Question Stuttering and hitching on relatively powerful PC in every game, especially Fortnite

Refl3xes

Honorable
Jun 30, 2017
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10,510
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I have about a 2 year old PC with a 9900k, 2080Super, 32gb 3200 RAM, M.2 SSD's for storing games (with plenty of extra space available). For at least the past year I've had microstutters in almost every game I play. Valorant is the one game that still runs well, and Fortnite is the one game that NEVER runs well for me. Many games are still playable, some are not, but every game has at least some degree of stuttering. The past few days I've been tinkering with Fortnite settings (even though it's not a game I really play, I figure if I can reduce stutters in that game then it might also work for other games, plus it's easy to drop in and test). On DX12 and performance mode I get stutters constantly. On DX11 I get fewer stutters but I get major freezes that last for 1-2 seconds instead, at least once per match. Other games I play, like The Cycle, have fewer stutters but I still get at least 1-3 big stutters every match, sometimes during fights.

All of my temps look normal to me, but I admit I don't have a ton of experience with monitoring that sort of thing. My CPU is liquid cooled. I've tried making changes to in game settings, tried changing NVIDIA settings, tried disabling my G Sync and also tried configuring it differently using various forms of V-Sync (off in game). I have explored BIOS changes like disabling EIST and Speed Shift, enabling and disabling XMP, etc. and I haven't found a solution. Recently I tried using Intel Game Boost to OC in a desperate attempt to fix stutters, and that hasn't really made any difference. I have tried disabling HPET and Windows Root Enumerator, per suggestions I found online. Still no luck. I've experimented with low latency mode on/off/ultra, no noticeable difference. I have tried rolling back GPU drivers to stable ones recommended on other posts, clean installs, but no luck. I am on Windows 10 and it is up to date.

I notice that my frame times spike pretty heavily during stutters, but I suppose that's to be expected so I'm not sure if that helps. I've noticed my GPU and CPU usage isn't maxed out when stutters occur - some games only run my GPU at like 60%, which seems low. I have a friend who fixes and optimizes PC for a living and I've talked to him a bit, and he seems to think there could be a hardware issue. Problem is, I am so uncomfortable working with hardware that I don't know how to go about diagnosing this. I might just pay to have my friend optimize my PC and see if that fixes anything, or maybe I will find a PC repair shop where I can have them diagnose a problem. I just finished my summer classes and I was looking forward to gaming pretty hard for a few weeks, but that's not going to happen if I can't figure out this issue. I'm fairly sensitive to micro stutters, always have been, but this is getting bad enough that i think anyone would struggle to play on my system.

One thing worth noting, I use my PC for producing music as well as gaming. My DAW software for music uses a LOT of CPU, and some big projects almost max out my CPU usage, but for the most part I haven't had any unusual issues with stutters or playback when doing that. The problems are only really evident when gaming. Related, I have NOT tried a fresh install of Windows and i really would only like to do that as an absolute last resort - my music plugins would be almost impossible to re-acquire after a system wipe, and many of them are licensed specifically to my system. I don't know if I would be able to get them all back, and even if I did it would probably take weeks. I have maybe 100+ plugins installed and I don't have licenses saved anywhere, which I know is stupid but it's too late to change that...

One last thing, I've noticed my system performance is slowing down a little. Making changes to NVIDIA settings can be sluggish, because my system takes a little while to load the settings window, for example. It just seems like my system was more responsive before I started having stutter issues.

My guess, as someone who knows very little, is that some hardware piece is dying, perhaps the PSU or mobo. I don't have my specs in front of me but I know the PSU was fairly expensive, and I think it's 800W with a high rating. I don't know how to best go about testing for that, and I'd certainly have to pay someone to replace it because I don't feel comfortable doing it, but I'm okay with that.

Anyway, thank you for reading this far and thank you for any insight you might offer. I am desperate to get back to playing games without being interrupted by constant stutters!!

edit - the power supply is a Seasonic Focus 850W 80+ Gold. I'm not sure if that's decent or not. The MOBO is a MSI MPG z390 Gaming plus.
 
Last edited:

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Details.

This:

"My guess, as someone who knows very little, is that some hardware piece is dying, perhaps the PSU or mobo. I don't have my specs in front of me but I know the PSU was fairly expensive, and I think it's 800W with a high rating. "

Power down, unplug, open the case.

Get PSU and Motherboard specs. Post accordingly.

If necessary get a knowledgeable family member or friend to help.

Nothing wrong or inappropriate with doing so. Use whatever help you can get.

Knowing the details is important.

Look in Reliability History and Event Viewer. Either one or both may be capturing some error codes, warnings, or information events when the stutters occur.

Likewise Task Manager or Resource Monitor (use both but only one at a time) may indicate what is happening when the stuttering and hitching occurs.
 

Refl3xes

Honorable
Jun 30, 2017
4
0
10,510
0
Details.

This:

"My guess, as someone who knows very little, is that some hardware piece is dying, perhaps the PSU or mobo. I don't have my specs in front of me but I know the PSU was fairly expensive, and I think it's 800W with a high rating. "

Power down, unplug, open the case.

Get PSU and Motherboard specs. Post accordingly.

If necessary get a knowledgeable family member or friend to help.

Nothing wrong or inappropriate with doing so. Use whatever help you can get.

Knowing the details is important.

Look in Reliability History and Event Viewer. Either one or both may be capturing some error codes, warnings, or information events when the stutters occur.

Likewise Task Manager or Resource Monitor (use both but only one at a time) may indicate what is happening when the stuttering and hitching occurs.
I went ahead and found the email from when I ordered the PSU - it's a Seasonic Focus 850W 80+ Gold power supply. I thought it seemed okay at the time but I could have made a bad choice. How would I go about testing if the PSU is the issue? I don't have any other PSU's laying around and I also would not feel comfortable swapping that out myself, unfortunately. If i could determine that's the cause then I would likely have to pay someone to do it.

MOBO is a MSI MPG z390 Gaming plus
 

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