Question GPU or PSU issue?

Dec 22, 2020
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Hi all,

I have recently realized my rig is having issues and isn't running like it should. I believe it is an issue either with, or around my GPU, but it could be a PSU issue from what I've read.

Lately my monitors will randomly flash black for a couple seconds and then go back to normal (usually during high gpu load moments).

When I launch a game or go to a loading screen, one of my monitors will occasionally go black, while the other will be a light blue (no text or anything, not typical "blue screen of death") and the entire system has crashed (can still hear any audio, but any controls are unresponsive)

In addition, my overall fps rates are down and inconsistent. Games that used to be a solid 120-140 will now be anything from 60-90 and will drop randomly. Also, occasionally when I click over to my second monitor, and click back, the frame rate will be stuck at around 20 until I click back and forth a few times and then it goes back.

This is most noticable in new games I've been playing (CyberPunk 2077 & Baldur's Gate 3), where it will struggle between 20-45fps. This is at 1440p and high settings, something my rig should do no problem, and more consistently at least.

Due to the overall drop in performance, I booted up MSI afterburner and ran OC scans and tests. Whenever the scan/test was running, it would constantly have the black flickering issue, and then go back normal.

Also, whenever the black flickering occurs, every graphic or video up in my browser crashes like during a GPU driver update.

Is there anyway to test whether this is definitely a GPU or PSU issue? I'd like to know for sure before I go randomly RMA'ing parts like whack-a-mole! Any help you could give would be most appreciated. Also I hope I have posted this in the right area as I'm new to Tom's hardware.

My rig for reference:
Nvidia GTX 1080ti
Intel i7 6700k
16GB DDR4
MSI Z170A GAMING M5 MB
EVGA SUPERNOVA NEX650G PSU
 

RTX 2080

Respectable
Jun 8, 2020
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2,090
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Hi all,

I have recently realized my rig is having issues and isn't running like it should. I believe it is an issue either with, or around my GPU, but it could be a PSU issue from what I've read.

Lately my monitors will randomly flash black for a couple seconds and then go back to normal (usually during high gpu load moments).

When I launch a game or go to a loading screen, one of my monitors will occasionally go black, while the other will be a light blue (no text or anything, not typical "blue screen of death") and the entire system has crashed (can still hear any audio, but any controls are unresponsive)

In addition, my overall fps rates are down and inconsistent. Games that used to be a solid 120-140 will now be anything from 60-90 and will drop randomly. Also, occasionally when I click over to my second monitor, and click back, the frame rate will be stuck at around 20 until I click back and forth a few times and then it goes back.

This is most noticable in new games I've been playing (CyberPunk 2077 & Baldur's Gate 3), where it will struggle between 20-45fps. This is at 1440p and high settings, something my rig should do no problem, and more consistently at least.

Due to the overall drop in performance, I booted up MSI afterburner and ran OC scans and tests. Whenever the scan/test was running, it would constantly have the black flickering issue, and then go back normal.

Also, whenever the black flickering occurs, every graphic or video up in my browser crashes like during a GPU driver update.

Is there anyway to test whether this is definitely a GPU or PSU issue? I'd like to know for sure before I go randomly RMA'ing parts like whack-a-mole! Any help you could give would be most appreciated. Also I hope I have posted this in the right area as I'm new to Tom's hardware.

My rig for reference:
Nvidia GTX 1080ti
Intel i7 6700k
16GB DDR4
MSI Z170A GAMING M5 MB
EVGA SUPERNOVA NEX650G PSU
Well, this is slightly hard to determine for certain (especially since you are experiencing multiple issues actually, frame drops AND display problems), but I can give you a few indicators as to what could be responsible for the issue. You might actually have more than one problem on your hands with multiple pieces of hardware being responsible.

As far as the display problem is concerned, since you aren't experiencing any screen artifacting or any other symptoms of a bad GPU, I'm inclined to think that it's a PSU problem. Your model PSU came out back in 2012 (and doesn't seem to be a terribly expensive unit to begin with), so I'd wager that its getting a bit long in the tooth and needs replacing.

Cyberpunk 2077 is very hard on both CPU and GPU, particularly with older last-gen hardware like yours.

Your relatively low 1440p performance is due to the way your 1080 Ti scales on Cyberpunk 2077 (see here).

