Question CPU Spikes = Stuttering in all games

May 25, 2019
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Hello, all.
I've been dealing with stuttering in all of my games for around a year now.
I still have no clue on how to fix this issue, as it used to work perfectly fine before.
I definitely think it's CPU related at this point, and i'll get to why I think that in a second.
Here are the things i've tried that haven't worked:

Reinstalling Windows
Reinstalling latest Nvidia drivers
Moving games to SSD
Changing core affinity in games (Less makes it worse)
Changing page file size to the recommended value
Cleaning the dust out of my PC
Testing the RAM with MemTest86
Removing the two old sticks of RAM
Installing Windows to SSD and booting off of there
Unparking Cores (They already were)
Using HDMI instead of VGA to my monitor (Did the same thing)
Testing with and without Vsync
Lowering graphical settings in all games (Still stutters)
And i've probably tried more things that I can't think of at the moment.

Just to be very clear, this stuttering only occurs when loading a menu, area, or entities in a game.
By stuttering I do NOT mean screen tearing. A lot of people i've seen mention stuttering do not realize that it is not the same as screen tearing.
Now, the reason I think it's CPU related is because when I monitor the CPU usage in any game while playing or "loading", the stutter forces the CPU to spike to 100%.
This is really all I have to go on at this point in time. Some games run better than others, and some games run better when playing Multiplayer, rather than single player.
If I play Minecraft in single player, it stutters horribly, but Multiplayer runs way smoother and with less hesitations. CS:GO, is the opposite when I practice offline though.
Nvidia settings i've changed around - nothing makes a difference with that.
I've tried running my PC on balanced power mode and high performance, but no luck with that.
I've even tried disabling turbo mode for my CPU just to test performance and nothing with that either.
I have no clue why it is doing this, but if anyone here can think of anything, please let me know.

SETUP / SPECS:
1920x1080 HP 60hz monitor
Windows 8.1
16gb RAM
Intel I5-4440
MSI GTX 970
Western Digital 1TB HDD
Samsung 860 EVO 1TB SSD

Thanks in advance.
 

boju

Champion
What are cpu usages like on idle?

Have you disabled xbox dvr recording in Gamebar? This records your gameplay.

Does cpu usage drop if use vsync? Cpu prepares frames for the gpu. Just to test try vsync, if it helps, force cap fps if vsync lag annoys you.

Try set maximum pagefile size to 20GB.

Try use Winaero to temporarily disable unnecessary processes to free up cpu/memory resources.

 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
Very nice list of attempts and things tried, except for one. You reinstalled Windows. When you did that, you wiped out every single driver in the Windows/drivers folder. Win10CE has serious issues with legacy drivers, especially audio and Lan, but can include USB and pcie and Sata. My guess would be that without a full set of updated motherboard chipset drivers, your pc is running on windows generic drivers for everything, which will not maximize performance from anything anywhere on the motherboard. You end up forcing chipsets like the Sata controller, pcie bridge, USB controllers etc to run 64bit drivers, and they were designed and tailored to run on 16bit or 32bit drivers, opf which windows doesn't use item specific instructions.

Basically its like trying to get any performance out of a gpu running windows drivers instead of using the nvidia drivers.

Before anything else, I'd take a trip to mobo website, and download and install every single applicable latest chipset driver they have. This might include updating the bios to the last published as well.

I love winaero, it's a great little tool for enable/disable or tweak things in windows that were/are not normally available in any settings.

Also, didn't see it, but disable Xbox DVR and the Game Bar stuff, unless you have a need to use them, they are pretty worthless and do nothing but interfere with most games as they try to force dominance over other settings/software
 
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May 25, 2019
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Very nice list of attempts and things tried, except for one. You reinstalled Windows. When you did that, you wiped out every single driver in the Windows/drivers folder. Win10CE has serious issues with legacy drivers, especially audio and Lan, but can include USB and pcie and Sata. My guess would be that without a full set of updated motherboard chipset drivers, your pc is running on windows generic drivers for everything, which will not maximize performance from anything anywhere on the motherboard. You end up forcing chipsets like the Sata controller, pcie bridge, USB controllers etc to run 64bit drivers, and they were designed and tailored to run on 16bit or 32bit drivers, opf which windows doesn't use item specific instructions.

Basically its like trying to get any performance out of a gpu running windows drivers instead of using the nvidia drivers.

Before anything else, I'd take a trip to mobo website, and download and install every single applicable latest chipset driver they have. This might include updating the bios to the last published as well.

I love winaero, it's a great little tool for enable/disable or tweak things in windows that were/are not normally available in any settings.

