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Can a old/slow hard drive cause stuttering in open world games?

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Reyks
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#1

Posted 17 April 2017 - 03:14 AM Edited by Reyks, 17 April 2017 - 03:16 AM.

I've been using this old 1.5Tb Seagate Barracuda with 5900rpm for quite some time now, I actually bought it in 2014 from a local store but since at the time I didn't really know much about PC parts I didn't bother checking online, and it turns out the model was manufactured in 2011/2012 and was probably used before I got it.

 

That being said it worked pretty well for the first 2 years, however recently I noticed the disk usage was going up to 100% very often, especially when there's a windows update, and it takes quite a while to boot as well.

 

None of this really bothered too much, I have a lot of games and other software installed, so I figured this was probably normal behavior for a HDD with lots of data. But... recently I started getting heavy stutters in games like GTA V and Batman Arkham Knight.

 

In GTA V it happens after about 10 minutes into the game driving around the city, I get heavy lag spikes and stutters wich also affects the audio, when hitting a car at high speeds sometimes the game freezes for a few seconds, when cops start shooting there's usually lag spikes and the audio cuts out. I noticed whenever I got lag spikes the HDD light would turn on for a few seconds (wich usually indicates the disk is being used a lot), and if I stood still the game was smooth as butter and the light remained off.

 

In Arkham Knight it's even worse, the lag spikes were pretty much constant when doing any action like entering the batmobile or engaging in fights, the HDD light remains on pretty much all the time in this game (possibly constant 100% disk usage). I do know this game is an unoptimized mess, but trust me a few months ago it was perfectly playable on my system, I even finished the game 100%, it wasn't the smoothest experience but it was definitely playable.

 

NOTE: There was one rare occurence in GTA V where some buildings started to disappear with LODs everywhere. Only happened once, had to verify the game cache on steam to fix it. I did see some floating cars yesterday though...

 

I'm about 90% sure this is an issue with my hard drive, but since I rarely ever heard about "hard drive stuttering/lag", I needed to ask does this even exist?

 

My specs:

 

CPU: i5 4430 @3.0ghz (3.2ghz Turbo Mode)

GPU: EVGA GTX 970 SC

RAM: 8gb (2x4GB Corsair Vengeance 1600mhz)

PSU: Corsair CX500

Motherboard: Asus B85M-E

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1.5Tb 5900rpm


yojc
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#2

Posted 17 April 2017 - 05:37 AM Edited by yojc, 17 April 2017 - 05:38 AM.

It's hard to tell whether the HDD is the main culprit here, but it's definitely possible. Open-world games tend to load a lot of data on the fly.
  • K^2 and Reyks like this

HaRdSTyLe_83
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#3

Posted 17 April 2017 - 02:05 PM Edited by HaRdSTyLe_83, 17 April 2017 - 02:07 PM.

i have played both Gta and arkhams knight on my Hdd and i didnt experience any stuttering. edit: mine is also a Seagate Barracuda 1T not sure on the RPM

cant you use a program like CAM from Nzxt or something better that lets you see ingame if the Cpu, RAM, etc is reaching the 100% usage ?


Reyks
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#4

Posted 17 April 2017 - 05:39 PM

I used afterburner, since I leave Vsync on to avoid screen tearing the CPU/GPU usage rarely went above 70%, but the RAM usage was almost maxed using about 7.9gb (i think afterburner was showing system-wide, not only GTA V) the pagefile usage was also insane using up to 10gb. Vram stayed at around 3300~3400mb sometimes it would reach the infamous "3.5gb" mark on the 970, but it doesn't affect performance at all, the stuttering starts way before that. Temperatures were fine as well on both CPU and GPU (CPU at around 55ºC and GPU at around 65ºC).

 

Anyways, I bought a new HDD this time it's a 2tb model with 7200rpm. When it arrives I guess we will see if the problem gets fixed.


sivispacem
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#5

Posted 17 April 2017 - 05:56 PM

If you're utilising a lot of page file then yes, you're liable to be slowed down significantly (assuming it's on the same drive).

Reyks
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#6

Posted 17 April 2017 - 08:33 PM

If you're utilising a lot of page file then yes, you're liable to be slowed down significantly (assuming it's on the same drive).

Makes sense, considering my HDD read/write speeds are likely screwed up it can't keep up with the game, I will try making a second pagefile once the new HDD is installed.


Reyks
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#7

Posted 2 weeks ago

Bumping this just in case someone with the same issue finds this thread.

 

Turns out I was running out of RAM... I borrowed some 2x4gb sticks from a friend and the stuttering stopped, so yeah if anyone else has this issue 16gb of ram should fix it.


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#8

Posted A week ago

Was just about to ask if you used a gamepad because Steam games seem to lag in the manner you described with a controller connected. Apparently even with Xbox One ones. I haven't tested this thoroughly enough though.

I didn't realize GTA V required 16 GB. But I think it came too close to 8 GB in usage. These days if you can afford a high end PC there's no reason not to max out your RAM.

SilverRST
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#9

Posted A week ago Edited by SilverRST, A week ago.

Bumping this just in case someone with the same issue finds this thread.

 

Turns out I was running out of RAM... I borrowed some 2x4gb sticks from a friend and the stuttering stopped, so yeah if anyone else has this issue 16gb of ram should fix it.

And people saying 8GB RAM is more than enough for games makes me ROFL damn hard.

My two HDD's are from 2014 too, Seagate Barracuda 1TB and never have any stutter in games. And also still using a GTX780.

Times has changed, this is not the bullsh*t "640kb is enough for everyone" anymore.


Reyks
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#10

Posted A week ago

Actually you can run GTA V with 8Gb RAM without issues in most systems... but for whatever reason the RAM usage gets higher than normal depending on your hardware, in my case the total RAM usage when running GTA V or Batman at max settings stays at around 8.5Gb, having only 8Gb of RAM was causing stuff to be dumped into the pagefile.

 

My guess is that different CPUs/MOBOs handle RAM more efficiently than others, I could be wrong thought, optimization is a weird thing in PC games.





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