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EntropyZ

Constant FPS spikes while objects load

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I have made another thread because it is going on another tangent, it is loosely related to my "Superfetch and Runonce CTD" thread. This is heavily hardware and Skyrim related, so here goes.

 

I am starting to doubt that 4GB is enough for both Skyrim and Any x64 Windows OS. I noticed that the swap file use is 1.1GB max, even though there is 900MB-ish left for any other programs, I am running nothing but Speedfan in the background to monitor temps and fan speeds, but Windows insists on using the swap file when Skyrim reaches 2.2GB usage overall, OS has about 0.7-0.8GB in use.

 

I also noticed that after almost 3 years my WD Green 500GB is starting to slowly deteriorate, a run in HDTune indicated that my HDD is in decline since last run. I have used this HDD for pretty much everything, I have always had two partitions on it, one for OS and one for games. Discussions on the internet don't make it clear if having 1 partition instead of two is better for HDD reliability. Currently I do not have enough money to get a decent 120GB SSD, I always wished I had one and I still do not know what I am really missing. On to the main story...

 

A large group of people that run an i5 and a decent nVidia GPU do not have lag spikes or stutter at all and can even run performance heavy ENB while still retaining 50-60 constant fps. I on the other hand have had lag spikes ever since I started modding Skyrim. I've gotten to a point where my Skyrim sessions are 95% crash free, Yes, it is wonderful. But for the love of Talos, I still get lag spikes even after upgrading from my previous PC, I can run with over 60 fps in exteriors but once I move the camera to the side or simply run from one point to another the system becomes starved of some sort of resource and begins hitching all over the place, and I haven't gotten rid of that, ever. Oh and the loading screens are driving me a little bit more insane now.

 

Here is a checklist of what I tried during 4 years, a lot of this was done in order because a lot of stuff had different release dates or I only found out later about certain tweaks that are possible.

 

Note to self: Max system resource usages: 1.9GB VRAM, 3.1GB RAM working set, 40% CPU, 1.1GB Page File

 

 

Switching Win 7 to Win 8.1 (Up to this day, I received a small performance boost here, on the other hand the stability is worse because the upgraded memory management treating Skyrim differently. the game wasn't developed for this OS nor is supported on it)

 

Engaging in INI tweaking (Made obsolete, I have gotten quite a few successes here since 2011 in areas of shadow, grass, distant objects and rendering, I can gain more FPS by sacrificing quality, but tweaking anything doesn't get rid of lag during object loading in-game)

 

Changing variables in nVidia Inspector (Up to this day since 2012, not much improvement in this area)

 

Optimizing Skyrim using programs (Made obsolete, there is an entire thread to this, and I have come to a conclusion that for my hardware and OS that kind of software only worked as placebo and nothing else, I am done.)

 

Changing ENBoost settings (Made obsolete, after the hardware change, the settings I tailored for the new hardware have suited me best and changing anything else induces lower performance now. The program itself was amazing not only did it make my average fps higher, it brought extra stability by pushing the 3.1GB limit to the stone age)

 

Switching ENB to SweetFX (Up to this day from 2014, I discovered that near vanilla look suits the game for me, all of those fake filters and shaders eat up anything from 10-20 fps, it isn't worth it for a card with 2GB and a cut down CPU, 2K texture packs already make everything look decent)

 

Using Sheson's patch, SSME and finally SKSE (Up to this day since their releases, only helped with game stability regarding the memory blocks)

 

 

I learned many great things while modding and playing Skyrim, so much more than the time I had with Oblivion. But I cannot get this lag spike/stuttering problem to go away, it isn't enough, I even tried to use default ini files, different computers and nothing has helped, what is the point of 60 fps if I can't even enjoy it long enough. I can blame the game engine all I want, that still doesn't change the fact that the game simply runs like crap whenever anything has to load.

 

I have tried running on a computer with similar components with the exception of an SSD and 8GB of RAM, Windows tweaks tailored to that and having both OS and Skyrim with all the mods all on the SSD partition. And guess what!? That computer was still having the same problem.

