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Pillendreher

Disappointing Frame Rates (FPS)

Question

I've upgraded my 6850 1 GB VRAM to a R9 380 4 GB VRAM, but the performance gain isn't nearly as big as I hoped. I noticed gigantic macro stuttering after installing the card, so I "stripped down the game" to find the culprit.

 

I've started with the Vanilla Game+HighResDLC. With everything set to ultra and VSync off, I'm getting 41/81/60,3 fps during the first minute of the intro (with my FX-8320@stock). This just seems off based on these Skyrim Benchmark results:

 

https://www.hardwareluxx.de/index.php/artikel/hardware/grafikkarten/35903-drei-modelle-der-radeon-r9-380-im-test.html?start=9

https://www.pcgameshardware.de/AMD-Radeon-Grafikkarte-255597/Specials/Radeon-R9-390X-Test-1162303/

 

The card itself is working fine since I'm getting results via the Heaven Engine benchmarks that match those by other R9 380 owners.

The FX-8320 is working at 3,7 GHz (Turbo) at 1,4V. My fps dropped even further while running the CPU at 3,7 GHz (No Turbo, OC via BIOS) at 1,35V (solid 13% drop even though the clock speed is the same). - How is that possible?

 

Before I start tackling the stutter issue again - is that kind of performance normal? I mean we're talking about a 4 year old game with no mods whatsoever barely hitting 60 fps. My fps near Whiterun aren't better mind you.

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https://www.techspot.com/review/467-skyrim-performance/page7.html

 

What's interesting in the above link is the essentially linear increase in framerate relative to clock speed of the old i7 chip, and a clear line between Intel/AMD CPUs for that generation of chips at least. It later confirms your comments about the Skyrim benefiting from Intel chips in terms of clock speed combined with core efficiency.

 

Whether or not that's enough to account for the stuttering, I'm not really sure.

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I compared a few other systems after moving from two 6970 -> a single 970.

For someone that has a similar machine other than they had a weaker gpu and an Intel cpu, the person was able to get 60fps with a modded game where as I was only about to achieve 20 with only jk whiterun the sample was taken at whiterun.

My conclusion is that amd cpus are terrible. If I had the funds I would do an apples to apples comparison.

 

I hope this makes sense, I am on my phone and its not the best.

Are you able to test the same part of the game with your old GPU? Have you moved beyond the intro into the game world proper, to see if the stutter persists after the opening scripted sequence?

 

Skyrim does not carry a big GPU load in vanilla, and is much more likely to be CPU bound until you start adding ENBs on top of big texture packs. It seems unlikely to be an issue with your new GPU...

Looking purely at low fps and not at stuttering in particular, CPU bottleneck is most likely the issue! I've done testing with my intel CPU too with just vanilla and JK's City mods and also get 20-30 fps in certain areas. I also have a GTX 970 like Hishutup. GPU usage in those areas is low, this indicates a bottleneck elsewhere and as Quinnbeast is suggesting it might not be your GPU that is having issues. It explains the fluctuations in GPU usage. For the record, those fluctuations most likely happen to everyone. Skyrim is so unoptimized that no one will get 99% gpu usage consistently.

 

To greatly reduce CPU processing reduce fShadowDistance. For mods like Dawn of Skyrim, JK's Skyrim & ETaC this setting is probably the biggest cause of FPS loss providing your gpu is strong enough. A setting of 4000 might even be too high for Jk's Whiterun for example. Try 2500-3000. It's not that amd CPU's are significantly worse than intel at handling mods like JK's Whiterun. I think.

 

Also, "A modded game" is so arbitrary and it depends on so many variables that comparing two different setups that do not have similar mods and do not test their performance in the exact same area with the exact same ini settings is meaningless! That's why on Youtube for example people brag about having a consistent 60 fps with 4k texture overhauls while others can't even get 30 fps. Their setups are most likely so different that it isn't fair to compare.

 

Persistent stuttering might have another cause though. You will get it no matter your build if you use too many high res texture mods that cover too many objects added by too many mods. If it's not your VRAM, it will be ENBs memory management causing slight stuttering. People that brag about solid & smooth 60 FPS in large towns, no matter what direction they face either don't use many mods or simply lie. You might also notice that your game runs smoother without ENBoost enabled (at least for me it does). That does mean Skyrim will crash once its limits are reached. It's one or the other. For me personally stuttering was greatly reduced when I set the [TerrainManager] settings in Skyrimprefs.ini to their medium/high values.

