This site is a collection of information on a problem with Half-Life 2 that has plagued many players of this otherwise excellent game. This problem is characterized by a sudden massive drop in frame rate when turning corners or moving into new areas of the game. These drops are usually accompanied by looping or stuttering sound during the frame rate drop which is how most people become aware of the problem. Aside from these isolated drops in frame rate, the game is otherwise perfectly smooth. These sudden drops kill the immersion and lead to a very frustrating experience. Below you will find additional details on this problem, some theories, and all responses from Valve on this problem.

It's Back With A Vengeance (Jan. 18, 2005, 1:15 p.m. UTC)
Just when I thought that my stuttering ills had been mostly cured, they're back and then some. I recently upgraded my sound card from a Sound Blaster Audigy 2 Platinum eX to a Sound Blaster Audigy 4 Pro. The sound card works beautifully in all my games and audio apps with the exception of Half-Life 2 where I now experience extreme stuttering as well as distorted and corrupted sound effects followed by a complete system freeze within minutes of starting a new game. This distortion is accompanied by missing buttons and UI elements in Half-Life 2's menus forcing me to quit by bringing up the console.

This is the same widely reported problem that I previously fixed by adjusting my PCI Latency Timer BIOS setting which no longer has any affect on this issue. I can rarely make it out of the train station on the first level before my system is totally frozen.

After spending hours troubleshooting this problem, the only cure I've found is to disable anti-aliasing, which considering my system specs is entirely unacceptable. The recently released ATI CATALYST 5.1 drivers made no difference.

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Mark McWilliams