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Systematic FPS drops in all games along with GPU usage spikes, with very good system.

Last response: in Systems
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June 3, 2014 4:05:09 PM

Hello guys,
i have been encountering a problem lately with all my games and i would like to know if it is normal for my system to behave the way it does, or if i am just over-reacting.

My system:
CPU: Intel Core i7 - 4770K 3.5 GHz Quad-Core Processor (OCed at 4.1 GHz)
CPU Cooler: SCYTHE SCSMZ-2100 SAMURAI ZZ REV.B CPU COOLER
Motherboard: ASUS MAXIMUS VI EXTREME LGA1150 Motherboard
Memory: G.SKILL F3-1600C7Q-32GTX 32GB (4X8GB) DDR3 PC3-12800 1600MHZ TRIDENTX
Storage: KINGSTON SKC300S37A/120G SSDNOW KC300 120GB 2.5'' SSD SATA3
Storage: SEAGATE BARRACUDA 7200.14 ST3000DM001 3TB SATA3
Video Card: ASUS GTX780-DC2OC-3GD5 3GB DDR5 PCI-E (OCed at 1050MHZ core clock & 7000 MHz memory clock)
Case: THERMALTAKE VN10001W2N LEVEL 10GT
Monitor: SAMSUNG S24C300HS 23.6'' LED MONITOR FULL HD
Keyboard: LOGITECH G19 GAMING KEYBOARD
Mouse: LOGITECH G700 RECHARGEABLE GAMING MOUSE
Power Supply: OCZ OCZ750FTY-UN FATAL1TY SERIES POWER SUPPLY 750W

The system is fairly new (only a few months old), and i believe it should be able to handle any game on highest settings fairly easily. When building the system i run IntelBurnTest, MemoryTest86 and furmark and everything seemed ok. I have overclocked the CPU to 4.1 GHz, and the GPU to 1050 MHz core clock and 7000 MHz memory clock, ran the tests again and everything seemed ok again.

THE PROBLEM: The computer behaves exemplerily in everyday tasks, boots fast, no crashes, bugs or anything ever, and is very responsive when doing work in windows. But as soon as i try to play any demanding game, the FPS have massive spikes and drops, so far in almost every game.

I always play in 1920 x 1080, with AA set to x2 or x4. When running the games' benchmarks i usually get quite good max/min and avg FPS (solid 60 with Vsync on / around 80 - 120 without Vsync) but when in game it fluctuates very much. For example, playing far cry 3 i got 60 FPS at most times but it would drop to 15 - 20 every minute or two for some seconds. Playing Hitman Absolution, i am getting max, min and avg FPS of 60 at the benchmark, but when playing it drops to 20 every few minutes and stays there for some seconds. Currently in Assassin's Creed 3, i am getting pretty smooth gameplay (haven't measured but i'd say around 50 - 60 FPS) but every few seconds it almost freezes.

The only games that i haven't encountered any drops are Batman: Arkham City and Grid 2. But i didn't run them at maximum settings. If i am not mistaken, my CPU and GPU should handle these games at max setting without a hitch. I am not expecting steady 120 FPS but those drops seem quite abnormal to me.

I should mention that i am running the games from my second hard drive (not SSD) and i know that it can cause some choppiness in graphics, but the drops happen constantly, even when HDD usage is very low. Also, using GpuTweak, i have noticed that in every single drop the FB usage drops to 0% and GPU usage spikes around 95 - 100% even if on average it is below 50 - 60%. After the drop, GPU usage immediately drops to 25 - 30% and a few seconds later it returns to normal. I am not sure what GpuTweak means b "FB usage" but searching aroun the internet, i found it means "Frame buffer usage". If that's corect, then it's logical that it drops to 0% when the game freezes, but why does the GPU usage spike?

I would like to know if such drops are normal and i should lower my expectations or if i am right in expecting that this setup should handle almost any game in that resolution on max settings without much trouble. I am considering installing a second GPU or adding another 500GB SSD drive on the system but considering the cost and the effort invested in the system, i'm thinking that something must be messing it up and it is not performing properly. it seems irrational that i would need two OCed GTX 780 to run AC 3 in max settings.

Really sorry for the long post, but this has been something that has troubled me very much lately, mainly the feeling that i have put so much effort in this system (i hand-picked every part of it, and personally built the system from the ground up) and it is not working as it should. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thank yu very much in advance!!
June 3, 2014 4:11:46 PM

I should also mention that the drops existed before the OC, but the overclock seems to have lowered their frequence & duration. Furthermore, because i was getting screen tearing i have forced Triple Buffering and Vsync from Nvidia Control Panel for all programs. I am getting similar freezes/hiccups when using AutoCad 2014 or Architecture 2014.
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June 3, 2014 7:50:54 PM

bump to the top
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June 4, 2014 5:10:01 PM

bump again
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Best solution

a b K Overclocking
a b à CPUs
a b Ĉ ASUS
June 5, 2014 3:00:26 PM

The answer isn't very simple since the question is quite loaded.

I suggest checking that the system is fully optimized and every hardware is performing as it should.

For the RAM, did you enable XMP profile? You must do so for the RAM to be utilized properly.

Thank you
GSKILL SUPPORT
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June 5, 2014 7:07:09 PM

Many thanks for the reply gskill support! I appreciate that you took the time to read through all of those details. The question is indeed quite loaded, i know, but it's something that has been bugging me endlessly for some time.

As for the RAM, i didn't enable any XMP profiles, i just manually set the frequency and timings as per the product's specifications. Do you think it would make that much of a difference? I am currently at work, but i will be home in a few hours and i will try enabling it to see if it makes any noticeable difference.

I will post later with the results. Again, many thanks for the support.
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June 6, 2014 1:56:15 PM

Many, many thanks for your help gskill support!! I activated the XMP profile for the RAM and it really made a difference! The gpu usage spikes have completely vanished, and the FPS drops are much rarer and not so huge. Both my average and minimum FPS have gone up, and in the rare occasion i do encounter a drop it is small (not the huge ones i was encountering before) and really justified by the gpu load at that moment. Also, the system behaves better overall, feels snappier and more responsive in almost everything.

I still don't completely understand why it made such a big difference though... From what i could tell, the profile i activated had the exact same settings that i had set manually. What settings exactly are contained in an XMP profile? I also though XMP profiles were only used when overclocking your RAM and i hadn't activated it because i thought it wasn't needed since i wanted it to operate at stock settings. Is it necessary to always enable the XMP profile everytime there is one available?

I would greatly appreciate it if you took the time to explain how exactly XMP profiles work, but your help already has been invaluable. My system seems transformed by a simple setting but it was something that might have taken me ages to discover. Many thanks for your help again!!!
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