstation-class drivers are super-optimized for OpenGL whereas "gaming cards" are super-optimized for DirectX. Also, workstation-class drivers are optimized for visual quality while gaming card drivers are optimized for frame rate. To each his own.
And your problem is a drop in frame rate, no? Workstation cards are usually optimized for things like CAD work, where you don't really need to refresh the image as many times per second as possible; it's still possible that something else is causing the slowdown, but I'd be surprised if you had the exact same performance with a different GPU.
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Codethulhu GitHub wgah'nagl fhtagn.

schrödinbug (noun) - a bug that manifests itself in running software after a programmer notices that the code should never have worked in the first place.

When you gaze long into BMPMAN, BMPMAN also gazes into you.

"I am one of the best FREDders on Earth" -General Battuta

<Aesaar> literary criticism is vladimir putin

<MageKing17> "There's probably a reason the code is the way it is" is a very dangerous line of thought. :P
<MageKing17> Because the "reason" often turns out to be "nobody noticed it was wrong".
(the very next day)
<MageKing17> this ****ing code did it to me again
<MageKing17> "That doesn't really make sense to me, but I'll assume it was being done for a reason."
<MageKing17> **** ME
<MageKing17> THE REASON IS PEOPLE ARE STUPID
<MageKing17> ESPECIALLY ME

<MageKing17> God damn, I do not understand how this is breaking.
<MageKing17> Everything points to "this should work fine", and yet it's clearly not working.
<MjnMixael> 2 hours later... "God damn, how did this ever work at all?!"
(...)
<MageKing17> so
<MageKing17> more than two hours
<MageKing17> but once again we have reached the inevitable conclusion
<MageKing17> How did this code ever work in the first place!?

<@The_E> Welcome to OpenGL, where standards compliance is optional, and error reporting inconsistent

<MageKing17> It was all working perfectly until I actually tried it on an actual mission.

<IronWorks> I am useful for FSO stuff again. This is a red-letter day!
* z64555 erases "Thursday" and rewrites it in red ink

<MageKing17> TIL the entire homing code is held up by shoestrings and duct tape, basically.

 

Offline Fury

  • The Curmudgeon
  • 213
Okay, let's take a step back here.

From what I can tell, the only hardware change in his setup is new CPU, which is better than the last one. GPU has not changed, but in-game performance of FSO has. So this leads to following questions:
1) Did you update motherboard BIOS before CPU upgrade, and reset BIOS settings to defaults after CPU upgrade?
2) Did the performance problems in FSO start right after your CPU upgrade?
3) Has performance changed in other games?

 

Offline AdmiralRalwood

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Actually, come to think of it, your new CPU may have an integrated GPU that FSO may be using instead of your FirePro. A debug log might be helpful.
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Codethulhu GitHub wgah'nagl fhtagn.

schrödinbug (noun) - a bug that manifests itself in running software after a programmer notices that the code should never have worked in the first place.

When you gaze long into BMPMAN, BMPMAN also gazes into you.

"I am one of the best FREDders on Earth" -General Battuta

<Aesaar> literary criticism is vladimir putin

<MageKing17> "There's probably a reason the code is the way it is" is a very dangerous line of thought. :P
<MageKing17> Because the "reason" often turns out to be "nobody noticed it was wrong".
(the very next day)
<MageKing17> this ****ing code did it to me again
<MageKing17> "That doesn't really make sense to me, but I'll assume it was being done for a reason."
<MageKing17> **** ME
<MageKing17> THE REASON IS PEOPLE ARE STUPID
<MageKing17> ESPECIALLY ME

<MageKing17> God damn, I do not understand how this is breaking.
<MageKing17> Everything points to "this should work fine", and yet it's clearly not working.
<MjnMixael> 2 hours later... "God damn, how did this ever work at all?!"
(...)
<MageKing17> so
<MageKing17> more than two hours
<MageKing17> but once again we have reached the inevitable conclusion
<MageKing17> How did this code ever work in the first place!?

<@The_E> Welcome to OpenGL, where standards compliance is optional, and error reporting inconsistent

<MageKing17> It was all working perfectly until I actually tried it on an actual mission.

<IronWorks> I am useful for FSO stuff again. This is a red-letter day!
* z64555 erases "Thursday" and rewrites it in red ink

<MageKing17> TIL the entire homing code is held up by shoestrings and duct tape, basically.

