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Stubborn stuttering issue


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#1 kcw84

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 09:46 PM

For anyone who can help, I very much appreciate your time!

To begin, my system specs are listed below:

- Intel core i7 7700k CPU
- Zalman CNPS9900MAX-B CPU cooler
- Corsair Crystal 570X ATX mid-tower w/ 6x SP120 RGB LED case fans
- Asus ROG Strix Z270E motherboard
- 32GB (2 x 16GB) Corsair DDR4-3000 Dominator Platinum Series RAM
- Zotac Geforce 1080 ti AMP! Extreme edition
- Samsung 960 EVO 500GB M2 SSD
- WD Green SATA 4TB HDD
- EVGA Supernova NEX750G 750-watt PSU
- Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

I built this system about 6 weeks ago, and everything was running smoothly until one week ago (up to that point, I had been using the PC primarily for work - Office, Excel - and gaming - Doom 4). To the best of my recollection, the sequence of events was: 1) I installed the latest GeForce drivers (382.53) after being prompted by GeForce experience (note that I had consistently used Geforce experience up to this point with no issues), and 2) some Windows updates were installed. No issue seemed to manifest that day (I continued using the PC after the drivers were installed, playing Doom 4 as normal, then chose the "shut down w/ Windows updates" option). The next day, I began noticing a broad-based micro-stuttering issue and audio distortion (i.e. it sounds like the audio slows down considerably while taking on a metallic/robotic tone), with the issue noticeable regardless of what I was doing (i.e. using Windows normally, trying to watch a YouTube video, trying to play Doom 4, though the issues appears pronounced when opening up a program (i.e. a browser window, an installer executable, etc.). The broad stuttering and audio issues were consistent; however, there were also inconsistent problems, which were: 1) my computer would hang during startup (this would occur perhaps 1 of every 5 startups, with the screen turning black and/or going into sleep mode as Windows began to load), 2) loading Doom 4 would cause my machine to freeze, 3) spontaneous restarts (error 41 according to event viewer, associated with the geforce driver), and 4) this only happened once, but I received a message during Windows bootup that my disk needed to be repaired (once it was repaired, I lost my Windows profile, with Doom 4 disappearing).

Since then, I have tried both software and hardware-focused remedies. To begin, I wiped my M2 SSD and did a clean Windows 10 install, which didn't help. I noticed that as soon as I installed Geforce drivers, the issue re-appeared, even though I avoided installing HD audio, Geforce experience and the 3D drivers. I then began testing each hardware component individually, using spare components I have from prior builds. To begin, I replaced my 1080ti GPU with an old 960, but the stuttering/audio issue remained. I tried replacing my RAM with a stick of old DDR4-2166 4GB RAM I had, to no avail. Today, I removed my M2 drive from the system, replacing it was an older Corsair M2 128GB drive, and doing a clean Windows install, which didn't help. I have also tried disabling my onboard sound and using a PCIe Asus Xonar DSX soundcard, but again this didn't help. I have also tried booting with only my M2 SSD enabled (I disabled the other HDD), but this didn't help.

So at this point, the only three components that remain untested are the CPU, motherboard and PSU. I am increasingly at a loss, though I am hopeful there is something I'm missing here. My apologies for the length of this post, but I wanted to be comprehensive, and am hoping someone here can assist me. Many thanks!



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#2 jwoods301

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 11:50 PM

"I noticed that as soon as I installed Geforce drivers, the issue re-appeared, even though I avoided installing HD audio, Geforce experience and the 3D drivers..."

 

Quite a bit of discussion on the 382.53 driver feedback thread...

 

https://forums.geforce.com/default/topic/1012371/geforce-drivers/official-382-53-game-ready-whql-display-driver-feedback-thread-released-6-9-17-/


Edited by jwoods301, 19 June 2017 - 11:52 PM.


#3 kcw84

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 07:09 AM

Thanks. I'd add that this may not be 382.53 driver related, as the issue occurs with the drivers automatically installed on a clean copy of Windows 10 (382.05). I have also used DDU to wipe my drivers and have tried installing older driver versions (i.e. 378.92), which also did not help (i.e. the micro-stuttering and audio issues remained).



