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All,

 

Within the last month or so, I've noticed quite an increase in lag/stuttering in BF3 multiplayer and decided to investigate to see what I could do on my end and pass my experiences along to others.  My problem is thus:

 

In game, with perfmeter running, I notice significant stuttering.  The stuttering is worse when I'm moving in some direction then look in another direction.  The number of players in the server really doesn't make much difference, and it happens in all BF3 servers I play on, but our server does seem a little worse than others for some reason.  Here is a YouTube video that describes what I'm experiencing.  I'm not alone in observing this phenomenon, and there are tons of threads on almost every kind of forum you can imagine that discuss folks trying to get to the bottom of this issue.  I would like to know if you guys have experienced it and what you did to solve it.  Here's what I've done so far...

 

System specs in my sig.  I have most eye candy turned off, FOV is 70.  Avg. CPU is about 70% - 80%.  Never seen my CPU go to 100% in BF3.  HDD access looks normal with no signs of excessive disk access.

 

- Clean install Win7 x64

- Latest BIOS

    - Stock clocks

    - HT disabled

    - C1E disabled

    - Virtualization disabled

- Latest chipset drivers

- Core Parking diabled

- Latest Nvidia drivers installed

- Tried two different video cards, no change in the issue

- Latest NIC drivers, IPV6 diabled (unavailable in my Comcast segment anyway)

- Some network stack tweaks (no effect that I could notice)

- Vsync on

- FPS limited to 59.95 in user.cfg (with appropriate FPS set in game, with ingame vsync on)

 

None of these changes made any real difference... the underlying issue is still there.

 

As far as I can tell, my PC is running well and doesn't appear to be stressed by running BF3 Multiplayer.  I've played the game since the beginning without any problems, until recently.  I really don't think it's my hardware or my network.  I'm going to try different games so that I have something to compare with.

 

More as this develops.

 

war

 

 

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what cpu do you have? its very possible you are not maxing out the cpu but are maxing out a single core that is needed and this causing studders? have you tried overclocking?

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what cpu do you have? its very possible you are not maxing out the cpu but are maxing out a single core that is needed and this causing studders? have you tried overclocking?

Core i7 3820 @ 3.6GHz (stock clocks).  Uses the LGA 2011 chipset.

Edited by =ADK= warspite

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ah for some reason i didnt look at your sig. lol my bad. have you tried overclocking?  when i did some tests with a 2600k i saw a few fps average increase but it wasnt cause i was getting higher frame rates it was because i was getting less dips in frame rates. try it.

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ah for some reason i didnt look at your sig. lol my bad. have you tried overclocking?  when i did some tests with a 2600k i saw a few fps average increase but it wasnt cause i was getting higher frame rates it was because i was getting less dips in frame rates. try it.

I will give it a shot.  I was running this system at 4.5GHz for some time, and I don't think I had the stuttering then.

 

Another data point:  Ran Heaven benchmark and P95 simultaneously for 3 hours, no errors and very smooth frames (~ 33 FPS).  My hardware seems very stable since both CPU and GPU were at 100 percent the entire time.

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Okay,

 

Here's the latest...

 

- Ruled out the possibility that PB is inducing lag (terminated PB A&B, played on a server with no PB, no change)

- OC'd to 4.3GHz, no change

 

I'm out of ideas and airspeed with this one.  As long as a stand still or move in a single direction w/o looking around, I have no lag.  Number of players don't affect the problem much, the lag happens in empty servers as well.

 

Given all that I've tried, I have to conclude that my lag/stuttering problem is caused by things beyond my control  It could be:

 

- One of the routers on my path is dropping packets

- Crappy netcode

- Something I haven't yet thought of

 

Any Ideas?  

 

war

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Here is a sample of but one thread on EA's forums that describes exactly what I'm experiencing.  In the past, the game worked great, but all of a sudden it is almost unplayable at times, even on our servers (I have a steady 37 ping!).

 

I did pull one nugget out of the several posts I've read, and that is to disable any DLNA (streaming media) servers you might be running.  I will disable the native Win7 server and see if that helps.

 

more to follow...

 

war

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Since its summer time, temperatures tend to be higher than usual. You should monitor your CPU and GPU temperature and see if your reaching high temperatures. 

Yeah,

 

I've been watching it pretty steadily and all temps and volts are within limits.  Hardware-wise, I think I'm in  pretty good shape.

