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What is Limiting My FPS?

RollieJoeRollieJoe Raleigh, NCPosts: 451Member Uncommon

Hopefully someone more tech minded can help me out here.  I'm playing TERA and want to increase my FPS.  I get anywhere from 20-35 right now.  30+ is perfectly fine but I'd like to eliminate those dips into the low 20's.  Here are my system specs:

Windows 7 64-bit

Quad core 2.4 ghz


9800 GTX nvidia card 512 MB


Now my system easily surpasses the official recommended requirements but even turning the settings FAR down to low, and running at only 1280x1024 I still get dips into those 20's FPS.  And here is the very strange part - adjusting most of the settings has no noticable affect on my FPS.   Running the game on low graphics options, vs medium, vs high, and its all still 20-30 FPS.


This leads me to think perhaps my processor is limited the FPS and it doesn't matter about my graphics settings at all?  Does TERA not use multiple cores correctly perhaps, so that its treating my 2.4 quad core like a 2.4 single core or dual core?


Any feedback/tips/tricks appreciated, thanks.



  • ChingoChingo Moonbase1Posts: 127Member Uncommon
    I recently asked for help in a similar issue. My rig is different so the tips may not fit your situation. Essentially I ended up ordering a faster CPU as that seemed to be my problem. MMOs seem not to use all cores always. In my case the CPU change required me to rder a new motherboard, too. And Also upgrading to faster memory. And a new nice box to put it all into.

    Link to thread here if you're interested:

    Ps. There seem to he experts around here who can quickly point out ideas if you attach output of DxDiag into you post. Run "dxdiag" from the Run box, save the output to a file and attach it with yout post. That shows your PC specs in more detail

    EDIT: sorry for lack of paragraphs. I blame the poor iPad support on the forums:)

  • simonwest80simonwest80 AshfordPosts: 173Member

    So couple of questions:

    1)  How is your memory set up?  eg. 2x2gb and 1 x1gb?

    2)  What is the actuall CPU make and model is it a Intel Core 2 Q9950?  Amd?


    Question to everyone - how well does Tera utilize multiple cores?  This may be the bottle neck as i beleive Tera has been out for quite a while but just recently to the western world so may not utilize multiple cores and as you said be part of the issue.

  • WorstluckWorstluck the valley, CAPosts: 1,269Member

    What kind of processor (not just quad core, model, brand etc)?  Why have 5 gb of ram?  I would like to say that older video card is the culprit, however it could be the processor like you said, but I do not know enough about Tera. 


  • Tallic234Tallic234 Norfolk, VAPosts: 27Member Uncommon

    I would first back up your hardrive. Some of the things I recommend may cause you to lose your email, pictures, and other valuable programs.

    Second,pull out the manual to the mother board and check your Bios settings. Sometimes a power outage will reset everything. ie; underclock your cpu and ram settings. If you took notes when the system was new you can check them now to see if they are still at the same settings. You did copy down all the bios settings when you bought it right?


    When was the last time you wiped your harddrive? I would recommend before you do anything that you back up all your files onto another harddrive, wipe the one your using and do a fresh install of Windows 7 or what ever operating system you are using. I prefer to have a second hardrive on my system for games, pictures and files. Whenever i wipe my system I unplug the drive with all my important importans stuff first.

    How many programs are loading when you start up. These take up your limited ram and can slow your system. Find a good sweeper program to clean up temp files and get rid of tracking cookies. If you can turn off your virus protection program only when you are playing your mmo.

    Most people forget that every website they go to adds crap to their system, Every game or program installed and deleted leaves a hack in the registery. I wipe my hard drive every year. It is a pain in the ass to do but it keeps my system running fine till the next year.

    Spend as little money as you can till you need to is my goal


  • RollieJoeRollieJoe Raleigh, NCPosts: 451Member Uncommon

    @Chingo - Sounds like you had to basically build/buy an entirely new PC!  Unfortunately out of the question for me atm.  Hoping to find a workaround for my system.


    @Simon - The RAM is 2x 2GB sticks and 2x 512 sticks, running in Dual Channel mode according to the BIOS.  My CPU is Intel Core 2 Q6600 2.4ghz.  About the multiple cores, running Windows 7 resource manager it definately LOOKS like Tera is using all 4 cores, in fact just standing around town 3 of the 4 cores were around 50% and one was 80% or so (all of that from Tera, not from other programs).   Maybe it just wants an absolute monster quad core, like well over 3ghz on each core?  If so, then their recommended requirements are waaaay off.


    @worstluck - Yeah my first thought was it was maybe the video card too.  It isn't a bad card, but I figured it couldn't be the quad core.  What made me think the video card isn't really a factor though is that running on very low settings VS very high settings, the framerate barely changes at all.  That seems very odd to me. 