#4 usasma

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 05:03 AM

Let's try looking at these 2 sets of reports:

Report Set #1)  Please run this report collecting tool (even though you may not be experiencing BSOD's) so that we can provide a complete analysis: (from the pinned topic at the top of the forum)   http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/576314/blue-screen-of-death-bsod-posting-instructions-windows-10-81-8-7-vista/
FYI - I don't often use the Perfmon report, so if it doesn't work please just let me know.

If you have problems with it running it, there's an alternate tool here (direct download link):  https://github.com/blueelvis/BSOD-Inspector/releases/download/1.0.5/BSODInspector-1.0.5.exe

NOTE:
Please zip up the (.ZIP) files - do not use .RAR or other compression utilities. 
.ZIP is the type file that can be uploaded to the forums.

Report Set #2)  Please do the following:
- open Event Viewer (run eventvwr.msc from the "Run" dialog)
- expand the Custom Views category (left click on the > next to the words "Custom Views")
- right click on the "Administrative Events" heading
- select "Save all Events in Custom View as..."
- save the file as Admin.evtx
- zip up the file (right click on it, select "Send to", select "Compressed (zipped) folder")
- upload it with your next post (if it's too big, then upload it to a free file-hosting service and post a link here).

FYI - If we're looking for Event ID 41 errors (unexplained shutdowns), there's more info on that here:  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2028504

While waiting for a reply, please monitor your temps with this free utility: 

SpeedFan v. 4.5.1 and later (free from here:  http://www.almico.com/sfdownload.php ) can log temperatures in a CSV file:
You may not need to log temps - if uncertain, please ask.

To make it work (log the temps to a file) you have to do BOTH of the below:

1. Enable logging in general: Configure...Log...check "Enabled" then click on OK to save.

2. Enable logging for specific checks: Configure...Temperatures..left click on each sensor, then click on "Logged" at the bottom of the Window (for our purposes we want them all) then once you've selected "Logged" for all sensors, then click on OK to save.

The log will be located at C:\Program Files (x86)\SpeedFan

Naming: log files are named SFLogYYYYMMDD.csv, where YYYY is the year (four digits), MM is the month (2 digits, zero padded) and DD is the day (2 digits, zero padded). If a file already exists by that name, the file that already exists is renamed according to the following naming scheme: SFLogYYYYMMDD-CCCC.csv, where CCCC is a increasing number. The new file is then created with the standard file name scheme.

Notes: whenever you change the options related with logging, SpeedFan starts a new log file.

NOTE:You may want to turn logging off when we're done - as I don't know it's impact on performance or on the system.



 
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#5 kcw84

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 09:24 AM

Thanks, I will try this tonight once I'm back home. Separately, after digging around a bit more, I think the issue may have to do with installing the Windows 10 Creators Update, which I now understand has created many problems for a wide range of people, especially those using GeForce GPUs (i.e. there are many posts about Creators Update-related problems on the Nvidia forums). This may be why my issues persist even after installing a clean copy of Windows 10, as I did not save my original ISO, so the only ISO I have now, I believe, already has the Creators Update included. I find that when I do a clean install, I do not experience the micro-stuttering and audio issues until I install the GeForce driver.


Edited by kcw84, 21 June 2017 - 09:27 AM.


#6 kcw84

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 06:27 PM

Here's what I've done since I last posted: I did a clean install of the Anniversary Update (1607), on the premise that the Creators Update was causing the problem (many on the GeForce forums have experienced/claimed this was the problem). However, I began experiencing the stuttering issue again even with 1607 clean-installed, seemingly after Windows automatically installed a number of updates. 

