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Question Massive Latency Spikes

Jul 17, 2021
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Hi everyone,
I came here hoping to find an explanation to my problem. As the title say, I experience massive latency spikes, and it happens when I play COD Warzone. It's over a month that i try to find a solution, cause the issue is, for me, pretty strange. I'll try to give every info I have and every method I tried from different sources.
So first is my network configuration. My house has 4 floors: -2,-1,0,1. Th einternet connection from my ISP comes in at floor 0 where it connects to my modem/router (given by the ISP). My modem router has 4 lan ports, so i used cat5 cables to connect every floor. At the moment, the active connection are an AP at floor -1, an AP at floor 1. I use my laptop at floor 1, connected to the AP. When I play Warzone I notice that the game lags massively and from the data that I read it is the latency fault, massive latency spikes, which make the game unplayable. My first though was that a wifi connection was not very good so i bought a netgear switch (GS305, 5 ports). So now at floor 1 I have the cable from the router connected to the switch . To the switch itself I connected the previously used TpLink AP and my laptop via cat5 cable. The problem remains and I experience the lag spikes. I tried to disconnect the AP from the switch, leaving only my laptop connected but same problem. I tried replacing the switch with an older one I had, same problem. The thing is, if I am connected via LAN directly to my router it all goes well, i tried connecting via cable at floor 1 and at floor 0 and no problem whatsoever. After the switch I tried again via WIFI but again same problem. Note that i experience this just in game, every day internet surfing, film streaming, youtube watching is all fine in each of the previous configurations. I tried giving fixed IP to my laptop and changing DNS but no results. I tried turning off all the devices connected to the network leaving only my laptop, no results. I tried the port forwarding options on my router, leaving the game's ports open, no results.

So my conclusion is, it is not the ISP fault, cause from the router it works fine. It is not the switch fault cause I replaced it and also tried without it. It is not the AP cause I tried without it. It is not the games' servers. What could it be? I just can't find a solution to this.
Little note, I palyed battlefield for a bit when connected via WIFI and i did not experience problems of any kind, but from when this all started i experience rubberbanding and lag spikes i battlefield also.

All the help is greatly appreciated, i mean, just reading all this rant must be a pain so ...
If I need to give you more info of any type I'll do.
 
This is very strange and likely you have a intermittent issue that is making testing hard.

So what makes you say you have a "latency" spike. Do you have a actual measured number you see someplace or is this based on some stall or lag you see in the game.

Key here is do you have packet loss or do you have actual short term increases in the latency.

Short term latency spikes are caused by data being held in a memory buffer. The actual data transfer on cable and fibers is purely a distance thing based on some fraction of the speed of light. The latency does not change the data is discarded if there is a issue. Only devices like routers or end servers hold data in buffers.

A switch is a very simplistic device. It uses very special chips that are designed for this purpose, it does not really have software. Even very inexpensive consumer switches pass data is what is considered wire speed. The switch will not hold or delay traffic. It has the ability to run all the ports at full speed both in and out at the same time. So a 8 port switch can pass 16gbits/sec of data constantly. A switch does not have any place to hold data so it should never cause a increase in the latency. Switches are transparent to the data communications in most cases you can not even detect them even if you try.

Now there could be errors the data is being discarded but that is seldom a switch issue it is mostly a cable issue. There are a lot of fake ethernet cables on the market.

Maybe try to leave a constant ping run to your router IP. In most cases you will see 1-3ms with no loss.
 
Jul 17, 2021
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This is very strange and likely you have a intermittent issue that is making testing hard.

So what makes you say you have a "latency" spike. Do you have a actual measured number you see someplace or is this based on some stall or lag you see in the game.

Key here is do you have packet loss or do you have actual short term increases in the latency.

Short term latency spikes are caused by data being held in a memory buffer. The actual data transfer on cable and fibers is purely a distance thing based on some fraction of the speed of light. The latency does not change the data is discarded if there is a issue. Only devices like routers or end servers hold data in buffers.

