What is my bottleneck

4 replies [Last post]
Joined: 01/10/2012
Posts: 3

I kinda guess this is the right place for me to post this,
Hello all!
Currently I play some FPS games... Cod4, Cod2 - also League of Legends and Starcraft (both which I don't get particularly high FPS in and CPU&GPU not at 100%usage) etc, where game processing speed (tied in with FPS) is an important factor. It's an important factor because holding a stable FPS and therefore mechanics speed, means that running about, jumping, etc are optimal.

My main issue then, is with the Cod series, as stability = smoother gameplay. Although my PC seems very capable of holding a steady 250fps (it may drop from time to time - but not significantly) - I seem to get a short amount of jitters (which really do seem to be a separate thing from fps drops - sees more jagged, rather than smoothe) from time to time.

So my question is, what could be causing this? Is it just a bottleneck of computer hardware? RAM failure? I have some ideas, but no fixes.

My first idea was that it was my CPU causing the problem. I thought that it was overheating, so have bought myself some new thermal paste, cleaned up the inside of my rig, and re applied some paste. Though this brought the temperature of the CPU down by 5/6/7 degrees under load, the jitter here and there still occurs.

Before re applying the thermal paste I did check the cpu usage when playing CoD 4 - and it wasn't 100%, maybe 80% usage under full load. Checked with task manager resource monitor.

Stumped, I downloaded GPU-Z, and checked what loading was on my GPU when gaming. Again, no problems there. Max usage about 80% again.

So I checked my RAM setup in CPU-Z, and found that I had actually put my RAM in what could be conceived as not optimally. I have 2x2gb sticks of 800mhz ram, and 2x1gb sticks of ram. I looked online what was optimum - and found that dual channel with the same size ram in each channel was optimum. After changing the RAM in to said optimal channels it wouldn't boot - so I had to put the ram back in how it was, then change bios, then put ram into said optimal slots and got the boot. It seems to be set up properly now - unganged (I opted for this because ganged seems crude), and fortunately it's timed itself nicely FSB:DRAM 1:1.

After that bank of text, does anyone have any good ideas that it could be? I've also noticed in resource monitor that roughly when I get the jitters there is a slight amount of Hard faults with the RAM. Could this be it? How could I fix it?

My system specs:
CPU - AMD 955 @ 3.2ghz, 52degrees under load
GPU - ATI HD 5850 @ standard clock, 70degrees max under load
RAM - 2x2gb OCZ 800mhz and 2x1gb of unbranded 800mhz
2 pretty much unbranded HDDs 250gb, and 500gb.

Cheers for any help, Sam

3dGameMan's picture
Joined: 12/31/2000
Posts: 5401

Welcome to the forum :)

Quickly reading your post, I see two possible bottlenecks; memory & HDD

Rodney Reynolds,
Register: http://www.3dgameman.com/user/register

Joined: 01/10/2012
Posts: 3

Hi, thanks for the uber quick reply.
If my RAM/HDD are the bottleneck, are there anyways to decrease the effect? Overclocking/optimising/etc? My RAM is never fully cached, but I have no idea how the whole thing works, so how could, when a map is loaded, this effect my fps negatively? With ragged jitters?

Same for my HDD really, but I know you can't overclock or really optimise (apart from defragmentation) which I do regularly, but I still fail to see how that is causing my negative effects?

Can any nerd explain or have any tips for me?

Cheers again in advance :)

ShortAlieN's picture
Joined: 10/13/2010
Posts: 99

Another thing that you may have not thought about is that, the game itself might be causing the problem. the COD series is using older tech and programming that has been shined up a bit to make it "new" again and resold as a new game. As you stated, the COD games do not use much system resources so I dont really see you bottlenecking as far as your hardware goes. Even the most recent COD:MW3 uses dated technology because it is a console game ported over to PC.

Though as Rodney stated, your RAM and HDD's are most likely the choke points in your system.

Couple of questions to maybe help a bit more,

What motherboard are you using?

I'm thinking that your RAM is probably DDR2 at that speed, but I could be wrong. Do you know if your RAM is DDR2 or DDR3?

It's not what you do, it's how well you do it.

Joined: 01/10/2012
Posts: 3

Very good points, but I have noticed this in other games as well. But I agree yes, I shall definitely look at guides etc of optimising the cod series for sure.

Very true, I should have added that it is DDR2.
Motherboard is the ASUS M3N78 PRO.

Cheers for even contemplating replying!

PS it really doesn't seem like a performance, so to speak issue. It's like the game almost "stops" for a short period of time, to quickly recover itself. I think it's the ram, but surely if it's not fully cached it shouldn't be having a problem??