 

Offline AV8R

  • 28
Okay, let's take a step back here.

From what I can tell, the only hardware change in his setup is new CPU, which is better than the last one. GPU has not changed, but in-game performance of FSO has. So this leads to following questions:
1) Did you update motherboard BIOS before CPU upgrade, and reset BIOS settings to defaults after CPU upgrade?
2) Did the performance problems in FSO start right after your CPU upgrade?
3) Has performance changed in other games?

Good points - I'll test your theories tonight.

EDIT: MB already has latest BIOS - but a reset back to defaults may be necessary. Problem did start to become apparent after CPU swap. I'll post my findings tonight.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2015, 01:15:46 pm by AV8R »

 

Offline AV8R

  • 28
Actually, come to think of it, your new CPU may have an integrated GPU that FSO may be using instead of your FirePro. A debug log might be helpful.

This is one of the few Intel processors that does NOT have integrated graphics - 3350P.

 

Offline coffeesoft

  • 28
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I´m not sure if helps, but i was trying to play FSO with a Nvidia QuadroFX some time ago, with horrible FPS.

These cards are made as well for Workstations and specially for 3D Design, but for gamming they don´t support too much textures.

 

Offline AV8R

  • 28
I´m not sure if helps, but i was trying to play FSO with a Nvidia QuadroFX some time ago, with horrible FPS.

These cards are made as well for Workstations and specially for 3D Design, but for gamming they don´t support too much textures.

I respectfully disagree about the textures - workstation-class video cards are made to do just that and do it very well, especially in the OpenGL environment. However, they are made to stress (visual) quality over quantity (frames per second) so there is a valid difference in performance that could occur depending on application. But I digress...

I tried reset my BIOS settings to default but it had no effect. I guess the next thing I'll check is Zookeeper's suggestion to turn down 3D Hardware Textures setting and see its affect on frame rates. Maybe a less busy textures will bring the FPS back up again. I'll also post a LOG file when I get a chance.

I do plan on trading in the FirePro for a true gaming card (got my eye on an NVidia GTX 750 Ti) which will also boost graphics transfer speeds to PCIe 3.0 levels from PCIe 2.0 on the FirePro card. We'll see.

 

Offline AV8R

  • 28
Ok, I had some time to experiment today and after an hour of trying various setting changes, I've finally narrowed down my frame rate drop issue, the drop is caused by the Lighting setting under Details. Anything above 3 dots and my frame rate plummets by 50-75% (but only when in close proximity to a large model like the Sathanas). Unfortunately, anything below 4 dots and you lose a LOT of detail - most models are blacked out with only the glow maps visible. Not fun to look at.

Interestingly, as I was doing my testing, at one point I was sitting directly behind the Sathanas (about 1500m away) and I was watching the frame rate meter (which was 50% less than what it should have been) at which point a corvette passed right in front of me so close that it completely obscured the Sath from sight. Seeing this I thought that, with the Sath completely blocked from view, the frame rate would go up again - but it did not. Simply having my ship pointed in the direction of the Sath, even unseeable, dropped my frame rate by 50%. Just to make sure the corvette model wasn't causing the frame rate drop also, I flew beside another corvette so close that I bumped into it, flew around every side of it and even sat by the engines, with all of the white flames dancing out of them - but no frame rate drop.

So what settings in the game or launcher 5.5g can I try to see if they will have an affect on the in-game Lighting setting? Or anything else on my system I can adjust or look at (video card settings, etc)? My system specs are listed above.

Strange how this all seemed to start after a processor change. Maybe I should slip the Sandy Bridge Pentium back into the PC - this Ivy Bridge i5 is killing my performance.  ;)

 

Offline AV8R

  • 28
After some more testing, I have some strangely mixed results. I began to wonder if this was a systemic issue, or an issue with my custom mission I had recently created. So I opened FRED and created a mission with just my ship and a Sathanas so I could fly around it and check for frame rate drops. Once I entered the mission and began fly around the Sath the frames rates held and never budged from 75fps. So I turned up all of the Detail settings to max and still no change in frame rates. Odd.