A switch is a very simplistic device. It uses very special chips that are designed for this purpose, it does not really have software. Even very inexpensive consumer switches pass data is what is considered wire speed. The switch will not hold or delay traffic. It has the ability to run all the ports at full speed both in and out at the same time. So a 8 port switch can pass 16gbits/sec of data constantly. A switch does not have any place to hold data so it should never cause a increase in the latency. Switches are transparent to the data communications in most cases you can not even detect them even if you try.

Now there could be errors the data is being discarded but that is seldom a switch issue it is mostly a cable issue. There are a lot of fake ethernet cables on the market.

Maybe try to leave a constant ping run to your router IP. In most cases you will see 1-3ms with no loss.
Hi,
so I am not a network expert but I thought tha same thing about the switch, and that is the reason why this issue seem so strange.
The only reason that I say this is a latency issue is the game counters. From the in game options you can enable counter for packet loss in % and for ping, latency, fps, cpu velocity and such.. I tried to keep an eye on the counters during the lag time, and the packet loss remain stable at about 0, while the latency spikes to 999 for the duration of the lag. These lag moments last about 4-5 seconds, with different time spans between one and the other. I'll try to test the ping, how do i do it? i saw that lots of people downloaded ping plotter, is it ok?
Thank you for your help!
 
You must be very careful about pingplotter. When you do not actually understand how the test is being done you can misread it. There are many red things that people try to blame when it is just a issue with how the testing tool runs. The other problem is that you can't run pingplot while your game is running so when the problems are very random you will not be able to catch it.

Ping is a simple line mode command. All I can say is either just try it until you figure it out or do google search.

You need to do very careful testing. You may already have been heading down the wrong path when you decided it was fine directly connected but not through a switch.
 

microtank

Great
Mar 26, 2021
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if you can't keep a consistent 512 kbps download speed, which Call of Duty probably only needs, than your devices are exceeding the bandwidth on the network. A cellphone can easily use all the bandwidth on a 1000 mbps "1 gbps" download speed network. that's almost 2000 times more bandwidth than you ever gonna need for a stable 30 ms to 150 ms connection to the servers. Whatever machine you are using to playing the game on.. well.. let's just say fornite only need 512 kbps to play online lag free. Cause a PC will use the bandwidth without your knowledge, especially svhost.exe. I've had the video card software kick me off once, all because it "need" 8 mbps of bandwidth, when I was runnin tests, on a limited 10 mbps.
 
Jul 17, 2021
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You must be very careful about pingplotter. When you do not actually understand how the test is being done you can misread it. There are many red things that people try to blame when it is just a issue with how the testing tool runs. The other problem is that you can't run pingplot while your game is running so when the problems are very random you will not be able to catch it.

Ping is a simple line mode command. All I can say is either just try it until you figure it out or do google search.

You need to do very careful testing. You may already have been heading down the wrong path when you decided it was fine directly connected but not through a switch.
OK, I'll do some research and come here when I'll have some results to show you.
And also, why would it be wrong to connect directly via LAN? It is the only way to make it work at the moment
 
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Jul 17, 2021
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if you can't keep a consistent 512 kbps download speed, which Call of Duty probably only needs, than your devices are exceeding the bandwidth on the network. A cellphone can easily use all the bandwidth on a 1000 mbps "1 gbps" download speed network. that's almost 2000 times more bandwidth than you ever gonna need for a stable 30 ms to 150 ms connection to the servers. Whatever machine you are using to playing the game on.. well.. let's just say fornite only need 512 kbps to play online lag free. Cause a PC will use the bandwidth without your knowledge, especially svhost.exe. I've had the video card software kick me off once, all because it "need" 8 mbps of bandwidth, when I was runnin tests, on a limited 10 mbps.
So, correct me if I'm wrong, you are saying that I experience this problems cause other devices are connected to the network? I'll try to run the game being the only one connected to make sure.
Could an AP influence my bandwith if there are no devices connected to it?

And about my pc, you are saying that some processes tends to keep bandwidth for them and causing the problem? Is there a way to see which processes they are?
 