Also, didn't see it, but disable Xbox DVR and the Game Bar stuff, unless you have a need to use them, they are pretty worthless and do nothing but interfere with most games as they try to force dominance over other settings/software
Is this applicable since I still Windows 8.1 and not Windows 10?
I tried using Windows 10 before and had issues with it being slow, and messing with my games even more. (Worse frame drops)
 
May 25, 2019
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What are cpu usages like on idle?

Have you disabled xbox dvr recording in Gamebar? This records your gameplay.

Does cpu usage drop if use vsync? Cpu prepares frames for the gpu. Just to test try vsync, if it helps, force cap fps if vsync lag annoys you.

Try set maximum pagefile size to 20GB.

Try use Winaero to temporarily disable unnecessary processes to free up cpu/memory resources.

I don't think I have a "Gamebar", I use Windows 8.1
CPU usage still spikes to 100% when stutters occur with / without Vsync.
My CPU Usage on idle is 30% or under.
Right now my computer is doing something strange with Windows updates, so that might be why it's higher than usual.
 

boju

Champion
What about idle cpu usages?

Did you try vsync?

100% cpu usage will cause stutters. We need to figure out why it's so high.

Post a screenshot of Afterburner in a game running 100% cpu usage. Include all threads and total cpu usage, cpu frequency, temps, ram & pagefile usage.
 

rabmcnair90

Prominent
Jun 1, 2018
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Since they rolled out Microsoft patches to fix the CPU security issue with Intel the performance of intel CPUs has dropped and this looks likely to get even worse once they roll out security fixes for the new vulnerabilities.

I have noticed a significant decline in my own Intel CPU of the same generation as yours.

It is possible to uninstall the offending windows update but it means your PC is less secure.
 
May 25, 2019
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What about idle cpu usages?

Did you try vsync?

100% cpu usage will cause stutters. We need to figure out why it's so high.

Post a screenshot of Afterburner in a game running 100% cpu usage. Include all threads and total cpu usage, cpu frequency, temps, ram & pagefile usage.
I've already told you my Idle CPU usage and that i've tried with and without Vsync.
"CPU usage still spikes to 100% when stutters occur with / without Vsync. My CPU Usage on idle is 30% or under."
Right now, my CPU usage is at 4%, it must have been high from windows update since I last said 30%.
Here is a screenshot of Minecraft being played with Afterburner and stuttering:

EDIT: I just noticed that my GPU usage dropped to 0% when that happened from this screenshot. That could be a problem.....
 

boju

Champion
Sorry you did mention cpu usage, i missed it.

From what i can see cpu usage is fine. Gpu usage is weird though.

How are you installing gpu drivers? From Geforce.com/drivers or are you letting Geforce Experience do it?

Have you installed the motherboard chipset driver from the manufacturer's website? What is your motherboard?
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
Yes, you'll still want to use the motherboard chipset drivers specific to your motherboard.

When you first install windows, it has VGA drivers that'll give you a very nice 800x600 VGA resolution. It takes installing the nvidia drivers to get the gpu working right, not just working. The motherboard chipset drivers are no different and affect everything. They affect the gpu, the cpu, your storage, your ram everything. Right now your motherboard is VGA 800x600. You want it to be 1080p. Get the drivers.
 
May 25, 2019
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Sorry you did mention cpu usage, i missed it.

From what i can see cpu usage is fine. Gpu usage is weird though.

How are you installing gpu drivers? From Geforce.com/drivers or are you letting Geforce Experience do it?

Have you installed the motherboard chipset driver from the manufacturer's website? What is your motherboard?
I install GPU drivers from Geforce.com/drivers
I don't use Geforce Experience, although I have in the past.
I entered "wmic baseboard get product,manufacturer,version,serialnumber" into Command Prompt to see if I could get anything.
I'm not sure how else I could have checked the motherboard information, so I just went with this.
Manufacturer is Lenovo, Product is blank, Serial number is: ES12687933, and the Version is 31900058 STD.
So, I found my computer online and noticed the Chipset category On this website
Should I download Intel ME driver too, or just the Chipset driver?
I wasn't sure, since they're both in the same category.
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
Everything. Audio, Lan, USB family, Sata, Intel ME, all of it.

Programs, games etc have evolved past what the drivers are used for. Since you reinstalled windows, all your stuff is at the latest used by Win 8.1. Newer games will run on the original Intel ME, but newer versions contain additional instructions, tweaks, version numbers etc that newer games make better use of. Just like nvidia core drivers are the same, but newer driver versions have tweaks and optimizations for new games.

Being a Lenovo motherboard, you are at a disadvantage to begin with. Those OEM mobo's are not designed for gaming usage and all the performance necessary to get games looking/playing right. So anything that you can do to eek out a slight bit more is only to your advantage.

