Frame Rating Part 2: Finding and Defining Stutter

Manufacturer: PC Perspective

Another update

In our previous article and video, I introduced you to our upcoming testing methodology for evaluating graphics cards based not only frame rates but on frame smoothness and the efficiency of those frame rates.  I showed off some of the new hardware we are using for this process and detailed how direct capture of graphics card output allows us to find interesting frame and animation anomalies using some Photoshop still frames.

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Today we are taking that a step further and looking at a couple of captured videos that demonstrate a "stutter" and walking you through, frame by frame, how we can detect, visualize and even start to measure them.

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This video takes a couple of examples of stutter in games, DiRT 3 and Dishonored to be exact, and shows what they look like in real time, at 25% speed and then finally in a much more detailed frame-by-frame analysis.


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Obviously this is just a couple instances of what a stutter is and there are often times less apparent in-game stutters that are even harder to see in video playback.  Not to worry - this capture method is capable of seeing those issues as well and we plan on diving into the "micro" level as well shortly.

We aren't going to start talking about whose card and what driver is being used yet and I know that there are still a lot of questions to be answered on this topic.  You will be hearing more quite soon from us and I thank you all for your comments, critiques and support.

Let me know below what you thought of this video and any questions that you might have. 


January 22, 2013 | 03:01 PM - Posted by Kusanagi (not verified)

Awesome work, Ryan!

January 22, 2013 | 08:08 PM - Posted by George

No point it peaking at 1000FPS if it drops to a min of 1FPS. You will notice the 1FPS not the 1000FPS.

Great Work. Keep it up.

January 23, 2013 | 10:09 PM - Posted by DisasterArea (not verified)

Just curious as to whether the frame rate limit feature of nvidia cards can help with screen tearing issues or make them worse?

I use a GTX680, and introducing vsync is a pain as the input lag becomes more noticeable with my high-input lag screen (a multi input catleap 27")

I've tried capping the frame rate limiter on the drivers to 59fps, but still experience screen tearing. I'd love to know how tweaking this can free up gpu resource/lower power use and also improve frame rates overall? -

February 6, 2013 | 05:55 AM - Posted by (not verified)

God how I love you guys.

You make my job so, so much easier!



February 24, 2013 | 12:41 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Great Idea !

In time can you take it to the max. ?

Since you seem to have some Programming experience can you develop a "Benchmark" or "Testing Tool" that produces the issues you seek to detect (IE: "frame smoothness", "frame and animation anomalies", "stutter", "runts", and "other").

Have the 'Capture Computer' hold a copy of the "True Output" and compare that to what is captured. Via USB you can send a "Fault Detected Signal" to the "Benchmark Computer" and your Program can vary Parameters in THAT particular Subroutine to fully explore (and detect) those Faults.

Sort of like a "Feedback Loop" for Auto-Focus (in a Camera) that finds parts of your Program that successfully detect Faults and make a Report of what works and what does not detect Problems.

Maybe you could then develop Theories and ANSWERS as to exactly which Problems occur and under what circumstances (along with knowing which Video Card combinations are better, or worse).

It may turn out to be something simple (like moving two Textures at once) or much more complicated (moving more Textures than the Buffers can hold AND also trying to redraw the Screen, etc.).

Thanks for your efforts so far and good luck on your Journey.

March 30, 2013 | 12:36 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Also see:

Inside the second with Nvidia's frame capture tools -- Display-level reckoning for GPUs .

April 6, 2013 | 10:21 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Can these tests be done on a CRT monitor vs Panel just to rule out any possibilities related to monitor technologies?

It would be great to see if there's any % difference between the two considering a CRT is absolutely lag free.

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