You do want to try connected directly to the lan and connected with the switch and other combinations that have issues. Your goal is to try to collect information that shows what exact configuration is causing the problem.

If for example your testing shows no issues connected directly to the lan but then you connect a switch in between and you start to get packet loss you can then suspect the switch or one of the cables.

Your very first step though is to try to find a condition where your testing shows you get no problems. That could mean you connect your pc directly to your modem with no other devices connected.

Be very careful though, you have to be able to find the error with tools like ping or maybe the resource monitor. Games tell lies all the time. Let say game sends data to a server and is measuring the response time. While it is waiting it gets stuck in some very intensive video processing. It then goes and looks for the response. Many games will blame this extra time on the networks when really the data was there all the time waiting to be read. It tends to be very obvious because you have a ping in some background window showing consistent latency and the game saying it has 1000ms.
 
Jul 17, 2021
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You do want to try connected directly to the lan and connected with the switch and other combinations that have issues. Your goal is to try to collect information that shows what exact configuration is causing the problem.

If for example your testing shows no issues connected directly to the lan but then you connect a switch in between and you start to get packet loss you can then suspect the switch or one of the cables.

Your very first step though is to try to find a condition where your testing shows you get no problems. That could mean you connect your pc directly to your modem with no other devices connected.

Be very careful though, you have to be able to find the error with tools like ping or maybe the resource monitor. Games tell lies all the time. Let say game sends data to a server and is measuring the response time. While it is waiting it gets stuck in some very intensive video processing. It then goes and looks for the response. Many games will blame this extra time on the networks when really the data was there all the time waiting to be read. It tends to be very obvious because you have a ping in some background window showing consistent latency and the game saying it has 1000ms.
Ok, I see, i'll try to test my network with various set up and look at the results.
The thing that bugs me tho is, if it were a game issue like you described, ,and not my network, wouldn't I find it every time? Cause if I connect directly to the modem I have no issues.
 
That makes sense but then you must find what in your network is causing problems.

Latency is only caused by things being held in a buffer. Some device is holding that data an you need to find it. It is pretty much impossible for a switch to hold data which leaves your router BUT you say when you connect directly without the switch it does not happen.

Your current testing is not finding something. Hard to say you have to keep experimenting until something gives you a clue.
 

microtank

Great
Mar 26, 2021
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So, correct me if I'm wrong, you are saying that I experience this problems cause other devices are connected to the network? I'll try to run the game being the only one connected to make sure.
Could an AP influence my bandwith if there are no devices connected to it?

And about my pc, you are saying that some processes tends to keep bandwidth for them and causing the problem? Is there a way to see which processes they are?
That or is the type of 802.11 protocol you are using on wireless. Or the type of antennas the router has. A 5 dbi antenna doesn’t broadcast in a sphere, that would be a 2 dbi antenna. A 5 dbi antenna broadcast a doughnut type radius. And since you are on another floor you would want the antennas to be set up a certain way. If it’s using AP/WDS mode than wherever it’s obtaining the signal wirelessly is how it needs to be.

the importance of any internet connection is consistency. Speed is secondary in this modern world. Dial up internet can provide less than 95 milliseconds of latency in gaming and is still viable for certain applications and a great tool to see how stuff works. A terabit download speed would never decrease your latency, only the connection type can do that. Any device that exceeds the bandwidth it’s getting or available bandwidth on a network will cause latency issues. A inconsistent wireless signal will fluctuate bandwidth and that will also cause issues.

taskmanager in windows 10 provides the basics on how much bandwidth each process is using. It also provides a graph with a short time frame of what the entire Ethernet adapter is using. It calculates the the bandwidth amounts for download and upload that it’s using. Run the game in window mode and have taskmanager on the side. When the game lags or struggles to stay connected, you should see some indicator of what’s going on. You will also a ping monitoring tool. Command prompt gives you the ability to consistently ping a server. Ping the games IP address and add -t you can see how long it takes your device to reach the server and if there is any delays.

having better tools would cost some money, but in the end. I suggest running a speed test in the room you’re usually in and see what bandwidth you’re getting. Find out what you are getting from multiple tests, ping the games server constantly, and try figure out what’s going on. You also need to know if your laptop is using 802.11 AC or AX or N to get online. AC and AX are 5 ghz only, and N is both 2.4 and 5 ghz. But that’s another descriptive response.

