Question Micro-Stutter on main monitor only when disabling all other monitors

Aug 14, 2022
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I have a rather weird issue ... googling it will forward me to many people having complaints about dual monitor setups resulting in stutters, but I'm having exactly the opposite problem. I only experience micro stutters (fraction of a second every 10 to 40 seconds or so) when I disable all monitors but my main monitor. This issue only appeared after one of the last Windows updates, which I already tried rolling back. It didn't solve it, though.

I came to this conclusion after already exhausting a bunch of other causes (hardware, software, drivers, PSU, even frequency and stability of my electrical output) and when I was close to giving up, I noticed that when I was activating my secondary monitor to watch TV shows while further investigating the issue on my main monitor, the problem was suddenly gone. I have since replicated the issue and it being solved by activating my secondary monitor several times to make sure it wasn't just a fluke.

I have the following setup

Intel i5, nVidia GTX 1060, Windows 10

with the following monitors:

(1) Viewsonic XG2401 (DP, 144 hz)
(2) Asus (HDMI, 60 hz)

Now, running 1 + 2 will run fine, but as soon as I disable the secondary monitor and only run the main monitor, i.e. when playing games with friends, I experience micro stutters every 10 to 40 seconds, both on desktop as well as in games. As soon as I activate my secondary monitor, the stutter is gone.

What could cause this issue? I really don't know what else to try.... I've already sunk 30+ hours into this problem but I can't seem to find the culprit. I desperately need your help, Obi-Wans of the hardware community ...
 
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Aug 14, 2022
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Okay, so, after typing this up I did some further testing. Buckle up, I made some substantial progress and things are getting even more mysterious. Like, seriously mysterious ... I've never thought THIS would be the problem ...

As I previously mentioned, as long as I have both monitors enabled in Windows, everything is running smoothly, it's just when I disable the second monitor through Windows that I get stutters on my first monitor.

So I tried physically disconnecting the HDMI connection of the second monitor to see what would happen, and the issue was gone. FYI, I usually have a habit of letting my second monitor rest in standby mode so as soon as I enable it through Windows, it will power on without having to press a button. So I thought maybe I don't need to disconnect the HDMI cable physically ... maybe powering it off will do the job when I'm only using my main monitor, so that's exactly what I tried next. And it worked ... no more stutters.

I have replicated this phenomenon a couple of times now. As soon as I press the button and turn that sucker on and it goes into standby, the stutter starts. Turn it off again and everything runs smoothly.

I am completely baffled by this. I don't understand how a monitor that is disabled in windows and resting in standby mode can cause stutters / freezes in desktop applications as well as games?! This isn't supposed to happen ... the monitor should be disconnected through Windows and not be able to run interference?! How can a disabled monitor cause the whole system to periodically freeze for a fraction of a second? I don't get it

As far as I'm concerned, I can live with having to power off my second monitor when I'm not using it. It's not a big deal. However, I don't understand how this could be explained and why it only occured after one of the latest Windows updates.... Do any of you have an idea how this could be explained? I am definitely interested in the opinion of someone with more technical knowledge...
 
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Aug 17, 2022
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Hello mikeymike123.

I have exactly the same problem.
Kind of weird really - it took a bit to understand what was happening, how and why.
But I've noticed this only when moving to Windows 11.
But also, since I was having some issues with my GPU's, now I am not sure if it happened with Windows 10 or not.

If I leave the 2nd screen on standby mode... everything stutters - mouse (simply moving it), resizing windows, watching YouTube videos, every damn thing.
Solution: turn off the second screen or disconnect the HDMI cable, or just turn the second screen on (Extend or Duplicate).

As you have said, not a big deal to turn it off, but I would like to know what is causing it exactly.
More, since I have a new Quadro GPU on my laptop, I'm kind of afraid that this could lead to some damage.

Really interested to know if someone else notices this and perhaps come with a solution.

Best.
 
Aug 14, 2022
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It's been a couple of days since my post and I just wanted to confirm that the issue is completely gone, I have not had any issues since. Disconnecting the HDMI cable or simply turning the second monitor off when not using it fixed the stutters. As previously mentioned, I assume one of the more recent Windows Updates caused this issue as I had been using Windows 10 with this setup for years now, but the stutters only appeared around a couple of weeks ago. Really, really weird stuff.
 
Aug 17, 2022
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Ok. Did not realize you were running on Windows 10.
So, perhaps not a Windows 11 thing, or even Windows 10.
I even tried to switch HDMI cables - the same thing.
Since I have a completely different setup, apart the GPU, now I'm more inclined to the Nvidia drivers.

My setup (laptop):
Windows 11
i7-6700k
Nvidia Quadro P4000
1st screen... AUO 4K 60Hz
2nd screen... AUO 1920x1200 60Hz

Nvidia driver: R515 U3 (516.94) WHQL 2022.08.02
 
Aug 14, 2022
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I am currently running the 516.94 drivers as well BUT before I figured out the "second monitor on standby" cause, I suspected the Nvidia drivers as well as I updated these at the same time of updating Windows 10. Did a complete driver removal first with DDU (twice as instructed, with restarts in between) and reinstalled the last non-DCH 4xx.xx - however, this didn't solve the problem.
 

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