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PC gamers are outraged this weekend after widespread reports that Call of Duty: Black Ops III was released in a “broken” state.
It appears that unless you have 16GB of RAM and a high-end graphics card, the game stutters noticeably and drops frames. There are also widespread reports of crashing and stability issues on perfectly capable PCs.
Why Are the Problems Occurring?
There are a number of theories behind why Black Ops III is having problems. These are the two leading theories thus far:
-Treyarch (the developer) has acknowledged that some PC gamers are having severe problems. Treyarch claims that the issue is likely related to certain Intel Core i5 CPUs.
–Another report on TechPowerUp claims that the problem is related to system and video memory.
TechPowerUp demonstrated this by running Black Ops III on a system with 12GB of RAM. Then, they added in 16GB of RAM, which eliminated the stutters. Installing a GTX Titan X graphics card to replace the existing GeForce GTX 980 Ti graphics card in a separate test also eliminated the problems (the Titan has twice as much memory).
Basically, the higher-end graphics card appeared to reduce the game’s RAM usage, which allowed the game to run smoothly with 12GB of system memory still in place. In other words, the game has a problem utilizing the right kind of memory.
When 12GB of RAM and a 2GB graphics card isn’t enough, you know you’ve got some serious optimization issues.
The Official Minimum System Requirements Call for 6GB of RAM and 1GB of Video Memory
There’s nothing wrong with having high performance requirements for a game. The problem is that Activision advertised its minimum requirements as being considerably different than what works in the real world.
For example, Activision claimed that the minimum system requirements for Black Ops 3 were:
-6GB of RAM
-GeForce GTX 470
-AMD Radeon HD 6970
Both of those graphics cards have 1GB of video memory. In practice, that doesn’t seem like it’s enough to run Black Ops 3 smoothly. Many people with mid to high-range PCs are claiming the game is “unplayable” in its current state.
Fortunately, there’s a fix for this issue that works on most PCs.
How to Fix this Issue
The best fix for this issue was posted on Reddit the day after the game launched.
That fix involves going to the game’s installation directory, opening the Players folder, and modifying the config.ini file inside. In that file, there should be a line that reads //Thread count for handling the job queue WorkerThreads=”4”. Changing that 4 to a 2 appears to alleviate stuttering problems on some rigs. Don’t ask me how someone figured that out.
TreyArch’s official recommended fix involves enabling Vsync and setting the frames per second cap just below your monitor’s refresh rate.
Alternatively, some players who couldn’t fix it using the above recommendations claim to have been able to solve their problems by setting FPS caps and setting the internal resolution to 80% of your normal resolution.
Update: November 8
The stuttering issues have been fixed with a recent patch. That patch should be automatically installed through Steam. If you’ve still having stuttering issues, then you may genuinely not have enough performance power to run Black Ops 3.
Photos in this article courtesy of Bschneids on imgur.