Yesterday, a friend of mine was trying out STO for the first time through a referral key. He complained to me about extremely poor frame rates and hitching while standing in the new player starting area (the lounge where you first spawn with the Borg cube fighting Federation starships outside the lounge window). As he and I both have systems with similar specs, I found his performance problems strange because I never had any performance issues in that zone (and all my graphic settings are maxed).
I created a new character and then went to the same map with him. My frame rate was mostly at a steady 59-60 FPS (which, is not surprising to me because I have it capped at 60 FPS under the video configuration settings). Everything seemed to be fine on my end. Now, from time to time I run STO on my older computer, so I have a good bit of experience with tweaking the configuration settings to find a balance between performance and aesthetics in this game. So, together he and I went through the graphic options in an attempt to narrow down a specific one (or few) that might be causing him problems.
In this testing process I altered every single one of my graphical configuration options. I wasn't worried about this because returning everything to where I normally keep it set would be easy enough (again, all my graphic settings were set at their maximum levels, so that's pretty simple to return to). However, after I reverted my settings back to where they originally were, I immediately noticed that now I was having severe performance issues also. My frame rate was not climbing any higher than 35, and whenever I turned my character around it would hitch and drop as low as 12. At first I thought I simply needed to log out and back into the game to correct the issue, but even after doing that the problem still remained.
Now, from my perspective, the act of simply modifying my graphical configuration options to a lower setting and then bringing them back to their original higher settings has seriously worsened my performance from how it had been prior to running these tests. What could possibly be going on here? Is there a chance that, in the act of modifying my configuration options, one of the configuration files has become corrupted, or perhaps set with wildly incorrect values that are negatively impacting my performance? And is there any way I can check for this?
Display settings are in a config file somewhere in the STO directory (I'm away from the box with STO on it right now, so I can't look up what it's called). If you find something that sounds likely, delete it (there's nothing in there apart from the launcher which you actually need; everything else will be fixed up by the launcher or the game).