Question Sudden FPS Spikes and Crashes

Feb 22, 2020
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Hi all,

Hopefully someone here can give me some clues, I am a bit lost at what to do next. I've got an older PC (was high spec 4 years ago :) ) that has been running fine for games until suddenly today its been crashing almost non stop when playing games. My Specs are:

Asus z170 Pro gaming
6600K (not over clocked for much of its life, but I overclocked it recently to 4.2 and was stable, but then turned off the OC to see if that fixed the above). I've got n EVO 212 cooler.
16GB Ram
980ti
EVGA 850G2
2 SSDs and a M2 SSD

The system has been very stable ever since it was built in 2015 and, until today was very stable.
However today its suddenly starting crashing in games, normally within 5 minutes. When it crashes I can't do anything other than a hard reboot.

I've tried Apex, Fortnite, Elite Dangerous and Kingdom come deliverance. They all crash very quickly. Seems to be the more demanding the title/graphics settings, the quicker it dies.

I've also noticed that the FPS seems to be spiking as well (for example I would be in a game, standing still and it would get 120FPS, then it would drop to 80, then jump up to 120, etc, roughly every 5 seconds). The GPU or CPU does not seem to be over heating and both are under 60C.

I did a full virus scan for the hell of it, and installed the latest nvidia drivers, no joy. I am suspecting the GPU or perhaps the PSU needs replacing, but I was hoping to hold out for ryzen 4 later this year for my next monster PC :)

Any clues? I was about to check the connections inside the PC, maybe something has come loose.
 
Feb 22, 2020
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I tried furmark and I can see the the spikes in FPS, I've taken a screenshot for my own sanity more than anything.

Spiking and random results

You can see the temps not really rising above 60C or the fans really kicking in. Normally when I run demanding games I can hear the GPU fans kick in after 5 or so minutes and the GPU will top out at 80C. This seems to have stop happening the past day or so. not sure if there is something up with the GPU or if the PSU isn't supplying enough juice.

I can see the GPU Mhz boucing up and down between 800-6610 Mhz (?) and the voltage and memory doing the same (look at the oc GURU tool). The fans bearly kick in and I would have though furmark would be bashing the hell out of it.

Help :)
 
Feb 22, 2020
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Could be, before I go out and buy a 2070super or equivalent, anything else I could try, could it be the PSU or something else? I dont have a spare pc that I can swap bits out for...
 
Last edited:

Flayed

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Oct 8, 2019
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You could take the 980ti apart and repaste it, inspect it for signs of problems such as bulging caps or whatnot

The PSU is a pretty good one so seems unlikely but possible I guess. Hard to know without swapping it for a known good one.
 

Oussebon

Upstanding
Feb 17, 2020
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You could DDU the drivers and then try a clean install of the latest Geforce drivers. If no luck, DDU again and try a somewhat older version.
https://www.guru3d.com/files-details/display-driver-uninstaller-download.html

If no luck, you could try a clean Windows install (or try running Linux), which would all but rule out software / drivers as the cause.

If reseating the GPU does not good, you could try a different PCIe slot. Very unlikely to help (reasonably rare for the slot to be bad), but at least it's free to try.
 
Reactions: Flayed
Feb 22, 2020
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Thanks...so I gave the DDU utility a spin in safe mode and completely uninstalled the drivers and reinstalled the latest. I can see see the same behaviours (lag spikes) so I suspect its not made any difference. I'll play some games and see if it more stable.

If not I'll probably buy a new GPU an swap them around and hope that works..
 
Feb 22, 2020
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So its still crashing and FPS spiking. For example I just played Fortnite and normally I'd get 60-80FPS on medium/high settings but it was struggling to get over 30, hopping up to 60 at times and then down to 30. It hard locked soon afterwards.

I'm guessing this is more likely to be a HW issue than drivers? I've taken the gfx card out and given it a good blast of air to get some dust out, but it looks ok and there wasn't much dust on it. The fans are all spinning and the temp never goes over 60C.

It just seems the graphics card seems to be throttling itself for no reason?

The PSU is a gold rated 850 EVGA box so I doubt its that (but you never know) and the crashes are only in games.

The only other thing I can think of is I installed an M2 drive about 6 weeks ago (which shares the PCIx with the gfx card), but it was fine (for at least the first 4 weeks anyway). These crashes are now happening within 5 minutes and its a hard lock, no crashes to desktop.

I might try a BIOS update next, next step might be a new gfx card...
 

Oussebon

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Feb 17, 2020
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If it's very easy to reproduce, then try a clean install of Windows, or running a 'live' Linux (where you run Linux off a USB pen without installing it). If it happens in Linux Live too, it's hardware. If it doesn't, it's an OS/software/configuration/driver issue
 
Feb 22, 2020
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Thanks chief. Will I be able to run games from Linux (i.e. fortnight, apex) to recreate the problem? If that's a pain I could try to run furmark, as that was also experiencing the frame drops.
 

stonecarver

Upstanding
Nov 18, 2019
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You could take the 980ti apart and repaste it
Also check the heat sink over the V-Caps, that long rectangle one over time gets loose i'm guessing from the hot,cold nature of years of cycling the card.

With a little maintenance you might be able to save the card and keep on gaming.

If you have never taken apart a graphics card youtube has almost one for every card.
 
Reactions: Flayed
Feb 22, 2020
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Thanks for the ideas guys. Well I've bought myself a 2070 Super which I will try tomorrow, fingers crossed.

I was thinking of upgrading the gfx card to keep me tied over for 1-2 more years, hopefully this will work. My current assumption is the 980ti (which is 4 1/2 years old now) is starting to die.
 
Feb 22, 2020
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Its looking like a dead 980ti - I replaced with a new 2070 super and its a lot faster and it doesn't die in 20 mins. Its early days yet, but its looking positive.

Not sure if I can "fix" the 980ti, doesn't look like its over heating so I don't think replacing the thermal paste will do much - It works well as long as I don't play any games on it. :)
 
Reactions: Flayed

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