The issue is this:
STO runs well, even with the graphics cranked up to full. The problem is at almost random points, the game slows to a crawl, for about 2-4 minutes, and then returns to normal. This seems to happen sometimes when i enter a battle. Not every battle. It doesn't seem like its dependent on the number of enemies i'm facing, or the type of ships, or the type of weapons (like, the effects used by their weapons).
I thought this might be a bug in the game, or some other temporary issue. So i let it go for a little while. I had no time for the past month or so, so i'd even let my sub lapse. In the time i wasnt playing, i actually reinstalled my whole system due to a drive array mess-up. I was running a raid5, i'm now running individual drives. So, it's not a raid performance issue.
I've been having this problem too and I never thought it would have been a heat problem but now I think it might be. I have 3 extra fans besides the power supply fan on my case and have never had a problem before. I decided to test it to see if it could be heat related. I opened up the case and put a big desk fan blowing straight onto the video card on the highest setting. Since then I haven't seen it slow down where before it would slow down every few minutes mainly in ground or space combat. I'm going to keep it running like that for a while and verify that it is the problem. I'll post here and let you all know.
Why don't you all try the same thing and see if it is heat related?
After further testing I can confirm that the problem is over-heating. I haven't had a single slow-down since I put the big fan blowing into the open case.
Now, I do believe that there is a problem with STO that is causing the over-heating. I have a monitoring program that displays the GPU stats on my G15 keyboard display. My video card is an ATI HD 4870 with 1GB of ram. For a comparison, I ran LoTRO (which is running with every setting at its highest) and it shows the GPU running at around 18% and the temp goes from 67 degrees to 78. Then I tried STO with the framerate set to 60fps and the GPU runs at around 90% and the temp goes up to 90 degrees (without the framerate limited it stays at 99% and the temp goes up to 97 degrees). If I drop the framerate to 30fps the GPU drops down to around 40% and the temp to 84.
I know they are two different programs but LoTRO seems to be just as graphic intensive yet never brought the GPU over 18%. It just seems to me that there is something wrong in the engine of STO (perhaps it needs further optimization).