Edited by EntropyZ

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In my observation, even 8GB isnt enough under some circumstances.

changing some values in enb help but windows tends to release a bunch of memory while ingame and after the application is closed it tends to bog down for a minute or two.

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Well, since I am not running anything higher than default uGrids, memory seems fine for the most part. 2+ uGrids raise memory usage but not by much. I have tried changing distant detail settings and those are the only ones that do something with stutter, problem is that those settings are at what S.T.E.P and some other places on the nexus recommend based on my particular hardware, so while that works for everybody it should for me too, thus there isn't much point on going with lower values. The lag spikes can range from minor nuisance to completely stopping the game for almost 15 seconds, worse case scenario accomplished by forcing the world objects to load and equipping a different weapon from favorites via hotkey. On another topic, I need a stress reliever, because Skyrim doesn't want to play ball... In the mean time Fullmetal Alchemist and Dragonball Z Abridged for me it is then.

Edited by EntropyZ

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Update: After some frustration I uninstalled DynDOLOD in hopes that I could at least retrieve some RAM, I didn't do it by the book exactly so I pretty much lost most of LOD objects. So I cleaned out the leftovers from my save game, waited 10 days indoors. reinstalled DynDOLOD with medium preset instead of high. The FPS drop was acceptable.

 

In my search to hunt down the last of the CTD's that have been bothering me for years, I went on the internets to research the mods I have been using, comparing load orders with other ones that people are running, all that boring stuff. And came up with almost nothing, the blame that had been put on some mods that made people's game CTD, wasn't really valid anymore because the mods have been updated, had bugs fixed and have been cleaned with TES5Edit.

 

So I tried targeting mods in my load order that were rarely seen anywhere else, plus the ones that were made/updated before 2012/2013. (I still kept a few because I thought I couldn't live without them) I opened up TES5Edit and found out that none of them have any identical records or undeleted refs, then I was going to guarantee myself those mods were safe. So I used the automatic error search, found a few mods and patches that contained those, I don't really know how Skyrim usually reacts to invalid references but to be safe, I fixed those manually.

 

I was feeling hopeful, so I fired up my last save that I was trying to fix after I uninstalled some mods. Went outside, got greeted by thugs 'cause I stole some soul gems from Farengar, Cat is a gold digger but Farengar didn't need those soul gems anyway. Then I opened up the console, put on speedmult 200 plus TGM, and went on a rampage going from my house in the woods through Whiterun hold to Falkreath hold then Morthal hold and finally Solitude hold (I was finally able to crash once I got bored of murdering everybody and when I entered the city to try and slaughter everyone senselessly while gloriously crashing at the same time). I was not disappointed! Usually I would crash in 1-3 minutes after starting such a test, the game lasted 30x longer without crashing, maybe it was just a fluke. Somehow I destroyed one or more CTD that have been there for years, I didn't know what to do or what to blame, naybe the so called "save game corruption" so I thought the crashes would go away once I start a new playthrough each time, little did I know that some .esp files that I loaded were always one step behind, ready to make the game crash randomly in exteriors.

 

Only since last year I was compiling a list of mods in categories that are unstable/buggy/fps hungry/incompatible/outdated. By avoiding such mods, today I came to a realization that even though Skyrim engine is a shadow of what it could have been with the technology that was around. Modding the game heavily is possible without crashes and long as I stay cautious. I think I maybe am finally ready to start playing Falskaar, Moonpath to Elsweyr and Wyrmstooth. I was holding off from playing a lot of adventure mods for years because I was afraid all of it would be for nothing if the game just decided that it needed to crash. (I hate the implementation of making the application crash instead of letting it run as if nothing happened, but then again if the corrupt information made it to the save game you would be screwed either way)

 

Its 3AM here and I am feeling fine. Once the sun hits I am going to take a nice bike ride to try and forget about the awfulness that I had to put up with because the mod authors sometimes just don't care to fix game breaking issues and me for believing that some mods I use are not too good to be true, because they are at times and I had my fair share of them in the past 4 years, so taking notes and building lists is very important to me, should I stop playing Skyrim for a number of years and forget about the negatives of modding.

