Half-Life 2 (Original), ASUS M3A78-EMH HDMI, Stuttering

Last Modified: Sat, 23 Aug 2008 19:10:00 +0000 ; Created: Sat, 23 Aug 2008 19:10:00 +0000

So the full version of Half-Life 2 has the same problem as the demo on my machine. The audio stutters, and the video lags very slowly for about 5-10 seconds at seemingly random times.

I tried all the tricks on the Internet to resolve this:

  • Install latest video drivers from ASUS
  • Install latest game patch
  • Install latest video drivers from ATI (Catalyist 8.8)
  • Install oldest video drivers from ASUS
  • Update to latest bios
  • Tweak PCI latency in bios (not applicable for my video card)
  • Stop all background services
  • Install Windows XP instead of Vista (problem was worse)
  • Add flags like snd_async_fullyasync, heapsize, cl_forcepreload, forcepreload, sv_autosave, nosound
  • Put all video & sound details to low
  • Disable autosave
  • Defrag game cache and hard drive
I tried it all, but nothing has even made the issue a little better.

Here are my computer specifications:

  • AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 6000+ (3.0Ghz)
  • ATI Radeon HD 3200 (integrated)
  • 2GB 800Mhz DDR2 Samsung RAM
  • 2x 750GB Seagate Barricuda 7200.1 32MB Cache Hard Disks in RAID0
  • 5 system fans
  • 620 Watt Power Supply
  • Windows Vista Business Edition w/SP1
  • ATI Catalyst 8.8
  • Video Driver Packaging Version 8.522-080731a-067980C-ATI

Here is an old site with some consolidated info on fixes: http://www.blep.net/hl2stutter/

I'm going to try contacting VAVLe support to see if they have anything else or know about issues with my specific motherboard.

Possible Cause Found

I believe the stuttering is caused by my CPU reaching its maximum temperature and the motherboard freezing the CPU in order to cool it. I installed ASUS Cool & Quiet and ASUS Probe II utilities. Each time my CPU reached 62°C the stuttering would occur and continue until the temperature dropped.

I tried reseating my processor, removing and replacing the thermal compound, but my CPU still hits 62°C. Looks like I'm going to have to buy an expensive cooler to keep the CPU cold enough. Sad thing is I bought the "upgraded" fan when I purchased the motherboard and cpu combo.