[SOLVED] System-wide microstutters only on Windows. GPU usage drops to half causing FPS lag spikes ever few seconds-- but on Ubuntu, runs perfectly fine.

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May 4, 2020

Here's my system information first:

What's the problem

Microstuttering in games or graphics-intensive tasks (even like watching YouTube videos). Every few seconds there are stutters that last maybe 0.3-0.5 seconds where the entire system freezes and drops frames, as well as the audio playing a loop of the last few samples that sounds like buzzing. Other than that, excellent performance on high settings, great FPS, but with stuttering.

BUT IT ONLY HAPPENS ON WINDOWS! Dual-booting with Ubuntu, running FurMark in Ubuntu reveals perfect performance with no stuttering. Without changing anything running the same benchmark on Windows (same drive) has microstuttering. I've tried reinstalling Windows completely as well as rolling back nVidia drivers to old versions, really old versions, the second-newest version, the newest version, etc..

I even tried wiping my entire system and installing fresh Windows 10, and installing only FurMark and MSI Afterburner and same issue.

Currently not overclocked at all. Tried overclocking, tried underclocking, same issue.

This only started happening maybe a month ago, and I can't remember changing anything other than automatic OS/driver updates and physically moving the computer (carefully). But as I said above the problem only occurs on Windows while a Linux install has no symptoms so I don't think it's a hardware issue...


Here is what the MSI Afterburner graphs look like when running FurMark. You can clearly see the spikes on the GPU usage graph, the FB usage graph, and the Power % graph.

View: https://imgur.com/a/DL2ttxc

What I've tried

  • Different power outlet
  • Full shutdown/reset
  • Full Windows reinstall
  • Full system reset (including motherboard battery), wipe all drives, new Windows install
  • Max fans
  • Rollback driver
  • Install latest driver
  • Install old driver (month ago)
  • Install super old driver (2018)
  • Install second latest driver
  • Tried setting processor affinity to only each core one by one.
  • Tried with a different graphics card, same issue.
  • nVidia control panel-- disabled VSync, set to max performance
  • Windows power profile-- tried all three, set PCI-E power management to OFF
  • Killed all background apps as far as I can tell
  • Different games and benchmarks. The problem even happens in MENU SCREENS of games! I launch Assassin's Creed and the menu screen has stutters and the music stutters at the same time. Not even in the game, no intense graphics.
I've read dozens of forum posts at this point and I've got nothing. Starting to go crazy.
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