Question Game/Computer freezes, then CPU usage drops to 6/7% ?

Jan 18, 2023
Hello everybody!

I've had this problem for like 3 months now but it has gotten way worse recently so I had to reach out for help. What is happening is that whenever I play a semi-demanding game (like RDR2 or Dying Light), my game/computer would freeze for around 45 seconds minimum to upwards of 1:30 minute. Those freezes happen at random, but at the worst of times it's literally every 10 seconds. And whenever the game freezes, sometimes the computer would freeze with it and sometimes not. But if it doesn't freeze with the game immediately, whenever I press the windows key to bring up the task bar or something, my entire computer would freeze.

The freezes would only happen on CPU intensive games like recent Paradox Games but it recently spread to other games like RDR2. But the problem with it is that it spread to RDR2 in 15 minutes. I'm not even lying. I turned off the game after a 4 hour-ish session with absolutely no problem just to change some mod settings (absolutely nothing big, just changed some values to peds so they would be hostile to me), I turned the game back on and the freezes had spread to it. Like it was working fine for the entire 2 weeks I've been playing it, I even played it for hours beforehand with no freeze issue but then it just happened. Mind boggling.

Those freezes happen semi-randomly but I managed to decipher when my game should freeze and 9/10 i've been correct. I figured out that my game would freeze whenever new stuff is being loaded or something, so if I move my mouse around it should freeze (and most of the time it does), but it also freezes when I'm not moving the mouse. It doesn't really cancel the "loading new stuff" thing causing the freezes but it's my primary lead.

Another thing to mention, and is the reason why I titled my thread like that, is that whenever my game would freeze, the CPU usage drops to 6/7% which is the average usage of my CPU when I'm not playing a game. I first thought it was because it reached 100% usage, figuratively shat itself, and stopped loading the thing that made it go over 100% usage. I saw that number pop-up with Process Lasso which is what people said to use to fix the freeze issue in RDR2, and funny thing is that it did help for a little bit.
I made a rule so that RDR2 wouldn't use one core and its max CPU usage is 98% or something. It worked for like a few days but then it stopped working. Whenever I put it so it would use even less CPU and cores, it would make it so that whenever the game froze, the entire computer wouldn't freeze with it.

Another discovery I made is that whenever I lowered the graphics to match play-doh graphics, my game wouldn't freeze anymore. It would only freeze when I paused it or something but it happened only once per thing-that-made-it-freeze. So I'm forced to choose between bad graphics and playing game or good-looking graphics but unplayable game. It's a damn shame because my PC should and had already easily handled the games I threw at it. But now if I use the same settings I previously used pre-freezes, it would freeze.

I tried a few things to fix this:
  • Update drivers
  • Remove temp files
  • Chkdsk and other CMD-related things came back with nothing.
Process Lasso was the only one who seemed to make a drastic impact and "fixed" it for a time, but like I said it came back with a vengeance. Now Process Lasso isn't working, the game would freeze every 10 seconds (it would even freeze while the game was quitting so it would just say "quitting the game" while being frozen).

I think there's only a couple of things that could be responsible. I'll list them in order of likelihood of being the problem:
  • CPU (90% chance of being the culprit in my eyes) - I don't see why it wouldn't be the CPU. My GPU is fine, my fan is not blaring up, my screen is not turning off, and I don't have the force turn-off the computer. I did have to change the GPU in the past because it was faulty but that was a year ago. If something went wrong during the switching process, it would've happened ages ago.
  • SSD (60% chance of being the culprit in my eyes) - Recent tests seem to indicate that my SSD is poopoo and decided to give up or something. Whenever I launch RDR2 or Dying Light on my SSD, the textures around my character would load, but anything past the first 10 meters would have barely-loaded in textures. Like those far away LOD models in games. But instead of being far away, it was down the block from where I spawned. I moved the games to my HDD, and I don't have any issues with textures anymore but the freezing issue still persists.
  • Windows (50% chance of being the culprit in my eyes) - Could be bloat, could be Windows screwing up, could be a lotta things tied to windows that could cause the computer to freeze. I don't know.
  • PSU (45% chance of being the culprit in my eyes) - I read online that the PSU could be the culprit. Too much power being drawn or something. I just don't understand why it would break now. I build my computer back in 2018, and you're telling me now the PSU started not working correctly out of nowhere? I should've seen it progressively get worse, not just stop working like that and give up on life just recently. I don't know man...
  • RAM (10% of being the issue) - Be it virtual or physical, why it would be the culprit I have no idea but I read online some people saying it could be the culprit. My VRAM is not 100% used when I play a game, but I do know is that when I lower the graphics, the freezes would sort of vanish. I don't thing it's tied to my VRAM and more of a capacity/intensity issue with my CPU than anything.
My PC Specs are:
Intel Core i5 8500
RTX 2060

I know if I did a "tabula rasa" and just reset windows and got a brand new computer, my issue would be fixed. Obviously. But either one of them are like nuclear options to me. Either one of them could fix it, but both are big. I don't want to reset windows until I'm 100% sure it is the culprit. Nor do I want to get a new CPU/SSD/PSU/RAM until I 100% know it's one of them at fault here.
I read a lot of things online to try and fix it, but all the other cases of freeze-related issues seem to only indicate the freezes last for around 5 seconds every 10 seconds. That is not my case. It's legit, at least, 30 seconds every time. I've never seen it not be at least 30 seconds. Most of the time it revolves around 40-50 seconds. But it's not small stutter/freezes. Its the full package: screen frozen, audio still playing, Process Lasso on my other monitor still updating but when tabbing out to it to quit the game just causes my entire computer to now freeze, the whole shebang.
If you have some sort of solution, please tell me. Even if it's "just rerun chkdsk bro", tell me. I'm open to anything. I want to be able to play games again instead of having to play flash games or 10 year old games (I said that but my computer can't run L4D2 without freezing and it came out in 2009).

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