100+ ms frametime spike on 2 different pc builds.

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JimmyJimmyBTM
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Re: 100+ ms frametime spike on 2 different pc builds.

Post by JimmyJimmyBTM » 26 Dec 2019, 10:34

jorimt wrote:
16 Dec 2019, 13:22
JimmyJimmyBTM wrote:
16 Dec 2019, 12:48
And for me it happens almost every round, even happens on the main menu where the engine is rendering a 3D scene with 2 character models and a background with some props.
Have you been able to time the intervals on the main menu, or do the occurrences not have a discernible pattern?
Sorry for the late reply, It doesn't seem to have a pattern. It also seems to happen more often in BFV but that might just be bad optimization from the game.

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Re: 100+ ms frametime spike on 2 different pc builds.

Post by JimmyJimmyBTM » 14 Feb 2020, 13:31

Chief Blur Buster wrote:
11 Dec 2019, 14:09
Note about power noise: Power noise can be a cause, but there are usually easier lower-lying apple causes. Power noise induced frametime spikes is a devilishly HARD troubleshoot. Troubleshoot with easier tests that are lower-lying apples.



Hey sorry for bumping an old thread, but I have tried everything except an ups.
Today I tested 2 pc's running the same game offline and the spikes occured at the same time. Only 1 or 2 seconds apart from eachother on both pc's. Since the spikes happen at the same time I assume it is indeed the power in this house.

Do you know a good ups that I can buy for a 850w pc.
I live in the netherlands so I would have to have a brand that is available in Europe.

Also can you put a belkin surge protector in an ups or is that a bad thing?

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Re: 100+ ms frametime spike on 2 different pc builds.

Post by camaoyba » 14 Feb 2020, 15:11

I have a similar setup (9700K + Asrock Z390) and I had stuttering/FPS spikes but mine happened when I moved the mouse. Something related to the mouse polling rate, changing it to 125hz would fix it. Then, someone posted that the fix was to disable C-States in BIOS and It worked.

I think your problem is totally different... just wanted to share lol.

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Re: 100+ ms frametime spike on 2 different pc builds.

Post by JimmyJimmyBTM » 17 Feb 2020, 11:12

Calypto wrote:
12 Dec 2019, 14:59
I doubt power is going to cause 100+ ms stalls. Not impossible, but unlikely. I would first rule out BIOS power-saving options or Windows misconfiguration. You seem to be running a newer version of Windows, but all of the recent builds have been progressively getting worse. Did you run Latencymon while playing the game?
Turns out it is my solar panels :O!! They give updates to the power company with modbus through my power net instead of ethernet and this is what has been causing 100ms frametime spikes!

A lot of people have frametime spikes and I hope that those who indeed have a power problem read this thread before they buy a whole new pc like me xD

I unplugged everything except my pc and switched off the controller of my solar panels. I tested siege for an hour and the spikes were finally gone!
Turned on the solar panels and they came right back.

Sometimes it can also be your boiler or however that is called.

So in short, everytime my solar panels sends an update through my power cables it disrupts the sinus wave and causes huge spikes that can result in frametime spikes, or worse.

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Re: 100+ ms frametime spike on 2 different pc builds.

Post by RealNC » 17 Feb 2020, 11:25

JimmyJimmyBTM wrote:
17 Feb 2020, 11:12
I unplugged everything except my pc and switched off the controller of my solar panels. I tested siege for an hour and the spikes were finally gone!
You should probably get a UPS that provides constant stable power regardless of what your solar panels are doing.
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Re: 100+ ms frametime spike on 2 different pc builds.

Post by Chief Blur Buster » 19 Feb 2020, 21:14

JimmyJimmyBTM wrote:
17 Feb 2020, 11:12
So in short, everytime my solar panels sends an update through my power cables it disrupts the sinus wave and causes huge spikes that can result in frametime spikes, or worse.
First, congratulations on tracing your frametime spikes to power issues. A complex home electricity system, is a 21st century problem -- solar panel installations -- rube-goldberging its way to a 100ms frametime spike? Who'd thought. Even though very rare, you're not the first. It makes sense, since the science checks out fully and it does definitely happen from time to time...Just extremely difficult to confirm without purchasing power-analysis tools and untold number of hours of research.

