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Laptop GT540M struggling with Havok physics?

Discussion in 'NVIDIA' started by AngryMerchant, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. AngryMerchant

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    This is a long-running problem with my laptop. Certain games, specifically Assassin's Creed II, Red Faction Guerilla, Saints Row The Third, and Sonic Generations, all have huge framerate drops. Seemingly at random or because of specific circumstances (some explosions/ effects destroy the framerate, other times the same explosion will occur at 50-60 fps with no problem). In every game, the framerate will drop to 10-15 fps. Not 5 fps, not 25 fps, always 10-15. And the problem gets more frequent the longer the game is running. But I've checked the temperatures, HWMonitor and CoreTemp say CPU cores are normal, 60-70c under load, and GPU-Z says GPU is only about 60c under load. And then I noticed all of the games use Havok physics. Games that don't use Havok (or with Source games, a modified version that apparently has no trouble on this computer), such as Mass Effect 3,The Witcher, Borderlands, or otherwise demanding games like Serious Sam 3, have no such issue. The global setting is GT540M and I've set every game in the NVIDIA settings to use the NVIDIA device.

    Consistent drops to 10-15 fps regardless of video settings, only in games using Havok physics, laptop is in performance mode, and temperatures are normal. But it's not like this is PhysX where you can choose what device takes care of it, Havok is part of the engine. How could I possibly fix an issue like this? Is it a memory issue? Where do I even start? Maybe it's a CPU problem?

    Asus A53SV
    GT540M 1GB
    i5 @ 2.4 ghz
    6GB RAM
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2012
  2. Slizzo

    Slizzo

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    Havok runs solely on the CPU. If you're having framerate issues when a lot is going on on the screen, then your GPU is not up to snuff. And the GTS540M is not a high end GPU...
     
  3. loloTHUNDAH New Member

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    I kinda experienced the same thing on my sister's GeForce 310m. At first I thought it was due to bad coding of the game, sucky drivers and the likes (temps here were normal; 60-70 underload, 30 idle). But when I cleaned the fans of the laptop, no more FPS drops for me :-bd might work in your case too.

    Btw, how old is that Laptop anyway?
     
  4. AngryMerchant

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    If the physics run on the CPU, how is that related to the weakness of the GPU?

    For example, in Saints Row The Third I might have an airstrike that blows up 5 cars, no problem. But at another time, one car gets blown up by a grenade, 10 fps. Assassin's Creed II seems to just do it at random. It is not a natural frame rate drop from demanding situations, I already explained it does not happen in Borderlands or Serious Sam 3, both moderately demanding games. It is an inexplicable issue that consistently drops the framerate to 10-15 fps regardless of how much or how little is happening. I get the feeling I'm going to have to repeat this a lot.

    It's been having this issue since I got it. I doubt it's a dust issue.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
  5. cdawall where the hell are my stars

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    Welcome to owning a GT540 with optimus. You may want to take a look into which driver works best, but it sounds like it swapping to the integrated video.
     
  6. AngryMerchant

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    I always forget about that horrible thing. But it can't be that every person ever with Optimus has that issue? Something would be said sometime if every laptop using NVIDIA had such issues. Or not. Ever.
     
  7. cdawall where the hell are my stars

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    99% of people I have ever talked to that have Optimus have issues with it.
     
  8. AngryMerchant

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    Aside from a known Sonic Generations compatibility issue that was easy to fix, the only time I've had the real compatibility issues was when the Intel video came up during Saints Row The Third, but all I had to do was right-click the icon and close it . There's still something that gets in the way, possibly related to Optimus. But now I've seen that it only affects games with Havok, which is strange. Every time it seems I'm close to fixing computer issues, something else comes up.

    And then I always get temporary fixes that can't even be explained. I checked the NVIDIA control panel and found that it was set to Quality instead of Balanced, which plagued my desktop as well. Then I unplugged the laptop to put it on battery, but made sure it was still in performance mode. No idea why this would make a difference, but might as well try everything. Right-click Sonic Generations, start with NVIDIA processor, had no issues where I was previously getting them constantly. And yet I have no doubt that if I try this again, it's going to get a drop. It's really baffling.

