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4670K and GTX 980TI strong fps drops and high cpu core usage, am I getting bottlenecked?

Now I read quite a few threads where this has been asked numerous times and the answer was no so then I need to find what else could be causing my current problem.

My specs are:
Intel I5 4670K overclocked to 4.2 GHz
MSI GTX 980TI 6GB this has also been overclocked
OCZ700MXSP 700W PSU
ASUS Z-87K motherboard
14GB RAM
1TB WD WD10EZRX Green, 3.5" HDD, SATA III - 6Gb/s64MB Cache

The games I am playing recently have been giving me really bad FPS considering the specs I have. I have been running things like Overwatch, maximum settings 1920x1080 and have gotten drops to about 20-25FPS. Furthermore even after I changed the settings to low all I got was a marginal improvement of around 5-10FPS.

I then checked the CPU/GPU load display and during those times where I dipped to 20-30FPS, those dips lasting anywhere from 30 sec - 1 min, my CPU cores were all running 95%+ with 2 to 3 of the cores staying at 100% of a few good seconds. My GPU usage at this time would fluctuate anywhere beween 16% - 55% - 67%. The maximum GPU usage over my playthroughs was 73%.

Overclocking helped slightly, as I am now starting the game with 60FPS instead of hovering from 48-55FPS and the dips, while still there are less occasional. As for the temperature of the CPU and GPU while under load, the CPU did not go higher than 80 degrees and the GPU was running between 80-85 degrees.

I ran a couple of other games to test this, namely Fallout 4 and GTA 5, both on GeForce experience "optimal" settings and the outcome was the same. Good solid 60FPS with very frequent hits in FPS (loss of 20-30FPS not uncommon) and high CPU usage.

I am planning on using an SSD later to see if anything changes, but if the I5 4670K can't bottleneck a 980Ti then what on earth is happening?
15 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about 4670k gtx 980ti strong fps drops high cpu core usage bottlenecked
  1. Those are hot temps. CPU temps are in upper 70s? could be throttling to stop temps from raising more. 85c for gpu is getting hot as well, have you checked the fan rpm as heat rises to make sure it's working properly?

    That should easily play Overwatch at max settings at 1080p

    All drivers are up to date?
  2. Those temps aren't enough to throttle, intel's cpu's don't start throttling until around 105c. Both cpu and gpu temps are within limits but a bit on the warm side, is the room pretty warm? Higher ambient room temps will cause that as well as less than optimal case airflow. The frame drops in overwatch could be the game, not all patches are great. Around september people were complaining of situations just like this after a patch on overwatch, for 10-30s or so dropping from 100fps to 20-30. Some suggest going into your game folder and starting the game using the .exe to launch it, it may help some. They've had a history of patches improving and hurting performance back and forth.

    Since your gpu use is only maxing out around 75% you should be able to turn image quality up a bit. Though generally if reducing quality from ultra to high or to medium and fps improves it's usually a sign that your gpu is what's limiting things. If turning graphics down does nothing to improve fps then it's usually a sign your cpu is limiting things.

    You may find yourself somewhat cpu bound due to the 980ti, it's borderline overkill for 1080p in some games. Playing at higher resolutions like 1440p would allow stronger gpu's to stretch their legs, think the 980ti, gtx 1070, gtx 1080. Many were gaming with the 970 at 1080p. It wouldn't be all that unusual to see a 980ti not reaching 100% use at lower resolutions. It also depends on the games and how intensive they are. All games are different, some are cpu intensive and others gpu intensive and to varying degrees.

    A good example of that is comparing games that can be modded like skyrim, fallout etc. Vanilla games out of the box may not stress the 980ti. Use might be around 60%-70%. Update to high res textures and enable other intensive features like ssao with enb and fps are likely to drop while usage suddenly pegs to 100%. Same game with a slight tweak giving the gpu a lot more work to do. If you have godrays enabled you might try turning that on/off and see if it does anything for performance. Worth a shot.

    As for fallout 4 some people were having issues with fps drops with a 980ti and i7 6700k as recently as july. Much of it comes down to the games themselves and the updates/patches and optimization. Are the frame drops in the city areas? That's pretty common.
  3. 105c is when the cpu will force shutdown to prevent damage, it'll start throttling well before 105.

    Easiest way to find out would be to check voltage during gameplay I guess.
  4. 14GB of RAM though?....
  5. Have a look here, throttle temp for intel cpu's (depending, 4th gen in this case) is 100c.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-1800828/intel-temperature-guide.html

    The throttle temp is to prevent forced shutdown, hence the throttling. It backs off the core clocks to reduce heat as an alternative to shutting down. It won't be throttling at 80c. If that were the case then when running p95 the cpu would be fluctuating and clock speeds bouncing as the throttling occurred resulting in a wavering cpu usage graph rather than steady/solid.
  6. Oh I was thinking maybe it was running fine then hitting upper 90c and throttling down to lower temps back down to 70's/80's and that was causing the occasional dips. I see now he said it didn't go over 80c.

    Did it ever run good without dips or high temps, when did it start? Have you tried removing all overclocks and restore everything to defaults, maybe clear cmos to be sure? Just keep your overclocks saved somewhere so you don't forget what to set it back to.

    Hell I had a gtx970 and pentium g3258 running overwatch at max settings, maybe a setting or 2 turned downa notch, at 1080p
  7. izoli said:
    Those are hot temps. CPU temps are in upper 70s? could be throttling to stop temps from raising more. 85c for gpu is getting hot as well, have you checked the fan rpm as heat rises to make sure it's working properly?

