Question Stutter, microstutter and frame pacing issues on certain games

Jan 24, 2022
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Hello there,

I have a fairly powerful rig and I've been experiencing a few issues regarding performance in games. This started happening from the moment I've upgraded to the Gigabyte M27Q gaming monitor. For some reason VRR works poorly in certain games and I've done everything I can think of to at least try reducing it. All of that with no avail.

The specs:

  • RTX 3070
  • Ryzen 5 3600 (PBO on) with AiO cooler
  • Corsair Vengeance 16Gb (2x8) DDR4 3600Mhz
  • Seasonic 650W Full Modular PSU
  • Gigabyte M27Q 1440p 170hz IPS HDR10 Freesync
  • Samsung 970 Evo Plus 1TB NVme
  • TeamGroup 1TB Sata SSD
  • 2xWestern Digital 1TB 7200rpm
The game that suffers more from these issues is Forza Horizon 5. I have Gsync activated for both Fullscreen and Windowed modes, I've activated the setting that allows Gsync to work with a non-certified Gsync compatible monitor. Gsync is apparently working according to the Nvidia's Gsync display overlay. According to users the M27Q works perfectly fine with Nvidia's Gsync with a range of 48-170fps. I have the refresh rate locked 3 under the max RR, low latency is set to on in NVCP, vsync is also set to on in NVCP. I tried disabling Vsync as well to no avail because it even makes things worse on most cases. I'm using a certified Display Port cable, by the way.

The workaround I've found to be able to run FH5 smoothly and stutter free is by limiting my screen's refresh rate to 60hz on NVCP. And that's not a valid solution imo because the point of buying a monitor like this is to take advantage of Gsync and high frames.

My temps are absolutely fine. My GPU never goes avove 60°C and neither does my CPU. I have great airflow and the PC is dust free. Using a Cooler Master TD500 Mesh case. The CPU's thermal paste is 2 months old and so is my GPU (I bought the GPU 2 months ago).

With all that being said I have absolutely no idea of what's going on. I even did a clean windows 10 install 2 days ago hoping it would help but it didn't. I can see the stuttering in MSI Afterburner by looking at both GPU usage and GPU's VRAM usage.

Important: Forza Horizon 5 is installed on my 970 Evo Plus.

Userbenchmark:
https://www.userbenchmark.com/UserRun/49810341

Thanks in advance!
 
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Jan 24, 2022
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Does your monitor have the option to enable gsync? Are you using Displayport?
My monitor doesn't have an option to do so but it does say Freesync is active when I access its main menu. And correct, I'm using a Vesa Certified Display Port cable and it's pluged into the middle Display Port. I've tried plugging it into the other two ports but the results seem to be the exact same.

I have no tearing whatsoever and when I enable the Nvidia's Gsync overlay it says Gsync is active. It almost seems like Gsync is "partially working" if that makes any sense. The stutter and frame pacing issues seem to be more prone to happen during situations where the framerate fluctuations get more "intense". I say "intense" in a way that they vary a bit more than in less GPU intensive scenarios. Albeit it can randomly stutter even in non-stressful areas of the game.

I've got no idea of what the problem might be. I've been updating the drivers (with DDU and the ethernet cable plugged off) everytime a new version releases and it's the same everytime.
 
Jan 24, 2022
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Is the monitor listed as gsync compatible?
If you're referring to how it's listed on the Nvidia's Control Panel it does say it's Gsync Compatible. Although if you're referring at the Nvidia's certification itself, there's none, I think. If I'm not mistaken it hasn't been certified by Nvidia. But for what I've heard/read the M27Q works perfectly fine as a Gsync compatible and those people haven't had any issues. That's why I eventually discarded the monitor being at fault a while back. But I don't know anymore.
 
If you're referring to how it's listed on the Nvidia's Control Panel it does say it's Gsync Compatible. Although if you're referring at the Nvidia's certification itself, there's none, I think. If I'm not mistaken it hasn't been certified by Nvidia. But for what I've heard/read the M27Q works perfectly fine as a Gsync compatible and those people haven't had any issues. That's why I eventually discarded the monitor being at fault a while back. But I don't know anymore.
Everything on your UB report looks good IMO. I'm not sure what the issue could be besides the monitor.
 
