Low GPU usage during gaming online only but no CPU bottleneck

Hello,
The machine I am referring to is the Cyberpowerpc gu2191.
The specifications of this machine are as follows:
AMD R9 270x GDDR5 2gb (Sapphire Dual-x w/ boost) core clock 1070 mem clock 1400
AMD A10 7850k quad core 3.7ghz APU (4ghz turbo)
8gb DDR3 1600mhz RAM
2TB Toshiba 7200RPM HDD
MSI A78m-E35 Motherboard w/ OC Genie 4
Windows 8.1 64 bit
350watt PSU (plan on throwing in a 600watt ASAP)
Internet: Verizon Fios 50/25 10ms ping w/ Asus AC router
The issue I am experiencing is low GPU usage during gaming causing low fps problems. This is not specific to one game, though the varying (low) percentages of usage do seem to be specific to certain games (such as league of legends getting 15%, battlefield 4 getting 40%). The steps I've taken to resolve this issue on my own include:

I have monitored in MSI afterburner, GPU z and catalyst control center to ensure that the readings were accurate. All seems normal in GPU z.

I do not believe this to be a CPU bottleneck as the CPU usage on any specific core is <80% at all times during gaming.

There is no heat related issue as the temperature of my GPU rarely reaches above 60 degrees C.

I have tried the driver versions 13.10, 13.12, 14.1 beta, and now 14.2 beta using driver sweeper between installs and had no results.

I've unparked the cores of my CPU, as well as overclocked to 4.3ghz to make sure there was truly no bottleneck and it made no difference whatsoever.

I've ensured that my bios has no updates available and that I have the latest drivers for my motherboard.

I've searched through my BIOS to make sure there were no limiting settings to be changed. I found nothing relevant.

I've put windows into high performance mode for power usage.

I've scanned for virus' with AVG free edition.

I've disabled AVG free edition while playing to ensure there was no conflict with it.

I've attempted slight overclocks of my GPU.

I've changed settings in Catalyst Control Center to allow my GPU to draw more power than it's rated TDP would suggest it would.

I've reseated the graphics card to ensure that was of no issue as well as inspected all connections within my machine.

I've used a different HDMI cable (though IDK why that would even do anything, but I tried it).

I've contacted CyberpowerPC, who were of little help.

I've run Unigen Heaven 4.0 benchmarking to ensure that my GPU wasn't defective and could infact hit 99% usage, which it did throughout the whole test.

I've spoken with many friends with tech knowledge that would be considered high and they are also confused as to why this would happen.

Recently, today, I realized that when playing Battlefield 4 offline, I get 99% usage, but playing online, I get more like 40% usage. There is no way I have a bottleneck from my cpu as you can find benchmarks on google of this APU not limiting an r9 290. Furthermore, there is absolutely NO way my CPU could be costing me 85% performance at times in games like league of legends, where I can't even hold a steady 60fps during mid/late game.

I fail to understand how this could be power supply related as my graphics card has shown that during offline gaming and benchmarking I am able to hit 99% usage anyways, and I've never had a blue screen or a random reboot. I'm hesitant to blame that for this issue.

I'm really lost here as to why this is happening. Maybe it is just a faulty GPU, which I can have replaced, but I'd really like to exhaust all other possibilities before going through with that.

*I forgot to mention that during battlefield 4, turning my res scale up actually gives me better fps because it forces my GPU to work harder. I want 60fps WITHOUT having to jack my res scale up.

Thanks.
18 answers Last reply
More about low gpu usage gaming online cpu bottleneck
  1. Well, there is a slight CPU bottleneck there, but that isn't your main issue. I would get a new power supply before you really mess with anything else, because it's really unsafe to run it with an underpowered one. I'm talking about fire. It's probably worse during multiplayer when the CPU is stressed, and drawing more power, taking it away from the GPU. Just my guess.
  2. It is a miracle that the PC is running at all with this psu...
  3. ewok93 said:
    Well, there is a slight CPU bottleneck there, but that isn't your main issue. I would get a new power supply before you really mess with anything else, because it's really unsafe to run it with an underpowered one. I'm talking about fire. It's probably worse during multiplayer when the CPU is stressed, and drawing more power, taking it away from the GPU. Just my guess.


