FPS Stutter


Lately I have been having a strange problem with FS. I start out flying and my computer's performance is great, FPS pegged at 35, but it seems when I switch to outside view for just a few seconds, the FPS' aquire a stutter. It bounces from 35 to 17 and back up to 35 again. The stutter occurs every 1-1.5 seconds. Eventually the problem goes away, but can last up to 30 minutes before subsiding.

Before loading FS, I shut down all other programs in the background, i.e. antivirus.

My computer specs are...

P4 3.0ghz HT
Radeon 9800 PRO
512 MB memory
80 Gig HD

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what might be causing this?


23 Responses

Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain

The 9800 Pro is a great card (I have it also) but it isn't the top of the line any longer.
Another 512mb ram would help some too.

You are switching from the cockpit (very little graphics) to the "outside", very graphic intensive so you now have to take the FPS hit.

Many would be satisfied with 17 but I understand your point, with a P-4 3gig I wouldn't be hesitant to invest more $, your going to keep the machine for another few years.



Thanks Radarman...I do initally take a FPS hit on external view, which is understandable, but then when I switch back to cockpit view the original FPS' never return and I continue to get degraded performance for awhile. I've also noticed that on occasion after switching from external view to cockpit view, I get static in the engine sound, sometimes corresponding to the stutter in the FPS.

It seems strange to me when I hear individuals with simular system specs getting upwards of 60 FPS.

Thanks for the info.

Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain

Static, see if these apply to you.;en-us;812394



Thanks Radarman, that sounds like the syptoms I have been having. I went home at lunch and played around with my ATI 3D settings and with that I am able to get 60 FPS sitting on the ground, but it still stutters back down to 11 or 15 FPS on occasion. Which causes everything to jerk around.

About 2 weeks ago I reinstalled flight simulator and I am wondering if it over wrote the currect version of DirectX with the version on the FS2004 disk? I don't know...I know how to turn my computer on get to FS2004 and turn my computer off and that's about it. Oh, but now I know how to adjust my ATI graphics card also.

Thanks for the help, I will try the updated DirectX drivers and see what that does for me.

Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain

Make sure you have the latest ATI drivers also. Don't check the AA box that's in the settings of the sim.

Why not cap the FPS at about 35-40 since you get it so high. This way the extra resources will be used elsewhere, It can always be changed back.
I keep mine about 27-30 but because of a low CPU I don't go over that.
Below 25 you start getting the stutters.


BashDaBish Guest

And don't forget to:

Ensure your virtual memory is set to 'System recommended'
Run a disk check on your hard drive(s)
Defrag your hard drive(s)

Poor hard drive condition can cause lag

Generally, 512mb is not quite enough....1gb plus always recommended


How do you check virtual memory?

BashDaBish Guest

I am assuming you have XP? I don't recall you mentioning this.

By the way....this may not be the fix you are looking for but it is always good practice.

Virtual memory
1. Right click on 'My Computer' and select 'properties'.
2. Click on the 'Advanced' tab and then the 'settings' button under 'Performance'.
3. Click on the 'Advanced' tab and then 'Change' under 'Virtual memory'.
4. Ensure your Drive with XP on is highlighted (usually C: but could be anything else you have chosen).
5. Then make sure 'System managed size' is selected and then click on 'set'.
6. Click okay and restart your machine.

Disk checking
1. Open 'My Computer' and right click on your Windows hard driive (usually c: but can be different).
2. Right click and chose 'Properties'.
3. Click on 'Tools' tab and then 'Check now'.
4. Tick both options and click 'Start'. You will be told it can't do this whilst in use and will prompt for restart. A disk check will be done during startup and it may take a while.

1. Open 'My Computer' and right click on your Windows hard driive (usually c: but can be different).
2. Right click and chose 'Properties'.
3. Click on 'Tools' tab and then 'Defragment now'.
4. Again chose your correct Windows drive and 'Defragment'. This will take a while so only do when you have nothing else to do on your PC. You need to leave it well alone.

Run in that order and it will certainly improve the general performance of your machine. It will only make a marked improvement if your machine is very fragmented.


Thanks Bashdabish!

If my computer is not set to "system managed size" and I select it, what will this do for my fs performance? Could this increase my performance more? I'm at work right now so I can't give it a shot until I get home.

Thanks again for the information, I really appreciate it!!

BashDaBish Guest

Virtual memory is basically space used on your hard drive as an extension to your 512mb of physical memory that you have. This is why they call it virtual memory. It pretends the space on your hard drive is your actual memory...hence 'virtual'.

It doesn't have to be set to 'System managed size' but you run the risk of getting worse performance than you normally would. Lots of people like to tweak these settings but not many get it right. Most revert back to 'System managed size' and wish they had never bothered tweaking it in the first place 🙄

I must stress though that this advice is more about general PC performance, but could also possibly help you with your issue. If it doesn't help then at least you will have a nice healthy hard drive.


I have done everything I could possibly think of to resolve this issue. It seems as though after about 20-30 minutes of flying, it picks up a stutter and the stutter happens about every 1-2 seconds and is very noticable.

I can't think of anything else that would be causing this and it is really aggrivating me.

Does anyone have any other ideas??

Thanks for all the help you have provided thus far, I really appreciate it!!!


I just remembered, that after I did the reinstall of fs2004, I didn't install the Fs2004 patch. Do you think this could be causing the problem??

BashDaBish Guest

How much space do you have left on your Windows hard drive?


BashdaBish, Its a 80 gig hd, and I think I have over 40 gig free. I'm not at home right now so I can't check, but I honestly think I have over half available.