Your frame drops are probably due to your 5 year old CPU with the baggage that comes with it being a 5 year old CPU: old architecture, lower clock speeds/IPC, and only 4 cores and 8 threads (see here; this example does not include your CPU due to its age, but the i3-10100 has similar specs to yours with the caveat that its much newer). You'll notice in this chart that new 6 core / 12 thread CPUs (like the i5-10600k and the Ryzen 5600X) have much better average and 99th percentile frame rates, underscoring how important having enough cores and threads are in this game.

Thus, it seems (to me) that your need a better PSU to handle the screen problems and a new CPU/motherboard to fix the frame drops. If you want higher framerates overall at 1440p (at least on Cyberpunk), you need a more modern GPU as well.
 
Dec 22, 2020
8
0
10
0
Well, this is slightly hard to determine for certain (especially since you are experiencing multiple issues actually, frame drops AND display problems), but I can give you a few indicators as to what could be responsible for the issue. You might actually have more than one problem on your hands with multiple pieces of hardware being responsible.

As far as the display problem is concerned, since you aren't experiencing any screen artifacting or any other symptoms of a bad GPU, I'm inclined to think that it's a PSU problem. Your model PSU came out back in 2012 (and doesn't seem to be a terribly expensive unit to begin with), so I'd wager that its getting a bit long in the tooth and needs replacing.

Cyberpunk 2077 is very hard on both CPU and GPU, particularly with older last-gen hardware like yours.

Your relatively low 1440p performance is due to the way your 1080 Ti scales on Cyberpunk 2077 (see here).

Your frame drops are probably due to your 5 year old CPU with the baggage that comes with it being a 5 year old CPU: old architecture, lower clock speeds/IPC, and only 4 cores and 8 threads (see here; this example does not include your CPU due to its age, but the i3-10100 has similar specs to yours with the caveat that its much newer). You'll notice in this chart that new 6 core / 12 thread CPUs (like the i5-10600k and the Ryzen 5600X) have much better average and 99th percentile frame rates, underscoring how important having enough cores and threads are in this game.

Thus, it seems (to me) that your need a better PSU to handle the screen problems and a new CPU/motherboard to fix the frame drops. If you want higher framerates overall at 1440p (at least on Cyberpunk), you need a more modern GPU as well.
Thanks for the response!

As far as the age of my hardware goes, while I know it was released several years back, the build itself is only 2-3 yrs old (I bought the gpu in 2018, and everything else in 2017). When I built it, I did everything I could to try and "future proof" it. I am not in the position to replace anything for quite some time.

Additionally, the problems I am experiencing aren't just difficulty running newer games, but drastically reduced performance on games I have played for years at max setting with no issue. Earlier this year I was running games in 4k max settings at 40+ fps, this doesn't seem to be just aging hardware.

Overall, it sounds like the issue lies with my PSU which is still under warranty, so I will pursue an RMA with it. Also, any insight on the crashes? Would that be a PSU issue?


I hope I didn't come across as reactive or rude, I just genuinely do not think this is a hardware age issue (also the issues only started within the last few weeks, it wasn't gradual).

Thank you again for your quick response!
 

RTX 2080

Respectable
Jun 8, 2020
1,098
279
2,090
124
Thanks for the response!

As far as the age of my hardware goes, while I know it was released several years back, the build itself is only 2-3 yrs old (I bought the gpu in 2018, and everything else in 2017). When I built it, I did everything I could to try and "future proof" it. I am not in the position to replace anything for quite some time.

Additionally, the problems I am experiencing aren't just difficulty running newer games, but drastically reduced performance on games I have played for years at max setting with no issue. Earlier this year I was running games in 4k max settings at 40+ fps, this doesn't seem to be just aging hardware.

Overall, it sounds like the issue lies with my PSU which is still under warranty, so I will pursue an RMA with it. Also, any insight on the crashes? Would that be a PSU issue?


I hope I didn't come across as reactive or rude, I just genuinely do not think this is a hardware age issue (also the issues only started within the last few weeks, it wasn't gradual).

Thank you again for your quick response!
No problem, I understand.

I agree with you; replace your PSU since it seems to be causing at a minimum at least one of your two issues and see if everything clears up after that.
 
Dec 22, 2020
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No problem, I understand.

I agree with you; replace your PSU since it seems to be causing at a minimum at least one of your two issues and see if everything clears up after that.
Will do! Tbh, when the problems first popped up in a noticable way, it was with CP, and my first reaction was to assume games might finally be catching up, then I played BG3 and some older games and realized it was a more serious issue. Hopefully the PSU clears most of this up

Thanks again!
 

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