Question Diagnosing regular frame drops and audio stutter

Nov 26, 2020
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I'm running a system that has worked flawlessly for a few years, but over the past several months it has started getting regular, intermittent frame rate drops down to single digits (both in and out of games) and whenever that happens the audio also stutters. Then everything goes back to normal for around 5-10 minutes until the next drop. The drops only last for a few seconds and it doesn't matter whether I'm gaming, streaming a video, or just browsing the internet.

All drivers, BIOS, Windows are up to date. Reboots do not solve the problem or have any effect on the issue. I'm not seeing any temperature problems either (CPU in the 40s and 50s, GPU 60s to 70s, and all drives report healthy with no temp issues either. I am not overclocking. I've done a re-install of Windows but have not done a clean install yet - was hoping to narrow down what might be causing this before going that route. I've also removed the sound card and used onboard audio with the same results. I even swapped motherboards with the same model when I ran into some IO issues on the back panel, which of course involved reseating everything, removing the CPU and reapplying thermal paste, etc. Nothing changed even after doing this - the frame drop and stutter remained.

Here are my specs:

Core i7-7700k
NZXT Kraken X62
32GB G.SKILL TridentZ (2 x 16GB) DDR4 3000 (PC4 24000)
1 x Samsung 960 Pro 1TB NVMe
1 x Samsung 850 Pro 256GB SATA
1 x Samsung 850 EVO 2TB SATA
2 x Samsung 860 EVO 2TB SATA
ASUS ROG Maximus IX Formula mobo
ASUS ROG STRIX GTX 1080 Ti-11G
Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5
EVGA SuperNOVA 850 PSU
Phanteks Enthoo Evolv (good airflow with several Fractal Design 140mm fans - intake and radiator in front, exhaust top and rear)

I'm running three monitors, two old Dell 24" and one ASUS ROG Swift PG348Q. Windows 10 Pro.

Anyone have any ideas where to start or what kind of diagnostic tool I could run to find what's causing this problem?
 
Nov 26, 2020
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Thanks @Nemesia .

So, within the first minute it came back with the following, however it wasn't even during one of the drops I'm trying to diagnose.

"Conclusion: Your system appears to be having trouble handling real-time audio and other tasks. You are likely to experience buffer underruns appearing as drop outs, clicks or pops. One or more DPC routines that belong to a driver running in your system appear to be executing for too long. At least one detected problem appears to be network related. In case you are using a WLAN adapter, try disabling it to get better results. One problem may be related to power management, disable CPU throttling settings in Control Panel and BIOS setup. Check for BIOS updates. "

Highest measured interrupt to process latency (µs): 12092.50
Highest reported ISR routine execution time (µs): 533.572381 (dxgkrnl.sys - DirectX Graphics Kernel, Microsoft Corporation)
Highest reported DPC routine execution time (µs): 11270.194048 (ndis.sys - Network Driver Interface Specification (NDIS), Microsoft Corporation)

I've still got it running but whenever the frames drop to single digits, I don't see any corresponding jump in the current measured interrupt to process latency reading.

I do not have a WLAN adapter, no WiFi - I'm on a hardwired cat6. I don't see any way to control CPU throttling in the Control Panel, as it suggests. I do have the power settings on Performance and don't have Windows turn off/sleep my devices, if that's what they meant. BIOS is fully up to date.

Here's the full report:
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CONCLUSION
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Your system appears to be having trouble handling real-time audio and other tasks. You are likely to experience buffer underruns appearing as drop outs, clicks or pops. One or more DPC routines that belong to a driver running in your system appear to be executing for too long. At least one detected problem appears to be network related. In case you are using a WLAN adapter, try disabling it to get better results. One problem may be related to power management, disable CPU throttling settings in Control Panel and BIOS setup. Check for BIOS updates.
LatencyMon has been analyzing your system for 1:09:56 (h🇲🇲ss) on all processors.