    First edit: A couple hours later, I've tried 3 more times. No problems with Sonic Generations, plug the AC back in, and worse than ever. Presumably because it's charging? Should that matter? Once it says "plugged in, not charging," I'll have to try again.

    Second edit: Laptop went to "fully charged," tried it and same issue. Unplugged it, tried it twice again, worked fine. Unplugged is 5 for 5 in Sonic. I have no idea how this is working.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
  9. Absolution

    Absolution

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    Did you manage to fix the problem?

    Saints Row The Third

    I got a 540M too and had to drop AA to 0, AF to 2x, 1280x768 resolution -_- (other details are high, with shadows off).

    People talking about Optimus as the issue, well, IMO its only an issue when the game is run on the HD3000, which in most cases its not. And I dont think Optimus swaps between intel and nvidia's GPUs once an application has been launched.

    Going to try the right click > High performance thing (even though I doubt it will make a difference since the little icon next to the clock is green - meaning that the 540M is being used for Saints row the third).
     
  10. AngryMerchant

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    I still haven't found anything particularly helpful. When the issue was at its worst in Saints Row, it was because the Intel GPU had somehow switched on at the same time. This is an old picture of it:

    http://www.btoforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=223&d=1332972796

    There's an icon in the tray showing the Intel processor, and shown in the task manager as igfxtray.exe. I exited the program and the icon hasn't come back since. I haven't tried exiting igfxpers.exe yet, a service that seems unnecessary because I always have native resolution on, but I have no idea if that will help either. There's also igfxsrvc.exe that starts during games and disappears when you alt+tab them, but because the NVIDIA and Intel processor are really just one card, trying to disable that will probably shut down the monitor. So don't touch that one.

    I've managed to get games to run using the Intel processor, which doesn't work if you right-click -> run with graphics processor. Only forcing it through the nvidia panel worked, so I could be certain the games were using the NVIDIA processor. It was noticeably worse using the Intel processor, and switching back, GPU-Z detects the NVIDIA processor, so the GT540M is definitely being used. And that means I still have no idea why it's experiencing such huge framerate drops unrelated to the performance otherwise (skipping right back up to 60fps after drops). Temperatures are pretty normal too for a laptop, staying under 70C most of the time and 75C at full load (even during a Saints Row 3 session with no drops, so still don't see if heat and drops can be associated).

    The only thing I can think of that I haven't done is benchmarks to see if the card is even performing properly, but it runs Super SF4 flawlessly and has no issues with Shogun 2 on medium, which is usually a very demanding game. On my computer it could be any number of background programs, though I'm pretty sure I've already tried uninstalling Asus ATK (reinstalled it when it didn't seem to make any positive change), made sure Power4Gear wasn't underclocking the components, and even reinstalled Windows once to no effect. I can't open it to clean it because if that voids the warranty and something else goes wrong, I'm completely screwed.

    And the other problem is, this just doesn't run at the level it should. Some games are just fine (the ones I just mentioned), and some of them just don't cut it. DX Human Revolution performance for one was pathetic even at the lowest settings, from the start.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  11. Absolution

    Absolution

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    This is the icon I was talking about :

    [​IMG]

    I remember when I first ran starcraft II it was using the HD3000, it was slow and laggy (particularly when my laptop was on power saving or balanced mode - throttling of processor speed somehow changes the speed of the HD3000 too), Alt+tabbed and checked this icon and it was grayed out. Forced the GT540M to run it and the game was ok.

    So, when Im running Saints Row TT, this icon is green and if you move/click the Optimus icon, you can see the SRTT icon in it.

    Still havent tried to force it through nvidia's application panel or the high performance option in the menu. Will do it today (and close the Intel software too).

    Now I know why gaming laptops dont include optimus technology..zzzz

    The 3rd mission ( at the armory ) is not fun to play at all ._.
     
  12. AngryMerchant

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    I haven't tried Saints Row yet, and I haven't checked the temperatures, but I got decent results with Darksiders II after I took out the battery and set maximum CPU state to 99% (no idea if that will help, but it doesn't seem to hurt). Played for 30 minutes without issue, but could have just been luck.
     
  13. eidairaman1

    eidairaman1

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    thats a ultra low end card, id recommend putting physx to the CPU if possible or turning them off totally.
     
