Newer games such as XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Dishonored, and Farcry 3 all seem to experience the same issue on my PC: a periodic stuttering or freezing. It's stopped happening with XCOM after patching, but the game used to freeze up for 10-30 seconds at a time on the more detailed levels. The game always came unfrozen, but it would've made anything that isn't turn-based unplayable.
Then Farcry 3 and Dishonored came out and I've had the same issue, but worse. In Farcry 3 it doesn't matter what fixes I try or how much I lower my settings, the game still periodically freezes for up to 30 seconds at a time.
An odd thing about the issue is that, during a freeze, pressing ctrl+alt+del seems to help. I just press cancel when the prompt is brought up. I've had the game frozen for about a minute and then ctrl+alt+del instantly fixed it. Sometimes it does nothing though, and some newer games don't minimize well.
I'm playing on 1920x1200 resolution, but turning it down doesn't seem to help matters.
My drivers are updated to the latest Nvidia drivers (310.90), but would that necessarily be best for my video card, which is somewhat old (GTX 285)? Are there any drivers that might be better?
Also, I forgot to mention, with Farcry 3 the freezing issue seems to happen even on the pause menu, even if I'm not at the computer. The menu is animated so you can see it freezing up for about 10 seconds every so often.