    How do you figure there is a cpu bottleneck? Even if there is, it isn't causing this problem. League of Legends absolutely doesn't even need 4 cores. I do realize I need a new PSU asap, but how would that contribute to the problem? I'm not doubting you, I'd just like to understand how. Thanks.
  4. Oh wow a 350w PSU? How did you ever get the PC even to boot up? Whether that is the source of the problem or not you need to replace that yesterday! You can seriesly harm your components trying to use too weak of a power supply. I strongly suggest turning your PC off and leaving it off until you can get a better PSU. That or take the GPU out and run it with the integrated.

    I don't think the PSU is making the GPU run low as it normally just shuts the PC off when it can't deliver enough power and as you said you can get the GPU up to %99 in offline mode. You don't have vsync on do you? Sometimes that can cause problems but I doubt that's it... Battlefield 4 doesn't have physx (I don't think) so that can't be the problem.

    You are right the CPU isn't the problem unless its overheating? You mentioned GPU temps but didn't say what your CPU is running at.

    Just out of curiosity are you using mantle in battlefield 4?

    I honestly don't know what the issue might be. you did most all the standered stuff when you are having problems with the GPU.
  5. thdarkshadow said:
    Oh wow a 350w PSU? How did you ever get the PC even to boot up? Whether that is the source of the problem or not you need to replace that yesterday! You can seriesly harm your components trying to use too weak of a power supply. I strongly suggest turning your PC off and leaving it off until you can get a better PSU. That or take the GPU out and run it with the integrated.

    I don't think the PSU is making the GPU run low as it normally just shuts the PC off when it can't deliver enough power and as you said you can get the GPU up to %99 in offline mode. You don't have vsync on do you? Sometimes that can cause problems but I doubt that's it... Battlefield 4 doesn't have physx (I don't think) so that can't be the problem.

    You are right the CPU isn't the problem unless its overheating? You mentioned GPU temps but didn't say what your CPU is running at.

    Just out of curiosity are you using mantle in battlefield 4?

    I honestly don't know what the issue might be. you did most all the standered stuff when you are having problems with the GPU.


    Cpu idles at 40ish and hits like 55 max. I have it set to shut down if it hits over 60 degrees c. No, I don't use mantle because it is poorly optimized for my card.
  6. Are you using a wireless card? IF the problem appear during online game-play only it MAY be connection related. Although I also do not know how this can restrict the CPU.
  7. I am using a wireless card, however it is a good dual band N card, I get great speeds/ping on it, and I get no packet loss. The issue does happen online, but it happens even if I go online with no other players like the Battlefield 4 Practice Range. Also, connection problems wouldn't explain GPU usage percentages.
  8. I'd try it wired anyway just to be sure.
  9. I highly doubt its the wireless card. That PSU should not work in that machine. There is more to a CPU than clock speed and cores, just look at Intel vs AMD. The 7850k is about equal to a 760k or 4300, so while it is not a huge bottleneck, it is still technically one in that you will not reach the full potential of your graphics card. But seriously, don't game on that until you have a new PSU. Fire is bad. Especially inside a computer. And it is a very real possibility, I have seen it happen before.
  10. ewok93 said:
    I highly doubt its the wireless card. That PSU should not work in that machine. There is more to a CPU than clock speed and cores, just look at Intel vs AMD. The 7850k is about equal to a 760k or 4300, so while it is not a huge bottleneck, it is still technically one in that you will not reach the full potential of your graphics card. But seriously, don't game on that until you have a new PSU. Fire is bad. Especially inside a computer. And it is a very real possibility, I have seen it happen before.


    Obviously that PSU shouldn't work. Also, I've actually had the processor at 4.3ghz and the clocks of the GPU turned up 60mhz or so each at once and it didn't blue screen. I didn't realize it was such a small PSU until I opened the case recently. That being said, it is also some unheard of brand. Since reading your earlier message, I've disabled the discrete graphics card and am running on the APU graphics. Scarily, the APU graphics are giving me similar performance in some games as to what I was seeing out of my R9 270x, like 70-80fps in a lot of places in league of legends on 1080p highest settings with anti aliasing. Clearly, this CPU couldn't be the bottleneck to that degree if it is one.

