PC gamers in uproar over Call of Duty: Black Ops III stuttering problems

Only 16 GB of RAM and a high-end graphics card can keep the game from dropping frames.

Credit: Supplied

Another big-budget game launch, another tale of woe for PC gamers.

This time, the culprit is Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops III, which reportedly suffers from serious stuttering and stability problems on perfectly capable PCs. The game’s Steam listing is now flooded with negative reviews from affected players, and developer Treyarch has acknowledged the issues, saying they occur on certain Intel Core i5 CPUs.

A report by TechPowerUp claims that the game isn’t properly dealing with system and video memory. On a system with a GeForce GTX 980 Ti graphics card and 12GB of RAM, Black Ops III maxed out all available system memory—approximately 10GB—that wasn’t occupied by the operating system and lightweight tasks. Swapping in 16GB of RAM eliminated the stutters, as did installing a a GTX Titan X graphics card, which has double the video memory of the GTX 980 Ti, at 12GB. The higher-end graphics card apparently reduced the game’s RAM usage, allowing the game to run smoothly with 12GB of system memory in place.

Obviously, Activision isn’t expecting every player to have a top-of-the-line graphics card and oodles of RAM. The official minimum system requirements call for just 6GB of RAM and either a GeForce GTX 470 or AMD Radeon HD 6970 graphics card, both with 1GB of video memory.

Treyarch says it’s working on a solution now. In the meantime, some players—but not all—have reported success with this fix posted on Reddit. It involves going to the game’s install directory, opening the “players” folder and modifying the config.ini file. There should be a line that reads //Thread count for handling the job queue WorkerThreads =”4”. Changing the 4 to a 2 might alleviate the stuttering problems for now. TreyArch also suggests enabling Vsync and setting the frames per second cap just below the monitor’s refresh rate.

Why this matters: Given that most players didn’t have issues during the Black Ops III beta, presumably this foul-up won’t be on the scale of Batman: Arkham Knight. That game’s PC port was so broken that publisher Warner Bros. ended up temporarily stopping sales and offering refunds. Still, it’s another instance of a highly-anticipated game failing to launch smoothly for PC gamers, joining the likes of Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Mortal Kombat X, and Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?