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Guide to Improving FPS by Reducing Graphics Lag (in layman's terms)

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Customer Service (Read-Only)
Guide to Improving FPS by Reducing Graphics Lag (in layman's terms)

Caloreez's Avatar

01.02.2012 , 03:00 PM | #1
Greetings all, first and foremost this guide is intended for the SWTOR player with an average prowess for computers, operating systems, and the like; I am in no way a tech expert, however I was able to drastically improve my in-game experience by following these simple steps. Notice that this guide provides steps to increase FPS (frames per second) by reducing graphics lag, and assumes that the user has a sufficient internet connection in order to rule out a lack of communication with the server. I am confident that by following these steps which are ranked in order from most beneficial change to least beneficial (in my own opinion) the average user will be able to improve his/her gaming experience in the most efficient way possible:

1) Update all driver components; I have found this to be extremely easy to accomplish. In fact, the Nvidia website will actually scan your computer for you if you are unsure of the specific model of your graphics card, and will then inform the user of any possible updates that are available.

2) Enable Vsync (vertical sync) both in-game and within the graphic card's control panel. This option in-game is available under Preferences->Graphics, and when enabled will show that the box is filled in next to it.
In my case I was also forced to go into my particular graphic card's control panel (Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT) and enable vertical sync here as well. I assume that most Nvidia control panels along with other graphic card manufacturers have a similar control panel interface, so I'll lay out the path I followed: 3D Settings->Manage 3D Settings->Global Settings Tab->Vertical Sync: Force On.

3) Turn off shadows in-game, which is also accessible by Preferences->Graphics. The default setting I believe is "Low" for shadowing, therefore you will have to manually switch it to "Off".
For good measure I also recommend ensuring that settings such as "Antialiasing" along with "Ambient Occlusion" are turned off within the graphic card's control panel; these settings are accessible via the same pathway that the vertical sync setting follows.

4) Manually ensure that all in-game graphics settings are set to "Low" (and "Off" for shadowing); this may be accomplished by turning up all settings to "High", clicking "Apply", and then "Keep Changes". Follow these steps by restarting the game and consequently changing all settings to "Low" again ("Off" for shadowing), and restarting once more for good measure.

5) If you have not done so in a while clean your CPU/laptop's cooling system with compressed air. This will help keep your system running cool with minimal effort by the computer itself.
It may also be privvy to buy a cooling pad if the player is using a laptop; this will assist the laptop even more and ensure that minimal effort is required to cool the system.

I hope that this guide is helpful to any player that is experiencing choppy game-play due to graphics lag so that they may be able to enjoy the game for all it's worth instead of focusing on just getting from point A to point B. As always, constructive criticism is more than welcome as are additions to this guide that have helped other players improve their performance. I'd also like to thank any and all of the community members who have suggested these options in previous threads, after all your advice proved to be invaluable for me as well. Thank you for taking the time to read this and good luck out there!
“Never tell me the odds!”-Han Solo

Exactly's Avatar

01.02.2012 , 03:10 PM | #2
My system plays better with vsync off, i only get screen tearing on some cutscenes, mostly when the ship leaves your planet, notice no screen tearing while actually playing tho. Its a fair trade off because when i turn vsync on my game feels "choppy". I suggest people try it on and off and see which feels better to them.

Caloreez's Avatar

01.02.2012 , 04:01 PM | #3
Thanks Exactly, I should also note that my laptop is about three and a half years old with all original components so that may have an effect on performance related to the Vsync setting being enabled/disabled.
“Never tell me the odds!”-Han Solo

Stiveo's Avatar

01.02.2012 , 05:43 PM | #4
Hey, I am also running the nvidia 8600M GT graphics card in my dell inspiron 1720 that I too bought about 3.5 years ago. I can barely play the damn game and I have been toying with the graphics settings and have all my drivers set up. What do you usually get for FPS when you play in populated and non-populated areas? I am trying to figure out a way to boost my FPS so I can try out some PVP.

BluBreeze's Avatar

01.03.2012 , 12:57 AM | #5
likewise, I have the same video card (256mb variety), running on a Dell XPS1530 (laptop) from 3 and a half years ago. I've tried every tweak in the book (ones specific to SWTOR and ones in general as well). Rarely (I feel it's just luck) I'll spike into the 30+ fps, but for the most part I get around 5-17 fps. I've edited the config .ini file to turn everything totally down low or off, manually set all my nvidia control panel stuff for best performance, etc.

I hate not having the $ to sink into a new pc. I wish they made the game more low-end pc user friendly, feel like they could have both ends...high end graphics but options to turn things down enough to allow low-enders a good experience too.

Amazingly though because I played WoW in the past I understand most of the game mechanics so I rely on hotkeys and mash those buttons even if my fps can't keep up :P.

So far I've gotten to lvl 33 on my main (not too shabby for lack of fps I get imo)

I'm eager for the following months to see what they do (hopefully something) about all fps issues.

But yeah, I'm curious what other 8600M users are getting for their fps...

Caloreez's Avatar

01.05.2012 , 04:14 PM | #6
Hey all,

I've tested my FPS in two different locations, the first being a neutral zone and the second area being a PvE region. I'll put them in this post so they can be compared; I'm also eager to compare my FPS in flashpoints and eventually PvP to these readings whenever I get the chance. I'll update this post accordingly.

Also a couple notes I should mention that may have helped me avert any terrible FPS are:
Reformatting my entire operating system a couple weeks before the release date; this would be quite a drastic fix for anyone wishing to mend their FPS issues but in my case it needed to be done anyways.

I also run the game on one of the lowest screen resolution settings (1024x768), and while there is some sacrifice to the aesthetics it has almost eliminated any screen tearing.

Neutral Zone: Republic Fleet (Carrick Station)
FPS = 20-30
CPU = 35-40%

PvE Zone: Coruscant (Justicar Territory)
FPS = 30-50
CPU = 50-60%
*This included rare spikes down to ~20 FPS during times of intensive combat.

I have heard a lot of players talking about imminent performance modifications to the game in the near future, possibly in the next major patch, so I along with the rest of us with apparent out-dated computers look forward to the fix.
“Never tell me the odds!”-Han Solo

BluBreeze's Avatar

01.06.2012 , 01:50 PM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by Caloreez View Post

I have heard a lot of players talking about imminent performance modifications to the game in the near future, possibly in the next major patch, so I along with the rest of us with apparent out-dated computers look forward to the fix.
Wooot! I that's super good news!

StefNhawkN's Avatar

01.13.2012 , 05:00 AM | #8
Im running on a quad core an a ati 6950, so i doubt its just our machines not handling the load. I think they need to add a few more gfx options to help with fps, for example, how far ahead you can see, as beautiful as it is to see a fallen starship in the backdrop, i rather play a smooth game. Maybe toning down some of the fire particles or particles in the warzones could help to. I currently have everything set to low in game and on my video card and it runs just fine in pve situations, but in intense battles it gets rough and in pvp it got better as i turned everything down but still feel the sluggish type feel.

CreamPoet's Avatar

01.13.2012 , 05:17 AM | #9
Good tips, thanks. I'll experiment with vsync later.
Captain Forstan - Lifesaver - Heartbreaker

pullah's Avatar

01.13.2012 , 05:21 AM | #10
I was having real FPS problems with this game using the following laptop spec:

Intel i7 Q740 @ 1.73GHz
2 * ATI Mobility Radeon 5870 (1GB each)
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

At times on Coruscant I was dropping to 5-7 FPS on low settings, which is unplayable. Having played with just about every setting and testing my Crossfire using MSI Kombustor I couldn't work out what was wrong.

Just upgraded to 8GB RAM and what a difference. Same areas of Coruscant with settings at high including shadows and I was getting 30FPS. Switching the shadows off saw FPS jump to 80. Not saying this is the problem for everyone but would appear that my system and therefore the game was bottlenecking because of lack of RAM.