Question FPS Stuttering and Hitching, inexplicable High CPU usage until task manager is opened

Jan 11, 2021
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I want to preface this by saying that I have looked at a lot of solutions for this already and later in the post will be recapping what I already have done to make it easier.
Specs:
CPU: i7 9700k
GPU: 2070 Super
Ram: 16gb
Motherboard: z390 plus wifi
First off, the issue.
The thing that tipped me off was whenever I would load up any game (mainly fortnite), my max frame cap would still be achieved but loads of stutering and drops whenever I looked around in a real game. This happened After I installed the new Nvidia January Drivers.
I naturally rolled them back with no success. I also did DDU and reinstalled an older version, but the issue persisted.
I checked my bios (UEFI) and turned off any overclocking as in the past, OCing has caused crashing and stutters.
No changes, still stuttering.
I finally noticed that everytime I open task manager, my CPU usage is at about 60% for a second, then drastically drops back to normal levels. I already installed HWmonitor and it correlates, my cpu usage is abnormally high even just on the desktop UNTIL task manager is opened. When running a game, the added CPU usage has my total at around 94%, but when i Open task manager, is shows the normal 45% that im used to. The gameplay, however, is still bad even if I keep task manager open to show 45%.
I quickly assumed malware as almost EVERY single post on high cpu until task manager claims its malware. I stayed up last night scouring everything and used almost everything in the book. Rootkit detectors, standard detectors, windows built in, offline scan, and even 2 full scans. Nothing of note was found.
I have even fully reset my pc, cleaning the disk and willingly giving up all my old files in favor of hopefully purging any errors.
Nothing.
I am really at my wit's end here and have no idea what coule be wrong, it was working perfectly (easily maintaining 240 smoothly) to now requiring special settings just to barely run.
I also noticed that my GPU was working at only 4-5% even when gaming, so i turned my visuals up to attempt to compensate, and it did up my average FPS, but did not fix the stutters.
All of these symptoms point to CPU based error. Is it bios based? if i've run so many scans and nothing has been found, could it be a simple system setting and not malware? I have maximum performance power plan and windows settings, but I would assume those would help to stabilize the CPU, not increase it.
I am open to any help as I have tried practically everything in the book.
I see 3 options: Secure Boot (I have seen this recommended a lot but not sure what this would do to help me)
Fully wipe PC and reinstall windows from a usb (as if it was the first day I built it) Basically nuking and clenaing everything.
3rd, there is a physical cable loose or unattched, though I would rather not open up my PC if it is not even fathomable that a cable could cause higher CPU and hitches.

Any other options I havent considered? Any help at all?
 
Jan 11, 2021
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what exact did you use for malware scan?
Off the top of my head, both MRAD MRAW, TDSS I think it was called. Both norton scanners. WIndows security scan, offline scan. Two online scanners. The main ones however where malwarebytes products and rootkit specific things like TDSSkiller
 
it takes a fraction of a second and spikes usage to even launch task manager, so, seeing higher usage for a 1/4 second or so is not suspicious by itself....

But, as many forms of malware such as cryptocurrency miners exhibit similar behavior, try running SysInternals' Process Explorer, looking for any signs of miscreant apps.
 
Jan 11, 2021
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temp look fine. unless is is not seeing all cores. or not running the freq. can't see why it is not working right
ive run benchmarks and played games other than fortnite like minecraft, no stuttering anywhere near as bad. I have also run malware detection as you know. There is no way that benchmarks and cpu testers would miss a cpu error right? if so, its a fortnite specific thing
 

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