Micro-Stutters - What is causing this?

olmek

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Whenever I am in a game, both online and offline, I experience these "micro-stutters". The game will just stop for a milisecond and then quickly catch back up with itself about once every 5 seconds or so. It happens with some games a lot more so than others.

It is NOT FPS dropping. It is NOT input latency. It is NOT network lag. It's just as I described it, and I cannot find out what is causing it.

The problem has persisted before and after I re-installed windows onto a new HDD I bought, so that should rule out suspicion that its a non-hardware problem, although I guess its still possible.

I have more than powerful enough hardware for the games and even have tried them on all low settings without any success. I have tried the new AMD 13.8 driver and I do NOT run crossfire.

Any suggestions or ways to troubleshoot the problem?


SPECS
-----------------
CPU: AMD Phenom(tm) II X4 980 Processor
Mobo: ASRock 970 Extreme3
RAM: 8GB (4x2GB) Patriot DDR3 PC3-8500F (533 MHz)
Vid Card: HIS AMD Radeon HD 6950 Series 2GB
OS: Windows 7 64bit
HDD: WD 1002FAEX (1TB - 7200RPM)
PSU: OCZ XStream 700w


Let me know what you think guys, thanks!
 

Tabris DarkPeace

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Yeah, micro-stutter only happens above 125fps really.

If the game stopped for 1ms, you wouldn't even notice. You would need to be getting over 1000fps to even have the 'chance' of noticing.
Anything over ~80fps most of the population cannot even perceive.
Past 125fps your mouse poll rate will limit any feedback loop so you could never 'feel' it.

If you can 'feel' it, then it isn't micro-stutter.

If the game is 'stopping' for about 1/48th of a second, then yeah, that is your FRAME RATE dropping, you would also perceive AND feel this via the mouse as it would change fluidity.

Are you in High Performance Mode?
Is your CPU overheating (over 80C)?
Is the Indexing Service running?
Which SATA AHCI driver are you using? (Ideally not the Microsoft one, as it plus the Indexer can cause this).

Is an anti-virus or defrag scheduled or some other background task running?

Are you using IObit GameBooster?
 

olmek

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I tried the new drivers and that did not seem to work... in fact I'm getting an error with the new drivers saying that catalyst has stopped working. I still played with the new drivers and the stutters continued. I'm going to roll back to the old drivers now.

Here is a screenshot of my temps after playing Starcraft II on medium graphics for 2 hours. A lot of stuttering occured during this session.

TEMPS: http://i.imgur.com/OpoerWJ.png

How do those temps look? Any other suggestions?




Thanks for responding!

Hmmm, I see. Then I guess I have the wrong word for it but YES you are exactly correct in saying that I can "feel" it. So perhaps it is a frame drop, just not in the traditional sense of the frames consistently dropping to 15fps or something. When the stutter is not occuring frames are great.

In response to your questions:

-I have tried running all problem games at lowest settings possible. If you are referring to the power setting in windows 7 then yes, I have been running in High Performance mode all this time. Just double checked :)

-I am not hitting 80C but see above for a screenshot of my temps and check them out to see if everything looks OK.

-The Indexing Service is not running. I went into services.msc and disabled "Windows Search". Is this what you meant? In fact, I am pretty anal about not having uneccessary services running so I disable quite a few of these types of services in services.msc panel.

-Im not entirely sure which SATA AHCI driver I am using, but I have not modified anything so I'm assuming the default? whatever that is? Link me something to install and I'll do it :)

-No anti-virus/firewall/anything. Also, not auto updaters or defrag shcedules. Again, Im usually pretty anal about having my system running super clean. In fact, here is a screenshot of all my processes I run while playing games: http://i.imgur.com/Ilvf2uk.png

-I am not using IObit GameBooster. Should I try it?

Thanks again and I'm looking forward to your response.

 

olmek

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Im also getting advice from one of my friends to flash my Radeon 6950 to a 6970... but I think he's just pretending he knows what hes talking about. Would something like that be worth a shot in my situation?
 

iam2thecrowe

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what? no. Absolutely not. microstutter comes from frames not being displayed evenly spaced as they hit the monitor, it can happen at any fps and is more noticeable at lower fps.

anyway, it sounds like an overheating issue, check cpu and gpu temps, can be throttling when overheating causing the fps drops.
 

olmek

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This option is only available with Crossfire setups. I dont even see the option present with my CCC.

Good suggestion though, keep them coming :)
 

olmek

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No I mean, i dont even run crossfire. I only own one card
 

olmek

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:(

I'm down to just buy a new video card. Do you think that is the most likely cause? Perhaps a switch to Nvidia?
 

olmek

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Have already tried this. The problem has persisted through a new hard drive altogether
 

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