[PSA] Limit your FPS or risk overheating!

- Technical Support
90 Human Priest
6220
Edit: Added post by Perma@Sen'jin detailing how to help clean out your computer to help decrease heat buildup.

This is a Public Service Announcement to inform the Mac and PC users of what appears to be a fundamental change in client behaviour regarding the maxFPS and maxFPSbk settings.

In previous versions of the client, if your video card just couldn't muster that juicy 60 FPS no matter what, having the FPS limiter (maxFPS; maxFPSbk) turned off (set to zero) would at least let you eek out as much as you could from your card. The GPU wouldn't run at 100% because it was behaving properly (idling) when it couldn't do anything in a given cycle.

The 5.0.4 client appears to have changed how this works. In 5.0.4 it appears that if you do not cap your FPS, usually to your display's maximum refresh rate, the GPU will no longer idle, but continue working at full load even though it isn't producing any higher framerates.

This has a very detrimental effect: heat.

You see, when a CPU or GPU is incapable of performing any additional action/rendering beyond what it can pull in any given environment, it usually idles to save power. In WoW's case, being that the game client is more CPU bound than GPU bound, that means your FPS is typically primarily dictated by your CPU's core speed and bus speed (and sometimes RAM speed). The more modern the CPU and/or faster it is, the higher your framerate gets.

But now it seems that the Mac client (and possibly PC client too) are somehow causing the GPU to never idle if the FPS is not capped. Here's an example from my system:

I have a Mac Pro 1,1, which has two 2.66 GHz Xeon 5150 CPUs, each with two cores. In the Cataclysm client (4.x), I had my FPS limiter set to zero because other than the old Azeroth zones, I didn't get much more than about 40-45 FPS because my CPU wasn't ultra fast and didn't have a modern bus architecture. I didn't need to limit my FPS because it never got uber high except in a cave or house, or a few dungeons (and certainly never in raids). So I had the FPS limiter turned off and VSync turned on (to prevent tearing).

Fast forward to 5.0.4's launch. My framerates didn't change, nor did any of my settings. My FPS was still not limited and VSync was still enabled. However, I noticed that my Mac Pro's chassis got remarkably hot to the touch around the PCI Expansion Bay. So I opened Hardware Monitor and saw something that shouldn't have been: GPU Load - 100%. It was 100% at the login screen. It was 100% at the character select screen. It was even 100% around Dalaran, where I usually get only 20-30 FPS tops no matter what. And I was still getting only 20-30 FPS there.

So I went through my config.wtf file's settings and one by one eliminated the settings lines after each launch until I found what was causing my GPU to cook itself. Even though my framerates didn't change (because my settings didn't change), the GPU was now heating up in short order. All that changed was how the GPU operated when the WoW client was open. It no longer had any idle cycles. With the FPS limiter turned off, the client was telling the GPU to run as fast as possible, even if it didn't produce more frames per second, and what that amounted to was nothing but extra heat being generated. A lot of heat.

So why am I explaining all of this to you here? So you can prevent the untimely demise of your computer's video card/GPU.

So the old client let your graphics card processor idle when there wasn't enough data to feed to it (i.e. couldn't muster high framerates because of the CPU bottleneck). This client does not do so, and in turn, if you fail to limit your FPS, you could very well cook your computer into an early grave.

So the moral of the story is that as of this client version, under no circumstances should you leave your FPS uncapped. It should be set at the most to your display's maximum refresh rate. Doing so causes the client to allow your GPU to idle when it isn't actively receiving data through the bus instead of burning itself out.

To limit your framerate, you can do one of two things:

Method #1

In the game, from either the login screen or the in-game world do the following:

From the Login Screen:

1) Click the System button.

2) Click the Advanced menu option.

3) Tick the checkboxes for both the Max Foreground FPS and Max Background FPS options.

4) Adjust the slider to your desired position. For LCD owners, this would be putting the slider marker directly under the letter o in the word Background and directly underneath the second o in the word Foreground. Both markers should align with each other if you want as close to 60 FPS as possible using just the sliders.

From the in-game ESC menu

Follow the instructions as listed above for the Login Screen (the buttons are all the same).

Method #2

Open your config.wtf file, located in the /World of Warcraft/WTF/ folder and make sure the following lines are present:

SET maxFPS "60"
SET maxFPSbk "60"

You can (and should) adjust these to lower values if your video card cannot normally handle that high of a framerate naturally.

For laptops and some lesser powered iMacs, it is advisable not to exceed a value of 30 for either of these settings unless you have absolutely awesome cooling available for your computer.

So to recap, as of 5.0.4 failure to limit your framerates will cause your graphics card to never idle, potentially causing it to overheat and/or burn out.

Play it safe and cap your FPS!

