Question FPS Drops, Microstutter, Frametime Issues

Aug 26, 2021
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Hello everyone, so after a few months of trying literally almost everything I can think of, I am slowly starting to give up on fixing this issue. I am having random microstutters, where every game I play drops 1-5 fps and causes a noticeable stutter, almost freezing for a half a second. Some certain games stutters by dropping 40fps like GTA5 or DS3. It mainly seems to happen right when I load into a game or walk around for a bit. Sometimes in Splitgate it will happen right at the start of the match for 5 seconds dropping from 240fps to low 40fps and then it goes back to 240. Here is what it looks like in Dead by Daylight, if needed I can upload more footage (I had to record this off my phone because NVIDIA Overlay or OBS can’t pick it up):


This started happening around a few months ago and I have been trying many possibilities to see what is the cause of this issue even replacing components. Here is the build I was using:

  • I7-9700k (not OC) -> Changed later with a Ryzen 5900x
  • Asus ROG Strix 2080 Super (not OC)
  • Corsair Vengeance RGB PRO 32GB DDR4 3200mhz (2x16)
  • Asus ROG Strix B365-F -> Changed with MSI X570 Tomahawk
  • Corsair RM 850x watts
  • Samsung 970 Evo 1TB M.2 (Windows is installed here)
  • Samsung 860 Evo 1TB SATA
  • BeQuiet Pure Base 600 case
  • Main Monitor: Alienware AW2518Hf (1080p, 240hz, freesync)
  • Secondary: Samsung CJ791 (1440p, 100hz, freesync)
Here is what I tried so far:

  • Installed Latest Drivers for audio/graphics/usb/ssd/display/peripheral including those for Wacom and tablets
  • Downgraded NVIDIA Drivers
  • Uninstalled Armoury Crate and Lighting Drivers. This means also iCUE, GHUB, and HyperX
  • Disabled Geforce Overlay and Recording
  • Disabled VR Ready drivers including supersampling and decreasing pre-rendered frames for VR Games
  • Power Management for Windows and NVIDIA are set to maximum performance.
  • Game Bar and Game Mode disabled
  • Fully Uninstalled and Reinstalled Windows via USB
  • Flashed BIOS.
  • Enabled/Disabled XMP
  • Fully disabled audio drivers
  • Tried booting using UEFI instead of booting with Legacy + UEFI
  • Changed Monitors using HDMI instead of DP.
  • Changed Monitors using a different DP cord.
  • Unplugged and tried using 1 monitor.
  • Disabling / Re-enabling Gsync along with Vsync turned "on" and on "fast"
  • Unplugged all peripherals and changed the power strip (where my microphone, headset, and monitors are plugged into, not my PC) in case of being faulty.
  • Unplugged USB 3.0 on motherboard in case if it was a Case Issue
  • Unplugged HD Audio on motherboard
  • Took out my extra SSD to be sure.
  • Manually turned down and unplugged Case Fans that are attached directly to the PSU.
  • Tried running games on absolute low/ very low in many games.
  • Tried running games on absolute high/ultra to test lack of multithreading on the i7-9700k
  • Literally going to a new house and plugging it in.
At this point I figured it was something with my hardware. I first tried replacing my RAM sticks with the exact same ones (Corsair Vengeance), it still stuttered. Then I started to move games to my other SSD (860 EVO) and it still stuttered. Then I was convinced it was my CPU or MOBO so I tried running my games using Intel UHD graphics and somehow it still stuttered. I found that the stuttering was still present, however, it wasn’t a very strong stutter and it didn’t ‘lock’ my game for as long as when I had it plugged in my GPU. So even though it still stuttered, I replaced my CPU and Motherboard with a Ryzen 5900x and an MSI X570 Tomahawk, flashed BIOS and reinstalled windows again on my M.2 and it still stuttered on simple games like CSGO.

I also tried to cap my frames at 50 FPS in CSGO, then of course I stuttered heavily when it dropped to ~47 FPS, then went back to 50 FPS. My userbenchmark, 3DMark (TimeSpy), and cinebench scores seem normal so it looks like they did not pick it up (Below is my 3D Mark TimeSpy Score using new components. I can also include others if needed). Another interesting thing I noticed is that my CPU drops from 1.4V to around 1.25V when the stuttering occurs (on the Ryzen 5900x not the i7-9700k).

