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Lag spikes with my i7 4770K CPU while gaming/browsing

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October 23, 2013 11:42:51 AM

Hello Tom's Hardware community, once again.

So, about 3 weeks ago I built a new computer and everything was going good until recently ,when I started played more "demanding" games, I started experiencing some weird very short lag spikes (less than a second). It seems to occur whenever something more "heavy" is loading, for example, when I'm playing Far Cry 3 and I complete a mission, there's always that weird lag spike when it says "Complete", I guess it loads a bunch of stuff but I don't think it's supposed to do this. Same happened with PayDay 2 at the beginning of a misson only (which is not even a very demanding game).
Yesterday I did a stress test on my CPU for about 2 hours using Prime95 along with RealTemp and my CPU temperature didn't go over 71 degrees, so I don't think it's a heat problem and there weren't any errors according to Prime95 (I know you're supposed to do a minimum of a 24 hour test but I didn't have any more time). I did a stress test on my GPU as well using MSI Kombustor and it didn't go over 80 degrees either. My motherboard is at 28~29 degrees all the time. I got a lag spike a few days ago while browsing on the Internet as well, I find this pretty weird, as I invested more than 2000 Euros on this computer... Hope someone can help me out and sorry for the long post. Am I just being too paranoid?

Here's the full rig if it helps:
-Motherboard: Asus Z87 Sabertooth;
-CPU: Intel Core i7 4770K (stock settings, haven't overclocked yet);
-CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock 2;
-RAM: Corsair Vengeance Pro 16GB @1600MHz;
-GPU: EVGA Geforce GTX 780 3GB (stock settings);
-PSU: Corsair AX 860 80+ Platinum;
-SSD: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB;
-HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB;
-Case: Fractal Design Define R4 Window.
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October 23, 2013 11:46:53 AM

Is anything bottlenecking? aka 100% load when that happens?
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October 23, 2013 11:51:40 AM

WarWolverineWarrior said:
Is anything bottlenecking? aka 100% load when that happens?


I haven't checked that yet, I can try and check it out now.
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October 23, 2013 12:14:34 PM

WarWolverineWarrior said:
Is anything bottlenecking? aka 100% load when that happens?


Alright, I tested it again on Far Cry 3 and when that lag spike happens (after finishing a mission) my CPU load goes from 30% to 42% only. I'm running at constant 50-60 FPS with everything on Ultra at 1080p.
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October 23, 2013 12:29:00 PM

Lag spike usually means a bottle neck with ur specs. Try looking at your SSD speeds (depending where the game is installed). If its on ur 1T HD and your gradually filling it up then a lag spikes might occur when data is being pulled from it.
Things to Monitor (at the same time) when this happens:
CPU usage, CPU Temps
GPU usage, GPU Temps
Ram Usage, HD/SSD read/write Usage

One of these will reach a peek. That will be ur issue, or you have other processes running in ur background that are using your resources.
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October 23, 2013 2:07:45 PM

WarWolverineWarrior said:
Lag spike usually means a bottle neck with ur specs. Try looking at your SSD speeds (depending where the game is installed). If its on ur 1T HD and your gradually filling it up then a lag spikes might occur when data is being pulled from it.
Things to Monitor (at the same time) when this happens:
CPU usage, CPU Temps
GPU usage, GPU Temps
Ram Usage, HD/SSD read/write Usage

One of these will reach a peek. That will be ur issue, or you have other processes running in ur background that are using your resources.


Alright, I've monitored everything you suggested on Far Cry 3 for about half an hour now. I'm scared with some results here (particularly the GPU), I don't know if they're normal or not.

-CPU usage: ~40%, CPU Temps: Maximum 57~60 degrees;
-I used EVGA Precision on this one, I don't know if I saw the wrong parameter but I don't think so: GPU Usage: fluctuates from 83 to 95%, GPU Temps: Maximum 80 degrees;
-I have all my games on my HDD so, HDD usage/read only 10~20%;
-RAM Usage: ~3,5GB

NOTE: Battlefield 3 also has the same GPU Usage, but doesn't give me ANY lag spikes whatsoever, same for Crysis 2 and 3.
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October 23, 2013 2:32:28 PM

Have you tried monitoring the VRAM usage on your card as well? You could take a performance hit if the card has to access on-board memory to accommodate overflow. That being said, have you also tried tuning down the graphics a little?

My guess is when it spikes to 95% usage your card is starting to get a little overloaded, producing a lag spike. Especially so if it's running a bunch of loading operations. BF3 might be a different story since it's already loaded the maps, weapons, and such. It's not doing any major loading operations, just lots of rendering.
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October 23, 2013 3:06:56 PM

Powerbolt said:
Have you tried monitoring the VRAM usage on your card as well? You could take a performance hit if the card has to access on-board memory to accommodate overflow. That being said, have you also tried tuning down the graphics a little?

My guess is when it spikes to 95% usage your card is starting to get a little overloaded, producing a lag spike. Especially so if it's running a bunch of loading operations. BF3 might be a different story since it's already loaded the maps, weapons, and such. It's not doing any major loading operations, just lots of rendering.


I've just tested it as you suggested and my VRAM Usage is at 800MB Maximum. What could this be then? There's only a few games that I have this situation with the lag spikes...
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October 23, 2013 7:17:33 PM

It could be just the game then? Maybe it's rendering a lot of stuff at the same time.
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October 24, 2013 2:01:26 AM

WarWolverineWarrior said:
It could be just the game then? Maybe it's rendering a lot of stuff at the same time.


I would like to believe so, I heard it can be a little bit buggy at times. I don't know If I'm being too paranoid with my system, I just want to get the performance that I paid for, that's all.

