One-second freezes in games

By Pippin · 10 replies
Aug 5, 2016
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  1. Hey everyone,

    TL;DR: I have small, very disruptive freezes in games (WoW, Fallout 4, Primordia, Space Quest 6) whenever something is loaded, like opening a menu for a first time or picking a dialogue option.

    I own a Lenovo Ideapad Y50-70 gaming laptop which I bought when I needed a laptop for school, and seeing as how I love gaming, this laptop seemed to be pretty decent. Ignoring the other two times I had to send it back for having a defective screen, it’s been pretty stable for a year now.

    However recently I’ve noticed that in many games (so far I can name WoW, Fallout 4, Primordia and Space Quest 6) that I’ll get one-second freezes whenever a sound is about to be played.

    In WoW this always happens when I open my inventory, or the map, or the achievements screen. If such a menu is opened once, it won’t freeze a second time.

    In Fallout 4, Primordia and SQ6, it’s whenever I click something or something which will trigger someone saying something, like a dialogue option.

    I tried a selective startup, disabling all non-Microsoft services to see if that would fix it. It didn’t. I thought it might be my SSHD failing, so I ran a HDTune test twice. The first time I got a really strange reading, the second time seemed to be less bad.

    ( for a screenshot of the results.)

    Now, before trying an RMA, I was wondering if anyone has had any similar problems. Is there a way to pinpoint exactly what the problem is, so I have a better case when I send it back?

    The specs:

    (Lenovo Ideapad Y50-70)
    OS: Windows 10 64-bit
    CPU: Intel Core i7-4720HQ @ 2.60 GHz
    RAM: 8.00GB DDR3-1600 Single Channel
    Graphics Card: Nvidia Geforce GTX 960M
    SSHD: WD WD10S21X-24R1BT0-SSHD-8GB 1TB

    A list of stuff I’ve tried:

    -Lowering graphics settings never helps.

    -All drivers I could think up to be even slightly related are updated (except for a BIOS update), including an update, uninstall and reinstall of all my sound drivers.

    -I've also scanned my SSHD using ScanDisk, I've defragmented it, I've ran System File Check, checked it with CrystalDisk.

    -I've set Power Management Mode to Prefer Maximum Performance in the Nvidia Control Panel.

    -Windows is on High Performance Power Plan.

    -I've ran CCleaner.

    -(Possibly related) I once found out that in the Power options, the Processor Power Management option for Minimum Processor State was on 100% by default. I turned it down to 5% to help with overheating issues.

    Any ideas/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
  2. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,019   +661

    You mentioned temperatures..if they seem high, perhaps your system needs cleaning.

    Solid state drives do not benefit from defrag. They do benefit from TRIM so confirm that is working for you. Other ideas might be to change locations for pagefile.sys and caches and temporary internet files - with enough memory, you can place these in a RAM file - or eliminate pagefile.sys entirely.
  3. EndlessWaves

    EndlessWaves TS Booster Posts: 191   +45

    I have seen these sort of glitches caused by lack of memory bandwidth in the past, although typically only on systems where the integrated graphics is sharing the memory. Halving memory bandwidth by only providing one stick to save a few pence is a nasty habit of some laptop manufacturers.

    I doubt it's the case here though. If you run task manager or some other resource monitor then what spikes do you see at the moment when the game freezes?
  4. Pippin

    Pippin TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the responses!

    The CPU especially has gotten pretty damn hot in the past (I'm talking early 90's) but recently after cleaning it out, finding that Minimum Processor State option, and using a 60 fps cap in WoW, the CPU tends to stick around 70 in WoW, about 60 in Fallout. GPU has never gone over 80 I think. And I've never seen the SSHD go past 50. So I doubt the temperatures are the issue.

    I'm definitely not an expert on this sort of thing, so could you explain a bit more? Also, note that it's an SSHD -- not an SSD. Is this a risky thing to try? It sounds rather drastic.

    It's usually only the SSHD that I see spike. It tends to spike a lot, now you mention it. So it's rather hard to pinpoint. Nothing really jumps out, if that makes sense. Not in the disk performance, or the CPU performance. That said, I will play some more Fallout tomorrow and let you know.
  5. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,019   +661

    I think you best bet would be to check the SSHD manufacturer for a utility - to check condition AND to run TRIM (like doing a PACK in a database). Check for new driver too. Consider more RAM. The temps were at the upper end of 'ok' - so unlikely to have damage, but you were getting close enough so a fan issue might have toasted the motherboard or cpu or gpu. Glad they are now down.
  6. EndlessWaves

    EndlessWaves TS Booster Posts: 191   +45

    Hmm, that suggests that it's none of the elements that task manager monitors (at least, not the part of them that the graph shows). Try something that shows graphics card usage such as MSI's Afterburner utility:
  7. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,019   +661

    Before cleaning and temperature drop, you said "-(Possibly related) I once found out that in the Power options, the Processor Power Management option for Minimum Processor State was on 100% by default. I turned it down to 5% to help with overheating issues."

    You might want to review how you could set this to 'maximum performance'.
  8. Pippin

    Pippin TS Rookie Topic Starter

    So I've just played Fallout for a bit, and here's some findings:

    Disk activity doesn't spike suspiciously while one of these freezes happens. What does seem odd to me is that GPU usage will be around 70% until such a freeze happens. It'll build to 99%, then drop to 0% for just a moment, then return to 70%. It should also be noted that it reaches 99%/100% in combat, but no stutters or freezes happen then.

    I'm not sure what you mean? I set the Power Plan to High Performance, the GPU settings to Prefer Maximume Performance -- this Minimum Processor State option was under Power Settings of said High Performance power plan.

    I've not checked for a SSHD utility, I will do that soon/tomorrow!
  9. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,019   +661

    Google "GPU freeze drop to 0%" - some say might be an issue with the nVidia 9xx - others find that specific assignment of PhysX to GPU helps -you are not alone.
  10. EndlessWaves

    EndlessWaves TS Booster Posts: 191   +45

    If it consistently does that every time then that's a good one to follow up. It's like it's getting stuck in a loop or something and then resetting itself. I don't think the nVidia drives profile a logfile, does windows event viewer show anything?
  11. Pippin

    Pippin TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The GPU usage drops seem to happen in WoW as well, minus the build up, when opening a particularly heavy menu. Windows event viewer shows nothing noteworthy besides one of my audio devices not wanting to start. And I just checked it with said audio device unplugged. No change.

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