Frame timing is an important part of the graphics pipeline and can impact your overall gaming experience. Understanding frame timing and how to fix micro stutter can help improve your gaming performance.

Frame timing is the process by which video frames are delivered to your graphics card. Frames are delivered in a fixed order, so it’s important that the graphics card receives them at the right time. If there’s anything wrong with the way frames are delivered, you’ll see micro stutter.

This phenomenon has been haunting gaming for many years and it was only recently in 2018 when people started to investigate why stutter occurs and how to fix it.

How is Frame-timing measured

  • Measured in MS
  • The amount of time between each frame drawn by the computer.
  • 60 FPS equals 16.67ms delay between each frame on screen.

Example

Rapid differences

If you run a game with unlocked FPS, you will notice that your performance will skyrocket in dark areas with little environmental details.

Once your turn around to face the world again your FPS will drastically go down, the larger the difference in FPS the bigger drop.

This is especially noticeable in large open-world games such as Battle Royal titles such as Apex Legends and Fortnite.

When there is a fast reduction in FPS you will notice that your PC has trouble pacing the frame output correctly and your will experience stutter.

The console experiences

If you have played on console in recent years, you have noticed that while the overall performance is lower than PC the experience is usually smooth.

What is frame timing?

Micro stutter is what happens when the frame-timing is bad.
It usually occurs when the FPS has a huge variance within a short amount of time.

Why is Frame timing important?

Stutter in games can be devastating for your performance.
No matter how fast/expensive your computer is stutter can still occur if the system is badly optimized.
Bad pacing makes it impossible to predict future actions and interferes with your gameplay.

What can cause bad Frame-timing?

Happens when the Frame-timing is bad

If you have an underpowered PSU
Can happen because of bad optimization in games.
Up to the developer to fix.

Overheating components and throttled GPU and CPU.
Slow Drive can cause stutter when new textures are loaded in the game.
Unstable overclock will make the system unstable and can cause bad Frame times

Hyper-Threading (Intel) and SMT (AMD) can cause stutter.
Hyper-V and virtualization technologies can cause stutter
Conflicting drivers and leftovers can interfere and cause stutter
Malware and Bloatware running in the background
Service and Tasks running in the background.

Graphics

SLI/Crossfire with multiple GPUs can cause stutter because of bad sync between the devices.

Windows

Windows Update
Downloads and installation during the game is bad

Hardware bottlenecks

When the CPU usage is 100% causes the game to stutter.
This phenomenon is often referred to as a bottleneck
Happens when the CPU can’t provide enough frames to the Graphics card to render.
Often a problem for 240Hz and higher specification monitors.

Memory compression

Lack of enough RAM causes Windows to dump data to the page file (disk).

Power Management

Energy-saving can cause CPU and GPU to lower performance during low-intensity moments which will make the game stutter.

V-Sync

If your computer is unable to maintain FPS equal to your monitors Refresh-rate the FPS will drop to effectively 50% of the Refresh-rate causing the massive stutter.

How to fix bad Frame-timing

To minimize the impact of bad Frame-pacing

Total Time: 1 hour

Limit FPS

Lower FPS limit until a solid Framerate is achievable.
Higher Framerate such as 240Hz is very demanding on the CPU
Use tools such as RTSS and Nvidia Control Panel to limit Framerate.

Power management

Disable power saving features that lower the performance to save on power.
Set CPU and GPU to full speed during gaming to avoid downclocks during low-intensity moments.

Use Ultimate Performance Plan to control CPU
Use Afterburner to control the GPU.
The best way to fix this is by optimizing you BIOS.

V-sync

Enable V-Sync to synchronize visible frames rendered on screen at the cost of Input-lag
(Always consider the impact of Input-lag when enabling such functionality, there is a trade-off.)

Drivers

Make sure to clean out and update all Drivers on the system to avoid slow access to essential functions
Carefully remove old devices and drivers.
Optimize and streamline BIOS
Disable unnecessary devices

Background applications

Disable additional software from running during gameplay which may request CPU cycles to process. Quit demanding such as Spotify, Google Chrome, etc.
Avoid applications that manipulate and injects overlays on top of the viewport
Limit amount of background services and updates

Memory management

Disable memory compression in Windows.

Resolution Timer

Conclusion

In conclusion, frame timing is a crucial factor to consider for smooth gaming without micro stutter.

There are ways to address this issue, and each one comes with its own set of pros and cons.

By understanding what frame timing is and how it affects your gaming experience, you can make the best decision on how to achieve a smoother experience.

Be sure to apply the fixes we’ve outlined in this article to get the best performance possible from your system!

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