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SYSTEM INFORMATION
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Computer name: KABYLAKE
OS version: Windows 10, 10.0, version 2004, build: 19041 (x64)
Hardware: System Product Name, System manufacturer
CPU: GenuineIntel Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-7700K CPU @ 4.20GHz
Logical processors: 8
Processor groups: 1
RAM: 32628 MB total


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CPU SPEED
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Reported CPU speed: 420 MHz

Note: reported execution times may be calculated based on a fixed reported CPU speed. Disable variable speed settings like Intel Speed Step and AMD Cool N Quiet in the BIOS setup for more accurate results.


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MEASURED INTERRUPT TO USER PROCESS LATENCIES
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The interrupt to process latency reflects the measured interval that a usermode process needed to respond to a hardware request from the moment the interrupt service routine started execution. This includes the scheduling and execution of a DPC routine, the signaling of an event and the waking up of a usermode thread from an idle wait state in response to that event.

Highest measured interrupt to process latency (µs): 12092.50
Average measured interrupt to process latency (µs): 5.355813

Highest measured interrupt to DPC latency (µs): 12087.40
Average measured interrupt to DPC latency (µs): 2.656591


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REPORTED ISRs
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Interrupt service routines are routines installed by the OS and device drivers that execute in response to a hardware interrupt signal.

Highest ISR routine execution time (µs): 533.572381
Driver with highest ISR routine execution time: dxgkrnl.sys - DirectX Graphics Kernel, Microsoft Corporation

Highest reported total ISR routine time (%): 0.258494
Driver with highest ISR total time: dxgkrnl.sys - DirectX Graphics Kernel, Microsoft Corporation

Total time spent in ISRs (%) 0.283146

ISR count (execution time <250 µs): 8320183
ISR count (execution time 250-500 µs): 0
ISR count (execution time 500-1000 µs): 101
ISR count (execution time 1000-2000 µs): 0
ISR count (execution time 2000-4000 µs): 0
ISR count (execution time >=4000 µs): 0


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REPORTED DPCs
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DPC routines are part of the interrupt servicing dispatch mechanism and disable the possibility for a process to utilize the CPU while it is interrupted until the DPC has finished execution.

Highest DPC routine execution time (µs): 11270.194048
Driver with highest DPC routine execution time: ndis.sys - Network Driver Interface Specification (NDIS), Microsoft Corporation

Highest reported total DPC routine time (%): 0.190497
Driver with highest DPC total execution time: Wdf01000.sys - Kernel Mode Driver Framework Runtime, Microsoft Corporation

Total time spent in DPCs (%) 0.564837

DPC count (execution time <250 µs): 26619805
DPC count (execution time 250-500 µs): 0
DPC count (execution time 500-10000 µs): 30956
DPC count (execution time 1000-2000 µs): 179
DPC count (execution time 2000-4000 µs): 81
DPC count (execution time >=4000 µs): 103


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REPORTED HARD PAGEFAULTS
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Hard pagefaults are events that get triggered by making use of virtual memory that is not resident in RAM but backed by a memory mapped file on disk. The process of resolving the hard pagefault requires reading in the memory from disk while the process is interrupted and blocked from execution.

NOTE: some processes were hit by hard pagefaults. If these were programs producing audio, they are likely to interrupt the audio stream resulting in dropouts, clicks and pops. Check the Processes tab to see which programs were hit.

Process with highest pagefault count: dwm.exe

Total number of hard pagefaults 345256
Hard pagefault count of hardest hit process: 42232
Number of processes hit: 367