    The fact that this happens without any additional players to render in multiplayer is also confusing to me, because there should be little to no additional CPU strain compared to the campaign of battlefield 4. If a bottleneck does exist, surely it can't cause problems to this caliber.

    What else is there that could suggest this is a bottleneck, and what information do you have to support it? I'm always interested to learn more about hardware.

    In the case that a CPU upgrade is needed in the future, what is a suitable motherboard and processor (preferably intel, unless AMD is a much better deal) for a low price that would not limit this GPU?

    Another question I have, is would overclocking this to like 4.4ghz or something around that once I have a new powersupply alleviate any bottlenecking problems?

    Lastly, do you have any other ideas as to what this could be in the event that replacing the power supply doesn't do the trick?

    Thanks for your help so far everybody.
  11. http://www.anandtech.com/show/6985/choosing-a-gaming-cpu-at-1440p-adding-in-haswell-/9

    That link basically shows conclusively that my CPU is not a bottleneck. The a8 5800k was found to be a good enough cpu to not bottleneck the 7970 from AMD, and my GPU is slightly worse and my processor a good deal better.


  12. That is the definition of a bottleneck. You will get a maximum of 37 FPS on low settings with that CPU, at 35 at ULTRA with the GPU.
  13. ewok93 said:


    That is the definition of a bottleneck. You will get a maximum of 37 FPS on low settings with that CPU, at 35 at ULTRA with the GPU.


    I'm having a hard time understanding how this shows a bottleneck? Those are two seperate graphs showing performance of dedicated cards and integrated graphics but showing no direct relation between the two. Also, did you check out the link I provided?
  14. Ah, the one with the 7850k is showing the graphics performance, my bad. That link really has nothing useful. I'm not saying there is a huge bottleneck, but it is there. That does not matter though, your PSU matters. You need a new one. After that, you should be fine.
  15. ewok93 said:
    Ah, the one with the 7850k is showing the graphics performance, my bad. That link really has nothing useful. I'm not saying there is a huge bottleneck, but it is there. That does not matter though, your PSU matters. You need a new one. After that, you should be fine.


    The point of the link is that it showed that a 7970 wasn't bottlenecked by a worse APU more than 1% in performance compared to a serious processor.

    I'm only asking for a basis for your argument that there is a bottleneck as I have evidence to support that there isn't. CPU usage <80% on all cores during gaming, that link, etc.

    Have you ever seen such a thing happen with GPU power declining due to PSU? I've only ever experienced reboots when something like that is the case (though not on this machine). I'm definitely going to upgrade it, no question about it, but it just seems so out of the ordinary to be the cause of the issue, especially since it was a prebuilt machine from cyberpowerpc who supposedly "tested" it to make sure the PSU worked well in it. Thanks again for the help.
  16. I'm saying I don't care if you have a bottleneck, whether you do or not is none of my concern, I'm just trying to help you fix your computer. An underpowered PSU can cause issues with your GPU.
  17. ewok93 said:
    I'm saying I don't care if you have a bottleneck, whether you do or not is none of my concern, I'm just trying to help you fix your computer. An underpowered PSU can cause issues with your GPU.


    I'm pressing so hard about it not because I doubt you or anything, it's just that if upgrading my PSU were to not resolve the issue the next thing I'd likely look at is my processor since I am aware it isn't amazing by any stretch, and I would like to understand where the issue with it would lie so I could go about addressing it. That's all.

    My theory on why the power supply could cause issues is that it could cause undervoltage to the graphics card and cause it to clock down when more components are being strained. Does that sound reasonable to you?

    I'm going to be upgrading my power supply, hopefully sometime < 3 weeks from now. I will wait to chose a solution until then in case it isn't resolved, though I will choose yours ewok. Thanks for your help
  18. Honestly, I'm not clear enough on how power supplies work to tell you exactly why it is doing it, but I do believe some will limit how much power they put out to a certain area, and some will just put out power until they are damaged. Definitely get a new one though, because it can't hurt.
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