[SOLVED] Low GPU utilisation & major stuttering in all games ?

TorQueMoD

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I'm really confused. I've noticed that my games have started stuttering recently. I'll get 60FPS in Shadow of The Tomb Raider for example, but it'll hit lows of 10fps almost constantly. I decided to open Task Manager and record my GPU utilisation and in Tomb Raider it's around 9 - 18% even though I've maxed out the graphics settings. This happens in both DX12 or DX11. I've also tested the Evil Dead game, and though it's smoother there, I can definitely feel the stuttering. and utilisation goes as high as 24/25% but seemed to average 20%. Elden Ring doesn't seem as stuttery, but the GPU utlisation is the lowest at a near constant 7% (I saw it flip to 8% maybe twice in 10 minutes) and finally I loaded up a mobile port Crash Day to see if it happened in low quality games too and sure enough, the highest utilisation I saw was 35%. I don't expect GPU utilisation to be 100, but I would imagine it should be in the high 80s. I am running at 1080p because that's the highest my monitors support. The games are all running off an SSD so it can't be an issue there, and my ram is 32GB at 2666mhz. Oh, and my CPU is a 2.9ghz core clock with turbo up to 4.3ghz so I really doubt it's having an issue either. Finally, the temps all look fine. Running Windows 10 21H2.

TLDR: I get frame stuttering in every game, and my GPU utilisation is between 9 - 35% on average and seems to be lower on more intense games. My hardware is too powerful for it to be an issue, and I tested it in several games. I've updated all my drivers and restarted my system multiple times.

I have no idea how to fix this.

View: https://imgur.com/a/30FMWOa
 
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Karadjgne

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Anti-virus and malware are 2 different beasts, and Trojans are different again, so scanning for just virus won't always grab malware etc. Virus are destructive by themselves, Trojans are destructive by others and malware just floods your pc with anything from pop-ups to virus.
A virus is doubtful to cause a slowdown, more likely a blue screen. Trojans tend to be invisible to you as their intention is to open backdoor passes to hackers, keyloggers etc. Malware will definitely slow a pc but tends to show a very high cpu %, especially with open browsers.

Don't know where ppl get deluded ideas. Gpu utilization can be anything from 10% to 100%, it depends entirely on what's being run, settings and what gpu and what cpu. You'll never see 80% in CSGO with anything higher than a 3060 or there abouts, unless it's 4k, with Ray Tracing enabled. With something like a 4090 you'd be lucky to see 20% at 1080p/1440p non RT.

80% would be if the cpu/gpu was somewhat balanced, and detail/after affect settings combined with resolution were challenging to the gpu. Which rarely happens to fps chasers.

Upto date drivers doesn't mean safe. Nvidia drivers can easily conflict with other drivers you aren't thinking of, like lan/audio in particular. Before uninstalling the fonts, I'd see if using DDU through safe mode and reinstalling the driver 2 releases past works. You'll need to download that manually. Almost all the base drivers are the same, they change very seldom, but nvidia will add game optimizations to every release, and it's those that aren't always in sync.
 
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TorQueMoD

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I installed the latest version of GPU-Z and ran the render test and it got my GPU utilisation up to 98% so the card is working. No idea why the games don't use it though.
 

TorQueMoD

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I installed the latest version of GPU-Z and ran the render test and it got my GPU utilisation up to 98% so the card is working. Also ran Ungine Heaven Benchmark and utilisation is 100%, my FPS is great, no stuttering and low of 29fps. I also went as far as to open Unreal Engine 4 and load a level and again, my GPU utilisation is 80 - 99% while Playing in Editor.
No idea why games aren't using the GPU though. Epic Launcher, Steam, Standalone. None of them utilise the GPU.
 

TorQueMoD

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Please list all PC specs.

Go to userbenchmark.com and run the test. Link the results here after.
Thank you. I thought I did list my specs, but I see I missed details:
It's an Alienware Area 51 from early 2018.
Intel(R) Core(TM) i9-7920X CPU @ 2.90GHz 2.90 GHz
32 GB 2666 ram
GTX 1080 GPU
Windows 10 Pro 21H2

https://www.userbenchmark.com/UserRun/57044622
It says everything is fine. 53rd percentile. Interesting to see my two storage drives are performing below expectations though.
 
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Thank you. I thought I did list my specs, but I see I missed details:
It's an Alienware Area 51 from early 2018.
Intel(R) Core(TM) i9-7920X CPU @ 2.90GHz 2.90 GHz
32 GB 2666 ram
GTX 1080 GPU
Windows 10 Pro 21H2

https://www.userbenchmark.com/UserRun/57044622
It says everything is fine. 53rd percentile. Interesting to see my two storage drives are performing below expectations though.
Your drives are full. Is game on NVME drive?
 

