Why is my VRAM usage so low?! - Strix 1080 Ti

Asus Strix 1080 Ti | i7-7700k | 32GB DDR4-3200 RAM

It seems that randomly my 1080 Ti will not output the power it's supposed to, with the VRAM usage topping out at 12% when it should easily be around 50%. One day I'll turn on my PC and everything will be great, and other days it's like I'm running on integrated graphics. Take a game like Rocket League for example. When my GPU is functioning properly, my VRAM usage is around 52%. When my GPU is "throttling?", my VRAM usage is around 12%. Temps are the same, GPU speed is the same, and all other clocks seem to be the same.

I watercooled my Strix - it's cooled with an NZXT Kraken x62, mounted by a Kraken g12. In order to do this, the plates need to be taken off so the Kraken can sit on the GPU itself. Did I possibly screw up the install for this problem to happen? Or is my card simply faulty? I bought the card months ago and this was never an issue until I "custom" cooled my Strix 1080 Ti with an NZXT Kraken x62, so I doubt it's faulty. Anyone have any thoughts on this? This issue has been plaguing me for months and any information is appreciated.

Some remedies I tried that didn't work:
Disable programs that are known to be buggy like NZXT CAM
Try many combinations of settings in Nvidia Control Panel
Use only one monitor instead of my triple monitor setup
Reinstall the entire OS
Uninstall and reinstall the graphics card

Even if your suggestion may seem trivial, please post it here. I need all the suggestions I can get! Thanks.

EDIT: Has never been overclocked besides the factory overclock on the O11G model Strix 1080 Ti's.
Reply to xDoiz
26 answers Last reply
More about vram usage low strix 1080
  1. VRAM usage is game dependent, and since most GPU's have 4GB's or less, games won't typically cross that line. Many won't use more than 2Gb's. VRAM usage has no impact on performance, unless it reaches 100%, at which point, performance may tank. The 1080 ti, has 11Gb's or VRAM. It'll be very rare for you to even cross 50% VRAM usage.

    That's a useless stat to monitor. You most likely will never get close to 100% before you replace it.
    Reply to bystander
  2. Run a game that have ultra detail texture.
    Reply to rgd1101
  3. Pretty sure the OP is saying his fps are also low when the VRAM usage is low, since he's comparing it to IGP.

    Anyway, to the OP, does the throttling start right away or does it happen over time? Does it stop on its own or do you have to restart or something else? When you installed your G12, did you add any thermal pads to the VRAM and VRM's or are they bare? Is the fan on the plate spinning?
    Reply to TMTOWTSAC
  4. bystander said:
    VRAM usage is game dependent, and since most GPU's have 4GB's or less, games won't typically cross that line. Many won't use more than 2Gb's. VRAM usage has no impact on performance, unless it reaches 100%, at which point, performance may tank. The 1080 ti, has 11Gb's or VRAM. It'll be very rare for you to even cross 50% VRAM usage.

    That's a useless stat to monitor. You most likely will never get close to 100% before you replace it.


    It's not really about that though. I'm moreso saying that when my GPU is performing badly, the only discernible difference than "normal" would be that my VRAM usage is low. Temps/clocks/usgae is all the same, minus VRAM usage. I'm comparing the same game, when my PC is running flawlessly vs terribly. 52% vs 8%-12%.
    Reply to xDoiz
  5. rgd1101 said:
    Run a game that have ultra detail texture.


    It doesn't matter which game I play, every time I turn on my PC there's a 50% chance that it'll run perfectly or it'll be bogged down by something.
    Reply to xDoiz
  6. TMTOWTSAC said:
    Pretty sure the OP is saying his fps are also low when the VRAM usage is low, since he's comparing it to IGP.

    Anyway, to the OP, does the throttling start right away or does it happen over time? Does it stop on its own or do you have to restart or something else? When you installed your G12, did you add any thermal pads to the VRAM and VRM's or are they bare? Is the fan on the plate spinning?


