Planetside 2 PC Performance Bishop341B
Planetside 2 PC Performance
Overview & Background
There is a ton of information out there for Planetside 2 graphics settings, how to optimise performance to get higher frames per second, greater quality, and no jitters. However, there are a lot of different sources (which I will link at the bottom of this), and it takes a while to pull it all together. I’ll pull as much as possible into one source here.
TLDR Quick Hit List
When in-game, click Alt & F on your keboard to see limiting factor below minimap (Planetside will show you your FPS, and say ‘GPU’, or ‘CPU’ to tell you which is currently the bottleneck in your system)
**If you want more info (I did) – use something like MSI Afterburner. You can select the CPU, GPU, and many other things in Afterburner’s ‘Hardware Monitor’, and check actual GPU & CPU usage during fights. If you don’t see enough on the graph, just maximise the graph window & you should see your usage going back over time. You can even pull the graph window sideways over 3 monitors if you want to.**
These are usually the settings that give you the biggest boost when turned off, so switch ’em off & on 1 by 1 (or all at the same time if you’re only getting 20 FPS 😉 to see the effect on your framerate:
CPU Process Priorty – one of the oldest tips you’ll find for ‘low end rigs’ or laptops – any machine that struggles with it’s CPU being used to the max when playing – and one that took me 2 years to find a thing that did it – more info in the ‘Services’ section below – but for now –
Set the Planetside_x64.exe or whatever yours is called when the game is running, to ‘High Priority’ for the CPU.
Graphics Card (GPU)
My Graphics Card Needs To Be Uber, MLG, Leet, The Shit, Right?
Yes, if you have an Uber ‘everything else’. But….It’s not all about your graphics card. Your GPU is important – but so is your RAM (mainly if you don’t have enough – RAM speed not so important), and much more so, your CPU. Unless you’re buying your Graphics Card with a view to a new cpu/mobo/ram/hard drive in the very near future, don’t go crazy. 1 or 2 steps down from the latest cutting edge card will do. CPU is very often the bottleneck for a lot of players. Pressing Alt & F key combo in-game will show your limiting factor below your minimap.
But I get 300FPS on GTA5 at Max Graphics Settings with a 6 monitor array…..
“Welcome To Planetside….”
I only play Planetside 2 – but if you’re used to getting 300FPS on CS:GO, or Battlefield, or GTA, or any other FPS, (Planetside 2 is the only F2P MMOFPS that I know of) – just forget that. There are certain situations where your frames per second may be somewhere near what you get in other games (quiet warpgate at 3am with tumbleweed rolling by), but as soon as you enter the fray with hundreds of other people all shooting the hell out of each other, your system starts to get tested.
More techy shizzle below – but essentially, from what I’ve learned, all the ‘physics’ in the game is just hard to compute with all these players in the same area as you – lots of ‘floating point’ calculations per second to determine the locations/trajectory of a single projectile (*and our NC LMG’s can fire, oh, a good couple of those per minute, if they don’t jam…) – so at 600RPM, for your gun only, your CPU is calculating a lot of stuff. Add in lots of other guys doing the same and the formula for this becomes (lots of stuff) x (lots of stuff) x (no. of players). LS2(n). Maybe.
In other ‘FPS’ games, where you are dropped in to an ‘instanced’ map or area with a maximum of say 64 players, your PC or console can chill a bit – as opposed to Planetside’s 4 continents each about 64 square kilometres by themselves, with between 50 and 100 bases per continent. Planetside 2 is way Much More Massively Multiplayer (MMMMOFPS!).
Intel Vs AMD CPU’s.
As of writing this – Planetside 2 seems to favour Intel CPU’s. You might not like it, but that’s that. It comes down to speed. AMD may well give you more bang for your buck overall, and run cooler maybe (my old overclocked Phenom II was cooler) – *but* Intel CPU’s generally have a higher stock (and over-clockable) speed (the Mhz/Ghz number for your CPU), and the ‘single core’ scores for Intel are favourable. Planetside likes this.