TorQueMoD

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Your drives are full. Is game on NVME drive?
My storage drives are close to full but each drive has around 50GB + free space on them. Let's see... Tomb Raider is on my NVME, Evil Dead is on an SSD, Crash Day is on NVME (and had the highest utilisation), Elden Ring is on a standard HD. My NVME drive has 132GB free of 1.81TB total.
 

Karadjgne

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50Gb of space on a 6Tb drive is Full. That's a massive amount of data that's got to be searched. There's no quick access from a few addresses, and unless it's perfectly optimized, it's going to slow down any data retrieval significantly as the heads will be bouncing all over the place.

Any games on those drives are going to run slow, 2x strikes. It's HDD and it's Full.

Your gpu Is running 100%. That's obvious from the gpu-Z render. Where you make the mistake (most do) is thinking that utilization is how much of the gpu is used, it's not, it's how much it uses. Subtle difference. If the cpu sends 20fps the gpu may only need to use 20% of its resources to accomplish putting that 20fps on screen, but will do so at 100% of its ability.

Think of it like hammering a nail into drywall. You'll use 100% of the muscles in your hand to hold the hammer, 100% of the muscles to swing the hammer, but only 20% of the strength in all those muscles to hold and swing, there's no need to use 100% strength and death-grip the hammer or try to drive the nail through the drywall and into the next room. That's utilization.

It's not the gpu. The gpu is being bottlenecked by something else so is only getting a few fps, so doesn't need to utilize 100% of its strength to put that few fps on screen.

I'd be looking at malware, virus, Trojans, driver conflicts, even fonts can be an issue.
 

TorQueMoD

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50Gb of space on a 6Tb drive is Full. That's a massive amount of data that's got to be searched. There's no quick access from a few addresses, and unless it's perfectly optimized, it's going to slow down any data retrieval significantly as the heads will be bouncing all over the place.

Any games on those drives are going to run slow, 2x strikes. It's HDD and it's Full.

Your gpu Is running 100%. That's obvious from the gpu-Z render. Where you make the mistake (most do) is thinking that utilization is how much of the gpu is used, it's not, it's how much it uses. Subtle difference. If the cpu sends 20fps the gpu may only need to use 20% of its resources to accomplish putting that 20fps on screen, but will do so at 100% of its ability.

Think of it like hammering a nail into drywall. You'll use 100% of the muscles in your hand to hold the hammer, 100% of the muscles to swing the hammer, but only 20% of the strength in all those muscles to hold and swing, there's no need to use 100% strength and death-grip the hammer or try to drive the nail through the drywall and into the next room. That's utilization.

It's not the gpu. The gpu is being bottlenecked by something else so is only getting a few fps, so doesn't need to utilize 100% of its strength to put that few fps on screen.

I'd be looking at malware, virus, Trojans, driver conflicts, even fonts can be an issue.
Those are my storage drives (The 6TB and 4TB). They're filled with files and backups. I don't game from those drives.
Yeah, I understand what utilisation is. I didn't think anything of it until my games started stuttering. The only reason I'm at all concerned is that every Google Search I've done has said point-blank that utilisation should be 80% or above unless you have a low-power CPU which I obviously don't. I did actually run two separate anti-virus scans recently and they both said the system is fine. All of my drivers are up to date as well... I suppose I could uninstall all of my custom fonts. I do have a lot for graphic design. Wouldn't have thought they could be an issue in a million years, but I suppose it wouldn't hurt to eliminate them as a possible cause. Is there any software you recommend that can scan for driver conflicts? Maybe I should just Nuke Windows and re-install. It has been almost 2 years and that always seems to help.

I'm curious why you asked about the NVME drive specifically. Were you thinking it might be creating an artificial bottleneck by being too fast for the CPU or something?
 

Karadjgne

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Anti-virus and malware are 2 different beasts, and Trojans are different again, so scanning for just virus won't always grab malware etc. Virus are destructive by themselves, Trojans are destructive by others and malware just floods your pc with anything from pop-ups to virus.
A virus is doubtful to cause a slowdown, more likely a blue screen. Trojans tend to be invisible to you as their intention is to open backdoor passes to hackers, keyloggers etc. Malware will definitely slow a pc but tends to show a very high cpu %, especially with open browsers.