    That should easily play Overwatch at max settings at 1080p

    All drivers are up to date?


    Yes of course, all the drivers have been updated and any drivers left over from previous GPU installs have been deleted with DDU, so that's out.

    As for the dips, the GPU is relatively new, 5 months old and I do have to say that since the beginning I did not get the performance I expected. Granted Arkham Knight was a poorly optimised game but even on a game like Rise of the Tomb Raider, which this card should max with ease, I was getting FPS drops throughout, not just in the open areas.

    14GB of RAM. My built is 5 years old now and I have been changing component by component. RAM I started with 4 x 2GB, then took out one of the 2GB sticks to add an 8GB stick instead. Hence the 14GB.

    The temperatures have been roughly like this since the beginning. I began overclocking my CPU and GPU once I saw that I was not getting the power advertised out of the GPU so the overclock was more of a quickfix and I doubt that resetting to stock would change anything.

    Could it be that I would need to install extra fans? And how do I explain the 100% CPU load across almost all 4 cores when the frame rates start to dip?
  8. synphul said:
    Those temps aren't enough to throttle, intel's cpu's don't start throttling until around 105c. Both cpu and gpu temps are within limits but a bit on the warm side, is the room pretty warm? Higher ambient room temps will cause that as well as less than optimal case airflow. The frame drops in overwatch could be the game, not all patches are great. Around september people were complaining of situations just like this after a patch on overwatch, for 10-30s or so dropping from 100fps to 20-30. Some suggest going into your game folder and starting the game using the .exe to launch it, it may help some. They've had a history of patches improving and hurting performance back and forth.

    Since your gpu use is only maxing out around 75% you should be able to turn image quality up a bit. Though generally if reducing quality from ultra to high or to medium and fps improves it's usually a sign that your gpu is what's limiting things. If turning graphics down does nothing to improve fps then it's usually a sign your cpu is limiting things.

    You may find yourself somewhat cpu bound due to the 980ti, it's borderline overkill for 1080p in some games. Playing at higher resolutions like 1440p would allow stronger gpu's to stretch their legs, think the 980ti, gtx 1070, gtx 1080. Many were gaming with the 970 at 1080p. It wouldn't be all that unusual to see a 980ti not reaching 100% use at lower resolutions. It also depends on the games and how intensive they are. All games are different, some are cpu intensive and others gpu intensive and to varying degrees.

    A good example of that is comparing games that can be modded like skyrim, fallout etc. Vanilla games out of the box may not stress the 980ti. Use might be around 60%-70%. Update to high res textures and enable other intensive features like ssao with enb and fps are likely to drop while usage suddenly pegs to 100%. Same game with a slight tweak giving the gpu a lot more work to do. If you have godrays enabled you might try turning that on/off and see if it does anything for performance. Worth a shot.

    As for fallout 4 some people were having issues with fps drops with a 980ti and i7 6700k as recently as july. Much of it comes down to the games themselves and the updates/patches and optimization. Are the frame drops in the city areas? That's pretty common.


    Yeah I guess you could say that the ambient temperature is a bit on the warmer side due to winter season but these temperatures were present even in a moderately temperate room so I'm not sure about the effect.

    For fallout 4 for example, the drops happen seemingly at random, as in the area I was testing it in was a desolate one, maybe 2-3 ruins, so not populated at all. The GPU was very heavily fluctuating from 16% up to around 65%. Really all over the place.

    And as I said, turning the options on Overwatch from Ultra to Low gained me a grand total of 5-10 FPS which is absolutely ridiculous. The load on the CPU cores was still in the high 90s with again some cores hitting 100s.
  9. Whats your cpu cooler by the way?

    You've checked task manager to see whats using the CPU at 100%, is it just the game or is there another program taking a lot?

    Already scanned for malware/viruses?
  10. izoli said:
    Whats your cpu cooler by the way?

    You've checked task manager to see whats using the CPU at 100%, is it just the game or is there another program taking a lot?

    Already scanned for malware/viruses?


    Yup the system is clean of malware/viruses. I am assuming that the 100% would be from the game as all over CPU intensive apps like Chrome are closed when I play. Spotify + Skype shouldn't be able to push the CPU usage that high. As for the CPU cooler, that is the stock fan that the i5 4670K came with.
  11. Unless the CPU is starting to fail or something there's no way that it's just the CPU being unable to handle the games. Maybe games like Battlefield 4 would stress it out a lot more, but gta v, skyrim, overwatch that cpu should handle no problem

    The stock fan however may be an issue with the temps especially if you are overclocking. The stock cooler sucks
  12. izoli said:
    Unless the CPU is starting to fail or something there's no way that it's just the CPU being unable to handle the games. Maybe games like Battlefield 4 would stress it out a lot more, but gta v, skyrim, overwatch that cpu should handle no problem

    The stock fan however may be an issue with the temps especially if you are overclocking. The stock cooler sucks


    Would investing in a new CPU cooler be something I should look into, as the upgrade to an i5 6600K with a new motherboard to sit it is around £300 at the moment.
  13. Best answer
    a CPU cooler would be a good investment and with overclocking is pretty much necessary to see decent temps. Even if its a cheaper Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo or something it would work much better than the stock one.
  14. izoli said:
    a CPU cooler would be a good investment and with overclocking is pretty much necessary to see decent temps. Even if its a cheaper Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo or something it would work much better than the stock one.


    Will change the CPU cooler tomorrow and report back if anything changes. Here's hoping.

    PS: Do I need to re-add thermal paste ?
  15. yes you must reapply a quality thermal paste, small amount(rice grain/pea sized) just enough to cover the cpu with thin layer.
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