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PER CPU DATA
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CPU 0 Interrupt cycle time (s): 328.149087
CPU 0 ISR highest execution time (µs): 533.572381
CPU 0 ISR total execution time (s): 90.122455
CPU 0 ISR count: 6397993
CPU 0 DPC highest execution time (µs): 11270.194048
CPU 0 DPC total execution time (s): 112.378110
CPU 0 DPC count: 19608575
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CPU 1 Interrupt cycle time (s): 113.334036
CPU 1 ISR highest execution time (µs): 187.521905
CPU 1 ISR total execution time (s): 4.657909
CPU 1 ISR count: 1786354
CPU 1 DPC highest execution time (µs): 648.743810
CPU 1 DPC total execution time (s): 54.323590
CPU 1 DPC count: 2727794
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CPU 2 Interrupt cycle time (s): 48.406811
CPU 2 ISR highest execution time (µs): 84.856429
CPU 2 ISR total execution time (s): 0.266820
CPU 2 ISR count: 134751
CPU 2 DPC highest execution time (µs): 9505.741190
CPU 2 DPC total execution time (s): 14.830342
CPU 2 DPC count: 2059271
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CPU 3 Interrupt cycle time (s): 25.425111
CPU 3 ISR highest execution time (µs): 98.858333
CPU 3 ISR total execution time (s): 0.006297
CPU 3 ISR count: 1173
CPU 3 DPC highest execution time (µs): 4602.103810
CPU 3 DPC total execution time (s): 1.743184
CPU 3 DPC count: 496815
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CPU 4 Interrupt cycle time (s): 26.811766
CPU 4 ISR highest execution time (µs): 23.828571
CPU 4 ISR total execution time (s): 0.000138
CPU 4 ISR count: 13
CPU 4 DPC highest execution time (µs): 4936.113095
CPU 4 DPC total execution time (s): 1.665066
CPU 4 DPC count: 521860
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CPU 5 Interrupt cycle time (s): 25.549864
CPU 5 ISR highest execution time (µs): 0.0
CPU 5 ISR total execution time (s): 0.0
CPU 5 ISR count: 0
CPU 5 DPC highest execution time (µs): 164.540476
CPU 5 DPC total execution time (s): 1.092149
CPU 5 DPC count: 349107
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CPU 6 Interrupt cycle time (s): 26.755276
CPU 6 ISR highest execution time (µs): 0.0
CPU 6 ISR total execution time (s): 0.0
CPU 6 ISR count: 0
CPU 6 DPC highest execution time (µs): 196.824286
CPU 6 DPC total execution time (s): 2.030771
CPU 6 DPC count: 512494
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CPU 7 Interrupt cycle time (s): 23.977334
CPU 7 ISR highest execution time (µs): 0.0
CPU 7 ISR total execution time (s): 0.0
CPU 7 ISR count: 0
CPU 7 DPC highest execution time (µs): 617.284524
CPU 7 DPC total execution time (s): 1.555525
CPU 7 DPC count: 375208
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  • Given that it found these issues before the system experienced any of the drops I'm trying to diagnose, would these be a separate issue?
  • I would guess that the dxgkrnl.sys is related to the on-board Intel graphics? I'm not 100% sure if I've got that disabled though I'm not using it - if that could be a factor I can definitely do that.
  • I have WiFi disabled and am only using the wired connection, though it seems the DPC time with ndis.sys is showing a problem? I do have Bluetooth on and an Xbox Wireless adapter.
  • The hard page faults seem a little alarming - is that normal?
What would you guys recommend as my next step?
 
Last edited:
Nov 26, 2020
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Hoping someone might have some suggestions on how to narrow down the issue? I'm not sure where to go from here.
 

Eddsynn145

Reputable
Jun 11, 2017
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HI wondering if Your issue has yet been solved? I Believe I am experiencing something very similar to yourself (
View: https://youtu.be/5r_5S-qIawo
) This is what I captured on my computer, this happens in games and when just on the computer. Stuttering/Buffering, I also had the same diagnostic from the latency monitor.
 
Nov 26, 2020
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@Eddsynn145 I haven't resolved it yet. I need to run a memtest and I'd like to check the PSU but I don't have a spare to swap out with right now.

However, your audio/stutter issue does seem different from. I get a few seconds of frame drops to single digits, along with sound stuttering/audio glitching, but it only lasts for a few seconds each time before returning to normal and then comes back randomly - sometimes 10 minutes later, sometimes hours.

I'll reply here if I find any solutions in case it helps..
 

Eddsynn145

Reputable
Jun 11, 2017
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4,510
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Luckily I built pcs for members of my family. So Going to have to borrow a powersupply to see what the issue is. Read on forum saying it could be an SSD issue. So I might swap my OS onto my 2nd SSD
 

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