  • RollieJoeRollieJoe Raleigh, NCPosts: 451Member Uncommon

    Follow up question: is anyone with a processor WORSE than mine (or the same) getting a really good framerate in Tera?  Like a consistent 45+ even with lots of stuff going on? 

  • L0C0ManL0C0Man Puerto OrdazPosts: 1,065Member Uncommon

    Might want to look into heat problems as well, just in case.

    I once had a similar problem, and turned out it was because of heat. Several games were slow even if I met and exceeded their requirements, and even more, tweaking most settings seemed to have no real effect. As it turns out, my motherboard had a feature called thermal throttling on (it came with it on by default, might have different names in different bioses). What that does is that if the CPU starts to get too hot, it slows it down. That, combined by a cable inside the computer that was touching the CPU cooler's fan (and slowing it down) plus the hot weather in general where I live was making the computer overheat and slow down the processor, I fixed the cables and added a couple extra fans to the case (one in front blowing air in, another in the back blowing air out), turned thermal trottling off and it was fixed.

    Probably not the same problem, but something you might want to look into.

    What can men do against such reckless hate?

  • VultureSkullVultureSkull LONDONPosts: 1,774Member Uncommon

    It is the card and the CPU

    Since TERA is a brand new game it may be using the latest Nvida tech. Since your card was released there has been the   GTX 200 series, the GTX 400 Series and now we are on the GTX500 series.

    The CPU is a bit slow now as well. If you upgraded your CPU to an i5/i7 you would see a bigger jump then upgrading the card.


    Upgrading the card is easier, but you should now begin to think about upgrading the CPU.

  • thekid1thekid1 GroningenPosts: 789Member Uncommon

    First thing I would do is find out if Tera uses all 4 cores.

    Perhaps it only uses two and then you have only 2 X 2.4 Ghz which is 6 year old tech..

    That's why I do not have a quad core.

  • AmjocoAmjoco Layton, UTPosts: 4,844Member Uncommon

    Sounds dumb, but it can matter. Make sure your heatsink is clean and not plugged with dust. The harder your computer works the hotter your cpu is going to get and if it heats up it will slow down. Just a quick tip if you haven't checked it in a while.

    Death is nothing to us, since when we are, Death has not come, and when death has come, we are not.

  • simonwest80simonwest80 AshfordPosts: 173Member

    Tera is 18months old and an MMO in which most cases the more important thing is people on screen and moving which puts more stress on CPU/memory.  A 9800 according to the site is above the recommended spec so really shouldnt be an issue on the settings that you advise you are playing.  What type of lag do you get when playing?  How do other more modern games compare?  Do you play anything like BF3 or Skyrim?  If so how do these games perform?

    However, if you do want to play the latest games than updating your PC will be needed sooner rather than later.  Depending on which types of game you enjoy will advise if you should go CPU 1st (mmos/rpgs) or GPU 1st (FPS/ 3rd person).

  • RollieJoeRollieJoe Raleigh, NCPosts: 451Member Uncommon

    Well I checked my temperatures and they are running ok.  59C was the highest I got playing for a few hours, and my CPU's thermal rating is 71C according to intel.


    The game is certainly playable, but especially while moving my character and/or camera around in the open world or what seems to be geometrically intense places like the big cities, my framerate drops into the low 20's, even on very low graphics settings. 


    This means that either I have something going wrong that I'm trying to pinpoint, or else En Masse (tera NA devs) have absolutely no idea about system requirements/recommendations.   Seems like it might be something on my end, because of the odd behavior where changing the graphics from very low to very high doesn't affect my FPS. 


    Anyone out there with a 2.4ghz or lower intel quad core that *IS* getting good fps in tera?

  • simonwest80simonwest80 AshfordPosts: 173Member

    Hmmmm i think half the issue you may be experiencing is server lag rather than anything specifically todo with your system.  Major cities in WoW were renowned for bringing even the most specced PCs to its knees in the hayday of Blizzards bheomoth and this was more to do with the info trying to get down the pipe rather than issues with the PCs hardware. Like i have said - one more test would be try running a more modern game like BF3 or Shogun to see if you see similar things on comparable settings.  You are an MMO player have you played WoW on this system?

  • exanimoexanimo macauPosts: 1,316Member

    that seams obvious , its lag , nothing related with your machine

    and lag on a mmo , even if you have a very good connection you can still get lag from other players with slow connections

  • PhryPhry OxfordshirePosts: 8,332Member Epic

    i would have thought that the only thing really letting your system down is the old graphics card,  is it really above minimum spec for the game ? its the first thing i'd have on my upgrade list anyway.image

  • EkarosEkaros TurkuPosts: 367Member Uncommon

    9800 GTX is quite old card. Also memory configure is strange, but it's late to upgrade it if not buying used.


    You should be on safe side upgrading to any modern card, 9800 GTX has about same power consumption. Ofc it depends on what type of system you like to buy.