Here are the updates installed:

- Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1607 for x64-based Systems (KB4022715)
- Microsoft .NET Framework 4.7 for Windows 10 Version 1607 and Windows Server 2016 for x64 (KB3186568)
- Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool for Windows 8, 8.1, 10 and Windows Server 2012, 2012 R2, 2016 x64 Edition - June 2017 (KB890830)
- Security Update for Adobe Flash Player for Windows 10 Version 1607 for x64-based Systems (KB4022730)
- Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1607 for x64-based Systems (KB4022715)
- Update for Windows 10 Version 1607 for x64-based Systems (KB4023834)

 

The other thing I'd add, which may be an unimportant detail: when I first log into windows, I have about a 1-2 second window before stuttering begins. For example, once in Windows, when I open a browser window, my computer will stutter briefly, pretty much every time. However, when I first log into Windows, and if I immediately open a browser window (i.e. within 1-2 seconds of the login), it opens without stuttering.



#7 kcw84

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 06:29 PM

Please find my Event Viewer file attached:

Attached Files



#8 kcw84

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 06:46 PM

Please find my SysnativeBSOD report attached:

 

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#9 kcw84

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 06:51 PM

Perfmon report attached

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#10 kcw84

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 07:17 PM

I've now also installed every last driver available for my various hardware components, which has not resolved the issue. Separately, I have experienced four warnings in the past 5 minutes or so, all of which say, "Display driver nvlddmkm stopped responding and has successfully recovered." (event ID 4101 for all)



#11 kcw84

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 10:16 PM

Apologies for continuing to add more things before receiving a response, but after installing SpeedFan as you suggested (all my temps appear normal - CPU at 28C and GPU at 35C), I noticed that the stuttering/audio distortion appears to happen at the same time as a sudden spike in CPU activity, from the 0-8% range (normal) to 50%+ when the stutter/audio distortion occurs.



#12 usasma

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 05:25 AM

A clean install of Windows that continues to have problems is most likely due to a hardware or a compatibility problem.

But, a clean install needs to have only Windows stuff installed, needs to have ALL Windows Updates, and needs to have no errors in Device Manager.
If there is an error in Device Manager, fix it - even if if requires a 3rd party driver (but make sure that it's compatible w/W10).

 

The CPU spike and the bad audio occurring are a symptom - now we just need to figure out what's causing the CPU to spike.
Open up Task Manager to the Processes tab, and sort it by CPU activity.

Then wait until the CPU spikes - and see what the top items are in Task Manager at that time.

 

Please note the repeated nVidia errors that you refer to.  The possibilities here are:

- software

- hardware

Replacing the software with new, compatible software will help to rule software out.

At that point, hardware becomes suspect.

 

To remove the software, uninstall it, then use DDU (free from here:  http://www.guru3d.com/files-details/display-driver-uninstaller-download.html ) to remove any remnants.

Then download and install the latest video drivers from the nVidia website.

 

If this doesn't fix the video errors, then try another video card (one that's known to work without problems)

If you don't have one to try, I'd suggest purchasing one from a shop that will let you return it (for your money back) if it's not needed.

Let this be the last thing that you try - that way you won't be spending money until it's the only thing left to try.

 

Lot's of errors in the Admin log file - but I didn't see any directly related to your issues.

?I wonder if this might be a problem with the OS being corrupted - keep this in mind for later (if we don't find something else to blame).

 

It appears that the Intel Management Engine software (MEI) isn't installed on your system.
Please visit the Asus support website and download/install the latest, W10 compatible version.

 

Your UEFI/BIOS (version 0906) dates from 2017.  Please check at the manufacturer's website to see if there are any UEFI/BIOS updates available for your system.  This is just in case there has been a more recent update.
FYI - W8 and W10 communicate more with the UEFI/BIOS than previous versions of Windows, so it's important to ensure that the UEFI/BIOS is kept up to date (and that outdated UEFI/BIOS' may be the cause of some compatibility issues).

Only 4 Windows Update hotfixes installed.  Most build 14393 (1607) systems have more than this.  Please visit Windows Update and get ALL available Windows Updates.
The actual number is not important.  Rather it's important that you checked manually, installed any available updates, and didn't experience any errors when checking or updating.

Once all that's done, then we wait and see what happens.........

Good luck!


Edited by usasma, 22 June 2017 - 05:26 AM.

