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I recently purchased GTA: San Andreas on Steam.

When I first ran it, it automatically jumped past the few first cutscenes but the audio track was still running fine. It would show me maybe a second or half a second of each scene and skip to the next one. If I manually skip through the scenes, it brings me to the alley starting point, but everything runs in some kind of fast-forward: the clock works double time, CJ's jog looks like running 2.0, cars are zooming by and crashing in each other and exploding, riding the bike is nearly impossible (it seems like my mouse movements are also influencing the bike's direction?), etc. I tried making it to the house to see if it would do the same cutscene behaviour as the opening scenes. It does.

If I don't manually skip the opening scenes, I am transported near the train tracks where CJ starts walking on his own, and the game doesn't respond to my commands.

I run it on Windows XP, AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual core processor 4200+, 2.2 GHz, 2GB RAM, and GeForce 8600 GT.

Anyone know what the issue is?

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2 Answers 2

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Based on a bit of searching, this seems to be an issue with games directly getting timestamps from AMD dual-core CPUs and making bad timing decisions based on them.

You can check whether you have such a CPU in the my computer properties. Two primary options, assuming you do have such a CPU:

  • Try setting the CPU affinity to only a single CPU. (Launch the game, bring up the task manager, find the process, right click to set affinity, leave only one box checked.)

  • Install the AMD Dual Core Optimizer, which seems to address exactly this issue. (Not so much an optimizer as a patch to support other software.)

The AMD Dual-Core Optimizer can help improve some PC gaming video performance by compensating for those applications that bypass the Windows API for timing by directly using the RDTSC (Read Time Stamp Counter) instruction. Applications that rely on RDTSC do not benefit from the logic in the operating system to properly account for the affect of power management mechanisms on the rate at which a processor core's Time Stamp Counter (TSC) is incremented. The AMD Dual-Core Optimizer helps to correct the resulting video performance effects or other incorrect timing effects that these applications may experience on dual-core processor systems, by periodically adjusting the core time-stamp-counters, so that they are synchronized.

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If you've installed the multi-player mod, namely MTA San Andreas, don't run it until you've fixed the current issue. This is considered a form of cheating on many servers, even though you've done nothing wrong.

I had a similar issue when I upgraded from a single-core Athlon64 to dual-core variant using the same motherboard, an nVidia GPU and Windows XP Pro. The system was not reformatted after I upgraded the CPU. The single-core CPU worked fine, however the moment I replaced it with a dual-core variant my FPS shot up from 50 to 100.

In my case the AMD dual-core optimizer completely resolved the FPS issue. Also make sure your operating system and drivers are up-to-date. When you run GTA, ensure as few as possible background programs are running.

Good luck :)

Note: this bug also affects Intel systems, it's just that Microsoft automatically implemented the fix under Windows XP and later operating systems. This is not a fault of AMD hardware.

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