There’s an AMD chip that is super-fast, but general consensus still seems to be to purchase Intel (maybe this is due to the single core advantage).
Multi-threading in Planetside seems to be better supported at this time (definitely was so with my AMD Phenom II X6, OC’d from 2.8 to 3.4 Ghz – Edit: update 24-11-15 : it’s using 8 threads on the i7 4790K very nicely most of the time).
But the general consensus is that unless you use your PC (therefore your CPU) for applications that support multi-threading well (Video / Adobe stuff etc), and you only want it for Planetside 2 (or, insert other game name of your choice here – but I have no direct experience) – you can get away with an Intel ‘Core i5’ CPU and don’t need to splash on a ‘Core i7’.
The nice load balancing & across-the-board utilisation of my i7 4790K though, often up to 60-80% on all 8 threads, and occasionally even higher, seems to fly in the face of this ‘common wisdom’, and says ‘buy more cores/threads option’.
Quick clarification of Intel CPU naming:
“…i7….” The Core i7’s have hyper-threading (so 4 cores can support 2 threads = 8 ‘cores’, or threads)
“…i5…” The Core i5’s do not have hyper-threading, so 4 cores, is 4 cores, is 4 cores.
” ……..K” The ‘K’ suffix indicates the Core is unlocked (enabling overclocking delights aplenty)
nVidia Graphics Card Settings & Stuff
(I no longer use my Radeon – but I guess there are similar optimisations for those too)
*IF* your GPU is the limiting factor, and you have a good CPU, open nVidia control panel, find: 3D Settings > Configure Surround, PhysX > then in the right hand side of the window, select your CPU for ‘PhysX Settings’. That might help, might not, but will definitely stop your GPU trying to figure stuff out.
Kill nVidia Streamer services (if you don’t stream) in Windows Services. Google it.
Kill Stereoscopic process in Windows Services. Google it.
My Planetside 2 Graphics Settings
This is a run-down of what I did to my own settings (and PC). I was aiming for:
aiming for minimum 60 FPS (sacrificing eye-candy if necessary)
with a decent ‘render range’ / view distance
to still be able to see CLOAKED BLOODY INFILTRATORS when they shimmy up next to me and ask me for the next dance…. (that turned out to be fairly important…)
not fry my gpu/cpu too hard
You can try starting from Overall Quality: Ultra, and then from Low, to get an idea of what the game looks like, and the difference that makes to the look of the game. Then turn up, or down, the settings accordingly.
I started from Ultra, and tweaked a few things, so I ended up playing with pretty much Ultra Settings after getting a new graphics card (gtx 970), with a couple of settings that hit performance turned off or down:
Shadow Quality: Medium
Fog Shadows: Off
Ambient Occlusion: Off
Bloom Enabled: Un-Ticked (off)
If you try turning off Shadow Quality / Fog Shadows / Ambient Occlusion / Bloom, and still don’t get the FPS you want, then try:
Flora Quality: Off
Vertical Sync / Smoothing – these are related to screen tearing / capping the frame rate of the game to match your monitor. Or simply to reduce the load on your GPU if you want, I guess. I have heard others say that if turned on, it can introduce a little input lag. I don’t have much experience on this personally.
Texture Quality – unless your GPU is struggling for RAM usage, you can keep this at Ultra. It’s actually more processing to resize the textures from their ‘original’ image. So, if you have plenty of GPU ‘processor power’ left over, AND you run out of RAM (Graphics Card RAM, not the RAM on your motherboard), turn this down & see if it benefits your FPS.
It can cause more work for GPU to ‘resize’ the bitmap if you set it from full quality to e.g. 75% or 50%. Think of resizing .jpegs, .bmp, .png or .tiff files if you’re familiar with Photoshop, GIMP or other image editors.
