Question Question about CPU/GPU behavior while gaming

Aug 5, 2022
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Hello everyone! New guy here. I apologize if I opened the thread in the wrong subforum (feel free to move it to a different one if needed).

I'm not really a PC expert by any means, but I do my research in order to understand as much as I can to ensure my PC lasts long while also being able to enjoy gaming at a certain level. I've installed MSI Afterburner to see how my older build handles GTA V and the reason I opened up this thread is because of two things I noticed during testing that concern me. I've googled the issues already, but I haven't really found an answer (and in some cases, I've come across completely contradictory answers) so I'm kinda confused. I'll try to go into details to make this a lot easier for you to understand. Before I say anything else, have in mind that the PC works perfectly fine. Nothing crashes, nothing bad happens during neither regular PC usage (like internet browsing) nor gaming.

My build:

AMD RX 470
I5-6402P
2x4 GB RAM
1TB HDD (No SSD)
Windows 10

I was playing on very high settings (not everything maxed out). Settings have been set so that I have the smoothest and most stable FPS which was at constant 60 FPS for the most part with occasional minimal frame drops to 53-55, barely noticeable. That's not what concerns me. What concerns me are the CPU and GPU behaviors during the gaming sessions.

Question 1: Afterburner was showing that the GPU utilization was incredibly fluctuating every single second of gameplay - it went from 100% usage to 2%, then 99%, then 0%, then 75% etc... you get the idea.) Since I've only now started using MSI Afterburner, I don't know if the GPU behavior was always like that or if it started happening recently for some reason. What calms me down a little bit is the fact that the GPU temperature was always steady and stable between 152 and 158 degrees Fahrenheit (67-70 celsius) which according to my research is well in the safe range. I have also not experienced any screen tearing, stuttering or anything other than the already mentioned slight frame drops to 53-55 for like half a second every few minutes. My question is, is that normal? Should I be worried about such fluctuations if the temperature and the gameplay smoothness is fine? Will it hurt the GPU and shorten its life span dramatically? Is the GPU faulty?

Question 2: Afterburner was also showing the CPU utilization was very high throughout the gaming session. For the most part, it was between 90 and 95% utilization with the lowest being 89% and highest being 100%. Again, Afterburner showed that the temperatures of each individual core were always steady and stable at 118 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48-50 celsius) which I know is well in the safe limits. Through my research, there were contradictions in people's statements where some said GTA V was very CPU intensive game while other said it wasn't. Some said CPU being at over 90% is normal while playing the game while others said it should not be over 30%. I don't know what to think. What I've read is that the general fine line for CPU utilization is between 70-80% so either way, my CPU is working way above that line which I assume is really bad. My question here is, how bad is it? Will it hurt the CPU and shorten its life span dramatically? Is the CPU faulty?

Problem that I also can't explain is that GTA V runs much smoother on higher settings than on lower settings. If I lower the settings, then the CPU usage doesn't dip below 95% and the game has FPS drops more often. What I also think is important to mention is that I also have other programs running in the background while playing GTA V which use the CPU too but most of them are Windows related and I can't turn them off because it might cause PC problems. Again, I'm not an expert so I rather leave those be.

I'd really appreciate your help. And if I'm just overreacting over these things and they're actually normal and won't hurt my components, please let me know so I won't have to worry over nothing.
 
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GPU fluctations are normal if CPU is taxed, CPU provides work for GPU, if you see low GPU usage, its just waiting for CPU

is you ram in dual channel? this could hammer CPU performance in games
try closing background stuffs while playing, GTA5 should run fine on 3core CPU and you have 4 cores, so probably something in backround
 
Reactions: BrianThompson
Aug 5, 2022
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0
10
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GPU fluctations are normal if CPU is taxed, CPU provides work for GPU, if you see low GPU usage, its just waiting for CPU

is you ram in dual channel? this could hammer CPU performance in games
try closing background stuffs while playing, GTA5 should run fine on 3core CPU and you have 4 cores, so probably something in backround
Thanks for the reply!

Yes, my RAM is in dual channel. As for closing background stuff, yes, I have many processes running in the background, but aside from the Antivirus software and Steam (since I run the game through Steam), every other process is Windows related, most of them being Service Host stuff, but there's also Microsoft Software Protection Platform Service, Runtime Broker, System, Windows Explorer and stuff like that. I don't think I should close any of those.

So all in all, it could just be some background processes that are causing the high CPU utilization with the game running on top of it? So CPU running at 90-95% while its temperature is fine shouldn't be a problem then?
 

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