Frequent stuttering/hitching in various games despite good FPS. Can't find the cause.

Twario

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Feb 24, 2013
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My specs:

OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1

CPU: Intel Core i5 4690K 3.5GHz

RAM: 8GB Dual-Channel DDR3

Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer

Graphics: ATI AMD Radeon R9 390 Series (MSI)

Storage: (SSD) 232GB Samsung SSD 850 EVO

(HDD) 931GB Seagate ST1000DM

Cooling: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO - 120mm PWM Fan

PSU: EVGA 80 PLUS GOLD 650W

This is an issue I've noticed with certain games ever since I've built this PC. However, it seems to have gotten worse lately. I just bought the new RE2 remake and while it runs well, the stuttering is very distracting. In random intervals, the game freezes for a split second like it's loading something and very rarely it hangs for about a second or two. I checked a few other games like Doom and The Witcher 3, and the same problem happens in some form in those titles as well.

I spend the better part of yesterday trying to fix this issue. I first checked the temperature of the CPU and GPU, but they did not seem to be running hot at all. while playing RE2, GPU temp was about 67 degrees Celsius and the CPU cores hovered around the mid 40s and low 50s when looking at HWmonitor. It's not an issue with my old HP monitor either, I tried plugging my PC into my HDTV using HDMI and the issue was identical. I also think I ruled out a HDD or SSD issue because the issue persisted even after moving the game to the HDD from my SSD.

This is a list of some of the other things I did that did not solve it
-updated the BIOS to 2.50
-set DRAM voltage to 1.5v
-made sure the BIOS was set to PCI instead of onboard
-enabled XMP
-unparked the CPU cores with CPU core parking manager
-dusted the PC
-checked I was using the 6G SATA cable for the SSD and not the 3G
-disabled all non essential background processes
-updated AMD drivers to 19.1.2
-turned in-game vsync off
-turned all in-game settings to low
-verified integrity of game cache
-scanned computer with malwarebytes and MSE for viruses
-defragged HDD

I'm pulling my hair out to find out the issue, but I'm thinking it could have to do with either the CPU or GPU. I'm planning on applying more thermal paste to the CPU but I have a feeling it won't help. Any suggestions to what could be causing this would be helpful.
 

kerberos_20

Distinguished
run task manager in background, see if those stutters are in line with hdd activity
if u see hdd activity spikes where u get stutters
where is your swap file located: ssd or hdd?
where is your game located: hdd or ssd?
 

By chance, did you move the pagefile to the HDD to try to save space on the HDD? Sometimes people with smaller SSDs do that. It's a bad idea because Windows will freeze to wait for the disk every time there's a pagefile access. If the pagefile is on the SSD, this is unnoticeable. If it's on the HDD, the delay can cause a stutter every time the pagefile is accesed. And if the HDD has gone to sleep (stopped spinning) due to inactivity, a pagefile access will result in about a 1 second freeze as the computer waits for the disk to spin up again.
 

Twario

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Feb 24, 2013
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In the resource monitor? If that's what you mean, it does look a little abnormal, but I'm not sure what to look for.
Game was on SSD when this issue first appeared.
Game was temporarily moved to HDD yesterday before I moved it back to the SSD after it didn't do anything.

I actually moved the pagefile sys to the SSD yesterday. It was on the HDD previously. The stuttering issue was about the same before and after. I'm not sure if I should leave it on the SSD or just move it back to the HDD.

 

Twario

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Feb 24, 2013
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Sorry to dig up this old thread, but I just wanted to write an update to my situation for anybody in the same boat. I recently upgraded to Windows 10 and this issue has improved noticeably. It's still there unfortunately, but it doesn't impact the experience nearly as much as it did before. It has also fixed a ton of the bizarre performance issues I've been experiencing in games ever since I built this PC. Even though I still dislike MS's past practices with the forced free updates to 10, I regret updating sooner.

For any windows 7 users with crappy performance in games where you far exceed the recommended requirements, I'm not 100% sure if it was what fixed my issue, but an update to win 10 might be what you need. It is still free if you download the update file from the MS website and 7 is losing support anyways, so do it if you haven't already.
 
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