P.S. In forums, I would not use the word "update" (it confuses a few), but use the phrase "solar panels sends a power disruption" (which may include interference, surges, etc). Your electrician may have used the word "power update", but that is a bit terminologically confusing.

Scientifically, it is more probably a plain power disruption (power switching), like either
(A) Momentary distortion to sinewave as the power switches between power sources (solar / battery / main grid); and/or
(B) Radio-frequency interference (RFI).

You might have sinewave distortions everytime your AC power source switches (as the clouds go over your house, the solar panel inverter switches to your utility grid and then back); i.e. the sinewave don't line up during the changeovers -- and the sinewave might not be true sinewave (more like rounded squarewave in the worst-case) -- you might have to deal with that, some computer power supplies don't work well with those. Other times, it's not the dirty power waveform (imperfect sine wave isn't the issue), but RFI over the power (interference), like a surge of radio frequency that matches the frequency of one of your computer components, temporarily jamming it up (Error correcting stall).

A great computer power supply will merrily gobble up this distorted wave, but not all of them do. And that's only one moat of protection, you really need multiple moats of power protection -- like a real data centre. Solar isn't inherently bad (Google and Facebook data centers are often solar powered anyway) but you do need to up your power conditioning game, be careful of cheap solar inverters!

Given sufficient power interference injected into a computer -- that filters through -- it will wreak havoc to all the error correction layers inside a PC -- including all buses & controllers, whether SATA or RAM or PCI-Express or network cables, or all the above, etc.

In the past, your computer simply crashed but today, sometimes it just stalls briefly (for milliseconds to hundreds of milliseconds) as the error correction layers does its own thing.

Error Correction is a common feature of many computer protocols that simply tells the other device to repeat. For example, data got corrupted, error correction detects it, and says "whoa, please repeat that data", and then good data comes. A modern computer is error corrected to the hilt -- error correction is built into a lot of protocols, network protocols, Internet protocols (The last letter in both TCP/IP is "Protocol!"), hard disk SATA protocols, M.2 flash drive protocols, USB protocols, WiFi network protocols, you name it -- there are hundreds more error corrected chains in a modern computer than a 1980s-early 1990s computer. It's a good thing when a computer doesn't crash, or display corrupted data, or writes corrupted data to disk. But it does briefly stall -- a momentary freeze in a component -- that can lead to freezes and latency spikes even for LAN gaming.

Computer merrily keeps working, but may simply delayed a few microseconds, or milliseconds, or even hundreds of milliseconds (yes, I've seen chained error correcting-surges go that bad in a modern PC electrical environment). A computer that can keep running for days and weeks is in part thanks to error correction.

To try and solve power-supply induced interference (including interference from imperfect solar power inverters), you may need to do several of:

(A) Put your computer far away from large elecricity flows (especially transformers, power panels, dryer machines, refrigerators, solar panel power controllers, etc). Especially if they're in the wall behind your computer.
(B) Upgrade your computer power supply; and overprovision generously (get an 800 watter even if you only use 400 watts), preferably 80plus Platinum that has a great guarantee or serverroom cred. This will help some AC issues.
(C) Finally, plug everything into a high-rated power conditioner (with voltage regulation) with true sine-wave AC. Some of these doubles as a UPS. Just a plain common UPS won't be enough. Then anything that touches both your computer and the power, needs to plug into this to be protected. This includes all accessories, monitors, etc.

Doing all the above, will build a multiple moats against power transients, power surges, power distortions, RFI, etc. Including those caused by cheap solar inverter units. As a bonus, you'll also be better protected against lightning storms too.