 

Finally, you talk about "up from 60 to 76 fps avg." Skyrim's engine bugs out and strange things happen once your fps gets higher than 60. Either enable vsync or limit your fps to 60.

Edited by Pretendeavor

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Looking purely at low fps and not at stuttering in particular, CPU bottleneck is most likely the issue! I've done testing with my intel CPU too with just vanilla and JK's City mods and also get 20-30 fps in certain areas. I also have a GTX 970 like Hishutup. GPU usage in those areas is low, this indicates a bottleneck elsewhere and as Quinnbeast is suggesting it might not be your GPU that is having issues. It explains the fluctuations in GPU usage. For the record, those fluctuations most likely happen to everyone. Skyrim is so unoptimized that no one will get 99% gpu usage consistently.

OK. I might confirm that after a little bit of Overclocking.

 

 

To greatly reduce CPU processing reduce fShadowDistance. For mods like Dawn of Skyrim, JK's Skyrim & ETaC this setting is probably the biggest cause of FPS loss providing your gpu is strong enough. A setting of 4000 might even be too high for Jk's Whiterun for example. Try 2500-3000. It's not that amd CPU's are significantly worse than intel at handling mods like JK's Whiterun. I think.

I'm currrently running it on 2500.

 

 

Also, "A modded game" is so arbitrary and it depends on so many variables that comparing two different setups that do not have similar mods and do not test their performance in the exact same area with the exact same ini settings is meaningless! That's why on Youtube for example people brag about having a consistent 60 fps with 4k texture overhauls while others can't even get 30 fps. Their setups are most likely so different that it isn't fair to compare.

I'm running SRLE with a few extra mods.

 

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Persistent stuttering might have another cause though. You will get it no matter your build if you use too many high res texture mods that cover too many objects added by too many mods. If it's not your VRAM, it will be ENBs memory management causing slight stuttering. People that brag about solid & smooth 60 FPS in large towns, no matter what direction they face either don't use many mods or simply lie. You might also notice that your game runs smoother without ENBoost enabled (at least for me it does). That does mean Skyrim will crash once its limits are reached. It's one or the other. For me personally stuttering was greatly reduced when I set the [TerrainManager] settings in Skyrimprefs.ini to their medium/high values.

I've seen my VRAM spike up to 3 GB with my current setup, but my R9 380 should be able to handle that with its 4GB VRAM, right?

 

The [TerrainManager] settings are currently looking like this:

[TerrainManager]
bShowLODInEditor=0
fBlockLevel0Distance=20480
fBlockLevel1Distance=32768
fBlockMaximumDistance=100000
fSplitDistanceMult=0.75
fTreeLoadDistance=25000

Finally, you talk about "up from 60 to 76 fps avg." Skyrim's engine bugs out and strange things happen once your fps gets higher than 60. Either enable vsync or limit your fps to 60.

I will turn on VSync eventually and maybe even a fps limiter, but I just wanted to see what max fps I'm getting in vanilla.

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OK. I might confirm that after a little bit of Overclocking.

I noticed a slight improvement when I overclocked my CPU from 3.5Ghz stock. Also noticed a (minimal, like 1-2 fps) improvement after overclocking my old ram from 1600 mhz to 1866. This was best seen in areas like Whiterun's gate & Dragonsreach if you have either JK's Whiterun or Dawn of Whiterun installed. Perhaps OCing will give you some performance there to make it more acceptable.

 

About your load order.. try temporarily removing DynDOLOD and perhaps Grass on Steroids and compare performance. For my setup Unbelievable Grass Two and DynDOLOD were the ones causing the most stuttering. You could also try playing around with ReservedMemorySizeMB (try 64/128 and 1024). If things still don't work properly whatever you do, try optimizing textures. I have the 1k version of Vivid Landscapes' textures installed as standalone mod for example (so I can just tick/untick it in MO) and could notice the improvement in performance while visually things still look really good. Apart from that I'm using DynDOLOD on really low settings (reduced FarGrid to like 15 and checked 'Use original LOD assignments'). I also optimized DynDOLOD_Atlas_Tamriel.dds & DynDOLOD_Atlas_Tamriel_n.dds found in the DynDOLOD Worlds output. My load order is also based on SR:LE, includes Dawn of Skyrim and I also have 4gb VRAM (arguable with the GTX 970 but yeah).