Planetside 2 User INI File
Before Making Any Changes To Your INI File:
(this is actually good to do anyway, as you’ll have a backup of all your Settings – and random Planetside crashes have occasionally wiped all my settings – so this is handy to have regardless)
Log Out & Exit Planetside 2
Find your “UserOptions.ini” file (see location below if you’re not sure)
Right-click > Copy > Paste > Rename to ‘something backup’ or whatever means something to you
Now you can right-click & Edit the UserOptions.ini file, safe in the knowledge you can f*** it up as much as you like, and always revert to your original settings 😉
Changes to the INI file are to the best of my knowledge, and according to everything else I’ve ever read, safe to modify, and will not result in any ban. That is by no way any legal guarantee from my that this will always stay the same, but it’s been that way for 3 years now, so. You can always check the forums.
I’ve only incluced the [Rendering] section here, that’s all you need for the actual graphics settings I think (you can see screen size etc at the top of your INI file, then the Rendering section about 10 lines down).
Planetside’s INI file is in the Planetside folder, same folder as your EXE & launcher, so right click those shortcuts > click Properties, if you don’t know where they are on your system.
The INI file, is just simply a Text file, but with a File Extension of .ini – like any other .txt file it can be edited with Notepad.
Planetside should be allowed through your firewall, you probably ‘Allowed’ it when you installed – but hit Windows key, type ‘firewall’ and check your settings. Google it if in doubt, or if you use another AV/security solution.
Backups, scans etc
Hit Windows key, type ‘scheduler’, click on Task Scheduler, and check no backups, scans or anything else are running during your game time.
turn off nVidia Streamer service if you don’t use it – google it.
Unlock CPU Cores – Google it (planetside 2 unlock cpu cores) – or, install Razer Cortex, or, install ProcessLasso (link below)
An old tip – but might help with older machines, low-end gaming rigs & laptops – any machine that struggles with cpu being maxed out when playing:
Overclocking General Info – ALWAYS AT YOUR OWN RISK
There are not really any quick fixes. You can look at other’s results for your cards, and try those, but it’s really a slow, incremental, ‘increase, test, rinse & repeat’ process. You have to do it yourself to find the limits for your particular cpu/gpu. All cpus/gpus are not created equal – there are manufacturing tolerances the same as with any other manufactured item, and some will overclock better than others – and some even not at all.
CPU Overclocking – ALWAYS AT YOUR OWN RISK
(See tomshardware and search for ‘overclock’ and your CPU model – do a search, someone’s done it before)
I used Asus AI Suite for the CPU overclock, and then re-did it manually via UEFI (newer ‘BIOS’). Don’t bother trying to overclock much or at all, if you don’t have after-market cooling. Your CPU & GPU will get hotter when overclocking. I don’t have crazy over-clocks dialled in – usually just 4.4 / 4.5 Ghz for the i7 4790K (that’s just the ‘turbo’ speed or slightly higher, that comes out of the box), with 4.7Ghz now & then. Edit 24-11-15 – I turned that down to 4.5Ghz after the occasional crash every 1 to 2 hours in PS2.
There are 13 fans in total in my Coolermaster case, including the 3 on the GPU, PSU fan, 2 x CPU fans on the Evo 212 after-market cooler, and a bunch of case fans. Plus the floor fan aimed at me and the PC. I don’t like pushing it much past 70C for the CPU or GPU. It’s your cash if you end up with a deep-fried potato in a box. FYI, most bang for the buck with Case Fans comes from one on the front / bottom, and one on the back / top. Search Youtube for a LinusTechTips video test on case fans for more info.
GPU Overclocking – ALWAYS AT YOUR OWN RISK
I used MSI Afterburner for the GPU overclock. The gtx 970 I’ve bumped the Core Clock by 150Mhz, and the Memory Clock by 500Mhz. Core voltage up a smidge by 25mV, and Power Limit up to 112%. Again, not crazy cutting edge stuff for these bits of hardware, but a bit faster. Edit 24-11-15 – again – after occasional crashing every couple of hours in PS2, changed that to +125 on the core, and +400 on the mem overclocks (think Mem is x2, so +800). Heat is not a problem with this card, and I’ve read others wondering what they could do with it if they could pump more voltage through it. Anyway. Still occasional random crashes with Planetside, but it could be Windows 10, or the mild overclocks I’ve applied to the CPU / GPU.