Low FPS on older and newer games alike - High End Specced Computer though

First off let me start with computer specs:

Intel I7-2600K Sandybridge
Nvidia GTX 970
16GB DDR3 1600MHZ (2x8GB BallisticX)
2TB HDD
500GB SSD - STEAM games are located on this drive to improve performance

I have run task manager and process explorer to see if when I am playing the game my memory or CPU is being eaten up but it's not. I will have frame rates drop to 20-30FPS in older games like Team Fortress 2 and Counter-Strike Source. I can barely even manage 30FPS in Battlefield 4 (haven't tried BF1 on PC). My graphics settings on the games are pretty much maxed out with VSYNC off but at 1440x900 resolution.

It could be me but with those specs on those older games I expect to be getting 60FPS smooth if not over 100FPS considering. Am I missing something or are my specs bottle necked in some form I don't realize?
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Sean ScissorsProgram Analyst IIAsked:
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Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
Many DDR3 motherboards prefer triple channel memory (blocks of 3), not blocks of 2.  Check the motherboard manual to see.  Blocks of 2 will certainly work, but not as fast as triple channel.
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MdlinnettCommented:
What Operating System? 32 or 64 bit?

I'm still on Sandy bridge (i5-2500k) with a GTX 980 and CS:Go flies, let alone CS Source.

What AV software have you got running?  If you disable that does it make a difference?
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Sean ScissorsProgram Analyst IIAuthor Commented:
@Mdlinnett

It's Windows 10 Home 64-bit.

For AV I just use Windows Defender (formerly Microsoft Security Essentials until Windows 8).

As I said I run the game and on my 2nd monitor watch Task Manager to see CPU usage and RAM usage. When my FPS drop to like 20fps in TF2 my CPU is at like 25-30% and RAM is at 25% (about 4GB of the 16GB). So there seems to be no reason why it would drop so low in FPS based on my specs. Again, the game files are on my SSD also.
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Sean ScissorsProgram Analyst IIAuthor Commented:
Doesn't seem like there is much reason as to why I am getting such low FPS with pretty high specs. Anyone else want to chime in with ideas?
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MdlinnettCommented:
Stupid questions time - your monitors are plugged in to your graphics card and the on board intel graphics are disabled?
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Sean ScissorsProgram Analyst IIAuthor Commented:
@Mdlinnett Yes, monitors are plugged into my GTX970 via HDMI and DVI direct cables. Internal gfx card is set to off in BIOS.
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Sean ScissorsProgram Analyst IIAuthor Commented:
I added it to more topics in hope to get more eyes/views on the subject. Seems only 16 people have seen this ticket unfortunately :(
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MdlinnettCommented:
Ok, there are a few things to try as process of elimination, do these things one at a time.  Try out the performance after each individual change.

  • Grab the latest nVidia Drivers from http://www.nvidia.com
  • Turn down the graphics settings to much lower settings on one of the affected games, especially making sure Anti-Aliasing is disabled.
  • If you reinstall one of the games onto your HDD rather than SSD, does this affect performance?
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Sean ScissorsProgram Analyst IIAuthor Commented:
@Mdlinnett I checked that I have the latest drivers. I will turn down the settings but its upsetting that with my specs I need to do that. I will try the last step later when I get home and report back. Thanks for the input.
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MdlinnettCommented:
Yeah I know what you mean, don't worry though, it's purely for benchmarking purposes.  It might even be worth increasing them further and seeing if you receive a performance reduction.
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Sean ScissorsProgram Analyst IIAuthor Commented:
@Mdlinnett  Ok so I finally got around to testing. At full graphics and low graphics the performance didn't really change? So weird. Something doesn't add up. I ran the "video stress test" inside of Counter Strike: Source and it said my avg FPS was 247. But when I play the game my FPS drops below 30 at times. I don't get it...
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dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
Wild thought.

Can you check and monitor the temperatures of the card.  Just in case the card is throttling itself down.  Also check heatsink is free of dust and that the fan is spinning freely.
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Sean ScissorsProgram Analyst IIAuthor Commented:
@dbrunton So I ran BF4, CSS and TF2 at full settings in 1440x900 resolution (damn 19in monitors I need new ones). The GFX card sat idle at about 46C and when it had maybe 20-25% load whilst playing it jumped to around 52C. Don't think it's the card itself. I drop from 100+ FPS to around 20-30 during busy times in TF2. It just seems like a pretty significant drop for an older game like that. I plan to fully test BF4 tonight. I haven't been able to play it smooth which is why I haven't gotten BF1. I want to though :)
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MdlinnettCommented:
Was there a difference in performance after installing the game on a different disk?

Have a look at this thread > http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/answers/id-2096888/underpowered-psu-low-fps.html

The bottom comment indicates someone with the same issue resolved the problem by tinkering with the cpu settings in the bios.  Have you tried a bios update and resetting it to factory defaults?
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Sean ScissorsProgram Analyst IIAuthor Commented:
@Mdlinnett Oddly enough my CPU heatsink went bad on me and I replaced it. I noticed prior to it going bad my computer would crash. Now with a new heatsink it seems fine, quiet and everything is good. However, my CPU temp sits idle at 96C apparently. I think the sensor in the CPU is wrong because the fans are dead silent and the computer runs just fine. But bec of the scare of the high idle temp I reset my OC back to factory. Maybe I can try putting my OC on again and see if there is a difference. I will let you know.
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MdlinnettCommented:
Well we might be getting somewhere, certainly something to look into.

Standard questions again just in case :) >

When replacing the heat sink did you clean off the old thermal paste with a suitable solvent?

Did you apply the fresh thermal paste to the cpu before connecting the new heat sink?
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MdlinnettCommented:
Try this app to monitor your cpu temp in windows (independent of the bios) https://camwebapp.com

If it says it is hot in there as well as your bios, I reckon your cpu is dialling itself back.

A bios update might fix things, if you're very lucky.  Is there an option in your bios to override the high temp threshold on your cpu ONLY if you are absolutely certain it's not getting that hot?
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dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
Possibles if the CPU is getting too hot:

Heatsink compound spread too thick.
Heatsink not sitting down properly (canted)
Heatsink not fastened correctly to motherboard (I hate the Intel fasteners)
Heatsink fan not working correctly, especially under load.  Check that the fan spins freely (if it has plain bearings they wear pretty quickly)
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Sean ScissorsProgram Analyst IIAuthor Commented:
Great news!! With a little bit of struggle I updated my bios. Since then the CPU temp now sit around 65C idle. Still seems hot for an i72600k with a brand new corsair heat sink. But so much better. I'm going to run the OC in the bios and check the fps. Will get back to you shortly. Thank you for everything so far. EE community strikes again, in a good way haha.
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Sean ScissorsProgram Analyst IIAuthor Commented:
So here's the good news. My FPS is a steady 60FPS in BF4 at ULTRA settings. In TF2 it still likes to drop some but in CSS it is around 180-200 constant never dropping below like 100. So the FPS/performance has improved. However, when I tried to OC my CPU at all, it fails. Won't even boot to Bios after doing it. At about 50% load the CPU gets into the 98C temp. Might be time for a new CPU or MOBO or new build altogether. That being said, it's working much better and idles around 60C so a BIOS update was the main key ingredient. Thanks everyone for the help.
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Sean ScissorsProgram Analyst IIAuthor Commented:
The problem was mainly a BIOS update. That fixed the temperature issues and performance issues.
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MdlinnettCommented:
Great news :-) I'm glad you're able to get back to gaming!  Give Overwatch a spin if you get the chance ;-).

If upgrading I'd be tempted to go new motherboard and cpu just to rule both out.
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