    Maybe my wording was terrible in my original post but you understand what I'm talking about so thank you lol. To answer your questions, yes the throttling starts as soon as I turn on my computer. In the past few weeks I used to leave it on for a couple hours and it'd magically fix itself, but recently it's been staying throttled. Previously I used to be able to run DDU (DIsplay Driver Uninstaller) and reinstall the GPU drivers but that hasn't worked recently. When I installed the G12, if I remember correctly the instructions never said to add/reuse thermal pads so I left them bare. The fan is spinning. Take a look at these install videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRkn9GRHPKo and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oQ12-CFx9k
    Reply to xDoiz
  7. Without knowing more, 3 main things spring to mind.

    1.) Your system is busy working on something else so the GPU is sitting around waiting. Monitor your CPU usage to see if there's some background tasks (or viruses) eating resources.

    2.) Some card components are overheating. I asked about the fan because it's there to cool the board VRAM and VRMS and so forth, and I'm not really familiar with how it's controlled. Whether it's monitoring any temperatures and changing speeds accordingly or always set to the same RPM's. If it spins up based on the GPU temperature, it may not respond fast enough. I googled this:

    https://forums.evga.com/Kraken-G12-Install-on-1080-Ti-Fe-with-pictures-m2658723.aspx

    (loading slow today, but I saw it earlier) The guy posting may have gone a bit crazy with the pads, but it seemed like something people with G12's thought about.

    3.) Something completely different. Power settings, software conflict, PSU, etc.
    Reply to TMTOWTSAC
  8. VRAM usage isn't something that a bottleneck, or throttling would change. One thing is very odd here, which makes me wonder what program he is using to monitor this usage %, and that is, MSI Afterburner, and others which use RIVAtuner as a back end, does not show VRAM usage in a percentage form. They show the raw number of MB's used, or rather, allocated for use.

    Are you looking at VRAM usage, or maybe you are misreading the program you are using, and looking at some other usage %.
    Reply to bystander
  9. TMTOWTSAC said:
    Without knowing more, 3 main things spring to mind.

    1.) Your system is busy working on something else so the GPU is sitting around waiting. Monitor your CPU usage to see if there's some background tasks (or viruses) eating resources.

    2.) Some card components are overheating. I asked about the fan because it's there to cool the board VRAM and VRMS and so forth, and I'm not really familiar with how it's controlled. Whether it's monitoring any temperatures and changing speeds accordingly or always set to the same RPM's. If it spins up based on the GPU temperature, it may not respond fast enough. I googled this:

    https://forums.evga.com/Kraken-G12-Install-on-1080-Ti-Fe-with-pictures-m2658723.aspx

    (loading slow today, but I saw it earlier) The guy posting may have gone a bit crazy with the pads, but it seemed like something people with G12's thought about.

    3.) Something completely different. Power settings, software conflict, PSU, etc.


    Thanks for responding.
    1. All other parts are acting normal.
    2.I think this is definitely possible. I uninstalled the Kraken G12/X62 and I'm experiencing the same problem, so I'm wondering if it possibly did lasting damage..
    3. Power settings are good, PSU is functioning normally, and I actually completely reinstalled the OS and disabled programs that are possibly interfering so I don't think that's the issue.
    Reply to xDoiz
  10. bystander said:
    VRAM usage isn't something that a bottleneck, or throttling would change. One thing is very odd here, which makes me wonder what program he is using to monitor this usage %, and that is, MSI Afterburner, and others which use RIVAtuner as a back end, does not show VRAM usage in a percentage form. They show the raw number of MB's used, or rather, allocated for use.

    Are you looking at VRAM usage, or maybe you are misreading the program you are using, and looking at some other usage %.