The following is an addendum post created by Perma to also help with overheating in his computer, but that could very well help a lot of the players here, so I am adding it to this sticky:

TL;DR
Cleaned my mac's exhaust vents with a $10 can of air
+15 - 25 FPS
-20C of CPU temperature
Increased visual settings

Disclaimer: If your computer is still under Applecare, or you don't feel comfortable taking apart your computer, take it into the store to get it cleaned. Opening your computer, or spraying air in the back, may void your Applecare / warrantee.

I have an older 2008 MBP(10.6.6, 2.5ghz, 4gb RAM, 512MB 8600 GT M) that has been running awfully since mop, we're talking 18fps during combat on the lowest settings, with the lowest resolution, with a processor at 80C. I was having input lag, and my computer was hotter than the inside of a hot pocket straight from the microwave.

After combing through the internets, I found the culprit. DUST.

I am not a smoker, and I take good care of my mac. This dust is just acquired rom regular use.

According to this video, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ts33ujKlG2k) there are heat fins along the back of the computer, similar to a car radiator. They're spaced really close together, so it's really easy for them to clog up with dust. Clogged fins = reduced heat loss = reduced performance = reduced happiness.

I cleaned out the back vents today with an air duster, and what an improvement. Now, blowing air into the vents through the back is not the best way to clean the laptop out, but I didn't have a torx screw driver to open the case.

For best results, you should open up the case and clean out the whole computer. There are lots of good instructions on how to do it on www.ifixit.com, or if you don't feel comfortable doing it, take it to an Apple Store.

Currently, I've been sitting in The Shrine of Two Moons for 15 mins, my FPS is capped at 35FPS with Good settings, and my processor is between 55-65C. This is a huge improvement for someone who's been playing on the lowest settings since WotLK.

I bought the can of air from my local big box store for $10, I'm sure you could get it cheaper elsewhere.

Make sure you follow the directions on the can of air for best use practices. Don't turn it on it's side or upside down. Use the straw that comes with it.

I also added the little rubber bumpers that you would use on a cabinet door to the bottom of the case, to add some additional airflow. You can get them from the dollar store, and they remove easily.

Another performance tip is to set your background FPS to the lowest, which is 8 fps. There's no point in having the game work hard when you're not even looking at it.

Hopefully this helps some people enjoy MOP a little more.


Edit: Added notation that this is also for PC users.

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Edited by Tiapriestess on 10/2/2012 1:57 PM PDT
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43 Human Paladin
0
So do I have to do this? Or can I do it in game? With the slider I mean.

SET maxFPS "60"
SET maxFPSbk "60"
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68 Human Warrior
4320
I'm really hoping this cools things down, thank you Tia!
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- Technical Support
90 Human Priest
6220
So do I have to do this? Or can I do it in game? With the slider I mean.

SET maxFPS "60"
SET maxFPSbk "60"


You can do it whichever way you like. That's why I gave both methods, since some players won't be comfortable mucking around in the config.wtf file while others practicaly live there (like me).
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43 Human Paladin
0
So do I have to do this? Or can I do it in game? With the slider I mean.

SET maxFPS "60"
SET maxFPSbk "60"


You can do it whichever way you like. That's why I gave both methods, since some players won't be comfortable mucking around in the config.wtf file while others practicaly live there (like me).
Okay cool. Thanks.

So can you explain in simple terms what happened with the Mac cpu thing that Growltiger found a fix for? Like what exactly happened on Blizzard's end, and how did it make it live?
Edited by Hypokricy on 9/3/2012 10:52 PM PDT
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- Technical Support
90 Human Priest
6220
Okay cool. Thanks. Is this a fix for the thing that Growltiger was talking about?


No. This is a completely separate issue. The Mac client team (including S4d1k) is working on fixing the 100% CPU thread bug as we speak. This issue involves only the graphics card processor (GPU).

This info is sound advice for all iMacs/MacBooks/MacBook Pros/MacBook Airs, and the new Retina MacBook Pro, since those machines were designed with portability in mind, not cooling. And by limiting your framerate to a maximum of 60 FPS, you take away an extra source of heat and prolong (and maybe even simply save!) your computer's life.
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85 Blood Elf Paladin
0
bumping this........ great information thanks
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85 Blood Elf Paladin
0
You should post this under tech support. I think it might help everyone
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- Technical Support
90 Human Priest
6220
It's good information to have. Maybe Machkhan can get it put in one of the stickies regarding performance and/or troubleshooting. I did my part, and now it's up to the higher ups to decide what to do with it. :)

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43 Human Paladin
0
Sticky requested.
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MVP - Technical Support
100 Human Warrior
21270
BTW, you can actually adjust these settings in GUI, they aren't secret or hidden. you can do it in GUI and don't actually NEED to do it in the config file.
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- Technical Support
90 Human Priest
6220
09/23/2012 12:30 AMPosted by Omegal
BTW, you can actually adjust these settings in GUI, they aren't secret or hidden. you can do it in GUI and don't actually NEED to do it in the config file.