If you want to go overkill, protect all wires that connect to the computer. Phone filter, Ethernet filter, etc. These may relay power interference indirectly from another RFI-noisy part of the house (e.g. Ethernet run from router connected elsewhere), but you can easily replace any problematic Ethernet links with an ~$80 optical fiber link (a pair of Ethernet-to-optical media converters are now cheap at places like fs.com) so that no unconditioned metal wires (power and non-power) ever touch your computer from elsewhere in your house. But that's a bit overkill.

You might also want to hire an electrician with power conditioning experience (the "good electrician" stuff that datacenteres hire!) but that can be more expensive than simply purchasing the equipment in (A)+(B)+(C), moat-off your computer room into its clean electricity island, and then calling it a day.

Congratulations for successfully confirmation power-supply-induced frametime spikes in the fog of red herrings -- mains-supply-induced computer problems is one of the most difficult kinds of computer problems to troubleshoot. Because of the danger of wild-goose-chases on power-related issues -- we very very rarely ask anyone to consider Sherlock Holmes on power issues, but we're glad that our suggestion on electricity troubleshooting helped!
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Re: 100+ ms frametime spike on 2 different pc builds.

Post by Chief Blur Buster » 19 Feb 2020, 21:46

RealNC wrote:
17 Feb 2020, 11:25
JimmyJimmyBTM wrote:
17 Feb 2020, 11:12
I unplugged everything except my pc and switched off the controller of my solar panels. I tested siege for an hour and the spikes were finally gone!
You should probably get a UPS that provides constant stable power regardless of what your solar panels are doing.
That's called a power conditioner with a UPS feature. ;)
Not all power conditioners have a built-in UPS, and a plain UPS definitely won't fix this type of problem.

Get one preferably with voltage regulation too. Pretty much a glorified UPS that cleans up the power too, and fixes undervoltages, and fixes the voltage as well -- the threshold of some solar inverter can create brief-brownout-like events as it tries to decide to switch between the utility grid and the rooftop solar. Voltage regulation fixes this. This is what I would recommend you try. They will cost a several hundred dollars typically, much more than the cheap stuff. This should filter solar panel power inverter interference. For example, an APC BackUPS won't be enough, and even an APC J25B may not be enough, but the APC J35B is more likely sufficient to clean up problems with the switchover between multiple power systems -- such as solar power, generators, and main grid. Solar is a bigger potential culprit because frequent clouds means frequent power switchover events which might crash a computer (power dropout induced) or stall a computer (frametime spikes). Also, I can't necessarily vouch for the J35B as I have not tried it, just providing examples of UPS products that will help better than others.

___________

For other readers visiting this thread (thanks to this successful diagnosis, and google search will probably land on this thread for people searching for electricity-related frametime spikes), and concerned about electricity interfering with your computer performance:

TL;DR, three simultaneously protective moats are recommended to eliminate power-related frametime spikes:
1. Move computer at least a few feet away from other gadgets, high-power appliances, and electric wires (including ones inside your wall)
2. Use a really high quality computer power supply (high rated & overprovisioned);
3. Get a good power conditioner unit with automatic voltage regulation (these are often higher-end UPS units too)


If you're still having frametime spikes after this triple approach, it's virtually certain it's caused by something else other than power. But this is a recommended best-practice to triple-moat your power for mission-critical stuff, especially if working offgrid, have a solar roof, a fragile-grid country, your lights flicker a lot, or have lots of lightning. These power conditioners typically double as surge protectors.

Note: This is a "throw-money-at-something-just-in-case" insurance style investment, a Han Solo "shoot-first-ask-questions-later" approach to spending money to proactively protecting your frametime-spikes away from electricity-related problems. There's no guarantee that your frametime spike is caused by electricity (even though it can and does happen). It's almost never worth anybody's time to spend dozens of hours troubleshooting for electricity-related problems (too many red herrings and wild goose chases).

However, it is an automatic good best-practice to spend a few hundred dollars protecting your computer if you're one of the "at-risk" people such as someone with a solar roof, or someone living in a storm-prone area, or someone with flickering lights all over their house (for that one, get that checked by al electrician too), etc. But if you must troubleshoot your electricity yourself, and you know how to install power wiring or a new circuit breaker, get a Power Line Noise Analyzer gadget for your electrician toolbox. However, if you're not having any other electricity problems warranting urgent electrician time, save the time-money and protect your computer.
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Re: 100+ ms frametime spike on 2 different pc builds.