My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#13 kcw84

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 10:29 AM

Thanks for your comprehensive response! There are some items I'll need to test once I get home tonight (i.e. what processes are causing the CPU to spike), but I can respond to some of your points now:

 

- I installed all available drivers (to my knowledge) for my various hardware components, including motherboard (all from the asus website), GPU, M.2 SSD. This also includes the Intel Management Engine software from the Asus website. I do not see any device manager errors (though there was an unknown "PCI communications device" listed before I installed all drivers). Unfortunately, the issues remain.

- I used DDU to uninstall drivers in my original installation of Win10 (which I tried to fix after my issues began, but ultimately decided to abandon for a clean install). It didn't help at the time, but I'll try again tonight. I would note that Windows (following clean install) automatically installed the 378.78 Geforce drivers, which I then updated to the current 382.53 drivers (I did a custom install, selecting only the actual driver and PhysX, and also selected the "clean install" option).

- I have tried replacing hardware components for which I have replacements, which did not help. I replaced my GPU (1080ti) with an old 960, but the issues persisted. I also tried replacement RAM, SSD and audio card (i.e. turning off my onboard sound, and using a PCIe Asus Xonar DSX), all of which did not resolve the issue.

- I confirmed on the Asus website that I have the latest bios version (0906). I updated the bios myself after the issue began (from 0801); is there some way the bios update could have been corrupted? Probably not, I'm guessing, but wondering if it's worth trying to flash it again.

- Finally, back to the hardware replacement testing issue; at this point, the only hardware I have not tested with replacement components would be my CPU, motherboard and PSU. I'm wondering if I might have damaged my CPU and/or motherboard during my system build process (seems unlikely, but I've read that Skylake CPU owners reported some coolers damaging their CPU). I am using the Zalman CNPS9900MAX CPU cooler, which is a large, heavy cooler that was designed before socket 1151 was developed (i.e. the installation documentation that came with the cooler does not list 1151 as a compatible socket, though the online pdf documentation for the cooler, which has presumably been updated, does list 1151). I used another one of these same coolers on my most recent build (which was based on a core i7 2600k) with no issue (it still runs smoothly today, after 6 years). However, I had a decent amount of trouble attaching the cooler for this build; nothing went obviously wrong during my installation process, but I noticed that the cooler did not seem to attach particularly well to my motherboard initially; of the four "legs" of the cooler to be screwed into the motherboard, it was challenging to attach the final two (and especially the final one), as attaching the other two/three would make it harder for the remaining two/one to reach the motherboard. While I was ultimately able to attach the cooler securely, and did not hear or feel anything suggesting damage to the CPU and/or motherboard, I'm now beginning to wonder if that may be related to the issue.


Edited by kcw84, 22 June 2017 - 12:24 PM.


#14 usasma

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 05:02 PM

Please rerun the Sysnative tool and upload it again - the PCI communications error was in those reports and that pointed to the Intel MEI (both from the perfmon report and the MSINFO32 report).

 

If you have tested all but the CPU, motherboard, and PSU - then it's most likely one of them.

My suggested hardware tests include CPU testers - so that should be one of the next steps.

 

Here's a link to my suggested tests:  http://www.carrona.org/hwdiag.html

Please start with the CPU test, but please run ALL of the tests and let us know the results.

Don't forget to monitor the heat, as the difficulties installing the cooler may have left enough space for the heat to rise.

 

PSU testing is difficult.  PSU testers can test static voltages without the PSU being under load.

I have not found a tool to test PSU's under load. 

At work we use another PSU in cases like this.  You may want to purchase one from a shop that'll accept returns if it's not needed (and will give you your money back).

 

And, as for the motherboard - if the PSU is OK and the CPU passes the tests, then it's most likely the motherboard.

BUT, remember that these tests are software tests testing hardware components - so there's some risk involved in purchasing a replacement.  (I'm finding this a lot in video cards, but suspect that CPUs and motherboards may be similar)


My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#15 kcw84

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 08:42 PM

Please find my updated Sysnative report attached. In addition (in case it is helpful), I am also attaching a video showing the audio distortion I've been experiencing this whole time.

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