512 kbps can run gears of war 4, fortnite, and Overwatch to name a few. But the connection needs to be consistent and stable.
 

microtank

Great
Mar 26, 2021
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Another thing to note is that most games ping once ever 5 seconds. Which 5000 ms. A ping spike would not be recorded if it happened during the ping delays. Pinging once a second would suffice on what’s actually going on.
 
Jul 17, 2021
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That makes sense but then you must find what in your network is causing problems.

Latency is only caused by things being held in a buffer. Some device is holding that data an you need to find it. It is pretty much impossible for a switch to hold data which leaves your router BUT you say when you connect directly without the switch it does not happen.

Your current testing is not finding something. Hard to say you have to keep experimenting until something gives you a clue.
Ok, thank you very much, i'll keep trying to experiment to find the problem.
 
Jul 17, 2021
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That or is the type of 802.11 protocol you are using on wireless. Or the type of antennas the router has. A 5 dbi antenna doesn’t broadcast in a sphere, that would be a 2 dbi antenna. A 5 dbi antenna broadcast a doughnut type radius. And since you are on another floor you would want the antennas to be set up a certain way. If it’s using AP/WDS mode than wherever it’s obtaining the signal wirelessly is how it needs to be.

the importance of any internet connection is consistency. Speed is secondary in this modern world. Dial up internet can provide less than 95 milliseconds of latency in gaming and is still viable for certain applications and a great tool to see how stuff works. A terabit download speed would never decrease your latency, only the connection type can do that. Any device that exceeds the bandwidth it’s getting or available bandwidth on a network will cause latency issues. A inconsistent wireless signal will fluctuate bandwidth and that will also cause issues.

taskmanager in windows 10 provides the basics on how much bandwidth each process is using. It also provides a graph with a short time frame of what the entire Ethernet adapter is using. It calculates the the bandwidth amounts for download and upload that it’s using. Run the game in window mode and have taskmanager on the side. When the game lags or struggles to stay connected, you should see some indicator of what’s going on. You will also a ping monitoring tool. Command prompt gives you the ability to consistently ping a server. Ping the games IP address and add -t you can see how long it takes your device to reach the server and if there is any delays.

having better tools would cost some money, but in the end. I suggest running a speed test in the room you’re usually in and see what bandwidth you’re getting. Find out what you are getting from multiple tests, ping the games server constantly, and try figure out what’s going on. You also need to know if your laptop is using 802.11 AC or AX or N to get online. AC and AX are 5 ghz only, and N is both 2.4 and 5 ghz. But that’s another descriptive response.

512 kbps can run gears of war 4, fortnite, and Overwatch to name a few. But the connection needs to be consistent and stable.
Ok, I understand. Thank you very much for all your advices, I'll try to follow your instructions and see what I can come up with.
In fact yesterday I made some tries, pinging google dsn and other ip's, with pingplotter and also with the ping command on cmd. One thing that i asked myself was which one is the game's server ip, cause when i launch it there are a ton. I used LiveTcpUdpWatch and tried to ping a bunch of them, some wouldn't connect, others were fine.
That said thank you again, we'll see what my network has got to say.
 
Jul 17, 2021
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Update:

I'm running some tests, like you suggested me, and for now i managed to check on the task manager while the game was connected. Connecting via AP wifi or via switch gives the same result which is the lag. In game it does not correspond everytime with an increase in latency. I noticed also that it starts lag free, but after the first like 2.3 minutes the first lag happens and it does not stop. From task manager i noticed that the lag corresponds to down spikes in bandwidth, with almost touches 0. It also corresponds to CPU usege down spikes, i don't know if they are relatable. I tried using ping plotter but I need to understand it a bit more, i don't really know which IP to ping when the game is running. Also i need to check the behaviour whenI'm connected directly to the modem.
Also , from a pair of speedtests, my bandwith is around 70/75 Mbps in download and 19/20 Mbps in upload and I have a 802.11 N wifi module in my laptop.
 