BashDaBish Guest

That is you know anyone who could lend you another 512mb memory stick of the same type/speed? Just an idea.....I get the impression this is a memory or hard drive swap (virtual memory) issue. I could be wrong of course but it is very difficult troubleshooting over forums.


I do not have anyone on the top of head that could do that. It just seems odd that fs2004 has run great on this computer for the last 10 months, and all of sudden it starts stuttering. It would lead me to beleive that something changed.

I did install Ad-ware spyware cleaner several months ago, but I always turn it off before flying...unless it isn't actually turning off and still using system resources to scan the system. Not sure.

Thanks for your help...I appreciate it!!


I have a feeling that it has something to do with a process running in the back ground that is using up too many resources.

When I turn on the computer, the task manager says I have 32 processes with a committ charge of 210. Is this normal?

BashDaBish Guest

Well, to be fair I can't really answer that. I have 43 processes running with a commit charge of 217M and this is normal for me.

It's more about what process is using your CPU the most.

System Idle Process would be expected to be using 99% of your CPU whilst the machine is idle. But if you have another process using a lot of your CPU when you are idle then this could indicate an issue.

The bit that gets me in what you have said

It seems as though after about 20-30 minutes of flying, it picks up a stutter and the stutter happens about every 1-2 seconds and is very noticable

This indicates that you could be running out of system resources which is why I was focussing on memory and virtual memory.



This morning when I tested it, I took off from Milwaukee climbed to 32,000 feet heading west, after about 20 minutes the fps went from a locked 38 to 10-14. When I went home for lunch, I loaded up the SGA MD-80 on runway 1L in Milwaukee with cockpit view on, I was again locked at 38 fps. After switching to external view, the frames again dropped to 10-14 and remained there throughout the take off. So, it seems more unpredictable than I had originally thought and seems to be tied to external view as this morning I was in external view when the bad frame rates returned. Other times, it seems as though I only needed to do something that made the computer think (switching views in the cockpit) that set off the bad frame rates.

If the bad frame rates start, I can exit fs and return and the process starts all over again.

Pro Member Chief Captain
tomthetank Chief Captain

If your motherboard supports temp readings check them

Take the side cover off and make sure all fans are working,espesally the one on the graphics card
If they all seem to be working,shut down the PC and kill the mains,now touch the gfxcard,is it wam or even hot,The fan may seem to be working,but spinning at a slower rate and not cooling as it should

Alt + Ctrl + Delete

Applications.....At idle and on desktop it should be empty

Processes.....All depends on your PC.Look for high mem usage
(if your not sure of something,like "gcasServ.exe" Stick it into Google and check the results to see what it is.Read more than just the top entry as sometimes there are differing results)

Performance........At idle the system CPU usage should be low,very very low

When I upgraded Windows Media Player,some times it will not shut down and run in the background...stealing resources

a few things to check 😉


Thanks Tomthetank, I will check out the temps.

Could it be something as simple as an entry in the fs9.cfg file? Last night I was playing around with it and it seems as though it only happens when switching to external view and using the hat switches on my flight sim yoke to pan around the aircraft. Sometimes it does it immediately and other times like last night it took almost an hour of switching from cockpit view to external view again. The frames go from 80, to 15 and stick at 15 for the remainder of the flight.

The other thing I thought of this morning was I also installed the ch throttle quad. recently and was wondering with the flight sim yoke, pro pedals, and the throttle quad. that this might be causing the problem??

One other thing, when in fs2004, my cpu usage is pegged at 50%, it never goes over 50%, wouldn't you think that it would be using the full 100% of the cpu to power fs2004?? That seemed strange. My total commit charge while running fs2004 is around 400-450.

And the last thing I noticed....when fs2004 is loaded, there is a process in the task manager that is loaded with it. I don't remember the exact name, but it was something like ~e3d5.tmp, when I tried to shut down the process, fs2004 also shut down. Is it normal to have this .tmp process running along side fs2004?? Not sure what it is.

Its so frustrating, just when you think you have it fixed, it starts all over again. Thank you for the support, I really apprecaite it!!!

Alistair Lipp Guest

I too have had a strange stutter or hiccough on an FS2004 installation which was running fine until recently. I stripped out as much as possible of software - I started in diagnostic mode (msconfig) with minimal services - and still I gotg this regular stutter abut every 1.5 secs. It did not start immediately - only after a few minutes or so. Then I checked my CPU temperature - 65 - 70 degrees!!! and I watched the temp as i ran FS2004 in window mode - the stuttering started as temp went over 65 degrees. I opened up the case and there was fluff over the heatsink vanes. Blew this away and temp dropped to about 56 degrees. Stutter went away. I then checked the BIOS and I had set an alarm to go off when temp exceeded 65 degrees - so I wonder whether the stutter was a sort of BIS alarm - anyway I disabled this. So I recommend checking the CU temp and blow away some dust in your case

Pro Member Chief Captain
tomthetank Chief Captain

Dont worry about the "~e3d5.tmp" its a temp file used by fs9 to store data for quick access

The config should be ok(do you use the nocd crack? if not try it,and make sure you use the correct one as there are now two types.1 forfs9 without the microsoft patch and one for with it)

Im guessing that your using WinXP

Try and see if the driver for the CH product has been updated(also check the joystick makers website to see if there is an update)

The CPU usage seems strange 😕

I have an XP2800 and fs9 knocks that up to 75/95% but your CPU is a good one and may not be struggling

The fact that you are getting good FPS of 85 then dropping to 15 and staying there is making me think of something starting up in the background
Next time it happens hit "Alt and the key above CapsLock and that should send fs to the systray,now hit Ctrl + Alt + Del and see if anything has started or is eating resourses

Hope we get to the bottom of this 😉

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