• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."

Poor Performance - PC issue? (Fallout 4)

Dijeangenie

Senior member
Sep 11, 2012
269
0
71
Hi, I hope this is the right place to post this, I've just started playing fallout 4 however despite having a fairly decent computer, I am getting pretty bad performance issues.

I've had between 25-45 fps in an unpopulated area (the truck stop near the start of the game for anyone who has played it). I've been fiddling about with the settings but nothing I change appears to have any significant difference. I updated and the drivers and used geforce experience to optimize when I initially ran the game, but since then I've also run the game at completely minimum settings (and everything inbetween) and there is no significant difference in FPS (including dropping resolution from 1920x1080 to 1280x720)

Googling has shown me some possible fixes, such as playing with shadow settings, and v-sync (I've tried both of these). My fundamental question is why I dont see a performance increase when running the game on lowest possible settings and/or low resolution, make me worry if my pc isnt working properly - any ideas would be appreciated!

PC Specs are as follows:

CPU: i5-4960 @ 3.5 ghz
GPU: GTX 970 4GB
RAM: 8gb ddr3 (Exceleram 1600mhz)
SSD: SanDisk Z400s 256 GB (steam directory is on this)
Motherboard: MSI H81I LGA1150 Mini-ITX

The reason I am posting here is that I'm worried it could be a hardware/software issue specific to my PC (rather than the game itself) as I can find plenty of people with a very similar PC to mine who are basically maxing out the game on ultra.

If there is any other information I can provide that would help please let me know

Thanks
 

daveybrat

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Jan 31, 2000
5,461
712
126
Your PC should have no issues playing the game. What power supply do you have? It's possible that it's not providing enough power to the video card and throttling the speeds down.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
52,267
7,081
126
Your PC should have no issues playing the game. What power supply do you have? It's possible that it's not providing enough power to the video card and throttling the speeds down.
Doubtful. If he wasn't getting enough power to the GPU, it generally just errors and crashes, not throttles down.

It could be a CPU throttle, due to VRM overheating on that mobo, though.
 

Dijeangenie

Senior member
Sep 11, 2012
269
0
71
Your PC should have no issues playing the game. What power supply do you have? It's possible that it's not providing enough power to the video card and throttling the speeds down.
I have a Corsair Builder Series CX 500 Watt

Doubtful. If he wasn't getting enough power to the GPU, it generally just errors and crashes, not throttles down.

It could be a CPU throttle, due to VRM overheating on that mobo, though.
I've run the game with MSI afterburner stats so I can monitor GPU, CPU and RAM usage, it seems to be a CPU issue as all 4 cores hover between 80% and 100% usage all the time. Having said that, I'll be in a very non demanding area (e.g. standing right in front of a wall) and I will still only get say 45 fps but the cores will show maybe 90% usage and not 100, so I dont really understand why they wouldn't be working harder to give me 60 fps if that makes sense

GPU usage is around 40-50%, and RAM is around 5500MB (Out of 8GB)

Your CPU theory seems possible - what does 'VRM overheating' mean? I'm not the most experienced with PC builds etc (I've done 2!)
 

Dijeangenie

Senior member
Sep 11, 2012
269
0
71
Do you play other games? How is the PC performing with those?
I can't test at the moment but I played XCOM 2 recently and had pretty poor performance, although I put that down to the game being buggy etc (and poor performance was widely reported by people playing the game)
 

Dijeangenie

Senior member
Sep 11, 2012
269
0
71
Doubtful. If he wasn't getting enough power to the GPU, it generally just errors and crashes, not throttles down.

It could be a CPU throttle, due to VRM overheating on that mobo, though.
I've checked with temp displays now - all cpu cores are running at less than 40 degrees.
 

Dijeangenie

Senior member
Sep 11, 2012
269
0
71
Update - I tested out my PC with dota 2 (a game which again I should be able to max out) and the story was the same (around 20-40fps) and not changing when I changed any of the settings, I ran the game at different resolutions and with completely max and completely minimum settings to no avail.
 

lehtv

Elite Member
Dec 8, 2010
11,900
74
91
What clockspeed are the CPU cores running at while gaming? Check with CPU-Z.
Your CPU theory seems possible - what does 'VRM overheating' mean? I'm not the most experienced with PC builds etc (I've done 2!)
VRM = Voltage Regulator Module. In motherboards, it's composed of various components near the CPU socket (see e.g. GamersNexus). Of those components, MOSFETs let out most of the waste heat associated with converting +12V input voltage into voltages required by the CPU (such as VCore).

At a high amperage load, a poorly cooled MOSFET can overheat which causes it to throttle. Throttling in this case means restricting the incoming current to prevent damage. When that happens, the CPU doesn't receive the current it originally requested and it can't run at the clock speed it's supposed to, so it's forced to reduce core utilization and clock speeds until the amperage provided by the throttled VRM is sufficient. Obviously, low clock speed is bad for performance.

On your motherboard:
  • the MOSFETs are relatively basic quality
  • there are very few of them, which means a lot of work for each individual MOSFET (based on photos of the board, I'd say that's a three phase CPU VRM)
  • and most importantly there is no heatsink to cool the MOSFETs, so they will definitely overheat when pushed to the limit
 
Last edited:

Dijeangenie

Senior member
Sep 11, 2012
269
0
71
What clockspeed are the CPU cores running at while gaming? Check with CPU-Z.
Thanks for explaining - I've done what you asked, it is reporting that each core is running at 800.10 mhz (all of the time as far as I can tell), although the column after has 'multiplier' in which it says x8. I've no idea what this means since I've not used the program before :/

I've read before that 800mhz is the 'power saving' cpu mode (on intel cpu)- has my cpu somehow become stuck on this mode all the time or something like that?
 

lehtv

Elite Member
Dec 8, 2010
11,900
74
91
@Dijeangenie Yep, 800MHz is idle mode. Multiplier x8 just means that the base clock of 100MHz is multiplier by 8 to get the 800MHz effective clock speed.