    Thanks for your response. I'm using GPU Tweak II, ASUS's program because I have a Strix 1080 Ti. I've used EVGA Precision X and also verified my VRAM was low. ASUS GPU Tweak II shows VRAM usage in %.
    Reply to xDoiz
  11. The only reasons it would show up as low, is if the program simply isn't running, another GPU (integrated) is being used instead, or the program just doesn't use much VRAM. VRAM isn't like CPU bottlenecking, where a slow component makes the program use less VRAM. It's either there, and the program uses it, or it is not there, and the program chokes trying to swap data back between RAM and VRAM.

    Try MSI Afterburner using the latest beta version. Windows 10 doesn't work with EVGA or MSI Afterburner properly without the latest beta versions, the same could be for ASUS's program. And of course make sure to have the latest drivers (or try older ones if those aren't working right).

    I might suggest you look at your CPU temps, and clocks. It seems more plausible you are looking at the GPU usage, not the VRAM usage (or the program has it mixed up). If the GPU usage was high, with normal clock rates, that would mean it's not being held back by lack of VRAM or CPU usage. Even hard drive swapping would slow the GPU usage down.

    Something isn't right with your readings.
    Reply to bystander
  12. bystander said:
    The only reasons it would show up as low, is if the program simply isn't running, another GPU (integrated) is being used instead, or the program just doesn't use much VRAM. VRAM isn't like CPU bottlenecking, where a slow component makes the program use less VRAM. It's either there, and the program uses it, or it is not there, and the program chokes trying to swap data back between RAM and VRAM.

    Try MSI Afterburner using the latest beta version. Windows 10 doesn't work with EVGA or MSI Afterburner properly without the latest beta versions, the same could be for ASUS's program. And of course make sure to have the latest drivers (or try older ones if those aren't working right).

    I might suggest you look at your CPU temps, and clocks. It seems more plausible you are looking at the GPU usage, not the VRAM usage (or the program has it mixed up). If the GPU usage was high, with normal clock rates, that would mean it's not being held back by lack of VRAM or CPU usage. Even hard drive swapping would slow the GPU usage down.

    Something isn't right with your readings.


    Okay so this is really strange, I have some screenshots for you to check out.

    This screenshot is when I turned on my PC, waited 5 minutes, and then ran Rocket League: https://puu.sh/xCG7N/b882755eda.png
    I was getting 30-40fps.

    This screenshot is when I tabbed out for 10 seconds and tabbed back in: https://puu.sh/xCG8u/55b1d03b47.png
    I was getting 60-70fps.

    This screenshot is when I tabbed out, installed MSI Afterburner, and tabbed back in: https://puu.sh/xCGgK/6acc9c4a89.png
    I was hitting max framerate at 250.

    There's no way to tell if downloading Afterburner actually helped, or if tabbing out and in simply did it, as alt-tabbing doubled my FPS between screenshot 1 & 2. It's as if my GPU is prioritizing one of my other monitors instead, I don't know.
    Reply to xDoiz
  13. Well, the first thing that immediately sticks out is the first screenshot seems to show your GPU base clock at 228 MHz.
    Reply to TMTOWTSAC
  14. xDoiz said:
    Okay so this is really strange, I have some screenshots for you to check out.

    This screenshot is when I turned on my PC, waited 5 minutes, and then ran Rocket League: https://puu.sh/xCG7N/b882755eda.png
    I was getting 30-40fps.

    This screenshot is when I tabbed out for 10 seconds and tabbed back in: https://puu.sh/xCG8u/55b1d03b47.png
    I was getting 60-70fps.

    This screenshot is when I tabbed out, installed MSI Afterburner, and tabbed back in: https://puu.sh/xCGgK/6acc9c4a89.png
    I was hitting max framerate at 250.

    There's no way to tell if downloading Afterburner actually helped, or if tabbing out and in simply did it, as alt-tabbing doubled my FPS between screenshot 1 & 2. It's as if my GPU is prioritizing one of my other monitors instead, I don't know.