 

Another thing to try is setting EnableUnsafeMemoryHacks=true in enblocal.ini. It might cause CTDs but could help smoothen gameplay. Other than that I'm out of ideas. Perhaps try lowering Enb's DoF quality or the SizeScale values for AO.

Edited by Pretendeavor

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OK. So I've done the following:

 

-I've uninstalled the 15.8 driver (CCC was acting buggy; couldn't access profiles) via DDU and I've installed the 15.7 driver. Checked that everything matches the STEP settings (although I didn't force AF via driver).

-I've made every ini tweak recommended by STEP

-I've activated VSync via ENB(oost)

 

I'm getting slightly higher min fps (52 instead of 45ish). No fps-drop though this time.

 

This still seems weird to me. I should be able to run ultra vanilla without dropping below 60 fps. Or am I underestimating the crappy Skyrm engine?

PLEASE ... Force AF via the driver and disable AF in ENBoost! (that is what the instructions say to do, and I have specifically noted that the result is the same, but I see slight boost to FPS)

 

... still wondering if your other settings mirror the guides, given that you continue to deviate in these situations :/

 

Once you do exactly as the instructions say, then we can have a meaningful exchange and THEN try out other settings, one at a time.

If you're starting fresh with a completely vanilla setup, you might consider using DoubleYou's Skyrim Project INI to setup the optimized/cleaned INI files. He's been putting a lot of hours into figuring out all the settings in the Skyrim's INI files and the optimum settings for performance/quality, so this should give you a good baseline to build on.

 

Also keep in mind that Skyrim's intro (the cart ride into Helgen) is very script intensive so you will not get steady 60fps. You'll also notice some areas of Skyrim where performance may dip into the 40s or 50s depending on your video card even if you have an R9 380 or R9 390. I know Bethesda says the game engine is four years old, but I really think it's more like 10 years old with patches.

 

Most everything you've mentioned so far seems about average and nothing to worry about, but the stutter may be troublesome depending on how bad it may be.

 

Finally, can you provide us with your system specs? Things like CPU, CPU speed, amount of RAM installed, and whether you're running Skyrim on an SSD or HDD?

Not yet! Let's keep the deviations to a minimum. Begin with a pure vanilla-generated set of INIs please.

 

Also, did you mess with your timescale? If so, that is a deviation from the baseline instructions, and we cannot troubleshoot unless we KNOW you are operating under the absolute exact settings ... everywhere... as described in the guide.


 

Lots of decent info/advice is being offered here, but it is all irrelevant unless we can establish a baseline common to what we recommend ... THEN we can speculate.

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PLEASE ... Force AF via the driver and disable AF in ENBoost! (that is what the instructions say to do, and I have specifically noted that the result is the same, but I see slight boost to FPS)

 

... still wondering if your other settings mirror the guides, given that you continue to deviate in these situations :/

I didn't force AF via the driver because I didn't want to alter the performance. Is ENBoost even using AF without a proper ENB Setup? :huh:

 

 

Also, did you mess with your timescale? If so, that is a deviation from the baseline instructions, and we cannot troubleshoot unless we KNOW you are operating under the absolute exact settings ... everywhere... as described in the guide.

 

I'm guessing no since I don't even know what that is. Or are you talking about "timescale" via the Bashed Patch? I set that to 10 according to SRLE. Can that impact my performance?

Edited by Pillendreher

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My bad about AF when using only ENBooset (and not ENB 'proper'), you are correct. Just set everything exactly as we have laid it out in the guide, using no other advice or tools that are not mentioned in the guide. (see? Even I --the person who largely worked on these instructions-- do not always catch everything, so it is really easy to miss something ;) ).

Not saying that this will fix your issue, but I think we have yet to determine the nature of your issues, since there are some remaining unknowns.

Begin with vanilla-generated INIs, and ensure that you have absolutely no custom settings hiding out in enblocal.ini or elsewhere.

See addenda to my previous post.