Post by nuggify » 20 Feb 2020, 16:30

This is a fascinating thread with a lot of great information being posted here. In regards to a UPS with built in power conditioning they are generally referred to as a Online or Double Conversion UPS. You can read up on these devices but essentially the difference to a standard UPS comes down to the primary power path being the inverter instead of the AC mains. Both the battery charger and the inverter convert the entire load power flow in this design which provides nearly ideal electrical output performance. There is really only one main electrical issue that this design cannot solve that I will touch on here. Because they are always "Online" these units produce a substantial amount of noise and are costly units.

I too have been troubleshooting my own power problems related to input lag, frame time spikes, display issues, distorted sound and other system related lockups. For the sake of bringing more awareness to possible issues related to power and performance of modern computers I will share my findings here. I believe going forward more and more folks will come forth with issues like these (due to degraded and aging infrastructure), and hopefully there can be more discussion around said problems and ways in which to mitigate them.

Over the last week I have found the cause for my problem and wanted to chime in with a different source of these issues- the grounding in my home being very high impedance. I have 3 desktop computers, a laptop, and multiple monitors/mice/keyboards etc so my hardware was out of the question and each and every PC displayed the same exact problems.

So it has been a long road to get here. In order to diagnose this problem I have had to spend hours researching and consulting experts in these fields to grasp an understanding of this issue, as well as spent a few thousand dollars (Hardware, hiring professionals- ISP techs, multiple electricians etc). I have dealt with these issues for over two years, some have been going on much more than that.

Essentially I had my electrician come by to replace some outlets, and do one last run through of checking my grounding and connections. Well in the process of doing the work around here he took some measurements (ones he and another electrician had takin before). He found an issue and it has illuminated much of the problem. I will include his write up to me for clarity:

"The issues you are experiencing in your house have at least 2 different causes.

The main cause is that the connections in your meter base are failing and the neutral connection has corrosion and rust forming on the lugs, creating a higher impedance path for the unbalanced return current back to the utility transformer. This connection has been becoming worse over time, and is exasperated when there are higher loads on in your house and how wet the inside of the meter base is (and also the ambient temperature outside to some extent). When a neutral connection heading back to the utility power source (the transformer in the alley) begins to degrade, the current will try harder to get back to the transformer in any way it can.

In a basic electrical setup as with your house, the power comes in from the utility, through the electrical meter, then to your main electrical panel. At the electrical panel the neutral conductor is bonded (electrically connected) to the metal panel enclosure, grounding means (ground rods, water pipes, and others), and other metal systems in the house (again the metal water piping, gas piping, metallic drain lines, etc.). When the main neutral conductor from the utility is compromised, either on the utility side or in your meter base or main panel, the unbalanced return current will have a better path back to the transformer through your grounding means in your house. In your case, the metal water piping is connected to the metal water piping systems in the neighborhood, which also includes the water services that serve your neighbors. Current will travel on all available paths to get back to it’s source, and even with good grounding there is a bit of current that can accumulate from the surrounding electrical services from your neighbors and be imposed on your water lines. This level was measured at levels of 0.5amps to 2.5+amps yesterday when we were at your house. Please note that these readings were done with the power off to your house, so the origin of this current is from your neighbors.

This current is not especially safe for anyone working on the services, but can be mitigated with proper bonding and electrical installation code compliance in your home. The more I thought about your situation, the less I believe that the currents are coming from any one house, but rather a little bit from multiple homes. If the service neutral connection began to fail at a neighbor's house (which may be happening, but will require an assessment of all homes metallically connected to your home via the water piping) then the current on your water piping system will likely increase. As long as all the homes are connected via the metal water piping systems, this scenario is unavoidable.