Don't know where ppl get deluded ideas. Gpu utilization can be anything from 10% to 100%, it depends entirely on what's being run, settings and what gpu and what cpu. You'll never see 80% in CSGO with anything higher than a 3060 or there abouts, unless it's 4k, with Ray Tracing enabled. With something like a 4090 you'd be lucky to see 20% at 1080p/1440p non RT.

80% would be if the cpu/gpu was somewhat balanced, and detail/after affect settings combined with resolution were challenging to the gpu. Which rarely happens to fps chasers.

Upto date drivers doesn't mean safe. Nvidia drivers can easily conflict with other drivers you aren't thinking of, like lan/audio in particular. Before uninstalling the fonts, I'd see if using DDU through safe mode and reinstalling the driver 2 releases past works. You'll need to download that manually. Almost all the base drivers are the same, they change very seldom, but nvidia will add game optimizations to every release, and it's those that aren't always in sync.
 
Reactions: TorQueMoD
Thank you. I thought I did list my specs, but I see I missed details:
It's an Alienware Area 51 from early 2018.
Intel(R) Core(TM) i9-7920X CPU @ 2.90GHz 2.90 GHz
32 GB 2666 ram
GTX 1080 GPU
Windows 10 Pro 21H2

https://www.userbenchmark.com/UserRun/57044622
It says everything is fine. 53rd percentile. Interesting to see my two storage drives are performing below expectations though.
Something is not right with the gpu and your behind with the bios.

Perhaps go here and run the scanner see what it shows.
https://www.dell.com/support/home/en-us/product-support/product/alienware-area51-r4/drivers
 

TorQueMoD

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...Up to date drivers doesn't mean safe. Nvidia drivers can easily conflict with other drivers you aren't thinking of, like lan/audio in particular. Before uninstalling the fonts, I'd see if using DDU through safe mode and reinstalling the driver 2 releases past works...
Good idea, thanks for that suggestion. I'll try that. I actually keep every version of Nvidia drivers I download on my HD so it'll be easy to roll back to a different set.
 

TorQueMoD

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Something is not right with the gpu and your behind with the bios.

Perhaps go here and run the scanner see what it shows.
https://www.dell.com/support/home/en-us/product-support/product/alienware-area51-r4/drivers
What specifically are you referring to when you say something is not right with the GPU? I thought UBM said that it was fine "74.4% is a good 3D score. This GPU can handle the majority of recent games at high resolutions and ultra detail levels. "
I actually did try to download the latest drivers from Dell last night but their site was wonky as hell and kept giving connection errors before loading the page again and it couldn't list any of my drivers. I'll try again today thank you :) *Update "This service is temporarily unavailable." Looks like Dell is still down. I'll try again in a few days.
 

TorQueMoD

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Problem solved guys! Using DDU in safemode to remove everything and installing the 512.15 version of Nvidia's drivers Tomb Raider is now finally showing 70% utilisation! Thanks so much for your help and suggestions :)
 
What specifically are you referring to when you say something is not right with the GPU? I thought UBM said that it was fine "74.4% is a good 3D score. This GPU can handle the majority of recent games at high resolutions and ultra detail levels. "
I actually did try to download the latest drivers from Dell last night but their site was wonky as hell and kept giving connection errors before loading the page again and it couldn't list any of my drivers. I'll try again today thank you :) *Update "This service is temporarily unavailable." Looks like Dell is still down. I'll try again in a few days.
Look at ubm again for the gpu.

Relative performance...... zero.
 

TorQueMoD

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Look at ubm again for the gpu.

Relative performance...... zero.
Oh yeah. Interesting. I wonder what's causing that. It says that certain scenarios could cause it to go into a fail state and then just give you a zero score though. Now that my GPU is actually being utilised, I'm not sure it's something I should worry about.
 

TorQueMoD

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Now that you have the gpu working run ubm and see what it shows.
Yeah, I did twice. Once after it was working and once after an overclock with MSI Afterburner. It's still showing the same thing. I'm not going to worry about it. I'm hoping to buy a 4070 when they launch. This will last me until then :)
 

Karadjgne

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Software is written by man, hardware is designed and built by man. Therefore it's guaranteed to have a failure rate. With the diversity of pc's and their equipment, setups and settings, it just makes software failures all that more prevalent. Just look at Microsoft Windows, and how perfectly that runs for everybody and never messes up or freezes or bluescreens or has loading errors....

So yes, software isn't perfect. Never will be, no matter how well it's written or optimized to be. The gpu works, it don't need fixin. Only worry about it if it don't work 😅
 

TorQueMoD

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I've since discovered that for whatever reason, my GPU can't do DX12. If I run DX11 or earlier, I get proper utilization. If I run DX12 it drops to 1 - 9%. Very strange.
 

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