Once we have established the baseline, then make changes one at a time for testing and verification of current speculations (if even necessary or possible)
 

 



I'm guessing no since I don't even know what that is. Or are you talking about "timescale" via the Bashed Patch? I set that to 10 according to SRLE. Can that impact my performance?

YES, especially in the cart intro! Please don't follow any SRLE instructions at this point :wallbash:

 

  • vanilla everything,
  • new MO profile,
  • follow STEP explicitly,
  • provide result,
  • THEN tweak incrementally and check diffs.

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Lots of decent info/advice is being offered here, but it is all irrelevant unless we can establish a baseline common to what we recommend ... THEN we can speculate.

You're right here obviously, I got a bit ahead of myself. Forgive me :p

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You're right here obviously, I got a bit ahead of myself. Forgive me :p

NP, we appreciate the info, just wanted to keep Phillendreher's eye on the ball.

 

@Phillendreher

(I like the member ID, BTW ... is it your name or word play on philanderer?)

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OK, here we go:

 

CCC Settings

 

https://imgur.com/gallery/vrp8vCa/new

 

ENBoost

 

 

 

[PROXY]
EnableProxyLibrary=false
InitProxyFunctions=true
ProxyLibrary=other_d3d9.dll

[GLOBAL]
UsePatchSpeedhackWithoutGraphics=true
UseDefferedRendering=false
IgnoreCreationKit=true

[PERFORMANCE]
SpeedHack=true
EnableOcclusionCulling=true

[MULTIHEAD]
ForceVideoAdapterIndex=false
VideoAdapterIndex=0

[MEMORY]
ExpandSystemMemoryX64=false
ReduceSystemMemoryUsage=true
DisableDriverMemoryManager=false
DisablePreloadToVRAM=false
EnableUnsafeMemoryHacks=false
ReservedMemorySizeMb=512
VideoMemorySizeMb=7872
EnableCompression=true
AutodetectVideoMemorySize=false

[WINDOW]
ForceBorderless=false
ForceBorderlessFullscreen=false

[ENGINE]
ForceAnisotropicFiltering=true
MaxAnisotropy=16
ForceLodBias=false
LodBias=0.0
AddDisplaySuperSamplingResolutions=false
EnableVSync=true
VSyncSkipNumFrames=0

[LIMITER]
WaitBusyRenderer=false
EnableFPSLimit=false
FPSLimit=10.0

[iNPUT]
//shift
KeyCombination=16
//f12
KeyUseEffect=123
//home
KeyFPSLimit=36
//num /       106
KeyShowFPS=106
//print screen
KeyScreenshot=44
//enter
KeyEditor=13
//f4
KeyFreeVRAM=115

[ADAPTIVEQUALITY]
Enable=false
Quality=1
DesiredFPS=20.0

[ANTIALIASING]
EnableEdgeAA=false
EnableTemporalAA=false
EnableSubPixelAA=false

[FIX]
FixGameBugs=true
FixParallaxBugs=true
FixParallaxTerrain=false
FixAliasedTextures=true
IgnoreInventory=true
FixTintGamma=true
RemoveBlur=false
FixSubSurfaceScattering=true
FixSkyReflection=true
FixCursorVisibility=true
FixLag=false

[LONGEXPOSURE]
EnableLongExposureMode=false
Time=1.0
BlendMax=0.0

 

 

Skyrim.ini

 

 

 

[General]
sLanguage=ENGLISH

uExterior Cell Buffer=36
sIntroSequence=
fFlickeringLightDistance=8192

[Display]
fShadowLODMaxStartFade=1000.0
fSpecularLODMaxStartFade=2000.0
fLightLODMaxStartFade=3500.0
iShadowMapResolutionPrimary=2048
bAllowScreenshot=1
fSunShadowUpdateTime=0.25
fSunUpdateThreshold=1.5
iPresentInterval=1

[Audio]
fMusicDuckingSeconds=6.0
fMusicUnDuckingSeconds=8.0
fMenuModeFadeOutTime=3.0
fMenuModeFadeInTime=1.0

[Grass]
bAllowCreateGrass=1
bAllowLoadGrass=0
iMaxGrassTypesPerTexure=3

[interface]
bShowTutorials=0

[GeneralWarnings]
SGeneralMasterMismatchWarning=One or more plugins could not find the correct versions of the master files they depend on. Errors may occur during load or game play. Check the "Warnings.txt" file for more information.