Always run on ethernet when you have that option. Any form of wifi just adds to the complexity.

To start with you want to ping your router IP. Leave a cmd window run in the background with a constant ping running. You seldom see any problems doing this but it use to show that your computer and router do not have a network issue inside your house. You do this mostly because the ISP and the game company will blame it and this will prove it is not.

Next I would ping a common ip like 8.8.8.8. I would also leave the ping to your router running in different window. So now when the game says there is some problem you can check these 2 windows and see if they detect a problem

Now if you see no issues in the ping windows when the game sees issues it is either going to be some issue with the game software or it is a network issue far into the internet maybe in the game company ISP. You could I guess ping the actual game servers instead of 8.8.8.8 but it tends to be hard to get anything fixed when it is not in your ISP network.

If you see ping issue to 8.8.8.8 when the game has issues then you have some kind of network issue. You could try to call the ISP and show them no issues to your router but problems to 8.8.8.8 If they blame google (8.8.8.8) then you need to ping the first ISP router, that will be hop 2 for most people in a tracert or the pingplotter.
 
So I guess I forgot the fairly standard question. Is there any kind of so called "gamer"/QoS network drivers or app running on your pc. It is bundled with killer ethernet chipset. It also comes on many asus motherboards as well as with some video cards. You need to uninstall this software if you have it.
 

microtank

Great
Mar 26, 2021
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Ok, I understand. Thank you very much for all your advices, I'll try to follow your instructions and see what I can come up with.
In fact yesterday I made some tries, pinging google dsn and other ip's, with pingplotter and also with the ping command on cmd. One thing that i asked myself was which one is the game's server ip, cause when i launch it there are a ton. I used LiveTcpUdpWatch and tried to ping a bunch of them, some wouldn't connect, others were fine.
That said thank you again, we'll see what my network has got to say.
when pinging a server with ping plotter, you want to run hours of tests so you can see what’s happening. You’ll want minimize server timeouts and those are marked with a red line. Start with 5 second pings and try to stabilize the connection with whatever you can configure within your power. First it’s the wireless Ethernet adapter on the laptop, and then the router. If you are on 802.11 wireless N. You could still be on the 5 ghz frequency. Some routers give you the ability to choose the 802.11 protocols for the frequencies. Make sure that the 5 ghz frequency is not broadcasting N.

802.11 G is 2.4 ghz only. Which means, on the laptops Ethernet adapter, you want to go to device manager and right click the laptops wireless ethernet adapter, and click properties. You should see 802.11 option and select the protocol types from there. I recommend 802.11 G. It maybe slow, but I have gotten 16 mbps with it, which is more than plenty for gaming. 802.11 G has good range, and less interference, and since 2.4 ghz goes through walls much better than AX, AC, and N’ “5 ghz” frequency, it’s the easiest to test. To utilize N longer ranger which is farther than G, you have to make sure N is being broadcasted on the 2.4 ghz frequency.

You also can obtain the IP address from the game while in game using task manager. Go to the performance tab, click Ethernet, and click monitor more settings. It will provide a bunch of stuff, but find the game, click it, and you should see the bandwidth the game is using, click it, and the IP address should be the one using the consistent bandwidth. Note, that some servers block a ping due to DDOS attacks, so not every server will allow you to do so. Each server has latency and when you play overseas, you have to realize that the speed of light and circuit broads are creating the delay in shots in game. The only thing that may reduce this latency is connection type. Which would mean cable, dsl, fiber, or very rare some T connections like T1.

hope this helps
 
Jul 17, 2021
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So I guess I forgot the fairly standard question. Is there any kind of so called "gamer"/QoS network drivers or app running on your pc. It is bundled with killer ethernet chipset. It also comes on many asus motherboards as well as with some video cards. You need to uninstall this software if you have it.
Hi,
I have a Killer wifi chipset but a standard Realtek ethernet one, I'll look for a similar driver/ app but I don't think so. I have a nvidia card with the nvidia app that I keep closed.