Jan 24, 2022
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Everything on your UB report looks good IMO. I'm not sure what the issue could be besides the monitor.
Yeah me neither. It's frustrating. I don't know what to do.

Well, I appreciate the help tho. Thanks a lot for replying. I'll keep on searching around for more posts and stuff (even though I've been searching for like a month now and haven't found anything). I'll try and update my monitor's firmware, considering I have no idea which version it's installed atm. It probably won't fix anything but oh well...

If I happen to find a solution I'll leave it here so that whoever is facing the same problem knows how to "fix" it.

Again, thanks!
 
Jan 24, 2022
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This is very infuriating. Just look at how messed up the GPU Usage (FH5) and GPU clocks (DL) gets. It completely destroys frametimes and makes the experience rather unpleasant. Yes I know I'm almost maxing out the VRAM in that print but bellieve me, this happens regardless of the ammount of VRAM I'm using. If I cap my framerate to 60fps the stutter and frame pacing issues vanish completely so this is 100% an issue regarding VRR and I've no idea of what in the world is causing this. Dying Light is actually not that big of a deal because the hiccups are really minimal and barely noticeable while fleeing hungry zombies but FH5 is an absolute pain. These issues occur no matter the settings. Even if I lower my FH5 settings to High the frametimes will still be all over the place.

View: https://imgur.com/a/W02KJYm


As you can see, both are suffering from stuttering/hiccups albeit FH5 is the worst of the pack with not only random stuttering as well as severe frame pacing issues regarding cities like Guanajuato and Mulegue. Guanajuato being the absolute worse of the two settlements.
 
Feb 3, 2022
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You kinda stumbled on the "solution", which is basically turning off VRR for that game. Anyway. So FH5 doesn't have exclusive fullscreen, it's basically just borderless, which means in order for VRR to work in it in Win11 u have to force Vsync on in NVCP. So if you under FH5 profile in NVCP choose Use 3D app settings, u'll effectively turn off VRR for FH5. Your next best move would be to enable Vsync in game and turn the FPS limiter to half of your refresh rate. I.e. my monitor is 144Hz, so what i get is 72 fps Vsynced in FH5 which feels infinitely more smooth than any VRR variation in this game. It almost completely eliminates frame pacing issues in that city, not 100%, as it seems to be extremely CPU heavy in certain spots of the city, which i suspect causes issues with VRR somehow. Same logic works for other games with similar problems, i.e. Metro Exodus. As i said, i think it's related to CPU bottleneck which sometimes you can't even see on frametime graph, but you can feel it as inconsistent framerate as VRR fails to cope with frame variations, this is my best guess. It's not a "fix" kind of "solution", rather it's a workaround.
 
Jan 24, 2022
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You kinda stumbled on the "solution", which is basically turning off VRR for that game. Anyway. So FH5 doesn't have exclusive fullscreen, it's basically just borderless, which means in order for VRR to work in it in Win11 u have to force Vsync on in NVCP. So if you under FH5 profile in NVCP choose Use 3D app settings, u'll effectively turn off VRR for FH5. Your next best move would be to enable Vsync in game and turn the FPS limiter to half of your refresh rate. I.e. my monitor is 144Hz, so what i get is 72 fps Vsynced in FH5 which feels infinitely more smooth than any VRR variation in this game. It almost completely eliminates frame pacing issues in that city, not 100%, as it seems to be extremely CPU heavy in certain spots of the city, which i suspect causes issues with VRR somehow. Same logic works for other games with similar problems, i.e. Metro Exodus. As i said, i think it's related to CPU bottleneck which sometimes you can't even see on frametime graph, but you can feel it as inconsistent framerate as VRR fails to cope with frame variations, this is my best guess. It's not a "fix" kind of "solution", rather it's a workaround.
Yeah well I've already done eveything you've suggested tho and yes, DX12 titles are a bummer due to not having Exclusive FS and that's likely one of the main reasons if not the main reason of the issues I'm experiencing. Anyway, I've already tried Vsync on for FH5 on NVCP, tried Vsync in-game with 85fps limit (half my RR) but it's the exact same thing, tried Vsync On in NVCP + 167fps limit, tried Vsync On + 70fps limit. I've tried everything and the best solution so far was to change my Windows Refresh Rate to 60Hz and turn on Vsync. It will provide the smoothest experience of all. However it's a terrible workaround as I see myself forced to change it each time I want to play this specific game.

