Earlier this week I was getting 20 FPS on Rift’s Medium graphics setting. A few days ago that dropped to about 10-12 FPS, which is very sluggish in Rifts and PVP.
After finding a fix, I’m up to 30 FPS on Medium graphics setting and 25 FPS on High. Since it took me a while how to sort it out, I figured I’d post the information.
Here are my Alienware laptop specs:
- 6 GB RAM
- ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5730: 1 GB RAM
- Intel CORE i7 Q740 CPU (quad-core) @ 1.73 GHz
- Windows 7
- x64-based PC
- Extended display: laptop (1600 x 900) and monitor (1600 x 900)
Here are the things I tried, and the results:
1. Turned off extended display so that I was only displaying on 1 screen
This didn’t help.
I also went through the usual suspects: background jobs on my computer, other apps running, checking for disk fragmentation, etc.
2. Installed new ATI software
This provided a better Catalyst Control Center UI but didn’t seem to help, as the drivers were the same version.
EDIT (2011/03/10): note that updating CCC does not update your video card driver. That is a separate install.
3. Applied ATI settings in Rift’s Client Performance Troubleshooting Guide
This didn’t help.
4. Used the D3D9 DLLs
I tried using both the pre-generated and self-generated DLL files. This didn’t help. I ended up removing the DLL file.
I tried using MSI Afterburner. This didn’t help, as most of the settings were already at max or unlockable.
6. Installed the latest Catalyst Application Profile
This instantly boosted frame rate on Medium from 10 to 30 FPS – a hugely noticeable difference. I tried the 11.2 CAP2 file on AMD’s web site, and it either didn’t work or it didn’t work with the older version of Catalyst Control Center that was factory installed.
So I basically had to uninstall the factory-installed Catalyst Control Center, install the latest Catalyst Control Center (using default directory settings), and then install 11.2 CAP3.
I’m psyched because I want a solid frame rate when recording PVP videos, 30 on Medium or 25 on High is good enough for quality footage.
EDIT (2011/03/10): three days ago I started getting crappy FPS again, down in the neighborhood of 10-12, and the UI felt very laggy. So I installed the latest ATI video card driver from Dell (for some devices, especially laptops, you get the driver from your manufacturer not AMD) and updated my BIOS, and the frame rate issues are gone. I hope it stays that way! Frame rate has been my only frustration with Rift.
EDIT (2011/04/02): this week I started getting low FPS again. I tried various things to no avail, and I started to think it was a video card issue. I gave Alienware customer support a call, and they pinpointed the cause of the issue – a really simple cause. On my Alienware laptop there is a bar of touch-activated icons just above the Function keys, and one of the icons is for “Stealth”, or reduced-energy-consumption, mode. This mode is intended to conserve battery life at the cost of performance. It was enabled. /facepalm. After disabling it I’m having solid FPS on High. I am started to wonder whether the CAP actually did anything or not.