Navigating GPU Performance: Understanding Sudden Spikes in Resource-Intensive Games


I’ve encountered a perplexing issue where my GPU utilization skyrockets from around 30% to 100% while playing Anno 1800 and From the Depths, and it persists at this level until I exit the game. This problem is exclusive to these titles; just a week ago, I could play them without any hitches. I’ve attempted several fixes to no avail and now seek expert guidance.

Here are my system specs for reference:

  • Graphics Card: MSI RTX 2070
  • Processor: Ryzen 7 3700X
  • RAM: 32GB at 3200MHz by Corsair
  • Additional details that might be relevant: Anno 1800 is installed on an SSD, whereas From the Depths is on an HDD. The issue doesn’t seem to be temperature-related, as my system maintains around 60°C even under full load. All my drivers are current, and I haven’t overclocked my hardware. I’m running Windows 10. Any insights would be greatly appreciated.



When this GPU spike occurs, my frame rate drops to 10-20 FPS, and occasionally, my PC shuts down unexpectedly.”.


Gamers often encounter the issue of unexpected GPU utilization spikes during gameplay. This can be particularly perplexing when the problem is isolated to specific games and arises without any apparent changes to the system or game settings.

A Case in Point:

Consider the scenario where a gamer experiences GPU usage soaring to 100% while playing Anno 1800 and From the Depths. Despite the games running smoothly just a week prior, the GPU now remains maxed out until the game is closed, leading to significant performance drops and even system shutdowns.

System Specifications:

  • Graphics Card

    : MSI RTX 2070

  • Processor

    : Ryzen 7 3700X

  • RAM

    : 32GB at 3200MHz by Corsair

  • Additional Observations:

    • Anno 1800 is on an SSD, From the Depths on an HDD.
    • Temperature remains stable at 60°C, even under full load.
    • Drivers are up-to-date, with no overclocking performed.
    • Operating System: Windows 10.

    Expert Insight:

    The sudden increase in GPU load could be attributed to several factors:


    Software Updates

    : A recent game or system update might have introduced new graphics settings or optimizations that are more demanding on the GPU.


    Background Processes

    : Other applications or system processes running in the background could be consuming GPU resources.


    Game-Specific Issues

    : Certain games may have bugs or inefficiencies that cause abnormal GPU usage.


    Hardware Bottlenecks

    : Other components, like the CPU or RAM, might be bottlenecking the system, causing the GPU to overcompensate.


    Power Supply Issues

    : An inadequate or failing power supply could lead to inconsistent GPU performance.

    Troubleshooting Steps:


    Check for Updates

    : Ensure all games and system drivers are up to date.


    Monitor Background Processes

    : Use task manager to check for any unusual background activity.


    Adjust Game Settings

    : Lower or modify game settings, especially those related to graphics, to see if the GPU usage normalizes.


    System Maintenance

    : Clean the system of dust and verify that all components are properly seated.


    Hardware Testing

    : Test the GPU in another system or swap the power supply to rule out hardware failure.


    High GPU utilization during gaming can be a symptom of various underlying issues. By systematically troubleshooting and ruling out potential causes, one can identify the root of the problem and restore optimal gaming performance. Remember, when in doubt, seeking assistance from a professional or the gaming community can provide additional insights and solutions.

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