Now back to your specific situation. Since the neutral connection in your meter base is failing, your house is also contributing to the current on the utility water piping. The currents are increasing on the water piping as the resistance of the neutral connection in the meter base increases. This is because the resistance of the water piping system is remaining constant (and fairly low I’m thinking) and the resistance of the neutral is increasing, which is creating an easier path back to the utility transformer via the water piping/neighbor's electrical service/neighbor’s electrical meter/then their service conductors to the transformer.

These currents your house is imposing on your water piping and grounding system is creating an increased EMF, and is likely the cause of your WIFI interruptions. Either way, you need to replace your meter base. On my first trip out the conditions must have be such that the currents on the grounding system were not high enough to measure, for when I put my meter on these locations there was no current. This type of troubleshooting relies on some minimal conditions to occur so they can be identified."

He worked with my adjacent neighbor to tighten their neutral connection up and although not ideal (neighbor owns a historic home so does not want to replace his connection) this made a large and very noticeable improvement to my problems; Wifi, computers, lights flickering, oven preheat time, etc. They are currently replacing our meter box, and mast connections to the power lines. I suspect this will help as well by lowering the impedance of our connections and getting more of the current across the water pipes off, which in turn will lower our ground impedance. From what I understand at times there was up to 15 amps on this piping, both going from my system and coming from neighbors systems. This unbalanced current affect creates fairly powerful EMF fields that seem to interfere with Wifi. It also compromises the grounding system by way of raising the ground impedance in my home- as per the NEC(National Electric Code) in the US the water mains must be bonded to the grounding system. My other option to solve this is apparently to dig up a section of pipe at least 10 feet from my home and install a portion of plastic piping with dielectric unions in order to break the continuity of the shared piping system to my neighborhood- essentially isolating our pipes on our property, however this seems to come with its own sets of problems. There are other options to attempt to reduce the high ground impedance, that may be worth exploring- for instance installing more ground rods.

Now for the explanation behind how this affects devices and makes filtering techniques arbitrary from an electrical engineer:

"As for how all of this works.. impedance is referring to how easy current flows at various frequencies. It does vary with frequency so high frequency stuff will see higher impedance than low frequency stuff. What that means is that when your device generates RF noise the filters will try shorting it to ground. If you have a low impedance ground then you just get RF current on ground, RF current in a wire can radiate into the air and go into other stuff. It's much worse though when you have a high impedance ground. Current into a high impedance ground turns into a voltage on ground. This will also go into your neutral and you'll see a voltage where it will feed into the filters on other devices (they assume ground is zero) and their voltages can swing at RF rates. Essentially most things are designed to assume ground and neutral are zero volts and reference everything to that. RF noise from a device when you have a high impedance ground basically goes into all other devices instead of the actual ground.

So in the end, RF noise can travel through wires, it can jump from wires to the air, interfere with wireless stuff. Also, yea, power is 120V and the noise is typically tiny milivolts, but your electronics has filters that let noise move to ground, so RF voltages can jump right past the filters in many cases without getting reduced (input might be 120V is 30mV of noise and output could be 3.3V with 30mV of noise). The noise can even get amplified if it messes with sensitive parts."

So basically there is a combination (compounding of problems) affect going on here causing the behaivor of devices I have seen. The first being a high impedance ground causing the filters in things like PSU's, UPS, and power conditioners to not be able to short the RFI to ground. Second being that the ground wiring in my home radiates said RFI in ways that affect even my laptop on battery mode. Despite this I had some success pulling the plug on my double conversion UPS and floating the ground, most likely working as a result of reducing the affects of the conducted RF. Of course this was no solution as I could only run on battery for several minutes at a time. So all in all even if your grounding system measures clean, like my electricians saw the first few times there can still be problems being masked by this "parallel path to the transformer" that in my case is the shared water mains.

TLDR: A hard to detect issue of return current causing high ground impedance can cause similar and even more "non-destructive" issues related to the power your PC is receiving. This issue will transcend any power filtering techniques you attempt because these techniques require a good low impedance ground to do the job.

