Solved In-game stutter despite seemingly stable fps and more than decent components

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AngryPopsicle

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Apr 1, 2020
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Hello everyone,
First post here, let's get right to it!

I bought a gaming laptop in the summer of last year: Asus TUF Gaming FX504
It recently started stuttering in all games and I'm not sure of what to do.

Intel Core i7-8750H @2.20 GHz 6 cores
16 GB RAM (2x8)
Integrated graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630
Dedicated graphics: GeForce GTX 1060
Windows 10 Home 64-bit ver1903 on a 128 GB SSD with 30 GB free on the drive.
Most games and apps are installed on a 1TB SSHD.

Using GeForce experience I updated the drivers, and the Geforce control panel is set to performance.
I've also set the games to use the dedicated graphics card in the Geforce control panel.
Intel driver and support assistant has everything up-to-date.
Avast reported no viruses, nor did Malwarebytes.

On Dota 2 and Starcraft I've played on the low and utra settings, stutters seem to appear just as often.

I've cleaned the fans a couple of days ago. I'm thinking that the default thermal paste might be the culprit but I'm not so sure.

Please advise, and if more info is needed I'll provide it as soon as I can.
 

phillpower2

You can call me Ad
Administrator
Support Team
Sep 9, 2016
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Download then run Speccy (free) and post the resultant url for us, details here, this will provide us with information about your computer hardware + any software that you have installed that may explain the present issue/s.

To publish a Speccy profile to the Web:

In Speccy, click File, and then click Publish Snapshot.

In the Publish Snapshot dialog box, click Yes to enable Speccy to proceed.

Speccy publishes the profile and displays a second Publish Snapshot. You can open the URL in your default browser, copy it to the clipboard, or close the dialog box.
 

AngryPopsicle

PCHF Member
PCHF Member
Apr 1, 2020
6
0
22
Download then run Speccy (free) and post the resultant url for us, details here, this will provide us with information about your computer hardware + any software that you have installed that may explain the present issue/s.

To publish a Speccy profile to the Web:

In Speccy, click File, and then click Publish Snapshot.

In the Publish Snapshot dialog box, click Yes to enable Speccy to proceed.

Speccy publishes the profile and displays a second Publish Snapshot. You can open the URL in your default browser, copy it to the clipboard, or close the dialog box.
Here's my Speccy profile. Hope it helps!

 

phillpower2

You can call me Ad
Administrator
Support Team
Sep 9, 2016
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Please do not quote every reply, it really does not help any and just makes for unnecessary reading, thanks.

Noticed a few things straight off but before going any further into Speccy I suggest that you take care of the following two first and see if the issue is resolved.

Quickest one to do first

Can I just make sure that when you cleaned the cooling fans that you did not disturb the heatsink, got to ask as you say in your OP I'm thinking that the default thermal paste might be the culprit but I'm not so sure."

Power Profile
Active power scheme: Balanced

On a notebook that has a discrete GPU as does yours you need to change the Windows Power Plan to High Performance else the GPU does not get enough power and cannot function properly, you can sometimes when not gaming change the Power Plan back to Balanced when not gaming and when you are gaming and using the High Performance setting you should have the AC adaptor plugged in to power the notebook, if you don`t do this High Performance will use up the charge in the battery in no time or with a weak battery not will not work at all.


Antivirus
Windows Defender
Antivirus: Disabled
Virus Signature Database: Up to date
Avast Antivirus
Antivirus: Enabled
Virus Signature Database: Up to date

Get rid of Avast, you don`t need it when running Windows 10 and the once highly recommended free AV has become such a monster that it is no longer recommended by most forums, it foists all sorts of unwanted rubbish on unsuspecting folk among which include browser plug ins that mess with the internet which in turn ruins peoples online gaming, info and removal steps below;


Having more than one AV installed on your computer is bad, it will slow down the computer, cause internet connection problems and leave you with no AV protection at all if they cancel each other out as they fight for resources.

Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 come with an improved Windows Defender, it offers the same real-time anti-virus/anti-malware protection as Microsoft Security Essentials. Windows Defender also shares the same malware signature definitions as Microsoft Security Essentials, and Forefront Endpoint Protection. Technically, Microsoft Security Essentials has not been renamed Windows Defender, or combined with it in Windows 8, 8.1 and 10.

If any AV product that you have is a paid for version you should always make sure that you have a copy of the product key kept somewhere safe just in case you ever wish to reinstall it.

You can uninstall Avast in the Control Panel but should you have any problems see Avast clean removal info here Please create a new system restore point first.
 
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AngryPopsicle

PCHF Member
PCHF Member
Apr 1, 2020
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Apologies for the quote thing, I will remember this convention from now on.

I changed the power profile and there is a very noticeable change on performance. I had to find a template for "Ultra Performance" and it's working very well.
Uninstalled Avast as you said, I don't think I see any changes after this but your arguments are solid so I will keep using the default Windows AV.
The thermal paste was some advice my neighbour gave me, I wanted to know your opinion on this. As for the heat sink I did not touch any components other than the fans and the battery (don't know if it was necessary for the fans, but I unplug the battery every time I open up my laptop) and it seems intuitive that the air I blew towards the fans wouldn't disturb the heat sink.

Laptop runs much better on Starcraft 2(Ultra), Batman: Arkham Knight(Ultra) and Witcher 3(Very high to Ultra).

Thank you very much for this. Your advice was professional and to the point. I'm very pleased :D.

If it's not too much of a bother, are there any other tips you may have for improving my performance. Anything else wrong in the Speccy snapshot?
 

phillpower2

You can call me Ad
Administrator
Support Team
Sep 9, 2016
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No worries, its just that we need to read the entire content of every reply to check for any info that may have been inserted.

As for any performance tips, can you post an updated Speccy url for us now that Avast has been removed, there was high memory usage shown in the first url so would like to check to see if the usage as dropped and if not take a look at what is hogging it.

Two recommendation, after first of all creating a new system restore point get Windows updated to version 1909, you are still running 1903 which makes the computer less secure, second recommendation is that at some point in the future when funds allow etc get yourself a larger capacity SSD, 120GB is not enough for Windows if you have anything else on the drive, 256GB would be large enough and to help keep Windows more secure from data corruption and/or malware put Windows on its own 180GB partition on the drive.

You are most welcome btw and thank you for the kind words :)
 

phillpower2

You can call me Ad
Administrator
Support Team
Sep 9, 2016
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With the exception of memory usage still being on the high side everything else looks good, you will note that getting rid of Avast has dropped memory use from 48% to 36%, still too high so we will take a look if needs be but one question may explain it.

RAM
Memory
Size: 16240 MBytes
Physical Memory
Memory Usage: 36 %

Speccy is only telling us that there is 16GB of RAM but nothing else, is the RAM a single 16GB stick or two Xs 8GB sticks.
 

phillpower2

You can call me Ad
Administrator
Support Team
Sep 9, 2016
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You have two different brands and spec of RAM, never a good idea as you will almost always get issues and what could be making things worse is that one stick is the XMP type while the other one is not, that is why the frequency readings in your screenshots do not match.
 
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AngryPopsicle

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Apr 1, 2020
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Seems fair. I thought that if I buy a stick with the same amount of gigs and frequency it should be fine, but apparently they need to be from the same brand too. When I'll have the budget I'll know what to do now ;):thumbsup:. Thanks for everything. It's all much better now.
 

phillpower2

You can call me Ad
Administrator
Support Team
Sep 9, 2016
6,874
657
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You can sometimes get away with using two different brands when the specs are the exact same, problem nowadays though is that everything seems to be about overclocking, hence the XMP thing, if one stick is XMP that can be overclocked and the other stick is non XMB and not suitable for overclocking you are highly likely to get such issues.

Just a fyi; the serial presence detect (SPD) is what the BIOS detects on boot as part of the power on self test (POST) your screenshots only showed the one stick of RAM with SPD info and that was the XMP for the Kingston, the other stick having nothing showing in the SPD basically means that the RAM is not compatible.

You are welcome btw :)
 
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