Networking: Lan
Audio
Chipset
Storage

If it says 8.1 and you use it (dunno if you have a card reader etc) then get it. Some, like the USB for Win7 you might get, 8.1 does use Win7 drivers for many things, but you'd need to check version numbers/dates, see which is newer.
 
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May 25, 2019
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Everything. Audio, Lan, USB family, Sata, Intel ME, all of it.

Programs, games etc have evolved past what the drivers are used for. Since you reinstalled windows, all your stuff is at the latest used by Win 8.1. Newer games will run on the original Intel ME, but newer versions contain additional instructions, tweaks, version numbers etc that newer games make better use of. Just like nvidia core drivers are the same, but newer driver versions have tweaks and optimizations for new games.

Being a Lenovo motherboard, you are at a disadvantage to begin with. Those OEM mobo's are not designed for gaming usage and all the performance necessary to get games looking/playing right. So anything that you can do to eek out a slight bit more is only to your advantage.
I already have the newest chipset driver 9.4.0.1026, which is the same as the download available.
Is it safe if I download it anyway just to make sure that the version currently installed isn't messed up?

Also, I just think it's very strange that my games used to work perfectly fine and not stutter up until some time ago when I noticed it happening.

EDIT: I tried installing the same chipset drivers and it says that "File copying was not successful".
I also tried installing the ME driver from that website and it says in the installer that I have newer drivers installed.
 
Last edited:

boju

Champion
Yeah, you've pretty much exhausted every troubleshooting idea, it shouldn't be this hard.

It appears the graphics card just stops processing for however long. Usually when that happens can cause other anomalies like driver crashes or reboots if power was the problem or faulty card.

Im not an engineer so i can only imagine from past experiences.

Have you tried an older driver incase there's been issues with current drivers and it's been a coincidence ever since?

https://www.nvidia.com/download/driverresults.aspx/126903

If you try, before you do, disable automatic driver updates in Win 8.1 so updates don't interfere. Im not familiar with Win8.1 so not sure if this is still an option.

Run DDU in safemode to wipe Nvidia drivers and give 300 series drivers a go.

Install driver as administrator and once finished set power plan in NvidiaCP > manage 3D to prefer maximum performance.
 
May 25, 2019
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Yeah, you've pretty much exhausted every troubleshooting idea, it shouldn't be this hard.

It appears the graphics card just stops processing for however long. Usually when that happens can cause other anomalies like driver crashes or reboots if power was the problem or faulty card.

Im not an engineer so i can only imagine from past experiences.

Have you tried an older driver incase there's been issues with current drivers and it's been a coincidence ever since?

https://www.nvidia.com/download/driverresults.aspx/126903

If you try, before you do, disable automatic driver updates in Win 8.1 so updates don't interfere. Im not familiar with Win8.1 so not sure if this is still an option.

Run DDU in safemode to wipe Nvidia drivers and give 300 series drivers a go.

Install driver as administrator and once finished set power plan in NvidiaCP > manage 3D to prefer maximum performance.
I can try this later and get back to you on that. Thanks for the help so far.
I'm not sure that the GPU is the main cause of the issue, I still have a hunch that this is CPU related or something because the stuttering isn't all of the time, only when the games load. I feel like the GPU usage dropping is just an end result of whatever the issue may be. I could also try running a GPU diagnostic.
 

boju

Champion
Your welcome.

Yeah, there's not much to diagnosing a cpu/gpu. Matter of testing to see clock speeds remain at reasonable levels while staying cool and stable.

Programs like realbench for cpu


For gpu

Furmark
https://www.techspot.com/downloads/5462-furmark.html

Heaven
https://benchmark.unigine.com/heaven

Monitoring software, HWinfo64, Core temp and gpuz to check frequencies and temps.
 
May 27, 2019
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Since they rolled out Microsoft patches to fix the CPU security issue with Intel the performance of intel CPUs has dropped and this looks likely to get even worse once they roll out security fixes for the new vulnerabilities.

I have noticed a significant decline in my own Intel CPU of the same generation as yours.

It is possible to uninstall the offending windows update but it means your PC is less secure.
its weird that no ones commenting on this its impacting macs perfromance by 40 percent
 
its weird that no ones commenting on this its impacting macs perfromance by 40 percent
His quad core i5 doesn't have HTT,even if it had it would just lower his performance equally,getting heavy stutters has nothing to do with that.
It appears the graphics card just stops processing for however long. Usually when that happens can cause other anomalies like driver crashes or reboots if power was the problem or faulty card.
Sadly this is how GPUs work,when loading in new stuff they drop everything else so you get 0% usage and everything stops.
The only thing you can do is to have enough ram and vram and be lucky with your quality settings as to minimize the frequency and severity of these load ins.
Going for higher quality might have better results then all low.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=H1L4iLIU9xU#t=941
 

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