Question GPU usage not reaching 100% in games ; any advice ?

Jan 19, 2021
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Hello people, I recently had my PC boosted with a new RTX 3060 ti and I feel like it's underperforming in games. At 1080p with my 144hz g-sync compatible monitor everything should run buttersmooth, yet it does not ; I think I've found the "culprit", which is low and inconsistent GPU usage. It should be 100% no matter what right ? It is not. Maybe you could suggest me tips on how to solve this problem ?

The card is clearly not overheating - it's a Gigabyte custom with an improved refrigeration system, it sits in a properly-cooled ICUE gaming tower and according to the task manager its temperature during gaming sessions hover around 50° celsius. So far using RivaTuner Statistics I've tested two triple-A games from my Steam library, both installed on a brand new NVMe SSD, and found similar results :
  • Watch Dogs 2 : stutters like crazy when moving across the map on less than max settings, due to big framerate shifts (between 120 and 60 fps). The GPU usage tops at 70-80% (roughly), but it's not constant, it often drops below that. Uncapped, the framerate never dives below 60 fps, but if I cap it at 60 fps, then it will drop below that limit and the stuttering stays the same.
  • Deus Ex Mankind Divided : while this graphically outdated game ran overall much smoother than WD, the GPU usage fluctuated wildly between 40% and 70% ; the framerate was not consistent either, it varied between 110 and 70, causing some stutters - yet all I did was running around the city hub, which is a very static map with no explosions, fire or anything like that. Tested on both high and absolute ultra settings, same stuff. On my last test without FPS cap, on ultra, the framerate briefly dropped below 60 fps while I was running towards a wall, which matched with the GPU usage suddenly dipping at 40%.
This is imo not a CPU bottleneck because the CPU is never used at 100%, and Deus Ex isn't a CPU intensive game anyway, yet the issue is similar.

The rest of my specs : i7 8700, 16gb ram 2133mhz, Fortron ATX 700W 80+ bronze, a SSD Intel NVMe for the games and another SSD in Sata for Windows.
I play with both G-sync and v-sync on, per official recommendations. And yes, I have installed the latest Nvidia GPU drivers.

I apologize for the lenghty post, I thought I should try to be as precise as possible. Does anyone have a clue on what could be the source of the matter ? Is it PSU stuff, a voltage issue maybe ? Is it a bug with Windows 10 and the new RTX cards, which would require a complete reinstall of the OS, as someone suggested to me (saying it had fixed their performance issue with Watch Dogs 2) ?

Thank you so much in advance ! I'll be very grateful for any tip.
Cheers, stay safe.
 
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Jan 19, 2021
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This is normal. As long as your CPU usage isnt 100 you are ok and its the game.

On a side note your 8700 wont bottle neck un less you play at 460 p low settings
Yes I know that, but it's the GPU usage I'm worried about :) I'll run more tests, but I think that for once it's my rig and not the games that is at fault. The issue just repeats itself too often. Watch Dogs 2 runs like crap despite benchmarks showing my components are far more than enough for fluid gameplay at 1080p. Deus Ex MD stutters when moving across a fugly, static, empty map. Vampyr's performance in the first level after the tutorial is absolute garbage (though arguably it was still a mess when I played it with my old GTX 1060 and 60hz display). Either they were all optimized by lab monkeys on crack and PC gaming nowadays is truely in shambles, or I have an important software/hardware issue.
 
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RTX 2080

Estimable
Low GPU utilization (when you have an uncapped framerate or a high frame rate limit) is due to something in the rendering pipeline not allowing the GPU to operate at capacity. Most commonly this is due to slow RAM or a slow CPU, but it can also be game engine related. I just played watch dogs 2 yesterday with my i7-9700k and a RTX 2080 (which has similar graphical processing power to your 3060 Ti) and didn't experience any stutters at all, so it seems to me that you have something not quite right going on with your hardware that you might not be aware of.
  • Your 16 GB of RAM, is it 1 x 16 GB or 2 x 8 GB? Because if its only one stick, you're losing a lot of performance by not running dual-channel RAM.
  • Intel CPUs aren't as sensitive to RAM speeds as Ryzen CPUs, but excessively slow RAM (like yours, 2133 MHz) can slow down your CPUs ability to access game resources from the RAM before it sends them to the GPU. Thus, even though your CPU itself is fast, slow RAM can make it perform like a slower CPU at times. If you're still experiencing issues after adjusting V-sync, I'd recommend upgrading to 2 sticks of faster 8 GB RAM, something like 3000-3600 MHz for sure.
 