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Yesterday I've gotten some positive results with the tests I've run on several different servers.  I've made some good headway and have gotten to the point where I get significant stretches of lag-free gameplay, then I will get a hit of lag briefly, then no lag for awhile.  I have to assume that this is probably normal.  To date, I've tried:

 

- Clean install Win7 x64
- Latest BIOS
    - Stock clocks
    - HT disabled
    - C1E (and C3/5/7, and SpeedStep) disabled
    - Virtualization disabled
- Latest chipset drivers
- Core Parking diabled
- Latest Nvidia drivers installed
- Tried two different video cards, no change in the issue
- Latest NIC drivers, IPV6 diabled (unavailable in my Comcast segment anyway)
- Some network stack tweaks (no effect that I could notice)
- Vsync on
- FPS limited to 59.95 in user.cfg (with appropriate FPS set in game, with ingame vsync on)

- Changing several of the in-game settings

- Made lots of changes to my user.cfg file

 

All of the above things really didn't help much, then I did the things below yesterday (leaving the earlier changes  in place):

 

- Disable DLNA server
- Disable Origin Notifications
- Nvidia Ctrl Panel
   - Set Max Prerenderered Frames to 1
   - Turned Vsync ON
   - Set Triple Buffering to OFF
- Turn off Network Discovery 
- Disable cloud sync on Origin 
- Flush the DNS cache
- Disable ECN Packets
- Disable UPnP service 
- Disable SSDP Discovery
- Disable Pagefile (swapfile)
 
In my user.cfg file, I set maxframes to 59.95
In game
   - Set my resolution to 1920x1080 @59.95Hz
   - Set Vsync to ON
   - Set Network Smoothing slider all the way to the right (full)
 

Gameplay was much better after making these changes.  I'm not sure which thing or which combo of things did the trick, but I took the "throw a bunch of things at the wall and see what sticks" approach and it seems to have worked.  

 

I'm still not "lag free", but at least the game is a lot more playable.  I know a lot of you will say, "Wait, you're introducing input lag and other nasties by using network interpolation and turning Vsync on.  I have to agree.  I am sure that, although gameplay appears to be smoother, my hit registration is suffering somewhat for it.  Since I don't play competitively, these slight offsets are a sacrifice I'm willing to make in order to see better in game and enjoy the gameplay more.  I figure if YouTubers can live stream and play at 60FPS with Vsync and network interpolation maxed out to smooth the game (while being competitive), I can suck it up for casual play.

 

As far as I can tell, despite these settings, I have no perceptible input lag.  Maybe having a powerful PC and a 120Hz monitor helps keep the input lag down to a dull roar.  My replacement video card gets here Friday, and once I have it installed, I should be able to Vsync at 120Hz vice 60Hz.  I will test that out and see how things go with two GTX 670s in SLI (bet you never thought I would do that :) ) and the game running on mostly "Low" settings.  More to follow this weekend.

 

So, to date, this thread should serve as a pretty comprehensive list of things to try to reduce lag and stuttering in BF3.  It is probably even better that I don't know exactly what did the trick, because everyone's system is different, as are their networks and the hops between their router and the game server they are playing on.  So many variables that no one can definitively say there is "one right thing" to do in order to fix the lag in BF3.

 

war

Edited by =ADK= warspite

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Have you tried to lower your resolution more? say to 1600 x ???  I play in window mode so I can see who is in TS. Maybe that could help narrow down some of your prob.  how about disconnecting the 2nd monitor?

Edited by EFr_000

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Have you tried to lower your resolution more? say to 1600 x ???  I play in window mode so I can see who is in TS. Maybe that could help narrow down some of your prob.  how about disconnecting the 2nd monitor?

I will try this out as well (haven't done it yet).  I still have a few tricks up my sleeve I'm going to try as well.  I haven't given up yet!

 

I am curious as to what happened to cause this problem... a few months ago, all was well, then (as others have said, too) playability has become progressively worse.

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I have the exact same issues with Gigabtye GTX 660 Sli mode with its own OC and I get those spikes but nothing less I also occasionally will loose all ground textures were I can see through mountains and it wont go away...

Edited by Zinkiey

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Observations and Conclusions (related to BF3 multiplayer ONLY):

 

If you've followed this thread to date, you've gained some insight into some of the frustration and challenge I've faced as I've tried to tame this game into behaving like many of the other FPS I've played in the past (mostly CoD titles).

 

1. Two issues:  1) Lag spikes (CPU spikes on perfmeter) on any server regardless of population level (FPS unaffected), and 2) dramatic FPS drop and apparent lag spikes on large map, heavily populated servers (like our Caspian server)

 

The first issue was mostly mitigated by tweaking my client-side network settings and replacing my cable modem with an ISP-provided DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem.  These lag spikes occurred at 1-3 second intervals, even on empty servers, and resulted in significant stuttering.  On the perfmeter, they would show as a single sharp spike followed by a second or two lag activity (jagged lines), then they would smooth out again for a few seconds, then the process would repeat.  At this point, I think I've pretty much got that one solved and you can consult my posts above to see exactly what I did to fix it (in addition to upgrading my cable modem as described in this post).