But what could explain the little lag spike I had while browsing the Internet or in the beggining of a heist in PayDay 2? Same happened on Counter Strike: Global Offensive when I joined a server, but then I didn't get anymore lag spikes for the next 4 hours of gameplay. Sorry if I'm being too paranoid or too annoying, I just find it weird that something like that happens when I have a decent machine.
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October 24, 2013 6:22:42 AM

are the games stored on ur SSD or HDD?
How much free room do you have on each?
And ur OS is on SSD, right?
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October 24, 2013 7:09:08 AM

WarWolverineWarrior said:
are the games stored on ur SSD or HDD?
How much free room do you have on each?
And ur OS is on SSD, right?


Correct, my OS (which is Windows 8) is stored on my SDD. There's no other files on my SSD except Windows and Nvidia drivers. I have everything else on my HDD (games, programs, music, etc).

Free room on my SSD: 77,7 GB
Free room on my HDD: 682 GB
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October 24, 2013 7:45:28 AM

Johnrocha said:
WarWolverineWarrior said:
are the games stored on ur SSD or HDD?
How much free room do you have on each?
And ur OS is on SSD, right?


Correct, my OS (which is Windows 8) is stored on my SDD. There's no other files on my SSD except Windows and Nvidia drivers. I have everything else on my HDD (games, programs, music, etc).

Free room on my SSD: 77,7 GB
Free room on my HDD: 682 GB


Yeah the read/write from HDD is slower, and as you fill it up with stuff, the slower it gets. I blame HDD for your lag spike.
I'm not sure if Virtual memory is on HDD if you are using files from HDD. I think the OS manages that so it's on your SSD.

Pretty much everything you have on RAM has to be replicated on Virtual memory(Storage Unit) and it's replicated again on (Storage Unit).

So lets say you are playing BF4 and you need to save the game and load a file(next map). Your Virtual Memory(SDD) will copy all RAM files and it will save it to your slow storage(HDD). At the same time Your RAM will request a fetch from Virtual Memory(SSD) for missing files which should technically be there in (SSD), if not then it will reach out to the storage of the game (HDD). But Ram can't dump the files unless they are saved in (HDD). So your reading alot from HDD during heavy game loads.
Even tho you have 16 GB ram, no program will ever load all of it's files on RAM because its not efficient. In fact RAM will trick your system into thinking you have all files loaded on Ram when in fact about only 1/2+ are loaded in RAM and one your processor needs it, it will quickly fetch the needed files from Virtual Memory (SSD)

Note: Virtual Memory only replicates RAM, it doesn't load all game files from your storage.

So lets say BF4 uses 50 GB. Only 2-3 GB will be loaded onto your RAM and Vram, there is still about 48 GB of data that it has to potentially exchange from your storage to RAM/Vram.

I recommend you store your main game on your SSD and leave at least 20+ GB free on your SSD. And once you get a new main game, reinstall the other one onto your HDD.
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October 27, 2013 10:35:23 AM

WarWolverineWarrior said:
Johnrocha said:
WarWolverineWarrior said:
are the games stored on ur SSD or HDD?
How much free room do you have on each?
And ur OS is on SSD, right?


Correct, my OS (which is Windows 8) is stored on my SDD. There's no other files on my SSD except Windows and Nvidia drivers. I have everything else on my HDD (games, programs, music, etc).

Free room on my SSD: 77,7 GB
Free room on my HDD: 682 GB


Yeah the read/write from HDD is slower, and as you fill it up with stuff, the slower it gets. I blame HDD for your lag spike.
I'm not sure if Virtual memory is on HDD if you are using files from HDD. I think the OS manages that so it's on your SSD.

Pretty much everything you have on RAM has to be replicated on Virtual memory(Storage Unit) and it's replicated again on (Storage Unit).

So lets say you are playing BF4 and you need to save the game and load a file(next map). Your Virtual Memory(SDD) will copy all RAM files and it will save it to your slow storage(HDD). At the same time Your RAM will request a fetch from Virtual Memory(SSD) for missing files which should technically be there in (SSD), if not then it will reach out to the storage of the game (HDD). But Ram can't dump the files unless they are saved in (HDD). So your reading alot from HDD during heavy game loads.
Even tho you have 16 GB ram, no program will ever load all of it's files on RAM because its not efficient. In fact RAM will trick your system into thinking you have all files loaded on Ram when in fact about only 1/2+ are loaded in RAM and one your processor needs it, it will quickly fetch the needed files from Virtual Memory (SSD)

Note: Virtual Memory only replicates RAM, it doesn't load all game files from your storage.

So lets say BF4 uses 50 GB. Only 2-3 GB will be loaded onto your RAM and Vram, there is still about 48 GB of data that it has to potentially exchange from your storage to RAM/Vram.

I recommend you store your main game on your SSD and leave at least 20+ GB free on your SSD. And once you get a new main game, reinstall the other one onto your HDD.


That's probably the best thing to do, I've already noticed some major improvements in some games! I was thinking about installing some games on my SSD when I bought it but I didn't want to fill it up and ending up with no room at all.

Thank you very much for all your help.
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October 27, 2013 11:36:20 AM

I've ordered my i7 4770k today, you had me worried there for a second.
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October 27, 2013 12:18:00 PM

Derppppp said:
I've ordered my i7 4770k today, you had me worried there for a second.


Nah, everything's good now man. You won't regret getting this beast, I guarantee you that!
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October 28, 2013 7:32:00 AM

Johnrocha said:
Derppppp said:
I've ordered my i7 4770k today, you had me worried there for a second.


Nah, everything's good now man. You won't regret getting this beast, I guarantee you that!


This is a data transfer problem, not a processor one, lol. I don't think you can get much better than I7-4770k. I have I7-3770k myself and it is a beast.
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