    Yeah, your GPU is not clocking up. I'm not sure it is even being used. It may be using your integrated GPU. Watch the clocks on your integrated GPU if you can, while Rocket league is going.

    You might also need to go into the Nvidia control panel, and set Power Management Mode to performance.
    Reply to bystander
  15. bystander said:
    xDoiz said:
    Okay so this is really strange, I have some screenshots for you to check out.

    This screenshot is when I turned on my PC, waited 5 minutes, and then ran Rocket League: https://puu.sh/xCG7N/b882755eda.png
    I was getting 30-40fps.

    This screenshot is when I tabbed out for 10 seconds and tabbed back in: https://puu.sh/xCG8u/55b1d03b47.png
    I was getting 60-70fps.

    This screenshot is when I tabbed out, installed MSI Afterburner, and tabbed back in: https://puu.sh/xCGgK/6acc9c4a89.png
    I was hitting max framerate at 250.

    There's no way to tell if downloading Afterburner actually helped, or if tabbing out and in simply did it, as alt-tabbing doubled my FPS between screenshot 1 & 2. It's as if my GPU is prioritizing one of my other monitors instead, I don't know.


    Yeah, your GPU is not clocking up. I'm not sure it is even being used. It may be using your integrated GPU. Watch the clocks on your integrated GPU if you can, while Rocket league is going.

    You might also need to go into the Nvidia control panel, and set Power Management Mode to performance.


    I've never checked clocks on integrated graphics, how do I do that?

    Also, power management was set to performance.

    Edit: Today my clocks were at 265 MHz, restarted computer, and idle clocks went up to 1569 MHz..
    Reply to xDoiz
  16. TMTOWTSAC said:
    Well, the first thing that immediately sticks out is the first screenshot seems to show your GPU base clock at 228 MHz.


    Yup. I'm trying to figure out why this happens :(

    Edit: Today my clocks were at 265 MHz, restarted computer, and idle clocks went up to 1569 MHz..
    Reply to xDoiz
  17. xDoiz said:
    bystander said:
    xDoiz said:
    Okay so this is really strange, I have some screenshots for you to check out.

    This screenshot is when I turned on my PC, waited 5 minutes, and then ran Rocket League: https://puu.sh/xCG7N/b882755eda.png
    I was getting 30-40fps.

    This screenshot is when I tabbed out for 10 seconds and tabbed back in: https://puu.sh/xCG8u/55b1d03b47.png
    I was getting 60-70fps.

    This screenshot is when I tabbed out, installed MSI Afterburner, and tabbed back in: https://puu.sh/xCGgK/6acc9c4a89.png
    I was hitting max framerate at 250.

    There's no way to tell if downloading Afterburner actually helped, or if tabbing out and in simply did it, as alt-tabbing doubled my FPS between screenshot 1 & 2. It's as if my GPU is prioritizing one of my other monitors instead, I don't know.


    Yeah, your GPU is not clocking up. I'm not sure it is even being used. It may be using your integrated GPU. Watch the clocks on your integrated GPU if you can, while Rocket league is going.

    You might also need to go into the Nvidia control panel, and set Power Management Mode to performance.


    I've never checked clocks on integrated graphics, how do I do that?

    Also, power management was set to performance.

    Edit: Today my clocks were at 265 MHz, restarted computer, and idle clocks went up to 1569 MHz..


    I've never actually owned a PC with an integrated GPU in 30 years of owning PC's. Rather than looking to monitor it, you might try disabling it completely. Either way, I'm thinking that the problem may be with the integrated GPU getting used.

    I've also wondered about that VRAM usage number percentage. Maybe it's not measuring how much VRAM is used, but read and write usage. If that's the case, maybe it is just an issue of the clocks not ramping up. Some of these old and low demanding games like Rocket league, CSGO and LoL, have issues with high end GPU's which are extremely over kill for those games (I hope you play graphically demanding games too).
    Reply to bystander
  18. bystander said:
    xDoiz said:
    bystander said:
    xDoiz said:
    Okay so this is really strange, I have some screenshots for you to check out.