View: https://imgur.com/U9vG1VT


So now I know that I am confident it isn’t my CPU, Motherboard, or RAM since I fully replaced them. To be 100% sure it isn't my SSD, I took the M.2 out and reinstalled Windows on the other 860 EVO and launched a game such as GTA5 and I consistently drop from 180fps to 140fps and the game stutters badly.

This just leaves me with my GPU and PSU, but I wanted to make sure if anyone else is experiencing this issue, or if anyone has any possible solutions to this before I replace the GPU or PSU. Thanks again.
 

Phaaze88

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This MIGHT* have been resolved - or partially so - if one monitor was plugged into the motherboard(cpu iGPU), and the other into the gpu.
But now that you've changed hardware - especially the cpu - things have become a bit complicated; since the 5900X doesn't have an iGPU, you have to run both monitors from the gpu.
Unfortunately, that difference in native refresh is a possible cause of stutter - the frame buffers aren't synced, so the gpu's kinda tripping over itself.
To fix it, you then have to either:
-change the 240hz to 100hz. 200hz might work.
-replace one of the 2 monitors, with the new screen matching the refresh of the one you didn't get rid of.
*[I see the part where you posted trying only 1 monitor, that's why the might in caps... but there could've been something else going on besides the frame buffer desync.]
The 100hz monitor doesn't help - it can never sync smoothly with 240hz, at least not without an awkward cap on the latter; they don't share the same factorization in integer math, or available screens:
60, 120, 180, 240...
100, 200...

GTA5 and I consistently drop from 180fps to 140fps and the game stutters badly.
The RAGE engine has a built in, 'low' frame rate cap, you're running into it, and then the cpu gets throttled by RAGE; a good example of a software bottleneck.
Set a lower framerate limit in the game, or in NVCP. You're just going too high for the engine. Perhaps the 140fps you've reported dropping down to is a good point.



That's about all I recognize though.
 
Aug 26, 2021
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This MIGHT* have been resolved - or partially so - if one monitor was plugged into the motherboard(cpu iGPU), and the other into the gpu.
But now that you've changed hardware - especially the cpu - things have become a bit complicated; since the 5900X doesn't have an iGPU, you have to run both monitors from the gpu.
Unfortunately, that difference in native refresh is a possible cause of stutter - the frame buffers aren't synced, so the gpu's kinda tripping over itself.
To fix it, you then have to either:
-change the 240hz to 100hz. 200hz might work.
-replace one of the 2 monitors, with the new screen matching the refresh of the one you didn't get rid of.
*[I see the part where you posted trying only 1 monitor, that's why the might in caps... but there could've been something else going on besides the frame buffer desync.]
The 100hz monitor doesn't help - it can never sync smoothly with 240hz, at least not without an awkward cap on the latter; they don't share the same factorization in integer math, or available screens:
60, 120, 180, 240...
100, 200...


The RAGE engine has a built in, 'low' frame rate cap, you're running into it, and then the cpu gets throttled by RAGE; a good example of a software bottleneck.
Set a lower framerate limit in the game, or in NVCP. You're just going too high for the engine. Perhaps the 140fps you've reported dropping down to is a good point.



That's about all I recognize though.
Thanks for the reply. So I borrowed my friends Alienware AW2521HF 240hz along with a different display cable and then didn't use any other monitor, and then turned freesync on. I played splitgate and it stuttered very bad in the beginning of the game but near the end it barely stuttered. It seems like it happens when it loads things in. Like in COD Black Ops Cold War it happens right when I pass the spawn area. This is weird because the audio does not cut out when doing this. I also noticed when I stutter, my CPU usage spikes very high, and my GPU voltage use drops. (Used OCCT). All I have left is the case, GPU, and PSU that's not been replaced. Can a PSU really cause a sharp stutter as it freezes it for a split second? It's really hard to believe this is a PSU issue.

