Sudden lag on all gpu dependent games

GTX 550 TI (stock everything)
Amd II 965 3.4ghz quad core

If the power supply is relevant, let me know (i dont feel like taking the panel off)

Basically, I use this computer for gaming, It's all I do on it, and I have a fairly strong fps in almost all games on the highest settings (my native is only 1280x1024) But suddenly today while playing skyrim (at a steady 40-50 fps with all the mods) my fps dropped into the single digits. I checked some other games, duke nukem (don't but it), the walking dead Ep1, WoW, and all games are having this issue. It's not my cpu, since minecraft runs about the same (it being dependent on CPU).

This has happened once before, and i searched all day for a solution, and ended up using my nvidia control panel to OC the "graphics clock" from 900 to 946 ( I know nothing about OCing, and I know this amount is negligible) and for some reason that fixed it, so i saved that as a profile, and set the control panel to use that profile every time I start up. That was about 2-3 months ago, and just now it's here again. the control panel is still using that profile. Tweaking it up or setting it back to factory speeds does nothing now. in both instances of this issue I'm running 35-40 degrees without a load, and before skyrim got the massive lag spike today, under load it was around 55-65 degrees.

Even if nobody can tell me a solution, could you at least tell me the root cause of this issue?

I clean my tower out at least once a month, so I dont believe it's an issue with something being obstructed either (and if it was, I imagine I'd have a hot card anyways)

Thanks, and I hope I put this thread in the right place. If not, sorry.
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  1. I feel like an idiot, but after a restart, everything is cool again. Last time a restart did not solve the problem. I still wonder if anybody know why this happening?
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