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What could be causing this slight pause in games - HDD or RAM/VRAM? Possible fixes?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by LifeOnMars, May 22, 2011.

  1. LifeOnMars

    LifeOnMars New Member

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    I play all my games at 2048x1536. Now, in the vast majority of games I get flowing, uninterrupted gameplay at expected framerates. My temps are perfectly fine with the CPU never going over 60c and my GPU below 70c (regardless of the game)

    In the odd few games though there is a distinct half second pause as it seems to be loading information into the game/or writing data, examples of this -

    Portal - Certain areas of the chambers
    Portal 2 - before I enter every chamber
    Mafia II - Loading up new areas of the map as I drive around
    Riddick - When the saving/loading icon appears on the screen
    Trine - As I move from room to room, or if text/a pop up appears on screen
    Call of Duty Modern Warfare 1/2 - When a new staged event is about to occur
    Crysis & Warhead - Checkpoint saves
    Batman AA - Certaing checkpoints
    Dead Space 1 & 2 - Save points

    I made a youtube video showing the stutter in Portal 2 -

    Portal 2 Checkpoint Stutter

    Important things to note -

    - I have everything on one hard drive OS&Pagefile, Games, Downloads & Mods all divided into 3 partitions.

    - I have 4GB RAM

    - I have tested with everything at stock and with my overclocked settings (no difference)

    - I am using AHCI with intel RST drivers

    - I've tried different catalyst drivers (all with the same problem)

    - I have tried max settings and lowest settings to see if it was a Vram issue but no difference.

    Is this normal or is something slightly off? It's not a major thing and I can play any game out there but sometimes it does get annoying. I just want to know what causes this and possible ways to fix it.

    As always, I look forward to your input and thoughts. Thanks.
    Last edited: May 28, 2011
  2. LAN_deRf_HA

    LAN_deRf_HA

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    Try killing off programs in taskmanager one at a time. If you find something that's causing it just remove it from your startup.
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  3. LifeOnMars

    LifeOnMars New Member

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    I have nothing running other than the game/possibly steam depending on the game and Microsoft Security Essentials which is disabled whilst gaming. It's an extremely trimmed down installation as I don't really like to encounter probs whilst gaming.
  4. LAN_deRf_HA

    LAN_deRf_HA

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    Then the next thing I'd try is 1.65v on the ram. I've seen low ram volts cause that twice despite being in spec, but that was DDR2 so hard to say if it still applies.
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  5. micropage7

    micropage7

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    i guess if its not coz of setting or the driver or any background apps or the graphic adapter, its from the game it self, some not noticeable but when you max all it would be noticeable
    btw have you tried to set the effect off too?
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  6. LifeOnMars

    LifeOnMars New Member

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    Ok that's a good one to try Lan. Being a Sandy Bridge guy yourself, do you think I should bump up the VCCIO to keep it within .5 of the memory voltage?
  7. LAN_deRf_HA

    LAN_deRf_HA

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    With only 2 slots populated you shouldn't have to touch the vccio unless you're pushing cas 7 at 2133, maybe not even then.
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  8. LifeOnMars

    LifeOnMars New Member

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    Do you mean have I tried running at lower settings? If so then yes, as stated in my OP I have tried at the lowest settings as well with no difference.

    It's definitely either my HDD or Memory I think as it only occurs when new data is either being read or written. Other than that the gameplay is flawless.

    Going to try Lan's suggestion and report back.

    EDIT - Ok Lan , no worries. I'll set the VCCIO to auto and bump up the RAM voltage to 1.65v and try a few of the games in question, cheers.
  9. LifeOnMars

    LifeOnMars New Member

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    Well, that bump in the mem voltage did the trick!! Thanks Lan for nailing it so quickly, I also put the VCCIO back at stock and it's all working a treat. Problem sorted and at no expense :) I now need to find another reason/excuse to persuade my missus that I need an SSD :)
  10. Major_A

    Major_A

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    I remember the old stutter issue with the Half Life 2 engine. Are all of those games running through STEAM? Might have something to do with that. One other thing. With my old video card I was playing with the clocks. I could overclock it and it would be stable. That was until I started playing games and it would stutter every now and then. Turns out the clock was unstable even though there were no visible screen artifacting. Lowered the clocks a bit and it stopped stuttering.