Thank you
 
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Jul 17, 2021
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when pinging a server with ping plotter, you want to run hours of tests so you can see what’s happening. You’ll want minimize server timeouts and those are marked with a red line. Start with 5 second pings and try to stabilize the connection with whatever you can configure within your power. First it’s the wireless Ethernet adapter on the laptop, and then the router. If you are on 802.11 wireless N. You could still be on the 5 ghz frequency. Some routers give you the ability to choose the 802.11 protocols for the frequencies. Make sure that the 5 ghz frequency is not broadcasting N.

802.11 G is 2.4 ghz only. Which means, on the laptops Ethernet adapter, you want to go to device manager and right click the laptops wireless ethernet adapter, and click properties. You should see 802.11 option and select the protocol types from there. I recommend 802.11 G. It maybe slow, but I have gotten 16 mbps with it, which is more than plenty for gaming. 802.11 G has good range, and less interference, and since 2.4 ghz goes through walls much better than AX, AC, and N’ “5 ghz” frequency, it’s the easiest to test. To utilize N longer ranger which is farther than G, you have to make sure N is being broadcasted on the 2.4 ghz frequency.

You also can obtain the IP address from the game while in game using task manager. Go to the performance tab, click Ethernet, and click monitor more settings. It will provide a bunch of stuff, but find the game, click it, and you should see the bandwidth the game is using, click it, and the IP address should be the one using the consistent bandwidth. Note, that some servers block a ping due to DDOS attacks, so not every server will allow you to do so. Each server has latency and when you play overseas, you have to realize that the speed of light and circuit broads are creating the delay in shots in game. The only thing that may reduce this latency is connection type. Which would mean cable, dsl, fiber, or very rare some T connections like T1.

hope this helps
Hi,
for starters yes, all the info you gave surely will help thank you.
I found the network card properties on my laptop and changed like you said, I'll continue to test like this for a while then.
The problem with pinging the game's server is that when I start a game the task manager gives me a bunch of the game's IP, and with a bunch I mean like more than 15. So i tried to ping the one with the higher number of packet received but pingplotter gives me a total packet loss and cannot ping it, but i am playing so i thought i pinged the wrong one.
 
Reactions: microtank
Jul 17, 2021
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Hi everyone,
to end this thread I just wanted to say that i found the solution to my problem (so maybe i need to flair this as solved but i don't know how). The thing is, the problem was not a network one. I found out that when i played on my wifi or connected to the cable from the switch i was also connected to my second monitor. I do not use the second monitor when i game but i was keeping the hdmi cable connected with the monitor turned off. Turns out that when I unplug the hdmi cable all works fine and the latency spikes registered in game were caused by that.
I want to thank everyone who helped, that was my fault but I really did not think abaut that cable.

Have a nice day!
 

microtank

Great
Mar 26, 2021
120
6
85
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Hi everyone,
to end this thread I just wanted to say that i found the solution to my problem (so maybe i need to flair this as solved but i don't know how). The thing is, the problem was not a network one. I found out that when i played on my wifi or connected to the cable from the switch i was also connected to my second monitor. I do not use the second monitor when i game but i was keeping the hdmi cable connected with the monitor turned off. Turns out that when I unplug the hdmi cable all works fine and the latency spikes registered in game were caused by that.
I want to thank everyone who helped, that was my fault but I really did not think abaut that cable.

Have a nice day!
so you were exceeding hardware limitations.. interesting
 
Jul 17, 2021
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so you were exceeding hardware limitations.. interesting
Hi,
Yes I think so. I also learned that the hdmi port of my laptop should be directly connected to the gpu, to make a better gaming experience with an external monitor. I don't know if I'm using a wrong monitor, if the port connection is just a commercial thing or it is the game that is too heavy if played on a larger resolution. The thing is just with the cable connected i experience those problems, monitor on or off doesn't matter.
I'll need to try with some other games or make some other tests to understand that.
 

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