Anyway I hope this offers another perspective on power related performance issues and again thanks to the OP and Chief Blur Buster for sharing some very great info on this stuff.
Last edited by nuggify on 20 Feb 2020, 19:11, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 100+ ms frametime spike on 2 different pc builds.

Post by Chief Blur Buster » 20 Feb 2020, 18:07

Great write up!
nuggify wrote:
20 Feb 2020, 16:30
This issue will transcend any power filtering techniques you attempt
Ideally, a high end power filter will also inform you automaticlly of many kinds of ground-related issues, too -- but it won't be a catchall. It may miss many kinds of issues (possibly including missing detecting this situation). That said, it may helpfully raise the necessary warning flag to force one to diagnose ground-related and RFI-related problems further.
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Re: 100+ ms frametime spike on 2 different pc builds.

Post by nuggify » 20 Feb 2020, 18:44

Chief Blur Buster wrote:
20 Feb 2020, 18:07
Great write up!
nuggify wrote:
20 Feb 2020, 16:30
This issue will transcend any power filtering techniques you attempt
Ideally, a high end power filter will also inform you automaticlly of many kinds of ground-related issues, too -- but it won't be a catchall. It may miss many kinds of issues (possibly including missing detecting this situation). That said, it may helpfully raise the necessary warning flag to force one to diagnose ground-related and RFI-related problems further.
Yup this was certainly not an easy one to detect. I had very good electricians measure this multiple times, and it was not until the forth time or so that he was able to find the issue. This current on the water pipe varied a ton too which explains the varying severity of the problems. For the pipes, at times there was an insane amount of unbalanced current flowing through them from my neighbors and our home as well. 1 Amp would not be great but might be expected in a situation with shared metallic pipes. But 15? It does explain all the EMI/RFI issues I observed. The pipe network is acting as a broadcasting and receiving antenna for all signals around here. Because it's ground, it'll affect all grounded electronics through conducted means and many through radiated.

My Online UPS is a very high end one, and it was unable to report any of the present issues. Same with 3 prong plug testers. The only red flags were the intermittent currents on the water mains/grounds that needed a proper clamp ampere meter to diagnose (and multiple attempts at that). There was likely points where there was some neutral to ground voltage present, I recall one instance where I measured 3-4 volts with my meter on every outlet however the next time I tried it was gone. Interestingly the problems were always there despite the current being too small to measure at times. Of course part of this whole problem is that the parallel path back to the transformer was actually masking the fact that my neutral connection at the meter box was corroding (intermittent neutral). So I am sure many of the issues affecting my appliances in the home were due to that more than they were due to the compromised grounding although hard to say. The connections will be brand new within the next week and I should know the answer to that.

Your explanation of how this can cause input lag is spot on I believe. These days devices really do have excellent ECC so in the end the user will really only see "delays". Occasionally I would see something more destructive like screen artifacts if a Display Port cable touched another cable, or full system lockups but these were relatively rare occurrences over a few years of suffering this problem.

Touching on how this can affect network performance as well, the Coax Shield of a cable connection is an excellent return path to the transformer too as it is low impedance and bonded to the grounding at our service entries. Conversely it could act as a relatively great antenna for the radiated affects. This can obfuscate this issue as at times it appears it may be some network issue, but really the coax data connections are being interfered with as well just like everything else. I believe this is a non issue with Fiber as it is impervious to RFI/EMI.

Anyway I know for fact there are others out there experiencing these issues to some degree or another and I hope if they notice it they can find this so they will not have to go through all the hoops like I did to diagnose it. The guy Erobur who posted in the Input Lag section of this forum certainly had the same thing going on. The causes for the high ground impedance could be different however I am confident that is the root cause of it all. There is a ton of misinformation traveling around that implies all of these issues will be due to networking. I am sure there are issues attributable to the ISP/connections of the network equipment however having observed this stuff first hand I would bet some of these folks are looking in the wrong direction. Easiest way to tell would be, is the issues present with all networking disconnected. In my case it was actually much better but still very present.

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