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RTX 2080

Estimable
The game he is playing are not very optimized. Watch dogs 2 is a bad console port im not surprised he is complaining of stutter
It doesn't stutter when I play it. According to you, its "a bad console port" and thus it should stutter, but it doesn't which points to a different problem.

I'm bringing actual experience to the table here. You just keep insisting that its a problem with the game itself when my experience has demonstrated that it doesn't have to be. Have you even played Watch Dogs 2 on PC or are you just repeating something that you read and insisting that it must be true?
 

sydneyblue203

Distinguished
Before you do anything else, try running with G-sync on, go to "manage 3D settings" in the Nvidia control panel and set vertical sync to "fast," and for "Max Frame rate" set a frame rate cap at the maximum refresh rate of your monitor. This is what I've discovered works best for me after much experimentation. If this fixes your problem, great, if not, read on.

Low GPU utilization (when you have an uncapped framerate or a high frame rate limit) is due to something in the rendering pipeline not allowing the GPU to operate at capacity. Most commonly this is due to slow RAM or a slow CPU, but it can also be game engine related. I just played watch dogs 2 yesterday with my i7-9700k and a RTX 2080 (which has similar graphical processing power to your 3060 Ti) and didn't experience any stutters at all, so it seems to me that you have something not quite right going on with your hardware that you might not be aware of.
  • Your 16 GB of RAM, is it 1 x 16 GB or 2 x 8 GB? Because if its only one stick, you're losing a lot of performance by not running dual-channel RAM.
  • Intel CPUs aren't as sensitive to RAM speeds as Ryzen CPUs, but excessively slow RAM (like yours, 2133 MHz) can slow down your CPUs ability to access game resources from the RAM before it sends them to the GPU. Thus, even though your CPU itself is fast, slow RAM can make it perform like a slower CPU at times. If you're still experiencing issues after adjusting V-sync, I'd recommend upgrading to 2 sticks of faster 8 GB RAM, something like 3000-3600 MHz for sure.
He wont be able to take advantage of higher ram due to him not having the k version https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/126686/intel-core-i7-8700-processor-12m-cache-up-to-4-60-ghz.html He can go a little higher at 2666
 

sydneyblue203

Distinguished
Hello people, I recently had my PC boosted with a new RTX 3060 ti and I feel like it's underperforming in games. At 1080p with my 144hz g-sync compatible monitor everything should run buttersmooth, yet it does not ; I think I've found the "culprit", which is low and inconsistent GPU usage. It should be 100% no matter what right ? It is not. Maybe you could suggest me tips on how to solve this problem ?

The card is clearly not overheating - it's a Gigabyte custom with an improved refrigeration system, it sits in a properly-cooled ICUE gaming tower and according to the task manager its temperature during gaming sessions hover around 50° celsius. So far using RivaTuner Statistics I've tested two triple-A games from my Steam library, both installed on a brand new NVMe SSD, and found similar results :
  • Watch Dogs 2 : stutters like crazy when moving across the map on less than max settings, due to big framerate shifts (between 120 and 60 fps). The GPU usage tops at 70-80% (roughly), but it's not constant, it often drops below that. Uncapped, the framerate never dives below 60 fps, but if I cap it at 60 fps, then it will drop below that limit and the stuttering stays the same.
  • Deus Ex Mankind Divided : while this graphically outdated game ran overall much smoother than WD, the GPU usage fluctuated wildly between 40% and 70% ; the framerate was not consistent either, it varied between 110 and 70, causing some stutters - yet all I did was running around the city hub, which is a very static map with no explosions, fire or anything like that. Tested on both high and absolute ultra settings, same stuff. On my last test without FPS cap, on ultra, the framerate briefly dropped below 60 fps while I was running towards a wall, which matched with the GPU usage suddenly dipping at 40%.
This is imo not a CPU bottleneck because the CPU is never used at 100%, and Deus Ex isn't a CPU intensive game anyway, yet the issue is similar.

The rest of my specs : i7 8700, 16gb ram 2133mhz, Fortron ATX 700W 80+ bronze, a SSD Intel NVMe for the games and another SSD in Sata for Windows.
I play with both G-sync and v-sync on, per official recommendations. And yes, I have installed the latest Nvidia GPU drivers.

I apologize for the lenghty post, I thought I should try to be as precise as possible. Does anyone have a clue on what could be the source of the matter ? Is it PSU stuff, a voltage issue maybe ? Is it a bug with Windows 10 and the new RTX cards, which would require a complete reinstall of the OS, as someone suggested to me (saying it had fixed their performance issue with Watch Dogs 2) ?