Also to make 100% I'm not jumping the gun, I also reinstalled Windows one more time today and made 100% sure it's not software related, I checked resource monitor, disabled useless settings like Game Bar and Game Mode, and completely reinstalled my drivers but unfortunately, it kept stuttering.

Lastly, I am aware about the GTA5 stutter so what I did was I capped my fps at ~70 fps and then of course I dropped to around low 30s when driving around. Very strange, this makes it seem like some type of rendering issue.
 

Phaaze88

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Loads things in... so the SSD, perhaps? Files do need to be accessed from time to time.
Incompatible driver? Like, you're using Intel RST driver instead of the Samsung driver?
You didn't try to RAID those drives, did you? If that's even possible - I'm not familiar with RAID at all, but I do read how users will try to enable it when it doesn't offer any benefits to them.

I also noticed when I stutter, my CPU usage spikes very high, and my GPU voltage use drops.
Of course it's going to drop - it's waiting on work.
Think of fps like stream or river flowing towards the ocean, or some other larger body of water, and there's some kind of flow disruption on the way there -
the cpu, ram, storage, drivers... they're all part of keeping that flow consistent, or as consistent as possible.

Also to make 100% I'm not jumping the gun, I also reinstalled Windows one more time today and made 100% sure it's not software related, I checked resource monitor, disabled useless settings like Game Bar and Game Mode, and completely reinstalled my drivers but unfortunately...
Perhaps you should've stopped just before this step. By doing what's marked in red, you actually haven't made sure it's software related.
Drivers are software too.
Do a Clean Boot, where you try to run games with just the Microsoft services, and then enable the others one at a time.
If that still doesn't narrow down a culprit, then it's likely hardware.
If it were possible to run games from Safe Mode, I'd ask you to try that too, but the games that can be run from that is very limited.
 
Aug 26, 2021
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Loads things in... so the SSD, perhaps? Files do need to be accessed from time to time.
Incompatible driver? Like, you're using Intel RST driver instead of the Samsung driver?
You didn't try to RAID those drives, did you? If that's even possible - I'm not familiar with RAID at all, but I do read how users will try to enable it when it doesn't offer any benefits to them.


Of course it's going to drop - it's waiting on work.
Think of fps like stream or river flowing towards the ocean, or some other larger body of water, and there's some kind of flow disruption on the way there -
the cpu, ram, storage, drivers... they're all part of keeping that flow consistent, or as consistent as possible.


Perhaps you should've stopped just before this step. By doing what's marked in red, you actually haven't made sure it's software related.
Drivers are software too.
Do a Clean Boot, where you try to run games with just the Microsoft services, and then enable the others one at a time.
If that still doesn't narrow down a culprit, then it's likely hardware.
If it were possible to run games from Safe Mode, I'd ask you to try that too, but the games that can be run from that is very limited.
For my SSD, I took out the M.2 (Windows was installed on) and reinstalled windows on my SATA SSD and it still stuttered the exact same way. I also thought it was an SSD issue bc during few minutes of games it stutters as if it is loading something in, but I tried 2 different SSD's in my system and it didn't solve the stuttering so I don't think it is the SSD. I made sure that I did have Samsung's NVME Drivers installed, and not Intels. Also I didn't RAID my drives, I didn't even know that was possible.

For the spikes in voltage I think I understand what you mean. It is probably something in my system causing a slight freeze where my GPU power goes down in that instant because it doesn't need power. Does that have anything to do with the CPU usage spiking upward though? I noticed that it spiked on both my 9700k and 5900x very similarly but still can't find the culprit.

Interesting, I thought reinstalling Windows removes all unnecessary programs, but I'll try and do a Clean Boot and do testing with software. Just to make sure, Clean Boot disables all my current software running I choose, and some/all Windows services running? Is it possible that some Windows service is causing stuttering like Superfetch or something else updating in the background (For example, like the weather updating or task scheduler)? I'll let you know if I find a service that is might be causing this.

Also, if you need any more videos or tests of what the spike looks like I can attach them.
 

