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SlendySlasher
12-28-2013, 07:05 AM
I know there are a lot of these threads, but I am genuinely seeking help to fix this issue, which has been really bothersome. I've contacted Ubisoft support about this, but I thought I'd post it here as well.

This is my exact word-for-word support ticket with Ubisoft. It's a long read, so I'll thank you in advance if you manage to get through it.

I beg of anyone reading this, please don't flame or troll. If I sound frustrated below, it's because I was at the time I wrote this email to Ubisoft. My apologies in advance if anyone is offended by this. I hate offending people on the internet...

Here goes:

*****************************

So, here's the deal Ubisoft. Please read this whole post. I know it's long, and probably boring, but it's very frustrating as a customer when a support person just throws canned answers at me, and I can totally tell he didn't even read my whole support request.

My CPU is 51% better in performance than the "recommended" CPU. My GPU is only 9% less in performance than the "recommended" GPU. Read "recommended". I am over 27% outperforming the minimum requirements, as stated by you.

So basically, I sit in between the minimum, and recommended specs for this game, leaning towards the recommended side. From what I know of games, minimum requirements means you can run the game on lowest settings, at a native resolution, at around 30-40FPS minimum, though it should be higher. Recommended means you can play the game at native resolution at high settings, around 30-40FPS, minimum, once again should be higher.

I would like to know then, why I am getting such horrendous framerates.

My exact Specs:

GTX GeForce 765m (768 @ 850MHz 128 Bit @ 4000MHz)
Intel 4th Gen i7-4700MQ
8GB RAM
1920x1080p monitor
Running Windows 7 (64-bit) Home Premium

I have updated my Nvidia Drivers to the latest. I have uninstalled and reinstalled them several times. I have clean installed them, so I am certain they are NOT the problem. I have tried previous drivers, and the new beta drivers. Neither made any difference.

AC IV Black Flag is up to date with the latest patches.

Windows is up to date and running perfectly fine. Direct X is updated and running fine.

Here are my in game settings:
resolution: 1366x768
environment quality: very low
texture quality: very low
anti-aliasing: off
shadow quality: low
reflection quality: off
motion blur: off
ambient occlusion: off
god rays: off
volumetric fog: off
vsync: off
PhysX particles: off

(NOTICE: I am NOT framerate locked, so please do not suggest that. I have vsync off in the game, and in Nvidia Control Panel) Just clarifying this, as people keep trying to suggest this as a possible solution.

Now, you tell me, please tell me, why during ship battles, with small amounts of smoke, my framerate is still going down to 28FPS.

Or tell me why in areas with lots of foliage, my framerate dips down to 35FPS.

I am running the game on all low, at a horrible resolution, and the performance is abysmal. My Nvidia Control Panel settings are all set to performance over quality.

If I turn just ONE setting - the environment quality, it will completely destroy my framerate. Here's an example, which I can prove with a video if required.

I'm sitting at the in game location "Salt Lagoon". I am running all of the above settings, and getting about 50FPS. I change the environment quality (I will call it EQ from here out) from very low, to low. Absolutely NO performance difference. Not even a 1FPS drop.

Okay, so now I bump the EQ up just one more notch. From low, to normal. My computer suddenly dips from 50FPS, down to 28-31FPS. This is NOT due to framerate capping, so please don't suggest that. I have no vsync on at all, and my framerate is not capping.

Now let's take that same scenario, and assume I simply want to run the game at my native resolution. At 1080p, changing from low, to normal EQ takes me from about 45FPS, down to 25FPS.

During sea battles, with even a slight amount of smoke, even with all settings off, downscaled resolution to 1366x768, I am dropping to 25FPS sometimes, especially when a ship is sinking.


Here is one more thing I'd like to know. I am running a quad core CPU. If I simulate a dual core CPU (shutting down half my cores), guess what I get in terms of framerate drop. 3-5FPS. That is absolutely ridiculous. Basically, a dual core CPU, and a quad core CPU have a measly 3-5FPS difference between them. Why did I spend all this money on a high end CPU, and why was I promised that AC IV: Black Flag would be well optimized for PC, when it is obviously not?

I hope this is read and properly addressed.

MnemonicSyntax
12-28-2013, 07:22 AM
Bad news is, laptops aren't really supported or even optimized. I fear your support ticket will be ignored or sent back with the same thing I'm telling you now.