 

I still have the Superfetch CTD but a workaround to disable Superfetch completely seems to work OK. Superfetch probably only starts when applications are using more than half of my RAM, which happens only with Skyrim, because this game is a memory hog even more so when a lot LOD objects are visible.

 

I am going to start playing Skyrim again and see if some of the distant detail reducing decreased the FPS spikes to a bearable state. I have to watch RAM usage constantly now while playing Skyrim, which is sad because this is the only game that starves the system of RAM. Hard to believe that Morrowind with MGSO, maxed settings, HUGE cell distance and a heavy load order actually uses RAM and VRAM and looks prettier in my opinion. PC gaming is becoming worse for me rather than getting better, it just puts me in depression each time I read an article about a game developing studio or publisher messing up. I wish I didn't care, but I do. *sigh*

 

Enough typing for a day, just remember kids... take notes, manually search and destroy conflicts and errors in your plugins and finally enjoy the game if you haven't had the time because you were modding it longer than you have been playing it. Like me. There is always something satisfying about solving mysteries like mine! This PSA was brought to you by... okay I'm going now.

Edited by EntropyZ

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I'm also in an eternal struggle against stutter and lag spikes, but at the same time don't want to back down on 2k textures. I also have a reasonable i5, a GTX 970, 8GB RAM and a SSD. I guess you just can't have it all in Skyrim :p The only way I found to really reduce most of the stutter is to set EnableUnsafeMemoryHacks=true in enblocal.ini but that way enbhost isn't migrating memory (I think) and at some point Skyrim will just crash. With all the 'correct' enblocal settings I don't crash, but stutter in many areas like JK's ETaC's towns, and for example Solitude's docks. No 15 seconds spikes, but in those areas I can never turn the camera 360 degrees without lagging a couple of times. I think I tried every single combination of enblocal settings by now. I feel your pain -sigh-

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I'm also in an eternal struggle against stutter and lag spikes, but at the same time don't want to back down on 2k textures. I also have a reasonable i5, a GTX 970, 8GB RAM and a SSD. I guess you just can't have it all in Skyrim :p The only way I found to really reduce most of the stutter is to set EnableUnsafeMemoryHacks=true in enblocal.ini but that way enbhost isn't migrating memory (I think) and at some point Skyrim will just crash. With all the 'correct' enblocal settings I don't crash, but stutter in many areas like JK's ETaC's towns, and for example Solitude's docks. No 15 seconds spikes, but in those areas I can never turn the camera 360 degrees without lagging a couple of times. I think I tried every single combination of enblocal settings by now. I feel your pain -sigh-

Your system is something I always wanted to have since moving from AMD CPU to Intel just for Skyrim, but I digress. Could you post your enblocal.ini and Skyrimprefs.ini in spoiler tags? Maybe I can help at all by reviewing your settings, I am quite aware of the performance differences of our systems.

 

You shouldn't give up 2K textures, especially when you have a dedicated graphics card with enough bandwidth and VRAM. Town overhauls and better meshes tend to slow down Skyrim quite a bit, I faced that first hand when using SMIM with any of town overhauls, JK's Skyrim seems to have the most minimal impact so far but it is still pretty heavy in Solitude, Windhelm, Riften and Whiterun.

Edited by EntropyZ

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I am starting to doubt that 4GB is enough for both Skyrim and Any x64 Windows OS. I noticed that the swap file use is 1.1GB max, even though there is

900MB-ish left for any other programs, I am running nothing but Speedfan in the background to monitor temps and fan speeds, but Windows insists on

using the swap file when Skyrim reaches 2.2GB usage overall, OS has about 0.7-0.8GB in use.

Windows may be using some of the memory to cache the mods/meshes/textures that are most used in an attempt to balance performance. Having said this, 4GB doesn't leave a lot of breathing room with Skyrim, Windows, and a disk cache all active. I also doubt that Sheson's memory tweaks are all that effective with 4GB given that there isn't any real memory left over to move those meshes/textures out of the Skyrim workspace.

