YouTube channel Compusemble has investigated Starfield’s file I/O and the impact on overall game performance and found links to apparent stuttering.
It seems that some users are facing traversal stuttering when Starfield loads assets for new game areas, which happens regardless of the selected graphics preset, meaning it’s unavoidable – at least without mods or patches. The issue is mainly visible in dense areas such as cities.
Generally, stuttering is related to high CPU usage caused by shader compilation or simply low CPU performance, but when it comes to Starfield, at least in this instance, the problems appear to be coming from high SSD utilisation.
For reference, Compusemble tested the game on a system comprised of a Ryzen 7 7700X, an RX 6950 XT, 32GB of DDR5, and Crucial’s T700 Gen 5 SSD running Windows 11. A PC definitely capable of running the game even at high settings. Even with a slower Ryzen 5 7600X CPU, I didn’t spot any game-breaking stuttering, hopefully, it stays so.
According to Compusemble’s testing, the SSD reaches 100 per cent utilisation even though it only delivers about 850MB/s of read speed, with an average of 20MB/s. 20MB/s while fully utilising the drive is low to say the least, even more when the SSD in question is one of the fastest available, meaning the game is either reading in small block sizes or at a low queue depth.
As you can see in our review, when requesting small files (4K Q1) the T700 – like its competitors – struggles a lot, achieving only 87MB/s read. In contrast, using large files this drive can stretch its legs and deliver up to 12,409MB/s – speed may change depending on the drive’s original capacity and remaining space.
It goes without saying that more testing is required, so, if you want to verify this theory for yourself, note that you will need to set HWINFO64’s polling rate to 20ms in order for the app to refresh quickly enough to detect these changes in SSD utilisation.
In any case, with all the praise Starfield got from reviewers, it would be a shame if we start getting stuttering complaints now. Fingers crossed it’s just a small bug.