However, this is... what I'm gathering.

Assassin's Creed 4 has an issue with Vsync and Triple Buffering, in that Triple Buffering doesn't exist and Ubi instead opted for Double Buffering. Good news is, you can use an external program (most of us are using D3DOverrider) to force triple buffering. Or, you could use the Nvidia control panel to do the same thing, though people are generally reporting better results using D3DOverrider.

If anything, give it a shot. It doesn't hurt to try it.

Frag_Maniac
12-28-2013, 07:54 AM
I read his whole post, and he clearly stated he is not running VSync, and that it's not a frame cap issue, which it isn't. As I've said before, triple buffering only helps with VSync on. That hard coded frame rate cap they use only applies to VSync.

Sorry to disappoint you, but the common answer on the AC IV PC forums whenever laptop spec is brought up, no matter how good, is that the game is not optimized for them, meaning they obviously didn't take time to test performance or compatibility for them.

That said, it is not easy to get actual performance comparisons between laptop spec and desktop spec, especially in real world gaming. Some of the problems people are mentioning with LTs may be due to incompatibility, but I think much is also due to misleading model numbers on recent LT GPUs.

For instance the 765m one might think would be a down clocked version of a GTX 760, as is typically the case with a mobile GPU card of same or similar model number. However when you look at Passmark's scores for the recommended GTX 470, as well as comparing it's scores on the GTX 760 and the 765m, you see a very different and shocking result.

Recommended GTX 470 = 3566
http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=GeForce+GTX+470

Your 765m = 2064
http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=GeForce+GTX+765M

GTX 760 = 5025
http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=GeForce+GTX+760

My 7970 = 5108
http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=Radeon+HD+7970+%2F+R9+280X&id=51

I was amazed at how well the mere $250 GTX 760 scored, and how low the 765m scored. A lot of modern LT GPUs even seem to have the same amount of VRAM.

For the record, even with my GPU I don't run max settings. I CAN, and with forced triple buffering average about 40-60 FPS, but if I do, the smoky naval battles feel slightly laggy and choppy, even if the frame rate is well above 40 FPS. Even with the settings lowered, I still get slight chop in big long battles. What's strange is they went out of their way to optimize well the new ocean wave simulator, which is quite a bit better than that of the last game and runs much more efficiently, but with the mere particle effects (smoke), which is not much of a performance hit in many games, they kinda dropped the ball on efficiency. I don't have any problems with foliage, perhaps due to my 3GB VRAM, but I can def relate to what most say about smoke dragging the performance down, esp at sea.

Hope this answers some of your questions, even if it's mostly bad news. It would appear trying to use a laptop for double duties these days is a gamble.

SlendySlasher
12-28-2013, 08:28 AM
Bad news is, laptops aren't really supported or even optimized. I fear your support ticket will be ignored or sent back with the same thing I'm telling you now.

However, this is... what I'm gathering.

Assassin's Creed 4 has an issue with Vsync and Triple Buffering, in that Triple Buffering doesn't exist and Ubi instead opted for Double Buffering. Good news is, you can use an external program (most of us are using D3DOverrider) to force triple buffering. Or, you could use the Nvidia control panel to do the same thing, though people are generally reporting better results using D3DOverrider.

If anything, give it a shot. It doesn't hurt to try it.

I do appreciate the reply, but as I stated in my post twice, it's not a frame-cap issue, which is what D3D overrider helps with. I did actually try D3D however, just to make sure, and the results were no different.

SlendySlasher
12-28-2013, 08:33 AM
I read his whole post, and he clearly stated he is not running VSync, and that it's not a frame cap issue, which it isn't. As I've said before, triple buffering only helps with VSync on. That hard coded frame rate cap they use only applies to VSync.

Sorry to disappoint you, but the common answer on the AC IV PC forums whenever laptop spec is brought up, no matter how good, is that the game is not optimized for them, meaning they obviously didn't take time to test performance or compatibility for them.

That said, it is not easy to get actual performance comparisons between laptop spec and desktop spec, especially in real world gaming. Some of the problems people are mentioning with LTs may be due to incompatibility, but I think much is also due to misleading model numbers on recent LT GPUs.