Does the clock speed change at all when opening an application (for instance, a web browser)? It should momentarily boost to >3.5GHz.

What power settings are you using in Windows? See if the High Performance setting makes any difference. IIRC, it should force maximum clockspeeds even when idling.

Did you notice any slowdowns before starting to play Fallout 4?
 

Dijeangenie

Senior member
Sep 11, 2012
269
0
71
@Dijeangenie Yep, 800MHz is idle mode. Multiplier x8 just means that the base clock of 100MHz is multiplier by 8 to get the 800MHz effective clock speed.

Does the clock speed change at all when opening an application (for instance, a web browser)? It should momentarily boost to >3.5GHz.

What power settings are you using in Windows? See if the High Performance setting makes any difference. IIRC, it should force maximum clockspeeds even when idling.

Did you notice any slowdowns before starting to play Fallout 4?
Clock change does not spike at all past 800mhz when opening any application.

Windows is already on high performance, its one of the things I initially tried doing :/

I didn't but I havent really been playing games recently, I've been barely using my pc or when I have done its just been university work (i.e. loading Word and Chrome) so it wouldnt be too noticable
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
52,267
7,081
126
Maybe a BIOS update is needed? i5-4690 is "Haswell Refresh", and may not be properly supported by out-of-the-box BIOS versions.
 

Dijeangenie

Senior member
Sep 11, 2012
269
0
71
I went into the BIOS and disabled 'Speedstep' and that seems to have fixed the problem (clocks run at 3.5ghz as they should) - is not having this enabled a big deal? Should I look for a more permanent solution is basically what im asking.
 

Sheep221

Golden Member
Oct 28, 2012
1,843
26
81
On your motherboard:
  • the MOSFETs are relatively basic quality
  • there are very few of them, which means a lot of work for each individual MOSFET (based on photos of the board, I'd say that's a three phase CPU VRM)
  • and most importantly there is no heatsink to cool the MOSFETs, so they will definitely overheat when pushed to the limit
It is a mobo issue but it is not related to what power its converter can transfer, his CPU is more less not power demanding. Converters on cheap boards today are those that were on high end boards few years back.
Maybe a BIOS update is needed? i5-4690 is "Haswell Refresh", and may not be properly supported by out-of-the-box BIOS versions.
It's definitely a BIOS problem but it is not probably related to microcode of different CPU, in that case it would not POST at all.
I went into the BIOS and disabled 'Speedstep' and that seems to have fixed the problem (clocks run at 3.5ghz as they should) - is not having this enabled a big deal? Should I look for a more permanent solution is basically what im asking.
It can be disabled indefinitely if that works for you, what this does is basically prevent CPU from downclocking in order to save power when there is no load on it, but not much more, how is the game performance now?
 

Dijeangenie

Senior member
Sep 11, 2012
269
0
71
It can be disabled indefinitely if that works for you, what this does is basically prevent CPU from downclocking in order to save power when there is no load on it, but not much more, how is the game performance now?
Game performance is as it should be (i.e Fallout 4 is running at 60fps on near max settings) - I just wondered if it is likely to make the CPU die if its using all of its power all the time/is it just going to use loads of electricity and make the pc a lot louder?
 

Sheep221

Golden Member
Oct 28, 2012
1,843
26
81
Game performance is as it should be (i.e Fallout 4 is running at 60fps on near max settings) - I just wondered if it is likely to make the CPU die if its using all of its power all the time/is it just going to use loads of electricity and make the pc a lot louder?
There is no evidence it has any impact on CPU life either good or bad. If you browse dozens of forums you will find that some claim speedstep enabled extends life due to lower idle frequency while others argue that frequent jumping in P-states will reduce lifespan but none of this was confirmed to be true or tested in any way. Power saving occurs also when no speedstep is used, because idle CPU will consume way less power than loaded one on same frequency, so in case of power saving I don't think you will save big on power bills. It was mostly invented for laptops on battery to conserve more energy but I guess it has minimal impact in desktops. Most of CPU is built from huge arrays of logic gates which are switched on and off based on clock rate frequency, but when CPU is idle, most of them are off and are not using power and those few which are switching because computer is running will don't create huge impact regardless of frequency they are set to. To the contrary many around here and other forums do run rigs heavily overclocked for many years and being stable, I think that in general, CPUs are very durable even when operated beyond their specifications.
 
Last edited:

Dijeangenie

Senior member
Sep 11, 2012
269
0
71
There is no evidence it has any impact on CPU life either good or bad. If you browse dozens of forums you will find that some claim speedstep enabled extends life due to lower idle frequency while others argue that frequent jumping in P-states will reduce lifespan but none of this was confirmed to be true or tested in any way. Power saving occurs also when no speedstep is used, because idle CPU will consume way less power than loaded one on same frequency, so in case of power saving I don't think you will save big on power bills. It was mostly invented for laptops on battery to conserve more energy but I guess it has minimal impact in desktops. Most of CPU is built from huge arrays of logic gates which are switched on and off based on clock rate frequency, but when CPU is idle, most of them are off and are not using power and those few which are switching because computer is running will don't create huge impact regardless of frequency they are set to. To the contrary many around here and other forums do run rigs heavily overclocked for many years and being stable, I think that in general, CPUs are very durable even when operated beyond their specifications.
Okay - thank you for your help :)
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY