Diablo® III

HDD Major-Stuttering Solved (Second Thread)


Since I had a faulty HDD (see previous posts) and Windows was becoming unbearably slow, I went out and bought a 120GB SSD (OCZ Vertex 3) for $90 (was on sale, originally $160).

Installed Windows 7 home premium and Diablo on it ... and ... all stuttering is gone.

Previously, in some acts (ex: ACT3-prime evil) I used to get some occasional stuttering because the game was accessing some other files outside the Diablo installation directory (post 1.0.3 patch), so even with the Flash disk method (OP), I would stutter when these files were accessed.

Now, with the SSD, even when these files are accessed, I experience no stuttering.

My Diablo RRT is between 0 and 2m, with an average of 1ms or less.

HD-Tune-Pro reports an average 0.14ms response time.

My Windows is significantly faster now, even browsing and youtube has become a whole new experience. It really feels like I bought a new laptop.

Honestly, now, I would choose a 60GB SSD over any 500GB HDD (comparable prices).
Edited by Edstroyer#1680 on 7/1/2012 12:23 PM PDT
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Ed I remember your original post and really liked it.

I did the usb 16g flash drive trick and copied the entire folder over and ran it from there.

Worked fine until 1.02 came out then stuttering retruned now after 1.03 it's horrible constant rubber banding getting me killed and read times are going down.

Also Battle.net updater agent runs in the background and causes spikes for some reason don't know why.

Basically unless and until Blizz fixes the coding issue the only real way is to indeed get an SSD drive.

It would be nice to be able to turn off the mpqs so that it doesn't play things you don't want once you've seen and heard them several thousand times. Would probably help.
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I checked my HDD and tried each and every method and nothing is perfect, there is nothing wrong with my comp, high-end stuff... I will not put extra cash into this faulty game, it is Blizzard's obligation to sort things out. I am not willing to become a computer tech for their sake. I play D2 and Max Payne 3 for a month or 2 and the game should be either dead or playable by that time. The problem is not with our comps... Presently it rather seems to be thievery from B's part. They think it's still Beta or dunno, they just turn on off the servers randomly and change the whole game from week to week. However, it is not a Beta anymore and we did pay for it. Thank you for your good intentions though.

limiting the fore and background fps to 29

You are limiting your FPS to 29.

Read this recent post:

The 18.3ms is very typical for a mechanical HDD (averages are between 15-20ms). Your average read response time is 18.3ms, so If your running the game higher than (1000/18.3 = 54FPS) you are most likely to notice stuttering. Also, I "suspect" that with background running programs, the average read response time would be worse than 18.3 (maybe +10ms ~ 28ms, or 1000/28 = 35FPS).

This is why some people running the game at lower FPS (30-40) would notice less stuttering.

SO, you either have a slow (but normal) HDD, or you have a fast HDD with some slow sectors. Either way the OP solution will help you.

Run HD Tune pro (trial version), and post your image graph online (I will take a look at it):

EDIT: oh BTW, if you follow the OP solution, you should be able to run the game at 60FPS (if your video card is capable of that)
Edited by Shougun#2895 on 7/1/2012 3:46 PM PDT
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Another post to show Blizzard that people actually do notice this problem.

Love the intention of this thread, but... I'd like Blizzard to give us a better programmed game :)
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Posts: 188
A blue has posted on the original thread about HDD Stuttering.
He said something like "fixes are gonna be made in upcoming patches".
This was like a month ago. Since then, no news, patch notes, explanations or whatever.

Perhaps everyone should buy a SSD.

And yes, after 1.03, some of the stuttering is back, even if you play using "the flash drive method".
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Posts: 188
07/01/2012 04:39 PMPosted by CrazyNRG
I have a SSD and still get the stutters, this is on a high end PC as well

Suddenly, I understand why people like consoles.
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I get the stutter and I already use an 256G SSD. I still tried the 16G usb Drive and it didn't help either. I get no probs playing other online games so I know this ain't on my side.
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Yeah, there are some other files being used in the backgroud that are "external" to the installation directory, so if your HDD has a slow RRT, then these "external" files will cause you to stutter.

As far as this thread is concerned, if you have lower than 10ms (max) RRT values, then you are not experiencing stuttering due to your HDD.

The OP solution offers around 5ms (or less) RRT values, but only limited to access within the MPQ folder. You can extend the OP solution to include the entire Diablo installation directory, but it still wont help when external files to the installation directory are accessed.

Also, the OP assumes that your HDD is slow in accessing files continuously. Indeed, many have posted that the OP solved their stuttering problem. This means that their mechanical HDD cannot keep up with the continuous reads that Diablo is demanding. While others, including my other laptop, experienced no stuttering with their mechanical HDDs ..

The conclusion is as follows:

1) If you have a faulty HDD, then you will stutter.
2) If you have a slow HDD, then you will stutter.
3) If you an aging HDD, then you will stutter.
3) If you have too many background programs running, then you will stutter.
4) If you have Diablo installed on the same drive as the OS, then "most likely" you will stutter.

Other stuttering-like sources:

1) Network Lag (latency)
a) Latency due to Blizzard servers being overwhelmed with number of players online.
b) Windows updates in the background
c) You are running bit torrents while playing
d) Your ISP has a low quality of service (or you have a slow monthly service)
e) Other users on your network are using most of the bandwidth (Youtube/downloads)
2) Viruses on your computer
3) Graphics card getting hot, can't keep up, or incompatible drivers with Diablo
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I get the stutter and I already use an 256G SSD. I still tried the 16G usb Drive and it didn't help either. I get no probs playing other online games so I know this ain't on my side.

If you are using SSD, then most likely your problem is not related to this thread. Most likely it is a latency issue.

BTW, What is your FPS ?
Edited by Edstroyer#1680 on 7/1/2012 4:55 PM PDT
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im usually at 30 to 60 for latency and 100-140fps
Edited by GRiPSViGiL#1595 on 7/1/2012 4:56 PM PDT
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How i can check this RRT ?
its worth to know befoer i will buy some external memory .
Edited by isosBob#2461 on 7/1/2012 5:03 PM PDT
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Posts: 188
Guys, a blue has posted a "NEW STUTTERING WORKAROUND!" here: https://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5978349974
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07/01/2012 06:14 PMPosted by Zero
Guys, a blue has posted a "NEW STUTTERING WORKAROUND!"

Too bad I wont be able to try this anymore. I already installed a new SSD (no regrets though).

Anyone tried this yet ?

Note: if you have a faulty HDD (slow clusters), all our previous discussions about scan diagnostics still apply. This includes using "RRT values from: Resource Monitor" , "HDDscan" , and "HD Tune Pro."
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07/01/2012 04:55 PMPosted by GRiPSViGiL
im usually at 30 to 60 for latency and 100-140fps

Because you are running the game at a high FPS (100-140 FPS), you will easily notice stuttering when FPS drop to 60 or lower.

Read post#3 , it will help you understand why.
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07/01/2012 10:58 PMPosted by Edstroyer
Anyone tried this yet ?

I did this before i installed the game, so that not working for me (or maybe a little).
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07/01/2012 11:08 PMPosted by Edstroyer
im usually at 30 to 60 for latency and 100-140fps

Because you are running the game at a high FPS (100-140 FPS), you will easily notice stuttering when FPS drop to 60 or lower.

Read post#3 , it will help you understand why.

I understand that whole human eye can detect this and that.....that doesn't bother me so much. I just figured it was related to when the game has visual delays on my screen when in real time the game hasn't stopped which causes me to warp forward while moving or monsters to teleport right on top of me when they were seemingly at a safe distance. This causes me to be killed instantly by elites. So like a lag spike...So when my ping is between 30-60 everything works fine then the lag spike hits and it goes over 100 - 200 sometimes.

In spite of that my connection in other games rarely ever spike. I play BF3 with pings of 60 - 80 on some servers in my favorites and don't have issues. It baffles me that Diablo 3 with normally better pings has these spikes that basically happens every 10 to 15 seconds. Not only that my system is pretty good so I normally have many processes going on like fraps, 4 or 5 web browser pages open while playing other games and have no problems. I close everything other than Diablo 3 and it never plays without those spikes. Needless to say they make it unplayable since elites and bosses can crush you in a second and a half spike.

Again I do not feel this is on my end based on all that.
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Posts: 356
Why go through all this, spend 60 bucks on a 60gig solid state drive.
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Posts: 462
This is the second thread since the first thread has reached its limit.
First Thread Link: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5149178443

Original Post (OP) below:
Stuttering Problem Description:

The problem is that the game does not use "loading screens" to load all needed data from your hard disk drive (HDD) to your memory. Instead, the game is constantly reading from your HDD. Since other background running programs (including Windows) are also using your HDD while you are playing, it will cause your game to stutter. This happens because the game will have to wait for read/write access to your HDD.

Note: any stuttering caused by network lags (latency) is beyond our control. Huge number of enemies on one screen (+animations) will lower your FPS (this is common sense).

How I figured out this was the problem:

Basically, I noticed that my HDD had approximately 250ms (avg) - 1,500ms (max) read response time (RRT) for any read access to MPQ files located inside the folder:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Diablo III\Data_D3\PC\MPQs"
I've tried defragmenting C: before and after installing Diablo3, but it didn't help with the slow HDD read response time. You can find your read response time in "Resource Monitor" in windows, or just type "res" in start menu. Just put the game in windowed mode and observe "Resource Monitor" > "Disk" > "Response Time" while you are moving your character around the screen and through different areas which normally stutters.

SOLUTION (Windows 7 or Vista):

1) You will need (minimum) 16GB USB flash drive (or 16GB SD card). An 8GB flash drive will not work because it will translate to 7.45GB under windows, which is smaller than needed (7.7GB).

2) Copy the entire "MPQs" folder (7.7GB) from:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Diablo III\Data_D3\PC\MPQs"
to your USB/SD drive. For me, it was "D:\" drive, so the final result was "D:\MPQs". It might be a different drive name for you, so just use what you get.

3) Rename the original "MPQs" ( located on your HDD) to anything you want.

now the tricky part ...ready ?

4) Go to windows start > and type the following in the search box: cmd and hit (CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER), which will prompt you to run command line in administrator mode.

5) Once in command prompt, type the following (make sure you have the right letter drive):
cd "C:\Program Files (x86)\Diablo III\Data_D3\PC"
mklink /j "C:\Program Files (x86)\Diablo III\Data_D3\PC\MPQs" "D:\MPQs"

***Note: you cannot "CTRL+V" in command prompt, but you can right click "paste" instead.
***if you don't like this command-line stuff (step 4 and 5) you can jump to windows XP solution, but you have to install an extra program.

If you get a message that says something like: "a symbolic link has been created .." then you did it right. Your done!

SOLUTION (Windows XP) also works for windows 7/Vista (no command-line involved):

Follow steps 1 through 3 from windows 7 solution above
***Note: in windows XP, the "C:\Program Files\...." will not have the (x86) part.

4) Download a free program called "Link Shell Extension" from download.cnet website. This comes in two versions 32bit and 64bit. You have to install the right version depending on which windows XP you are using (most likely 32bit). After you install it, restart your computer.

5) Browse to the folder you created in step 3, for me it was "D:\MPQs", and righ-click on the "MPQs" folder, and select >"Pick Link Source".

6) Go to the original folder location on your hard drive:
"C:\Program Files\Diablo III\Data_D3\PC"
right-click anywhere inside the "PC" folder and select > Drop As ..> Symbolic Link ( or Junction).

Thats it! your done!

Basically, we faked the location of the MPQs directory and relocated it to a flash drive with faster read response than your HDD.

Now, you should have read response times (RRT) around 5ms !

ENJOY "stutter-free" Diablo 3 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So you bought the game, and now you have to fix it? Nice I have some broken stuff I want to sell you at full price.
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So you bought the game, and now you have to fix it? Nice I have some broken stuff I want to sell you at full price.

I don't work for Blizzard, so I don't have to fix their stuff. I'm helping others enjoy the game the way I was able to enjoy it. It's called sharing. If you don't want a piece of my cake, you can just simply say "no thank you"
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