I mentioned that as method #2 in my OP. ;)

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Support Forum Agent
Stickied. I finally got bac into the office today. Thanks for the PSA Tiap!
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MVP - Technical Support
100 Human Warrior
21270
09/23/2012 08:42 AMPosted by Tiapriestess
I mentioned that as method #2 in my OP. ;)

true. My post was more directed at the two who both quoted your first method instead of second. Although for you tiap, you might want to swap the order. The logical order of listing would actually be making it #1 and other method #2. It reminds me of a test I was always fond of in school.

it'd be like

1. read all directions carefully
2. color in x object y color
3. put a line here
4. so some other stuff
etc etc (this test would be 2-3 pages sometimes even)
then you get down last step
19. Now that you have read all instructions carefully, only do 1 5 9 12 and 19

point being, 95% of the class failed the test for failure to follow instructions. basically, what the test proved was, it was human nature that when looking at a checklist, most people actually start DOING the checklist before reading all of it. as such, i can guarentee a lot actually DO your first steps before realizing that's not the best or fastest method for doing so...
When it comes to a step process, best to put the most important stuff first, cause you can expect that people will only skim it, or people will do as they read, instead of read before do. :) That's not a stab at most people on forums btw. On contrary, that's just a fact of human nature and why customer service is typically designed in the flow chart design that it is. :)
Edited by Omegal on 9/23/2012 11:09 AM PDT
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- Technical Support
90 Human Priest
6220
Yeah, I know, Least Common Demoninator level and all that good stuff yada yada. I'll rearrange it when I get back from getting dinner and writing the two essays I'm preparing for the Diablo 3 forums (once I can freaking post again).

*Ahem*

/Regain composure

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100 Draenei Warrior
17775
09/23/2012 10:52 AMPosted by Omegal
I mentioned that as method #2 in my OP. ;)

true. My post was more directed at the two who both quoted your first method instead of second. Although for you tiap, you might want to swap the order. The logical order of listing would actually be making it #1 and other method #2. It reminds me of a test I was always fond of in school.

it'd be like

1. read all directions carefully
2. color in x object y color
3. put a line here
4. so some other stuff
etc etc (this test would be 2-3 pages sometimes even)
then you get down last step
19. Now that you have read all instructions carefully, only do 1 5 9 12 and 19

point being, 95% of the class failed the test for failure to follow instructions. basically, what the test proved was, it was human nature that when looking at a checklist, most people actually start DOING the checklist before reading all of it. as such, i can guarentee a lot actually DO your first steps before realizing that's not the best or fastest method for doing so...
When it comes to a step process, best to put the most important stuff first, cause you can expect that people will only skim it, or people will do as they read, instead of read before do. :) That's not a stab at most people on forums btw. On contrary, that's just a fact of human nature and why customer service is typically designed in the flow chart design that it is. :)


I lol'd XD
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90 Dwarf Warrior
11655
Interesting post. I need to visit this part of the forums more. Last week I had to take my iMac in for repair due to no video on my screen (thank you extended warranty) and it turns out that they had to replace the video card. I was pretty sure I had limited the max fps with the /console maxfps 60 setting, but, I might have had it set at 70 or something. Either way, wonder if this bug caused my video card to fry.

I'm going to go in and make the above recommended adjustments.
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90 Troll Mage
9380
All i can say is this need to be stuck for the world to see, you kept me from un-subbing. On pc here and had mad issues with the game since the talent patch and, just thanks. I did have to turn shadows and liquid to low, disable sunshaft and sso,,,which is frustrating still as it all ran perfect before, but the lag/stutter/fps problem has ceased, i guess that's tolerable enough.
Edited by Arkticsizzle on 9/27/2012 5:01 PM PDT
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80 Orc Mage
0
Images to support what the OP is saying. Max Foreground FPS limits GPU usage which in turn lowers heat and power consumption

http://i.imgur.com/RmidU.jpg

477 FPS at the login screen
375 FPS at the Goblin character screen

593 FPS at the character screen is my record /w Max Foreground off

http://i.imgur.com/XQvKw.jpg
Edited by Yousel on 9/27/2012 4:25 PM PDT
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90 Night Elf Rogue
7685
Using a Windows PC, not a Mac and this seems to describe the issue I'm having. Since 5.0.4 my system fans seem to be kicking into overdrive, even causing a system freeze once. Just saying this may not be a Mac only issue.
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