For instance the 765m one might think would be a down clocked version of a GTX 760, as is typically the case with a mobile GPU card of same or similar model number. However when you look at Passmark's scores for the recommended GTX 470, as well as comparing it's scores on the GTX 760 and the 765m, you see a very different and shocking result.

Recommended GTX 470 = 3566
http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=GeForce+GTX+470

Your 765m = 2064
http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=GeForce+GTX+765M

GTX 760 = 5025
http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=GeForce+GTX+760

My 7970 = 5108
http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=Radeon+HD+7970+%2F+R9+280X&id=51

I was amazed at how well the mere $250 GTX 760 scored, and how low the 765m scored. A lot of modern LT GPUs even seem to have the same amount of VRAM.

For the record, even with my GPU I don't run max settings. I CAN, and with forced triple buffering average about 40-60 FPS, but if I do, the smoky naval battles feel slightly laggy and choppy, even if the frame rate is well above 40 FPS. Even with the settings lowered, I still get slight chop in big long battles. What's strange is they went out of their way to optimize well the new ocean wave simulator, which is quite a bit better than that of the last game and runs much more efficiently, but with the mere particle effects (smoke), which is not much of a performance hit in many games, they kinda dropped the ball on efficiency. I don't have any problems with foliage, perhaps due to my 3GB VRAM, but I can def relate to what most say about smoke dragging the performance down, esp at sea.

Hope this answers some of your questions, even if it's mostly bad news. It would appear trying to use a laptop for double duties these days is a gamble.


Thanks for the reply mate. Good comparisons. The 765m definitely is not what I'd call a "high-end" GPU, still when I can run games like Crysis 3 at medium to high (tweaked just right, of course), I am very disappointed when I see optimization like this.

You're most likely right, and they probably will just ignore my support request, but I guess we'll see. I always live with the hope that Ubisoft will one day take the time to fix at least a few of their ports. The fact is, they make great games. They just don't mesh with PC...

On the smoke during Naval battles - the entire Nvidia PhysX and smoke/particle simulation seems very buggy in this game. This is most obvious when you enable the extra PhysX, and even though there's nothing but one single campfire near you, framerates drop over 25FPS, on the lowest setting. I really think the smoke engine needs an overhaul. I'd rather have ugly smoke than laggy smoke... 0_0

Frag_Maniac
12-28-2013, 08:47 AM
Thanks for the reply mate. Good comparisons. The 765m definitely is not what I'd call a "high-end" GPU, still when I can run games like Crysis 3 at medium to high (tweaked just right, of course), I am very disappointed when I see optimization like this.

You're most likely right, and they probably will just ignore my support request, but I guess we'll see. I always live with the hope that Ubisoft will one day take the time to fix at least a few of their ports. The fact is, they make great games. They just don't mesh with PC...

On the smoke during Naval battles - the entire Nvidia PhysX and smoke/particle simulation seems very buggy in this game. This is most obvious when you enable the extra PhysX, and even though there's nothing but one single campfire near you, framerates drop over 25FPS, on the lowest setting. I really think the smoke engine needs an overhaul. I'd rather have ugly smoke than laggy smoke... 0_0

I'm just glad you're understanding, I was worried you might be pissed about what I said. A lot of what's said here is sometimes misinterpreted or exaggerated, then things escalate.

I've played Crysis quite a lot, including Cry 1 on my old P4/X800XT sys. A lot of people thought I was lying that I got 30 FPS ave @ 1200x900 with max textures (Med Shadows & Shaders), while just running along the beach in the Island level, but when I started telling them about the performance tweaks I was using, one of which I concocted and some used successfully, they realized it was more to do with the fact that CryTek, despite their seemingly elitist goals of melting PCs with their graphics, actually facilitate the end user with a full set of cvars that can often times make a huge difference once you tweak them.

Ubi are a total 180 of CryTek. They're a lot like MS in that they do things their way and don't want any users tweaking the files. That would be fine if everything were optimized as well as their ocean wave simulator, but it's not.

Last little thing I would add is maybe try the tweak this guy used for PhysX settings in NCP. It's a long shot but worth a try.
http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/820000-Trust-Is-Earned-Principe-FIX!-(Nvidia-only-)

I think mostly it's just that that mobile GPU should have never been given a model number so close to that of the much more powerful GTX 760. It's very misleading, and Nvidia can easily get away with it since AMD really only competes in the APU market on mobile devices.

