Low GPU usage/FPS Drops

I'm getting fps drops in a variety of games and I can't figure out the problem... my system should perform well on its own, and it does in benchmarks, but not in games... -_-

8350 @ 4.4 now, and R9 290 Tri-X stock OC 1000/1300
All stats of my rig in my signature

Sleeping dogs Extreme preset: 49min 65avg 93max
Unigine Valley Extreme HD 1080p: 55.6fps
Unigine Heaven 4.0 all ultra/extreme 1080p: 50.6fps
Metro 2033 Benchmark Very high 16xAF 4xMsaa DOF on: 50avg
I even MATCH this sites exact result, and they were using a 3960k and I only have an 8350...(so how can CPU be my issue?)
Metro Last Light Benchmark Very High everything + SSAA on: 43avg
Hitman Absolution Ultra 8xMsaa: 51.6fps
Unreal Engine 4 Elemental benchmark 32-49fps, 43avg on inside of temple, 34-37avg outside in snow

These are very normal results, and I match almost every review site and youtube video for these...
All of that, and I still have this very odd issue where as my gpu usage drops, so does my fps.

In sleeping dogs, I got 65 on the benchmark, and it was 60-75 a majority of the time, but in-game, its only 55-70 at night, and a horrid 40-65 in daylight...
That's not the issue... the issue is that lowering settings doesn't help much. turning down AA to high helped by 10fps, but if I lower it to normal and lower SSAO to normal... I LOSE fps...
I get the same minimum fps on all settings, lowering to medium I get 45-90fps... and gpu usage is only 40-50%...

Through ALL of this, my CPU usage stays the same, 45-55% on cpu, and all 8 cores are being used about the same...

Same issue with BF3 multiplayer... I play the first mission between 116-170fps on all ultra and 90 FOV in the train... but EVERY BF3 map runs 40-90fps, and Gulf of Oman only runs 30-50fps... Again, in multiplayer at least, lowering settings HARDLY helps, like low runs only 20fps faster, so 80-110...
BF4 runs fine 60-120 on ultra in single player, DX11 and Mantle (mantle is 5-8fps faster) yet I run many maps horribly, like 40-65 on DX11 and 50-100 with Mantle in multiplayer. If you could help me narrow down my issue... I'm 80-140fps on Rouge Transmission yet only 45-90 in Hainan Resort and Paracel storm, Altai Range, Zavod, even Lancing Dam...
No matter the settings, low or ultra, I get the same 60-80% cpu usage again, and all 8 cores are running. Again, same minimum fps on all settings, getting 50-180 on low... and it seems to still float around 70-90... same as ultra.

I recently OC'd to 4.4ghz and am using stock voltage and a monster 220bus FSB OC for maximizing single-threaded applications since I thought a cou bottleneck could be to blame?

apparently not... gained maybe one 1fps from each game, sleeping dogs and BF3/BF4 gained virtually nothing... only apparent in benchmarks basically... This is normal, but my PC isn't in normal. If it were a CPU bound bottleneck this should have skyrocketed my fps...

I then OC'd my gpu all the way to 1125/1450, thinking that was the issue and that helped none in Sleeping dogs, like NONE! It helped maybe 1-2fps in BF4... yet, Metro Last Light now runs 61-75fps on very high settings and 2x Supersampling... that's 10-15 more fps than I had...

Now metro is a very GPU bound game, and as hard as it is to run... it runs better than these "highly optimized" games everyone else raves to me about... I also run Hitman absolution 8xmsaa from 65-100 a majority of the game, only dropping ot 50's in parts of the game...

CPU clock never drops under 4416mhz, and all 8 cores are used in most games. temps: CPU package temps under 48C, CPU core temp under 54C (recommended is under 70C so...)
R9 290 clock stays at 999-1000mhz and never drops, GPU usage is fluctuating, and low gpu usage corresponds with low fps. Temps: VRM 70C, GPU core under 76C, only 42% fan speed max.

I have tried:
-reinstalling drivers with DDU, reinstalling all of them again, MOBO drivers, 14.4 chipset and graphics drivers
-All CCC settings default, nothing is turned up, turning them down helps none
-Bios updated to latest version released March 28 2014...
-Unparked cores (even though it did nothing for me on Windows 8.1 anyway)
-Turned off all power saving options in BIOS, and am at 4.4ghz stable at 1.38v with 220FSB clock
-No viruses or background processes are going on, PC is only using the game. (I scan my pc once a day with Webroot)
-Reinstalled Windows 8.1... same fps

Any ideas, cause I'm at the end of the road here (as you can tell from my wall of stats...) Is it something I have set. My friend also has an 8350 and an R9 290 PCS+ and he is on Windows 7 with the same 14.4 drivers displaying similar issues in most games...
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  1. Have you run Intel Burn Test AVX to make sure you're stable at your overclock? It sounds like you may be thermally throttling--are you using stock CPU cooler? Do you have any airflow on your VRMs or graphics card?

    That's a lot of heat in one case so you should be VERY well ventilated.
  2. the 8350 has low single core performance and the 290 if very hot card, and windows 8, mayeb its a combination or some other issue.
    i have a down clocked 780 and get almost 70fps avg on valley benchmark
  3. Best answer
    Plusthinking Iq said:
    the 8350 has low single core performance and the 290 if very hot card, and windows 8, mayeb its a combination or some other issue.
    i have a down clocked 780 and get almost 70fps avg on valley benchmark

    Yes but its Nvidia optimized. 55 is perfectly normal for my gpu in valley, all perform like that. the real issue is that its not performing in games as it should be.

    Its not temps, R9 290 Tri-X is never over 75C (doesn't throttle til 95C...) and 8350 is under 48C on package, under 54C on core, neither throttle til 70C...

    My friend gets the same issues, and he's on windows 7 so...
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