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Is my CPU bottlenecking my GPU?!? (i7 920 oc 3.6, GTX 680 sc)

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 18, 2012 5:28:37 AM

Hi guys recently i have been having an issue where my Frame rate drops by allot while playing games like skyrim and borderlands 2. i have all settings on high and the majority of the time i get frame rates of about 100 its just every now and then whether its during some battles or even some random exploring ill get a random HUGE drop in fps like itll go from 120 to 40 then right back up again.

at first i thought it was my cpu (because it was at stock settings) so i overclocked it to a stable 3.6 (tested 24 hours using prime)

but even then it didnt fix a thing, so i downloaded msi afterburner and used riva tuner along with hwinfo to see my specs ingame and monitor my system to know whats happening when i get these huge fps drops.

so far what i have noticed is that for the majority of the time borderlands 2 runs my cpu usage is at about 20 to 30 percent, my gpu hovers anywhere from 30 to 98 percent, the temperatures remain below 61 degrees. and my fps is in the high 100's like ill start the game walk around and ill have around 130 to 170 fps.

and now the weird part when i shoot everything goes crazy. ill instantly lag and drop to about 80fps no problem i keep shooting and dropping a couple of turrets lag atrocity again and this time it goes down to about 40 fps the lowest itll go is about 23 fps.

now when this hapens my gpu usage goes wayyy down like 50 percent to 30 and my cpu usage goes up just a little around 37 to 40 percent.

and now for the even weirder part it only hapens in certain areas of the game, other areas could be jam packed action with stuff blowing up and online with coop and i wont get a single bump in lag, sure ill lose allot of fps but i will not notice it because i get zero lag in between the spikes of fps drops.

now to my question is my cpu bottle-necking my gpu? and only certain areas make it more obvious than others?

the huge fps drops are getting on my nerves even in battlefield 3 when i use fraps itll go from 100 fps in game drops to 30 during certain situations then shoots back up again

ps i have lowered phys x in borderlands 2 and still i get a huge lag bump when i shoot in the dlc area that i dont get in the majority of other similarly built areas. and even when i do shoot and suffer fps drops i dont get lag in those areas so what is going on with the huge fps drops?

heres my rig

Cpu: Intel Core i7-920 oc 3.6

GPU: GTX 680 sc

Ram: CORSAIR DOMINATOR 6GB (3 x 2GB)

Mobo: Asus's P6x58d Premium

i play on 1080p lcd tv
October 18, 2012 5:56:17 AM

You can probably overclock your CPU to 4GHz. Stress test it using Prime95 to find out if it is a stable overclock. When these FPS drops happen, does the GPU load drop as well? If the GPU load drops when the FPS drops occur then it is probably a CPU bottleneck. Do you have the latest nVidia drivers as well?
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October 18, 2012 5:59:34 AM

you hit the nail on the head there, yes exactly that is what hapens! as soon as the fps drops by about 40 to 20 the gpu load drops by allot itll go from 98 usage to about 60 sometimes itll go even lower.

wow so 3.6 is not enough? yes i do have the latest nvidia drivers and the newest version of phys x installed
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October 18, 2012 6:44:52 AM

easiest way to tell, open up your task manager and see if your cpu hits 100 percent. if its a game that only uses 2 cores, see if 2 cores hit 100 percent. if so, you are being bottlenecked at least a little bit.
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a b à CPUs
October 18, 2012 7:04:58 AM

Your problem isn't the CPU or video card; it's your audio. Make sure you have the latest audio drivers and if you're using anything more than onboard audio try reseating the sound card. When you shoot a gun it loads a sound file, as well as when you enter certain regions of a game. When your audio is loaded and processed it hangs, which in result decreases video processing briefly and increases CPU work slightly. Try that and let us know how it goes.
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October 18, 2012 7:07:20 AM

what kind of hard drive do you have?
if you have a huge hd that you haven't defraged in awhile that can *** on frames because of long seek times loading new areas

if you have an ssd ignore my comment above
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October 18, 2012 7:38:07 AM

ok i have just finished overclocking my card to 3.8 will test this for one hour and check if that helps at all. and to answer your other question no my computers cores never reach that level.

as for the audio thats very interesting i have 7.1 sorround sound speakers all over my room and i have the sound at studio quality could that be it? i remember in skyrim if i didnt lower down the quality the game would lag sometimes too.

my audio drivers are from nvidia. i have a hdmi cable connected and it goes through the receiver how would i go about making sure its not that?
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October 18, 2012 7:43:04 AM

i ment cpu not card and i have a ssd but the game is saved onto my tera harddrive that is about 72000 rpm
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a b à CPUs
October 18, 2012 1:57:14 PM

grizdom said:
ok i have just finished overclocking my card to 3.8 will test this for one hour and check if that helps at all. and to answer your other question no my computers cores never reach that level.

as for the audio thats very interesting i have 7.1 sorround sound speakers all over my room and i have the sound at studio quality could that be it? i remember in skyrim if i didnt lower down the quality the game would lag sometimes too.

my audio drivers are from nvidia. i have a hdmi cable connected and it goes through the receiver how would i go about making sure its not that?



Yeah that sounds about right. Just try lowering the audio quality and see if that makes a difference, as well as update audio drivers.

Side note, if you're wanting high quality audio it's best to just get a dedicated card to avoid potential headaches like this one. Having a dedicated audio card, especially if you're using 7.1, will increase audio quality and performance substantially.
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October 18, 2012 8:49:24 PM

ok update: i overclocked the cpu to 3.8 tested it over night it is a stable overclock, i lowered the sound quality of my speakers to 4600 dvd quality and changed the 16x filtering in game to 8x. i also deleted my nvidia drivers and updated all of them including the phys x to its newest version.

the lag is still there all be it a little less game ruinneee. on a side note it takes allot longer for the gpu load to get down to about the 70s when the lag occurs, im not sure if borderlands 2 is processing the physx correctly because when i shoot and the particles and debris is flying everywhere thats usually when the gpu load will drop. i have the physx runing through the gtx card (i enabled it in the nvidia thing) but everytime the particles are flying about and im shooting like crazy thats usually when the gpu load goes down about 30 points
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October 19, 2012 3:20:06 AM

well if its not the cpu and its not the gpu and its not the sound could it be the game?
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November 7, 2012 11:03:15 PM

well i will update my thread just in case anyone was i just bought a dedicated physx card and my system now has absolutely no lag watsoever in borderlands 2. i now have no lag in bf3 because i changed my fan settings with evga precision x. the cpu is fine and now i have no problems
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