[Archive]
sResourceArchiveList=Skyrim - Misc.bsa, Skyrim - Shaders.bsa, Skyrim - Textures.bsa, Skyrim - Interface.bsa, Skyrim - Animations.bsa, Skyrim - Meshes.bsa, Skyrim - Sounds.bsa
sResourceArchiveList2=Skyrim - Voices.bsa, Skyrim - VoicesExtra.bsa

[Combat]
fMagnetismStrafeHeadingMult=0.0
fMagnetismLookingMult=0.0
f1PArrowTiltUpAngle=0.7
f3PArrowTiltUpAngle=0.7
f1PBoltTiltUpAngle=0.7


[Papyrus]
fPostLoadUpdateTimeMS=500.0
bEnableLogging=0
bEnableTrace=0
bLoadDebugInformation=0
[Water]
bReflectLODObjects=1
bReflectLODLand=1
bReflectSky=1
bReflectLODTrees=1

 

 

SkyrimPrefs.ini

 

 

 

[AudioMenu]
fAudioMasterVolume=1
fVal0=0.8
uID0=1007612
fVal1=1
uID1=554685
fVal2=0.4
uID2=466532
fVal3=1
uID3=94881
fVal4=1
uID4=0
fVal5=1
uID5=0
fVal6=1
uID6=0
fVal7=1
uID7=0

[Clouds]
fCloudLevel0Distance=16384
fCloudLevel1Distance=32768
fCloudLevel2Distance=262144
fCloudNearFadeDistance=9000

[Controls]
bAlwaysRunByDefault=1
bGamePadRumble=1
bInvertYValues=0
bUseKinect=0
fGamepadHeadingSensitivity=1
fMouseHeadingSensitivity=0.0125

[Decals]
uMaxDecals=1000
bDecals=1
bSkinnedDecals=1
uMaxSkinDecals=100
uMaxSkinDecalsPerActor=60

[Display]
bDeferredShadows=1
bDrawLandShadows=1
bDrawShadows=1
bFloatPointRenderTarget=0
bFull Screen=1
bFXAAEnabled=0
bMainZPrepass=0
bShadowMaskZPrepass=0
bShadowsOnGrass=1
bTransparencyMultisampling=0
bTreesReceiveShadows=1
fDecalLOD1=1000
fDecalLOD2=1500
fGamma=1
fInteriorShadowDistance=3000
fLeafAnimDampenDistEnd=4600
fLeafAnimDampenDistStart=3600
fLightLODStartFade=1700
fMeshLODFadeBoundDefault=256
fMeshLODFadePercentDefault=1.2
fMeshLODLevel1FadeDist=1e+007
fMeshLODLevel1FadeTreeDistance=2844
fMeshLODLevel2FadeDist=1e+007
fMeshLODLevel2FadeTreeDistance=2048
fShadowBiasScale=0.15
fShadowDistance=8000
fShadowLODStartFade=200
fSpecularLODStartFade=1000
fTreesMidLODSwitchDist=1e+007
iBlurDeferredShadowMask=3
iMaxAnisotropy=0
iMaxDecalsPerFrame=250
iMaxSkinDecalsPerFrame=100
iMultiSample=4
iScreenShotIndex=0
iShadowFilter=3
iShadowMapResolution=4096
iShadowMaskQuarter=4
iShadowMode=3
iSize H=1080
iSize W=1920
iTexMipMapMinimum=0
iTexMipMapSkip=0
iWaterMultiSamples=0
sD3DDevice="AMD Radeon R9 380 Series"
iAdapter=0
iPresentInterval=1

[GamePlay]
bShowFloatingQuestMarkers=1
bShowQuestMarkers=1
iDifficulty=2

[General]
bEnableStoryManagerLogging=0
iStoryManagerLoggingEvent=-1

[Grass]
b30GrassVS=0
fGrassMaxStartFadeDistance=7000
fGrassMinStartFadeDistance=0
fGrassStartFadeDistance=7000

[imagespace]
bDoDepthOfField=1
iRadialBlurLevel=2

[interface]
bDialogueSubtitles=0
bGeneralSubtitles=0
bShowCompass=1
fMouseCursorSpeed=1