MnemonicSyntax
12-28-2013, 09:24 AM
Same here, thanks for understanding and not jumping down our throats. I had read that you didn't believe it was a frame rate issue, but I figured it was worth a shot. Glad you took it mate.

SlendySlasher
12-28-2013, 04:37 PM
I'm just glad you're understanding, I was worried you might be pissed about what I said. A lot of what's said here is sometimes misinterpreted or exaggerated, then things escalate.

I've played Crysis quite a lot, including Cry 1 on my old P4/X800XT sys. A lot of people thought I was lying that I got 30 FPS ave @ 1200x900 with max textures (Med Shadows & Shaders), while just running along the beach in the Island level, but when I started telling them about the performance tweaks I was using, one of which I concocted and some used successfully, they realized it was more to do with the fact that CryTek, despite their seemingly elitist goals of melting PCs with their graphics, actually facilitate the end user with a full set of cvars that can often times make a huge difference once you tweak them.

Ubi are a total 180 of CryTek. They're a lot like MS in that they do things their way and don't want any users tweaking the files. That would be fine if everything were optimized as well as their ocean wave simulator, but it's not.

Last little thing I would add is maybe try the tweak this guy used for PhysX settings in NCP. It's a long shot but worth a try.
http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/820000-Trust-Is-Earned-Principe-FIX!-(Nvidia-only-)

I think mostly it's just that that mobile GPU should have never been given a model number so close to that of the much more powerful GTX 760. It's very misleading, and Nvidia can easily get away with it since AMD really only competes in the APU market on mobile devices.

No problem mate. Me personally - I can't understand why folks on the internet argue so much. I always just try to assume the best about people, which helps quite a bit.

Thanks for the link. I did actually try that fix, and it doesn't really affect my performance either way. I find that odd actually, because so many forums I have read stated that the CPU is not meant to handle PhysX, and that the game will perform worse. Seems the exact same to me either way. :)

Yeah, Crysis games seem pretty nicely optimized, which is something I really appreciate from developers. Actually, one of my best experiences with a game is probably Sleeping Dogs. I was genuinely surprised when I maxed out the in game settings, with the HD texture pack, and hit the framerate cap of 60FPS.

Now if Ubisoft was just that good with their PC ports...

I do find Nvidias numbering system a bit odd, but it's not to troublesome for me. I will say that, from what I have read, benchmarked, and compared online, that my card is the equivalent of a desktop 650ti, or 560. Basically, it's above the 560, and below the 650ti. I know on NVidias tweaking guide they suggested much higher settings for these cards than I am ever able to achieve, with the goal of maintaining 40FPS at all times, at 1080p. This saddens me when my equivalent (but unsupported) card cannot come close to these settings, runs at 1366x768, and still drops to 28FPS.

Ubisoft, what were you thinking?

SlendySlasher
12-28-2013, 04:39 PM
Same here, thanks for understanding and not jumping down our throats. I had read that you didn't believe it was a frame rate issue, but I figured it was worth a shot. Glad you took it mate.

Not a problem, and I really appreciate the answers. I too was secretly hoping D3D would fix my issues.

Unfortunately I really do have the worst kind of problem, because from what I've read, Ubisoft said they will not support laptops. This is just pitiful, because gaming laptops are no longer a small minority. They've become very much game-worthy machines nowadays.

Ah well, I will keep hoping for a patch to this seemingly broken game.

Frag_Maniac
12-29-2013, 01:02 AM
Thanks for the link. I did actually try that fix, and it doesn't really affect my performance either way. I find that odd actually, because so many forums I have read stated that the CPU is not meant to handle PhysX, and that the game will perform worse. Seems the exact same to me either way. :)

I don't know if that was a typo, but for the most part PhysX is designed for physics on the GPU in modern ones that are made for it. There's also of course PhysX on the CPU, which some games support so that AMD users can run it, but it takes a pretty powerful CPU, and I don't think this game even supports PhysX on the CPU. What's weird though is a lot of games require PhysX to be installed, even if you have an AMD GPU and use no PhysX at all.

It's hard to foresee whether laptops will ever get increasing recognition support wise in gaming. It's kinda ironic though that in a time where even PCs are going console-like in construction (Steam Machine), the laptop market, which has grown steadily by leaps and bounds, despite being closer to fixed platforms than desktops, are blown off by a lot of developers.