  • KilraneKilrane WAPosts: 302Member Uncommon

    I would have to agree that videocard is going to be your first bottleneck, though lag is very probable to be part of the issue as well.


    That said, if you want help with possible upgrade ideas list what motherboard you have and the powersupply you are using.  Not just the wattage or brand of the powersupply, but the actual model.  Quizz or someone else who is more helpful than I am will probably be along later and knowing what powersupply and motherboard you have will be a requirement for them to really assist you properly.

  • CleffyCleffy San Diego, CAPosts: 5,397Member Rare

    I think your hard drive and settings are reducing your FPS.  Not many game developers are stupid enough to make a game so poorly coded that any quad core 2.5ghz processor will have trouble with it.

    First advice is to force off VSync.  Go into your nVidia Control panel and in the options have VSync Always off.  Screen tearing has not been an issue for modern technology in years, but the performance hit from VSync is huge.

    Second is you might want to setup your computers hardware differently.  The bottleneck could be using uneven memory dimms.  Any quad core system is going to use dual or triple channel memory.  That means 5GB is gonna mean an uneven split of memory.  Having the same sized memory dimms is usually more ideal, even if it means pulling out a couple to make it the same.  For instance if you have 2-2GB dimms, and 2-512MB dimms, pulling out the 2-512MB dimms could make your system faster.

    Third is getting an SSD.  Those dips to 20FPS are probably loading information, and this could be the game trying to fetch data off a slow HDD.  So switching to a fast SSD may improve this.

  • Gabby-airGabby-air surrey, BCPosts: 3,440Member Uncommon

    Use GPU-Z to monitor GPU usage and temperatures and see how the video card is doing, if it's constantly high then you have the solution. 

  • TerrorizorTerrorizor Red Beer, ABPosts: 326Member

    It's the card, not the CPU. I ran Tera with no problems on a Q6600. The 9800GT is essentially a rebrand of the 8800GT and it has problems with alot of newer games. Junk it for a new Videocard and your problems will be solved.

  • WorstluckWorstluck the valley, CAPosts: 1,269Member

    If you want to upgrade I would definitely look at upgrading the card.  If you don't want to drop too much dosh, the GTX 560 or the Radeon HD 5870 are very comparable cards that perform well for the price.  If you don't have any problems with the 9800GT your PSU should be able to power either of those.  Upgrading the processor at this point will require a new motherboard if you go that route.  I don't have much experience with Tera, I did play the game during open beta by my computer is pretty different than yours.  It did have some nice eye candy that I imagine a 9800GT could struggle with.


  • AmjocoAmjoco Layton, UTPosts: 4,844Member Uncommon

    PM Quizzical. He is somewhat of a "Rainman" with computer hardware.

    Death is nothing to us, since when we are, Death has not come, and when death has come, we are not.

  • RollieJoeRollieJoe Raleigh, NCPosts: 451Member Uncommon

    Appreciate the replies, but I'm not looking to upgrade, or swap out any hardware unless it is faulty.  What I'm trying to figure out is why Tera, and only Tera, is giving me FPS issues regardless of settings.  What I mean is, if I play BF3 on this machine at medium settings, I get around 30 FPS but sometimes dips into 20 if alot of stuff is exploding, etc.   But if I turn the settings to ultra high I get <5 FPS.   And if I turn the settings to very low, I can easily get 80+ FPS with vsync off.   This all makes sense.  Low settings?   High frames.   High settings?  Low frames.  Perfect.


    With Tera, it doesn't matter if I make it look amazing on high settings, or like a blurry game from the year 2000 on minimum settings.  The FPS is ALWAYS 20-30.  This seems very odd and perhaps like it might be some setting or issue with my computer (unrelated to upgrades) that might need to be fixed.

  • Eir_SEir_S Argyle, NYPosts: 4,623Member Uncommon

    I have no idea if this is true or helpful, but I recently complained about low FPS in the GW2 betas to a friend, and they remarked that on their task manager, the GW2 client was set to "low priority" and when they changed it to real-time or high, the FPS improved markedly.  I didn't have time to test it out, but it's the only thing I can think of at the moment, try it on your Tera.  It could have nothing to do with that, but I'm excited to try it on the next GW2 beta myself.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 17,347Member Epic

    Quick bit of background on the original poster:

    Incidentally, that's why I haven't otherwise replied to this thread.

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