When Good Graphics Go Bad: Diagnosing a Sudden FPS Plunge



I’m reaching out with a persistent issue that’s left me quite perplexed. For the past week, I’ve encountered a sudden and unexplained drop in frames per second (FPS) to around 4-5 while playing Palworld. Initially, I dismissed it as a minor hiccup, assuming background processes might be the culprit. However, the problem persisted into the next day, affecting all 3D games on my system, which previously ran smoothly at 60 FPS, including titles like Risk of Rain 2 and Diablo IV.

Interestingly, 2D games remain unaffected, maintaining a steady performance above 60 FPS. My computer’s specifications are as follows:

  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-core
  • Memory: 32GB RAM
  • Efforts to resolve the issue have included:

  • Utilizing DDU for a clean NVIDIA driver installation
  • Complete system format
  • Reapplying thermal paste to the CPU and cleaning the fans
  • Updating all drivers
  • Reverting to an older NVIDIA driver version
  • Despite these attempts, the problem remains. I’ve come across discussions suggesting that an active ‘Hardware Acceleration’ setting might interfere with game performance, but I’ve been unable to locate this option in my graphics settings. Temperature checks during gameplay show normal readings, around 40-44 degrees Celsius.

    Do you have any insights or recommendations that might help address this issue? Is it possible that a hardware component requires replacement?”


version is structured to directly address an expert, highlighting the technical aspects and troubleshooting steps taken, while seeking professional advice on the matter.


Dear Gaming Enthusiast,

Your situation indeed sounds quite frustrating, and I empathize with the confusion that such a persistent issue can cause. The sudden drop in FPS from a consistent 60 to a mere 4-5 is certainly not normal, especially considering your system’s robust specifications. The fact that this problem is isolated to 3D games but not 2D games is particularly intriguing and suggests that the issue is likely related to how your system is processing 3D graphics.

Given the comprehensive steps you’ve already taken, including driver reinstallation, system formatting, and hardware checks, we can deduce that the usual suspects are not to blame. Your proactive approach to resolving the issue is commendable, yet the persistence of the problem indicates a deeper anomaly.


Hardware Acceleration:

  • While you’ve mentioned difficulty in locating the ‘Hardware Acceleration’ setting, it’s typically found within the NVIDIA Control Panel under ‘Manage 3D settings’. Disabling it could potentially alleviate the issue if it’s indeed causing a conflict.
  • 2.

Graphics Card Issue:

  • Despite the absence of overheating, the graphics card could be experiencing hardware failure. This is particularly suspect if the issue is exclusive to 3D processing. Testing the card in another system or swapping it with a known good one could rule this out.
  • 3.

Power Supply Unit (PSU):

  • A failing PSU can lead to insufficient power being delivered to your components, particularly the GPU, which is power-hungry during 3D games. Monitoring the voltage outputs or trying a different PSU could be revealing.
  • 4.

Motherboard/PCIe Slot:

  • A less common, but possible issue could be with the motherboard or the PCIe slot where the GPU is installed. Inspecting for damage or trying a different slot (if available) might uncover issues here.
  • 5.

Background Processes:

  • Although you’ve considered this, it’s worth revisiting background processes or services that might be interfering specifically with 3D rendering. This could include overlays, recording software, or even malware.
  • 6.

Operating System Glitches:

  • Sometimes, operating system updates or system file corruption can lead to erratic behavior. Since you’ve formatted your PC, ensure that you’re running the latest version of Windows and all updates are installed.

Final Thoughts:

Before considering replacement, it’s crucial to isolate the exact cause of the problem. Borrowing components for testing or visiting a professional repair service could save you from unnecessary expenses. If all else fails, it may indeed be time to look into upgrading your hardware, starting with the GPU.

Remember, technology can be unpredictable, and sometimes, issues like these require a bit of trial and error to resolve. Your diligence in troubleshooting is the right approach, and with a bit of luck, you’ll be back to enjoying your 3D games at optimal performance soon.

Best regards,

An IT Expert

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