 

The second issue is more complex, and I think I'm at the end of the road on this one and I will have to do my best to manage it as is.  Here is how I describe the second issue:

 

- Scenario:  Our Caspian server populated with 50+ players.  I get a constant 37ms ping to this server.

- System config:  See my sig.  I'm currently running a Core i7 3820 at 4.3GHz with SLI'd GTX 670s (which I'm upgrading to a single GTX 780 this week)

- Default Game config: 1920x1080 @ 119.94Hz, 70 deg FOV, Vsync Off, Network smoothing at ~ 25%, Mesh set to Ultra, 2x MSAA, 16x Aniso, all else "Low" or "Off"

- Nvidia Ctrl Panel: Max Pre-rendered frames to "1", Nvidia-recommended SLI mode, Vsync & triple buffering to "Off", other settings to "Nvidia Recommended"

- All of the testing I've done with my SLI setup shows that it works and it is scaling pretty well.  It scales to 98% in "Heaven" (everything maxed) and appears to scale around 80-85% in BF3 multiplayer.

 

Situation:  When I spawn in any deployment and move around in the deployment (all maps), I get a solid 170+ FPS, and when I look at the ground or at the sky I get the capped FPS (250).  As I begin to move out of the deployment (on foot or in a vehicle) and look toward the objectives, my FPS declines steeply until it reaches between 70-80 FPS.  FPS never dips below 65 FPS.  Average CPU load appears to be around 75% (with spikes to 100% at times) and the average GPU usage (load on both GPUs) appears to be around 55% with temps never exceeding 50C.

 

Conclusion:  My CPU is the bottleneck on large-map, heavily populated servers.   I'm disappointed in this as an i7 3820 running at 4.3GHz shouldn't be choking on a game that was coded to run at 30FPS on an 8 year-old console.  My SLI config is working fine.  I think that my GPUs aren't maxing out (like they do in single-player mode and in benchmarks) because they are waiting on the CPU to tell them what to render.  A more powerful GPU isn't going to help me here because there's not much work for a GPU to do while it waits for the CPU to process the scene.  I'm going to test this theory tonight by attempting to play in an empty large map server with similar ping, but I think the CPU is the culprit in this case (as opposed to network, drivers, OS, etc.).

 

If you have a rig of similar power to mine, use a 60Hz monitor with Vsync and Triple Buffering on, you may not even notice what it is I'm talking about.  When I use my alternate (60Hz monitor) with Vsync and Triple Buffering on, my gameplay is very smooth and the scenes are crisp (since I never dip below 65FPS).  My only bitch is that my monitor's relatively slow pixel response time causes the scene to blur when I look around.   However, when playing with my 120Hz monitor, the lag and performance penalty is pretty significant.  Given what I've observed, I'm beginning to feel that a solid 60Hz monitor with very quick pixel response time could be a better choice for gaming over a 120Hz monitor if you (for whatever reason) are unable to get your average FPS above 95 or so (with 120FPS being the ideal).

 

I am really interested in what our community has to say on this issue and if they have observed the same things.  Please let me hear from you.

 

war

Edited by =ADK= warspite

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I was going to suggest disabling the UPnP and the SSDP Discovery setting but it appears you beat me too it haha. Also try changing your DNS on your router, I was experiencing the same issues and every few months I switch between googles 8.8.8.8/8.8.4.4 dns servers and my ISPs. You also have to remember that at certain times of the day you'll experience unusual packet loss, this is will happen because of the traffic in your area (meaning more people using the ISPs lines). You may have your own internet for your house but you still borrow from a nearby server that is being used by hundreds of thousands of people in your area (or less depending upon how rural the your area is).

 

If you're still getting these issues I suggest adjusting the slider to about your ping. The slider (for me) works from 0 to 100 latency. Adjust it to around your ping (sad to say but dynasty is right about something EEK!). Also if you're still getting it, the most common factor? Dust. Dust is your god damn enemy. I didn't see anywhere that you cleaned out your computer. Once every 3 months I take apart my computer completely and get as much dust out as possible. 

 

Just curious when was the last time you changed the thermal paste on your cpu?

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Great comments! I checked the things you mentioned, and I think at this point I'm good with the stuttering. At this point I'm focusing on steep drops in FPS when I look at the objectives cluster from deployment on large maps.

Here is what I observed tonite on an empty Caspian server:
- Map: Firestorm, RU deployment.
- Location: Standing on hill outside RU deployment, overlooking "C" and Cisterrns

Standing on hill, looking at cisterns: 245 FPS
Standing on hill (in same spot), looking at A, B, C, D cluster: 107 FPS

So, over a 50% drop in FPS just from shifting my view 45 degrees to the left. I could not correlate a corresponding increase in CPU loading, but GPU load did decrease when I looked at the objective cluster (about 5%).

