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Frame drops and (possible) low power usage on 1080

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May 6, 2016

First of all I'm happy to post here once more! Let me tell you about an issue I've had recently, and hopefully we can identify the problem.

I have a system with an 4930k @ 4.3, 4x4 2133 CL10 Ram and an MSI 1080 GTX @ 2088/5355, using the 388.43 drivers and and a Corsair RM750. I've had this setup for a while and it was very stable for a few good months. Last week the computer shut down randomly while I was watching twitch. I've tried booting it back and every time I pressed the power button, the fans spinned for less than a second then went off. I've switched off the PSU (behind the PSU) for a few minutes, switched in on, and when I attempted to boot it went fine. Not sure what failed there.

Since then I have noticed some very MICRO frame drops while gaming, by micro I really mean micro, as in you have to look for them to see them. Additionally, earlier this morning I was playing an the frames dropped by a lot (from 200 to ~100, something that NEVER happened to me), and after a few seconds of low FPS the sound started looping and the display went off (no display driver crash or BSOD - just some weird sudden death). Thing is it wasn't like that in the past, so I'm trying to figure out what's going on. I know many different things can cause frame drops, especially on online game.

Started with the GPU - Heaven benchmark gives a reasonable score, one that matches an overclocked 1080. FireStrike (in all 3 variations) stress test passes and posts 98%-99% frame stability. FurMark and MSI Kombustor show something that may be an issue (maybe not): GPU Power doesn't stay at 99%, it's at about 99% for say 5 seconds then drops to 80% then returns to 99%. The FPS is somewhere between 210-217 so the variations are not that huge. Needless to say it doesn't crash on any of the benchmarks I've tried.

I've swapped the RAM and it didn't help -> probably not RAM.
Haven't swapped CPU, don't have an alternative one - but it's 4h stable on Prime95, which is what it's always been.
Haven't swapped PSU - too much work. Don't wanna re-arrange the cables.. lol

What do you guys think? What could be the issue?

Fresh OS install seems easier than throwing stuff at the wall to see if it sticks...
Good point although for me it's a last resort. Don't have an extra hard drive and don't feel like re-installing everything.

Here's another thing I noticed, which again, I'm not sure if it's a problem: If I try to run FurMark and Prime95 at the same time, then whenever Prime95 goes on, GPU usage drops from 99% to 30%ish. Is this an issue? If so, what could be causing it?
1. Stop running furmark. Its useless. really. If you notice, you drop mhz to clocks that are WAY lower than if you were gaming or using another benchmark. Its a power virus. It wont kill cards these days, but testing with it really doesn't do much.
2. Makes sense that if you are stress testing the hell out of the CPU that your GPU use would drop. It doens't have the horsepower needed to push it. ;)

I really don't see anything wrong if those are your issues.
When is the last time you did battle with the dust bunnys in your case specifically in your psu and gfx card ?
Do you have a Multi meter that you could test the psu with @ load ?
Run memtest86 bootable usb
Driver cleaner then reinstall gfx drivers . and if all else fails fresh install of windows .

Just wanted to say I was able to resolve this issue, which probably was a non-existent issue to begin with... Here's what I've done:

1. Checked RAM and switched to a faster RAM (4x4 at CL11 instead of 4x8 at CL13). changed absolutely nothing
2. Rolled back NVIDIA drivers to 378.66. Probably helped a bit with frame stability, but it's hard to tell the difference
3. Changed a setting in NVIDIA control panel to prefer maximum power and performance. Now Furmark doesn't experience power drops.

Truth be told, the issue was that I was playing a badly optimized game (Overwatch), and tried to test the issue with a badly optimized benchmark (FurMark). When playing, say, Witcher 3, and benching on Heaven, everything remains nice and cool.

Anyway, thanks for the help guys!
Badly optimized ? Overwatch ?
My GPU usage is low, 100% on menus (resulting in maximum FPS), down to 70% usage in game resulting in FPS drops. shouldn't be bottlenecked that badly by 4930k @ 4.4 and CL11 quad channel ram...
Shouldn’t be bottlenecking at all, Overwatch is a GPU based game, hardly uses any CPU on any of my rigs, it’s why I’m confused ?
I will be posting numbers on the average FPS and gpu usage in a few days. Basically I've found that INCREASING the graphic quality (or specifically, the render scale from 100% to 140%) increases the average FPS and reduced frame drops.