Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Lotro Lag problems.

My two year old home-built PC is struggling to run Lotro as smoothly as I would like. I experience a lot of stuttering in crowded areas such as Bree and Archet. Lowering the graphics resolution helps a lot at the expense of prettiness so it is almost certainly a graphics card defficiency. I have noticed that playing on the Laurelin (Role Play) Server is less jerky than playing on Evernight (non Role Play). I guess there are fewer players on the role play server. Fewer players means less crowds and less effort at rendering for my poor graphics card.

I use the excellent utility FRAPS to measure frame per second (fps) rates - it can even do screenshots for games that don't have this facility. Graphics card reviews give much space to comparing average fps between cards but from a players point of view it is not average frame rate but minimum frame rate that affects game experience. I would love to have frame rates consistently above the 60 frames per second refresh rate of my LCD monitor but I have noticed that as long as a game stays consistently above 30 frames per second it is very playable. My 7300GT DDR3 ( a sort of turbo charged 7300GT) is not a bad mid range card. It gives frame rates of above 40fps in high quality mode in many areas of Lotro but it has an Achille's heel which causes the frame rate to drop to zero whenever I enter and move around a crowded area.

The problem I think is that my card has only 128MB of graphics memory and this is not enough space to store all of the graphics textures in high detail mode. Once graphics memory fills up there is a long delay while textures are read to and from main system memory giving rise to a stutter.

I have settled on a compromise which is effectively high quality graphics mode but with texture quality set back to medium. This gives excellent playability outside of towns and OK playability in towns.

I would love to be able to play smoothly and fluidly at higher quality graphics but I think a new graphics card with more memory would be required for this. I am not due to replace my homw built PC (Athlon XP3500+ 2Gb RAM) for another year but I am tempted by the €120 Geforce 8600GT / 256Mb.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, I play lord of the rings online too and have the exact same problem - i'd be interested to know what your settings compromise is, if you wouldn't mind saying. Cheers - by the way, if you're on eldar server I may even see you round (I'm Glorfinrod). In any case have fun playing!

mbp said...

Hi Glorfinrod. Eventually I replaced my graphics card and that solved most of my issues. My replacement card is a 7600GT 256MB. That is far from state of the art but the extra memory seems to make a huge difference. I play on High graphics settings at 1280x1024 and I rarely experience any lag. By the way I previously found that Lotro also needs a lot of system memory. I used to have only 1MB of system memory and I had very poor performance until I upgraded to 2MB. If you have less than 2MB one thing that may help is stopping any programs running in the background to free up memory.