    EDIT
    Just noticed that you got it fixed. Please ignore my ignorance for not reading the entire thread.
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
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  11. LifeOnMars

    LifeOnMars New Member

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    I spoke too soon, it is still there after trying out a bit of gaming today. I uploaded a FRAPS low res video to youtube to show the stutter in Portal 2.

    I have updated the first post with the link.

    Bare in mind this is a relatively low key stutter but I'm getting it in alot of games when it seems to be reading/writing data. I'm just looking for a solution to it as it's annoying and sometimes it is worse than the low key example above.
    Last edited: May 28, 2011
  12. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Not enough video memory for the higher resolution.
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  13. LifeOnMars

    LifeOnMars New Member

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    I thought the same initially but I have tried at the lowest resolution with the lowest in-game settings and the same effect is still present unfortunately. Indeed, that youtube video was done at the low res of 1024x768.
  14. LAN_deRf_HA

    LAN_deRf_HA

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    Could you try moving the card to a different slot? Or a different card?
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  15. LifeOnMars

    LifeOnMars New Member

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    I don't have another card and my other slot is only x4. Any hard drive settings I can play with? Any way I can move the Portal 2 Save folder to another drive and see if that helps?
    Last edited: May 28, 2011
  16. LifeOnMars

    LifeOnMars New Member

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    Well, this morning I tried moving the drive to the marvell controller. I knew it would be slower but wanted to see if it got rid of the stutter.

    No joy unfortunately. I am now going to do a fresh install, move the drive back to the Intel controller and try playing with just 1 stick of ram in at a time. Wish me luck :)
  17. Wiselnvestor

    Wiselnvestor New Member

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  18. LifeOnMars

    LifeOnMars New Member

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  19. Major_A

    Major_A

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    Are you running your hard drive in AHCI or IDE mode? AHCI offers more bells and whistles but IDE I've found is more stable. It also doesn't add time to the boot process.

    If you do run the drive in AHCI mode make sure you get the lastest Intel Rapid Storage Technology drivers. I believe the latest build are for the Z68 motherboards. I've installed these drivers on my machine and they work fine. -> See System Specs for more details.
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  20. LifeOnMars

    LifeOnMars New Member

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    Yeh I run in AHCI mode with the RST drivers. So I can use the ones they put out for the Z68 boards? , OK I shall try those. Is it these ones ? Z68 RST Drivers

    I tried with the individual sticks of ram BTW guys and results were the same, so, at the moment, it's either HDD, HDD drivers or possible PSU problems? I will say I have never had BSODS with this setup or any noticeable/problematic errors. No overheating or bizarre shutdowns so PSU wise I think I'm good.
  21. Major_A

    Major_A

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    Those are the drivers I'm running. I had to reinstall Windows a few weeks back and I gave those a shot. Works with no problems. Keep in mind that the best storage controller Intel makes is the ICH10R. This chipset has been out for quite some time now. So the software isn't looking to see if you have a Z68 board, it's looking to see what controller your board is using.

    Try it in AHCI and see how it works. The good thing about installing AHCI is you can always later try IDE mode without any issues.


    One last thing. Are you running your RAM with an enhanced memory profile? The RAM I have says that it runs at 1066 (it's DDR2) with 5-5-5-15 timings. That may be the case if it was the only RAM in the machine. But to keep it stable I can't run it at 1066 and I can't use 5-5-5-15 timings. Right now the RAM is running at 950 with 5-6-5-18 timings. Just something else to take into consideration.

    Last thing I have right now. Have you checked for an updated BIOS?

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