Expert Advice: Diagnosing and Fixing Intermittent PC Lag Issues


“Dear Expert, I’m encountering a perplexing issue with my custom-built PC, which I assembled approximately three months ago. Initially, I used a specific set of components, but after a month, I upgraded the motherboard to a B650E Taichi Lite. Since then, my system experiences severe lag spikes daily, where games drop to 8-10 FPS, the ping increases significantly, and the audio glitches. These episodes typically last no longer than a minute, but they are concerning. Notably, I’ve performed fresh installations of Windows, drivers, and BIOS updates after each hardware change. More recently, I upgraded my GPU to a 7900 XT Merc and conducted the same software updates. I’ve attempted to undervolt the GPU, but even minimal adjustments lead to game crashes or driver restarts. The lag occurs daily, and I’ve observed that it’s less frequent when the system is under light use, such as playing Fortnite, compared to more intensive gaming sessions like Elden Ring. Additionally, launching applications like HWMonitor, OCCT, or Cinebench seems to trigger the lag. Could you provide any insights into what might be causing these performance issues? I can attempt to capture footage of the lag, though it occurs sporadically.”


Dear PC Enthusiast,

Your situation is indeed perplexing, but not uncommon. The symptoms you’re experiencing suggest a few potential culprits that could be causing the performance issues in your custom-built PC. Let’s explore them one by one.

The switch to a B650E Taichi Lite motherboard may have introduced compatibility issues. While you’ve updated the BIOS, which is a great first step, there could still be underlying conflicts between the motherboard and other components, especially after the GPU upgrade to a 7900 XT Merc.

2. Thermal Throttling:

Severe lag spikes during intensive tasks like gaming could be a sign of thermal throttling. When components overheat, they automatically slow down to prevent damage. Monitoring your system’s temperatures during these lag spikes with tools like HWMonitor could provide valuable insights. If temperatures are high, improving cooling with better airflow or a more efficient cooling system might be necessary.

3. Power Supply:

An often-overlooked aspect is the power supply unit (PSU). If your PSU is not providing stable or sufficient power to your components, especially after upgrading to a more powerful GPU, this could lead to performance issues. Ensure your PSU has enough wattage and is of good quality.

4. Driver Conflicts:

Despite reinstalling drivers, there could still be conflicts, particularly if remnants of old drivers are present. Use a dedicated driver removal tool to completely remove any existing GPU drivers before installing the new ones. This can help eliminate any potential conflicts.

5. Software Interference:

The fact that launching certain applications triggers the lag suggests there might be software interference. Some applications can cause system resources to be overutilized, leading to lag. Check for background processes that might be consuming excessive CPU, GPU, or RAM resources.

6. Undervolting Side Effects:

Undervolting can lead to instability if not done correctly. It’s a delicate balance to find the sweet spot where performance is maintained without compromising stability. Revert to default voltage settings and test if the lag persists.

7. Hardware Fault:

Lastly, there could be a fault with one of the components. This is harder to diagnose without spare parts to swap and test. If possible, try using different hardware components one at a time to isolate the issue.

In conclusion, the lag you’re experiencing could be due to a variety of factors, from hardware compatibility and thermal issues to software interference and power supply inadequacies. Methodical troubleshooting is key. Start by monitoring temperatures, ensuring all components are compatible, and that your PSU is adequate. Then, move on to software and driver checks, and consider hardware testing if the issue persists.

Capturing footage of the lag could help in diagnosing the problem, especially if it shows any patterns or triggers. If the issue continues to elude resolution, seeking professional help from a PC technician might be your next best step.

Best of luck with your troubleshooting endeavors!


An IT Expert

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