What's weird is that, I bought the PS5 2 days ago and I can notice similar issues regarding stutter and frame skipping in certain games as well. In FIFA 22, for example, when It changes from 60fps to 30fps (cutscenes) it stutters a bit and I'm thinking the monitor itself might also be the culprit somehow. Sometimes it even feels like the game is running at 20fps while browsing the menus and I'm pretty sure the PS5 is more than capable of running simple menus with textboxes.

I'm just going to update the monitor's firmware and see if it fixes anything. I'm guessing it won't and that I'll have to rather live with it or get rid of the monitor somehow. Albeit the last option wasn't really something I was keen on doing, at all.

Anyhow thank you for replying. I'll keep you and the post itself updated if I come across a solution or if the firware update works at all.
 
Feb 3, 2022
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If you're unable to hit 85 fps locked with Vsync on and VRR off you will see stutters. 60 works because hitting 60 is easy with your config, 85 might be too much on high settings. I have 72 fps locked in scenario i described, that's the only reason it works.
 
Jan 24, 2022
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If you're unable to hit 85 fps locked with Vsync on and VRR off you will see stutters. 60 works because hitting 60 is easy with your config, 85 might be too much on high settings. I have 72 fps locked in scenario i described, that's the only reason it works.
But isn't gsync/freesync supposed to prevent that from happening? I thought those kind of VRR techs were aiming at providing smooth gameplay with high frame variations as long as the framerate was kept between the monitor's gsync range. I mean that's the one of the main reasons why I got this monitor in the first place. I know they aren't supposed to eliminate stuttering that is being caused by the game itself but this definetly seems to be cause by the screen in someway as I've already played FH5 on my old 1080p 60hz monitor with 1440p DSR and Vsync Off and I had no issues at all.
 
Feb 3, 2022
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But isn't gsync/freesync supposed to prevent that from happening? I thought those kind of VRR techs were aiming at providing smooth gameplay with high frame variations as long as the framerate was kept between the monitor's gsync range. I mean that's the one of the main reasons why I got this monitor in the first place. I know they aren't supposed to eliminate stuttering that is being caused by the game itself but this definetly seems to be cause by the screen in someway as I've already played FH5 on my old 1080p 60hz monitor with 1440p DSR and Vsync Off and I had no issues at all.
Yes and usually it does it's job, i.e. problem you've described is not present in every game. It might be related to multiple factors, like CPU bottlenecks when frame time becomes erratic, lack of exclusive fullscreen, maybe true Gsync doesn't have that problem, maybe those things combined make FH5 stand out -- i don't know, best i can guess atm. Bottomline is, VRR off and Vsync on with locked fps target (fps target should be either your current refresh or even for it, i.e. if your refresh rate is 120 then 40, 60 and 120 fps locks should work for you) should provide you with smooth and fluid experience IF everything works correctly. My system is very similar to yours, except monitor is 1440p UW 144Hz and GPU is 3070Ti, so in my case 72 fps is doable.
 
Jan 24, 2022
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Yes and usually it does it's job, i.e. problem you've described is not present in every game. It might be related to multiple factors, like CPU bottlenecks when frame time becomes erratic, lack of exclusive fullscreen, maybe true Gsync doesn't have that problem, maybe those things combined make FH5 stand out -- i don't know, best i can guess atm. Bottomline is, VRR off and Vsync on with locked fps target (fps target should be either your current refresh or even for it, i.e. if your refresh rate is 120 then 40, 60 and 120 fps locks should work for you) should provide you with smooth and fluid experience IF everything works correctly. My system is very similar to yours, except monitor is 1440p UW 144Hz and GPU is 3070Ti, so in my case 72 fps is doable.
Alright. I gotta do some further benchmarking and check the CPU usage along the way. What bothers me is that I've already lowered the settings and it doesn't change anything. It will drop to the low 60s as soon as I step into Guanajuato, no matter what. Maybe there's a specific setting that's making my CPU bottleneck. Although a Ryzen 5 3600 should even be enough to run this game at 4K, let alone 1440p. Sounds like an optimization issue to me.

Btw, what CPU do you have if you don't mind me asking?
 

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