 

I also noticed that after almost 3 years my WD Green 500GB is starting to slowly deteriorate, a run in HDTune indicated that my HDD is in decline

since last run. I have used this HDD for pretty much everything, I have always had two partitions on it, one for OS and one for games. Discussions on

the internet don't make it clear if having 1 partition instead of two is better for HDD reliability. Currently I do not have enough money to get a

decent 120GB SSD, I always wished I had one and I still do not know what I am really missing. On to the main story...

I don't recommend using partitions (especially on the system disk) because it can be detrimental to drive performance. In a nutshell, you've forced all the mods, meshes, and textures off towards the end of the drive so the drive has to work harder (e.g. seek a lot further) to get back to the page file and system files near the beginning of the disk. You'll actually get significantly better performance using two physical drives. If you want 1TB split into equal partitions, buy two 512GB drives instead.

 

I hate the implementation of making the application crash instead of letting it run as if nothing happened, but then again if the corrupt information made it to the save game you would be screwed either way

It would have been significantly better if Bethesda logged something somewhere indicating why it's crashing instead of exiting blindly without giving even a remote possibility of a hint. Imagine how much easier this would be if it logged something like "Invalid formid xx123456" or "error processing hugejigglyboobs.nif" (or even "error processing mesh for formid xx123456").

Edited by Greg

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I don't recommend using partitions (especially on the system disk) because it can be detrimental to drive performance. In a nutshell, you've forced all the mods, meshes, and textures off towards the end of the drive so the drive has to work harder (e.g. seek a lot further) to get back to the page file and system files near the beginning of the disk. You'll actually get significantly better performance using two physical drives. If you want 1TB split into equal partitions, buy two 512GB drives instead.

Well that depends on how you use the disc space I guess. I have a 2 TB HDD split into 3 partitions. First partition is reserved for games. On the other two I store downloads, music, videos, backups etc. For these kind of files it doesn't really matter if they are on the slower part of a disc. I also have two SSDs though. One for the OS and one for games like Skyrim.

 

Regarding the stuttering. I noticed that the enblocal setting ExpandSystemMemoryX64=true increased stuttering significantly on my system. I used a tool to display my VRAM usage on scren and noticed that the game kept removing textures from the memory even though I didn't hit the limit of 2 GB. So while running through the world it constantly removed textures for objects that were just behind me. And when I turned around, those textures had to be loaded again all at once, which caused big stutters.

Setting it to false was definitely an improvement for me. I can't get rid of all stutters though. But that's mostly mod related. It also wouldn't hurt to have 4 GB VRAM, but that'll have to wait a bit.

Edited by TirigonX

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Thanks for the input guys I appreciate it. I agree that having everything on the system drive is a bit too much, especially when I mod everything and game constantly and because of the high I/O going through the hard drive it shouldn't be a surprise. Plus, I've just discovered that WD Green drives should be avoided, unless only used for storage, light work or something.

I've discovered the 4GB being too little as soon as I tried dynamic LODs. Meshes just hog all the memory and plus for some weird reason Skyrim mirrors stuff so that's even more load on the computer.

It would have been significantly better if Bethesda logged something somewhere indicating why it's crashing instead of exiting blindly without giving even a remote possibility of a hint. Imagine how much easier this would be if it logged something like "Invalid formid xx123456" or "error processing hugejigglyboobs.nif" (or even "error processing mesh for formid xx123456").

 

If there was a scrap of code to do something similar, people who made SKSE, PapyrusUtil and so on maybe would have found a way to make that a reality.

Regarding ExpandSystemMemoryX64= parameter, I have set that to false recently and didn't see much change on performance or stability. It only helped to have "defaultHeapInitialAllocMB" in skse.ini set to 1024 (768MB) without touching the scrap heap size, it was proven that the second block never goes above 256 anyway so there is no reason to change it. I recently went back to 768 (512MB) for "defaultHeapInitialAllocMB" I have a lower chance to hit the limit because I have set Skyrim to purge cells that I will most likely will not visit any time soon, but that only happens if I hit a load screen. I have to do another stress test to see how long it takes to crash with certain parameters in skse.ini and enblocal.ini being changed.

Edited by EntropyZ

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