Thoughts?

War

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  - Set Network Smoothing slider all the way to the right (full)

 

Should have been what helped it some.

 

As I say Ping is a set algebraic calculation that has more to do with where your IP is and where the server is located along with measured response time. I don't know of a game server that actually "pings" clients as this is a waste of resources and network bandwidth. Point- a ping is a guess, though calculated.

 

What your experiencing is network issues. I thought for sure I mentioned in a router post that when you buy your own router with Comcast sometimes updates fail and you have to call tech and have them push updates to your modem. I had the same issue a year ago and that is what fixed it. 

 

Dropping frames like you're experiencing is normal depending on your settings. As long as your eyes don't notice it it shouldn't matter. Depending on your settings that is a lot of data to pinpoint where you and the players are while rendering the map as you move. The area around you, out of your vision is not completely rendered and depending on your field of view settings the area in front of you is not completely rendered either though parts are stored on your clients memory. So when you turn it renders as quickly as possible. That causes your FPS drops mainly cause it can't render fast enough so your FPS's slow down to reduce tearing and other visual distortions. All engines that I know of do this. Any one who believes your client and the server have a map loaded and rendered completely need to learn something at least or buy a One or PS4.

 

As far as BF3 being optimized, it actually is optimized very well. It was developed for PC with 120 players per server (reduced due to server load and network systems issues).  Imagine trying to make something work flawlessly on millions of possible set ups and network configurations. The comment that it isn't is uneducated and frankly just silly.

 

@War. Fix your network. Reduce the amount of routers (I believe you mentioned more than one?) and try plugged into your main cable modem directly with the shortest cable you can. Besure your input coax is not split off for a tv in the same room. That will cause you to lose packets. Keeping connections to a minimum.

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@[member='Bromance']

 

Thanks!  Man, I've missed you in the forums for a while, great to have you back!  I will continue to work the issue and it's good to know that my system isn't whacked and that figuring this issue out is within reach.  More to follow!

 

War

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Okay folks, the beat goes on and I think I found the major culprit for my FPS drops based on the post by Zinkiey above.  You can find that post here.  In a nutshell, it put me on the trail of going through all of the video settings in depth to determine their effect on gameplay.  Here is what I learned (this time, with pictures! :D )...

 

Scenario, same as above.  Same point on the Firestorm map in an empty Caspian server with a stable ~ 40ms ping.

- Nvidia Ctrl Panel:

    - Textures: Quality

    - Vsync and Triple Buffering: OFF

    - Max Pre-rendered Frames: 1

- In game: FPS capped at 250 (all other settings as in images)

 

- When looking at Cisterns, FPS goes to near the cap (250FPS).

 

bf32013-08-1716-03-45-42_zpsca1a7d39.jpg

 

When looking at the A, B, C, D cluster with all settings on "LOW", I get the following result: ~ 192FPS

- CPU avg usage: 46%

- GPU avg usage: 68%

 

bf32013-08-1716-08-22-62_zps5e3bd28e.jpg

 

Here is what happens when all else is set to "LOW" and Mesh Quality is set to "HIGH"

 

bf32013-08-1716-38-59-86_zpsc83a9e70.jpg

 

FPS takes a 38% hit, dropping from an average of about 190 to an average of about 140.  That's a pretty steep hit, and we haven't even filtered the image yet or added any players to the server!

- CPU usage remained the same.

- GPU usage increased by 10% (from 68% to 78%)

- GPU memory usage increased by 7% (to approx 1GB of 3GB available)

 

To achieve what I though to be a playable video configuration that maximizes FPS and also looks decent, I used the following settings:

 

bf32013-08-1717-28-10-96_zps7365b2f8.jpg

 

Here is the scene rendered using the optimal settings:

 

bf32013-08-1717-28-21-88_zps9a26377f.jpg

 

As you can see, with the optimal settings used above, I'm getting pretty good frames while having good textures, 2x MSAA, and 16x Anisotropic filtering.  Granted, i'm getting these frames in an empty server, but if I want to vsync with my 120Hz monitor, I will probably have the headroom to do so.  I will play this config for a while and let you all know what I find out.  I also tested many other settings, but none of them had the crushing impact that "Mesh Quality" did (perhaps with the exception of some of the other filters, which I don't use anyway, so I didn't bother testing them).

 

Again, I would like to give a shout out to Zinkiey for putting me on this trail.  I had seen that post before, but didn't really credit it much as I felt I had bigger fish to fry.  Turns out that had I explored this post and tested it more thoroughly, I may have gotten to the root of my problem sooner.  At this point, I'm pretty satisfied with both my network performance and my game performance.  I've got some play testing to do, so more to follow!

 

war

Edited by =ADK= warspite

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