[Launcher]
bEnableFileSelection=1
bShowAllResolutions=1
uLastAspectRatio=3

[LOD]
fLODFadeOutMultActors=7
fLODFadeOutMultItems=7.5
fLODFadeOutMultObjects=7
fLODFadeOutMultSkyCell=1

[MAIN]
bCrosshairEnabled=1
bGamepadEnable=1
bSaveOnPause=1
bSaveOnRest=1
bSaveOnTravel=1
bSaveOnWait=1
fHUDOpacity=1
fSkyCellRefFadeDistance=150000

[Particles]
iMaxDesired=750

[saveGame]
fAutosaveEveryXMins=15

[TerrainManager]
bShowLODInEditor=0
fBlockLevel0Distance=35000
fBlockLevel1Distance=70000
fBlockMaximumDistance=250000
fSplitDistanceMult=1.5
fTreeLoadDistance=75000

[Trees]
bRenderSkinnedTrees=1
uiMaxSkinnedTreesToRender=20

[Water]
bUseWaterDepth=1
bUseWaterDisplacements=1
bUseWaterReflections=1
bUseWaterRefractions=1
iWaterReflectHeight=512
iWaterReflectWidth=512
[blurShaderHDR]
bDoHighDynamicRange=1
[blurShader]
bUseBlurShader=0

 

 

This should be allright, right?



@Phillendreher

(I like the member ID, BTW ... is it your name or word play on philanderer?)

Nah. It's just an expression a german soccer club used a few years ago and it just kinda stuck as my username. It's neither a reference to being a pharmacist nor to liking a bug that eats excrement :)

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I'll just take your word for it if you were starting off with vanilla/baseline INIs on all counts and the guide was followed exactly.

 

After ensuring all settings, including timescale in BP, are you looking at performance during the cart ride? If so, what was your historic FPS (average, min, max) and the updated after switching cards from launch of intro sequence up to the point that you go into char creation? This is a good baseline comparison, because no user input (other than mouse look ... mouse should not be touched) applies. Timescale reduction can cause havok issues and other strange behavior during this sequence.

 

Do you still get noticeable stuttering?

 

What about when running around outdoors or FPS from top of Drangonreach starway in Whiterun and ourside main gate in Solitude (looking out to the South towards the marshes)?

 

If you are, then it is time to begin looking into SKSE memory settings and ENBoost memory settings (independently) and checking again. If you still have these issues, then I think that comments mentioned previously about CPU and system hardware (other than GPU) may be relevant. I have no experience with AMD-based chipsets, so I would not know from my own experience.

 

I will say that I have seen huge benefits enabling vsync in ENBoost versus not (graphics transitions, particularly in interiors, was vastly smoothed out for me). Your new card should have tri-buffering capabilities built in, so you will get much better performance under vsync that you previously did, I think (not as much FPS sacrifice if you are not hitting >= 60 FPS or whatever your monitor refresh is).

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My [TerrainMananger] settings  values are twice what your's are...... maybe try these

 
fTreeLoadDistance=75000.0000
fBlockMaximumDistance=250000.0000
fBlockLevel1Distance=70000.0000
fBlockLevel0Distance=35000.0000
fSplitDistanceMult=1.5000

bShowLODInEditor=0 

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A few things you can change in your ENBlocal.ini file to help. With AMD based cards you want to set the ( DisableDriverMemoryManager ) string under [MEMORY] to true. This might be your stuttering issue.

 

And also Set ( EnableOcclusionCulling ) to false as that most of the time causes flickering on the world map.

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This was my intro ride with the settings posted above, Vanilla and the HRDLC:

 

Avg: 49.377 - Min: 30 - Max: 63

 

As you can see, it was not a steady experience:

 

 

 

 

m3SwXjp.png

6SfqjQC.png

 

 

 

 

And this is my intro ride with my SRLE+x setup without my BashedPatch in order to avoid timescale problems. I got that weird bug that my character appears next to the cart and the intro doesn't start; starting a new game for the 2nd time solves this, but my point of view isn't the same as with the vanilla intro => I had to adjust it as best as I could.

 

Avg: 28.629 - Min: 0 - Max: 52

 

 

 

 

0pLLaWN.png

 

2MVW0MU.png

 

 

 

 

BTW: I forgot to run enboost during the vanilla run. Shouldn't have an impact on performance with no mods, right?

Edited by Pillendreher

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