Phaaze88

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Does that have anything to do with the CPU usage spiking upward though? I noticed that it spiked on both my 9700k and 5900x very similarly but still can't find the culprit.
A driver could do that, like, if a cpu thread gets stuck on a command or something.

Just to make sure, Clean Boot disables all my current software running I choose, and some/all Windows services running?
Yes. You don't want to disable any Microsoft services though. I left a link how to do so in the red Clean Boot earlier.

Is it possible that some Windows service is causing stuttering like Superfetch or something else updating in the background (For example, like the weather updating or task scheduler)?
Can't deny that it's possible, but that's why you should try to do a run with only the MS services enabled.
 
Aug 26, 2021
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A driver could do that, like, if a cpu thread gets stuck on a command or something.


Yes. You don't want to disable any Microsoft services though. I left a link how to do so in the red Clean Boot earlier.


Can't deny that it's possible, but that's why you should try to do a run with only the MS services enabled.
Alright so I just tested a Clean Boot and I disabled everything other than Window's Services, restarted and rechecked task manager just to make sure that only Windows services were running, fired up Splitgate and I stuttered pretty badly leaving spawn, around a ~80 fps drop. I tested on GTA5 and as soon as I walked of a house I dropped ~70 fps. I also tested Phasmophobia, I walked out of the Van and I stuttered then dropped about ~40 fps. It was worth a try, do you think it's still software? Could this possibly be a GPU issue?
 
Aug 26, 2021
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You got a another gpu test with - or one you can borrow? 'Cause it'd be pretty hard to confirm otherwise...
No, but I can technically use Intel UHD graphics again since I still have my 9700k and other MOBO. I remember a month ago I tried this on CSGO and as soon as I loaded in the game I still stuttered. If it isn't the GPU the only real option left is the PSU unless there is some pulled cable or cut cable coming from the case? It kind of sucks because I am running out of options here.
 

Phaaze88

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Stuttering still even with just the 9700K's iGPU? The psu makes less sense in that scenario, due to how vastly different the power draw is between an iGPU and a GPU on the level of the 2080 Super.
We're talking a few watts Vs ~300w(UP TO).

Can you do a userbenchmark run?
Close the browser and all monitoring apps before you run it; too many things open in the background will flag you for high cpu background activity.
When finished, post the URL, so I can see the page.
 
Aug 26, 2021
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Stuttering still even with just the 9700K's iGPU? The psu makes less sense in that scenario, due to how vastly different the power draw is between an iGPU and a GPU on the level of the 2080 Super.
We're talking a few watts Vs ~300w(UP TO).

Can you do a userbenchmark run?
Close the browser and all monitoring apps before you run it; too many things open in the background will flag you for high cpu background activity.
When finished, post the URL, so I can see the page.
Okay so I got my 9700k results here. I might take the GPU out again, enable iGPU and try Intel Graphics again.

EDIT: I ran two just to make sure and it was around the same results, the other tests were taken without a complete reinstall of windows from changing SSDs
 

Phaaze88

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Ambassador
Everything's fine on that end, except maybe the gpu, but you've tried with the iGPU only already and still stutters...
What's the connection between those two... The monitor cable? The Freesync feature?

Can you turn off your monitor's Freesync, go into Nvidia Control Panel > Manage 3D Settings, find Vertical Sync, change it to Fast(don't forget to click apply afterwards) and check the games again?
 
Aug 26, 2021
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Everything's fine on that end, except maybe the gpu, but you've tried with the iGPU only already and still stutters...
What's the connection between those two... The monitor cable? The Freesync feature?

Can you turn off your monitor's Freesync, go into Nvidia Control Panel > Manage 3D Settings, find Vertical Sync, change it to Fast(don't forget to click apply afterwards) and check the games again?
In the NVIDIA settings? I tried it with vsync set to "on" and "fast" and unfortunately it still stutters. I am gonna try Intel graphics again tomorrow just to make sure it still drops frames. The Display Port cable is directly connected to my first Display Port slot in my GPU, I tried switching them too, I also tried different DP cables. I also disabled Freesync in Nvidia Control panel and that didn't work. It is weird bc most of the stutters happen in the beginning of games, so maybe their is a fault with rendering with the GPU?
 
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