Thank you so much in advance ! I'll be very grateful for any tip.
Cheers, stay safe.
How many sticks of ram are you using ?
 
Jan 19, 2021
48
0
30
0
Before you do anything else, try running with G-sync on, go to "manage 3D settings" in the Nvidia control panel and set vertical sync to "fast," and for "Max Frame rate" set a frame rate cap at the maximum refresh rate of your monitor. This is what I've discovered works best for me after much experimentation. If this fixes your problem, great, if not, read on.

Low GPU utilization (when you have an uncapped framerate or a high frame rate limit) is due to something in the rendering pipeline not allowing the GPU to operate at capacity. Most commonly this is due to slow RAM or a slow CPU, but it can also be game engine related. I just played watch dogs 2 yesterday with my i7-9700k and a RTX 2080 (which has similar graphical processing power to your 3060 Ti) and didn't experience any stutters at all, so it seems to me that you have something not quite right going on with your hardware that you might not be aware of.
  • Your 16 GB of RAM, is it 1 x 16 GB or 2 x 8 GB? Because if its only one stick, you're losing a lot of performance by not running dual-channel RAM.
  • Intel CPUs aren't as sensitive to RAM speeds as Ryzen CPUs, but excessively slow RAM (like yours, 2133 MHz) can slow down your CPUs ability to access game resources from the RAM before it sends them to the GPU. Thus, even though your CPU itself is fast, slow RAM can make it perform like a slower CPU at times. If you're still experiencing issues after adjusting V-sync, I'd recommend upgrading to 2 sticks of faster 8 GB RAM, something like 3000-3600 MHz for sure.
I have a 2*8 DDR4 configuration which dates back to a few years when I had my computer build. I owned only one 8gb stick at first and had another one added later.

I doubt changing those settings will do much - I've never managed to bring stuttery PC games to run smoothly by fiddling with the NVCP, ever - , but I'll try anyway, ty. Maybe I have underestimated the effect on slow RAM on the whole system, I thought not upgrading to faster sticks would cost me a couple of FPS at most. If you're saying it can clog my system, I shall have it upgraded then. I'm not eager to do it since the recent retrofit - GPU, tower, PSU, SSD and monitor - already cost me an arm and a leg, but if that's what it takes... I'll ask my technician to perform a clean fresh start of Windows too, in case it helps
 
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RTX 2080

Estimable
I doubt changing those settings will do much, but I'll try anyway, ty. It seems I have underestimated the effect on slow RAM on the whole system, I thought not upgrading to faster sticks would cost me a couple of FPS at most. I have a 2*8 configuration. If you're saying it can clog my system, I shall have it upgraded then. I'm not eager to do it since the recent retrofit - GPU, tower, PSU, SSD and monitor - already cost me an arm and a leg, but if that's what it takes...
If your RAM speeds are somewhere between ok and decent, faster RAM for Intel CPUs generally doesn't make a ton of difference, but your RAM is basically at one of the lowest speeds I've seen for DDR4 which can definitely cause slowdowns.

It's not the same situation as yours to be sure, but check out this other thread that I just solved 20 minutes ago; this other poster had low GPU utilization and low frame rates and everything improved significantly when he upgraded to faster RAM. If you're looking to be convinced on the merits of RAM of the appropriate speed for your needs, this thread should definitely help; it's worth reading though:

 
Reactions: Enzo69
Jan 19, 2021
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CPU isn't hitting boost clocks for one. What are your temps while running benchmarks? What cooler do you have?

You do have very slow RAM also. Do you have XMP enabled in BIOS?
Where do you see than my CPU isn't hitting boost clocks ? Maybe that's just how UserBenchmarks measures it. I believe I've checked the proc several times in games using Task Managers and it was running at top speed, above 4ghz.
I ran 3DMark's Fire Strike two weeks ago and while the results in the "Physics" test, which stresses the CPU, weren't good, its temperature was topping at something like 60°. I have an new ICUE gaming tower with fans in the front as well as an extra cooler I had installed a while ago when I switched from an i5 to an i7, to replace the stock cooling. Cleaned up the blades very recently. I can get you the exact specs if you want, but I really don't think my system has overheating issues.

Yes, my RAM is quite slow. I intend to change it to a 2666mhz, as was recommended to me in this thread. I don't know if I have XMP enabled, honestly I'm note even sure my system supports it. With 2*8 GB sticks I'm certain I don't the single-stick-non-dual-channel slowness problem though.

TY very much for your help, in any case.
 

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