    This screenshot is when I turned on my PC, waited 5 minutes, and then ran Rocket League: https://puu.sh/xCG7N/b882755eda.png
    I was getting 30-40fps.

    This screenshot is when I tabbed out for 10 seconds and tabbed back in: https://puu.sh/xCG8u/55b1d03b47.png
    I was getting 60-70fps.

    This screenshot is when I tabbed out, installed MSI Afterburner, and tabbed back in: https://puu.sh/xCGgK/6acc9c4a89.png
    I was hitting max framerate at 250.

    There's no way to tell if downloading Afterburner actually helped, or if tabbing out and in simply did it, as alt-tabbing doubled my FPS between screenshot 1 & 2. It's as if my GPU is prioritizing one of my other monitors instead, I don't know.


    Yeah, your GPU is not clocking up. I'm not sure it is even being used. It may be using your integrated GPU. Watch the clocks on your integrated GPU if you can, while Rocket league is going.

    You might also need to go into the Nvidia control panel, and set Power Management Mode to performance.


    I've never checked clocks on integrated graphics, how do I do that?

    Also, power management was set to performance.

    Edit: Today my clocks were at 265 MHz, restarted computer, and idle clocks went up to 1569 MHz..


    I've never actually owned a PC with an integrated GPU in 30 years of owning PC's. Rather than looking to monitor it, you might try disabling it completely. Either way, I'm thinking that the problem may be with the integrated GPU getting used.

    I've also wondered about that VRAM usage number percentage. Maybe it's not measuring how much VRAM is used, but read and write usage. If that's the case, maybe it is just an issue of the clocks not ramping up. Some of these old and low demanding games like Rocket league, CSGO and LoL, have issues with high end GPU's which are extremely over kill for those games (I hope you play graphically demanding games too).


    I do, it was happening in the Destiny 2 beta, Mass Effect: Andromeda and many other games. There's a setting inside Nvidia Control Panel to choose whether you want to use integrated graphics or your dedicated graphics card and I ensured my 1080 Ti was selected. Started up a game and still had very low usage. Restarted the PC and it went back to normal.
    Reply to xDoiz
  19. I'd suggest disabling it from Windows, or BIOS, so it's not up to the Nvidia drivers to make the call. It might use a little more power than the integrated at idle, but this sort of issue should not occur.
    Reply to bystander
  20. bystander said:
    I'd suggest disabling it from Windows, or BIOS, so it's not up to the Nvidia drivers to make the call. It might use a little more power than the integrated at idle, but this sort of issue should not occur.


    I did that it hasn't been an issue for the last 24 hours, but it's hard to say if it worked entirely. I'll report back in a day or so. Thanks!
    Reply to xDoiz
  21. Hopefully that will do it. Good luck.
    Reply to bystander
  22. bystander said:
    Hopefully that will do it. Good luck.


    Didn't work :( PC still starting at ~200MhHz base clock. I have no idea what to do at this point

    Edit: Installed the latest drivers from Nvidia that came out yesterday, still issues.

    Edit x2: Quit and relaunched my game and it magically fixed. Idle clocks were ~200MHz while in game it was ~500MHz, and now idle clocks are ~1500MHz and in game almost 2000MHz. See screenshot here, check out the time lapse: https://puu.sh/xGepN/bbf29b1680.png
    Reply to xDoiz
  23. Is this a problem with all your games, or a select few?
    Reply to bystander
  24. bystander said:
    Is this a problem with all your games, or a select few?


    All.
    Reply to xDoiz
  25. You might try contacting Nvidia, and explain the problem.
    Reply to bystander
  26. bystander said:
    You might try contacting Nvidia, and explain the problem.


    I'm just gonna have to RMA the GPU. I appreciate yours and everyone else's help though.
    Reply to xDoiz
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