  14. Absolution

    Absolution

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    My temps go to ~82-83 max on CoreTemp with 100% on maximum CPU state. Setting it to 99% will prevent the CPU from going into "turbo mode".

    For example the i5 2410m, default is 2.3Ghz, Turbo is 2.9Ghz.
     
  15. eidairaman1

    eidairaman1

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    most laptops today the cooling sucks. If they had a Inspiron XPS Gen 1 Chassis cooling wouldnt be an issue
     
  16. Absolution

    Absolution

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    Going to try that as well. Dont think a physx option is there in Saints Row. Found this too when searching in google.

     
  17. eidairaman1

    eidairaman1

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    no im saying force it via the Nvidia Control Panel
     
  18. Absolution

    Absolution

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    Well here are the results:

    1280x768, no AA, 2x AF, High all settings except Shadow (Low),

    Default (just run the game) :20fps
    Force High Performance : 20fps
    Add Saintsrow_dx11.exe to application profile : 20fps
    Auto select Physx in nvidia CP : 20fps
    Exit Intel software : 20fps
    Force CPU : 20fps
    Force GT540m: 20fps

    ie, no change.
     
  19. eidairaman1

    eidairaman1

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    Youre going to have to set detail levels to low. Also you know laptops speed varies when plugged into a wall or not too. Vsync could be enabled aswell

     
  20. AngryMerchant

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    You're sure you know what a GT540M is? It's far from an "ultra low end" card. Last low-end card I saw didn't run HL2 consistently at 1024 x 768, let alone Saints Row The Third at any settings. Given the number of people here who have a desktop in addition to a laptop and know the strengths and limitations of their systems, popping in to say "ur laptop sux" when in all likelihood it doesn't, that's not really helpful.
    It shouldn't need to be on minimum settings with Vsync for Absolution, and I didn't need to play it that way either. If you have to make such major compromises to get the game to run, there's already a problem. And as far as I know there's no NVIDIA option to disable PhysX outright, only game-specific options.

    Like I said, it's not literally two video cards in one computer, the Intel and NVIDIA processors each have different roles and can't work without each other. But you can tell games which one to use in case the auto-detect isn't working properly, which is what you should be doing for every game. The problem is, on my computer, there still seems to be something interfering and causing unconventional framerate drops. Outside of those drops, the afflicted games rarely drop below 30 fps and stay steady between 40-60. That's probably not the same issue as Absolution though, because I've checked on mine and the games are definitely using NVIDIA.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  21. eidairaman1

    eidairaman1

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    you ever realize a M series card are no where near the same performance level as Desktop parts?
     
  22. cdawall where the hell are my stars

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    The GT540M is ultra low end...
     
  23. xBruce88x

    xBruce88x

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  24. Absolution

    Absolution

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    Skyrim ran fine (didnt check FPS)
    Mass Effect 2 ran fine
    Tomb Raider Underworld ran fine
    APB runs fine (UT 3 engine)
    Dota 2 runs fine (~30fps)
    Starcraft 2 ran fine
    Kingdom of Amalur ran fine

    all of the above are on high texture setting (not highest or mid) at 1366x768 resolution.

    The only problem I had till now was with Spec Ops the line demo and Saints Row TT. But SRTT running 20fps at 1280x768 resolution with no AA is just sad.
     
  25. xBruce88x

    xBruce88x

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    SRTT is a pretty demanding game, esp in co-op or multiplayer

    System requirements
    Microsoft Windows[4][hide]
    Minimum:
    2 GHz dual core CPU
    2 GB RAM
    320MB Video RAM GPU w/ Shader Model 3.0 support (Nvidia GeForce 8800 series or ATI Radeon HD3800 series or better) GPU
    Windows XP with DirectX 9.0c OS
    DirectX 9.0C compliant sound card
    9.5 GB free hard disk space
    Co-Op Play: Nvidia GeForce 8800 cards with 640MB of Video RAM, ATI Radeon HD3800 cards with 1GB of video RAM or better
    Recommended:
    Any Quad core or 3.0+ Dual Core CPU
    4 GB RAM or more
    1GB Video RAM GPU w/ Shader Model 4.0 support (Nvidia GeForce GTX 400 series or ATI Radeon HD5000 series or better) GPU
    Windows 7 with DirectX 11 OS
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    9.5 GB free hard disk space
     
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