MASSIVE FPS drop in game

Technical Support
Sup everyone,

I'm relatively new to this game (bought it two days ago), but I do have a number of friends that play that are helping me along. And while I may be new to this game in particular, I am NOT new to games in general, and I do know my way around fixing common technical problems; however, I have reached an issue upon which I cannot fix despite my best efforts, so I now turn to the official forums for some help. I have done my homework on this issue (googling, as well as going through the stickies), so PLEASE read through the entirety of this thread before posting a generic solution, because I have tried all the obvious ones.

First, I should explain my problem. It's quite simple, when I start a game, everything works out fine, but once a lot of units start getting into the game (50+ on the screen at the same time), I get a MASSIVE FPS drop, and when I say massive, I mean literally, from 60 FPS all they way down to <1.

I'll go over my pertinent system specs:

MoBo: Acer WMCP78M (stock)
Chipset: nVidia nForce 720a
CPU: AMD Phenom X3 8400 @ 2.1 GHz
MEM: 4096MB (2 x 2048 DDR2 DSRAM)
GPU: nVidia GeForce GTS 250
HD: Western Digital WD32 00AAJS-00RYA SCSI (320 GB)
Monitor: Acer P191W 19" 1440 x 900
OS: Windows Vista Home Premium SP2 64 bit

My system isn't godly, but it is FAR more than good enough to run this game. The easiest way for me to do down my possible diagnosis, is simply to list what I have already tried, and what I ruled out.

1) It's not a GPU-not-good-enough-omg-go-upgrade problem. This problem persists whether I run the game on ultra, or if I run on low, both ways I maintain 60 FPS until I hit these ridiculous "lag spikes". Starcraft is NOT a resource hogging game, this GPU is literally 20 times more than powerful enough to play this game with no lag.

2) It's not an overheat problem. I saw this posted several times as a possible issue, but I monitored the temperature of both my CPU and GPU when playing. On my CPU, all cores stayed at a steady 41 C (CPU), and the graphics memory and GPU stayed at a steady 46 C (GPU). My system is more than adequately cooled, and it's not a laptop if you can't already tell. I already tried capping my framerate at 60 via the variables, it didn't help at all.

3) I HIGHLY doubt it's a CPU problem either. I know there's all this hate going on about SC2 being optimized only for dual core processors, and I know my processor isn't the greatest thing in the world, but all my friends are playing this game on their dual core, integrated graphics laptops with no lag at all...and there is a significant benchmark increase from 2 cores to 3 cores. So I'm seriously doubting that this is a hardware-related problem at all.

4) All my drivers are up to date. Yes, I'm sure. Yes, I'm double sure. Yes, I know nvidia just released a new graphics driver.

4) I tried uninstalling and reinstalling the game.

5) I am not in windowed mode (although I did try windowed mode to see if it made a difference).

6) I toyed with pretty much all of the in-game settings to no avail.

7) No, I don't have anything running in the background (except when I was monitoring my temperature)...and even if I were, my CPU doesn't go above 34% even in the middle of my lag spikes.

Overall, I feel like there is some kind of wacky software issue going on here. My friend did tell me that the most recent patch created a lot of FPS issues for certain players, but I really wouldn't know since I just started playing this game. When I lag, my computer is not running slow; I can easily tab out, open an internet browser, and face no lag issues whatsoever, then come back into the game in the midst of my crazy, unending, lag spike. It's as though the game choses to lag up, instead of drawing upon more system resources when it needs them.

This is a great game, and I would like to continue playing it, but with this massive FPS drop, there is no feasible way that I can be remotely competitive if this problem goes unsolved. Once again, if you have any possible solutions to my problem, which I haven't already tried, please let me know. Thank you very much in advance.
You can find allot of info on FPS issues here. I also would suggest posting your info in the FPS data gathering threads.
http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/981608558
01/09/2011 7:02 AMPosted by Archer
You can find allot of info on FPS issues here. I also would suggest posting your info in the FPS data gathering threads.
http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/981608558

Thanks Archer, thats a great compilation you made there.

Like I said, I have already read through the stickys (your thread is one of them, and it was also the most helpful), and there seem to be a couple other people with the same problem as me (granted they aren't exaggerating); however, none of them got a working fix. I also sent Blizzard an email regarding this issue.

I should also add, that FPS data gathering thread got locked for some reason. Just ended with the mod saying "inconsistent data, contact blizzard" :/
Can you post a dxdiag?

You put allot of effort into this and have a good attitude. Im going to see about getting some extra eyes thrown at this one. If i dont get back to you in a couple days let me know.
ok so ive asked around and it seems AMD Phenom X3 8400 @ 2.1 GHz = poor fps. There is also something called a Translation Lookaside Buffer bug with Phenom that may or may not be contributing. That deals with how the cpu interacts with memory and caches.
Alright, thanks a lot. The X3 really isn't that great, I certainly don't get awesome fps when I play other games, but I'm pretty content with a 20 fps when I play...and I generally don't go under that, even when playing more demanding games (unless I'm running fraps or something). I'm just having a really hard time believing a game like starcraft could drop my fps to <1, but I suppose anything can happen nowdays....

I was considering a cpu upgrade, but my current (piece of crap) mobo has a AM2 slot, and max TDP of 95W, which pretty much limits to upgrade capacity to a AMD quad or triple core with slightly higher clock, which isn't really worth the money for me. I could get something really nice if I swap out my mobo entirely...but im also a little too poor for that :(

DXDIAG: http://textbin.com/55c28
archer, i dont know if you can query all of the specs that people have posted but i think there may be a common factor that doesnt make sense. how many people are running western digital caviar black HDD. i have the same problem as stinkypooman, however my problem started after 2 events that came at me simultaneously. my seagate HDD crapped out and the 1.1.2 patch came out. its makes next to no sense on how a hard drive would play that big of factor in FPS but not impossible.

this is my only option to say other than its SC2's fault.

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