Well, now I started thinking something is up with my mission file so I opened it up and decided to replace the in-mission Sath. I deleted it, created a new one and made sure all of the SEXP pointers were correct for the new ship and re-entered the mission. While the frame rates didn't improve (still dropping by 50-75% at time depending on proximity to the Sath if the Lighting setting was 4 or 5 dots) the lighting appeared to work better if I turned the setting below 4 dots. I wouldn't lose textures like I did before. But now, while pointing my ship at the Sath didn't drop my frame rates like before I replaced it in my mission, now the beam weapon fire would drop the frame rates. When a corvette fired a beam, the frame rate dropped 50% (this was with the Lighting setting at 3 dots or less).

So it seems there may be an issue with my FREDed mission. Whatever the issue may be wasn't apparent before the hardware change to my system but now there is. Of course that could just be coincidence too. Could my mission be mildly corrupt? When I check the mission for errors, FRED says there are none (but I'm sure this is more of a SEXP logic check than a file integrity check). I'd hate to have to rebuild the mission from scratch.

Any ideas?
« Last Edit: February 28, 2015, 06:52:48 pm by AV8R »

 

Offline jr2

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UL the mission for someone to check?

 

Offline AdmiralRalwood

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This really sounds like the problem is with the GPU/drivers, and the effect of the mission file is incidental (or the precise set of circumstances in the mission file is causing the issue to appear in the first place). Still, it wouldn't hurt to upload the mission file.
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Codethulhu GitHub wgah'nagl fhtagn.

schrödinbug (noun) - a bug that manifests itself in running software after a programmer notices that the code should never have worked in the first place.

When you gaze long into BMPMAN, BMPMAN also gazes into you.

"I am one of the best FREDders on Earth" -General Battuta

<Aesaar> literary criticism is vladimir putin

<MageKing17> "There's probably a reason the code is the way it is" is a very dangerous line of thought. :P
<MageKing17> Because the "reason" often turns out to be "nobody noticed it was wrong".
(the very next day)
<MageKing17> this ****ing code did it to me again
<MageKing17> "That doesn't really make sense to me, but I'll assume it was being done for a reason."
<MageKing17> **** ME
<MageKing17> THE REASON IS PEOPLE ARE STUPID
<MageKing17> ESPECIALLY ME

<MageKing17> God damn, I do not understand how this is breaking.
<MageKing17> Everything points to "this should work fine", and yet it's clearly not working.
<MjnMixael> 2 hours later... "God damn, how did this ever work at all?!"
(...)
<MageKing17> so
<MageKing17> more than two hours
<MageKing17> but once again we have reached the inevitable conclusion
<MageKing17> How did this code ever work in the first place!?

<@The_E> Welcome to OpenGL, where standards compliance is optional, and error reporting inconsistent

<MageKing17> It was all working perfectly until I actually tried it on an actual mission.

<IronWorks> I am useful for FSO stuff again. This is a red-letter day!
* z64555 erases "Thursday" and rewrites it in red ink

<MageKing17> TIL the entire homing code is held up by shoestrings and duct tape, basically.

 

Offline AV8R

  • 28
Here you are. See how it goes on your systems.

(Please be kind - it's my first attempt at FRED)   :)

[attachment deleted by nobody]
« Last Edit: February 28, 2015, 08:34:19 pm by AV8R »

 

Offline AV8R

  • 28
Sorry, forgot to post this last night also.

Log file including starting up my custom mission.

[attachment deleted by nobody]
« Last Edit: March 01, 2015, 05:37:45 pm by AV8R »

 

Offline AV8R

  • 28
So I played with some more settings in the Launcher to see if I could further narrow down this issue. After enabling and disabling specular, glow maps, normal maps and others with no effect, I recalled a "fix" given to others here who have had frame rate issues in the past - especially those using onboard CPU video solutions. So I found the Disable GLSL option under Troubleshooting in the Launcher and tried it out. Well, that did the trick. No more frame rate drops - even with Lighting and other Detail settings turned all the way up.

What exactly does this do and what effect does it have on visual quality? While most of the textures seemed a bit more flat and less metallic-looking (lack of specular highlights?) most of the overall modeling looked ok.

Seems rather strange that an ATI FirePro v4800 suddenly wouldn't handle this type of OGL functionality well - especially since it's designed to do just that. Very odd.

 

Offline The E

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Because it wasn't designed for this type of work, no matter what you believe.

By disabling GLSL, you fall back on the old fixed-function render pipeline, this means no normal maps, no advanced lighting, no post-processing.
Let there be light
Let there be moon
Let there be stars and let there be you
Let there be monsters and let there be pain
Let us begin to feel again
--Devin Townsend, Genesis