Nvidia problems – Low frame rate intervals / Screen tearing and other issues – Ubuntu 20.04

This is a very long post which includes problems that I’ve had and either found a fix for or have sorted themselves out, but I think they are all related. I’ve asked in several places and just updated it with the relevant stuff each time including what I’ve worked out.

I’ll start off by saying I’ve had my system custom built by scan computers and I’ve had it for around 2 months. I run Ubuntu 20.04. I don’t use windows and have little experience with it.

I didn’t have any of these problems in the first month or so, or with my previous PC that I had for 5 years with another Nvidia card. I’m going to take a guess that when I plugged in a secondary monitor to look at the graphics card temperatures when gaming that it possible introduced this problems forever after this. It could also be related to the drivers which I’m hoping it is.

The main problem I’m constantly faced with is completely random frame rate drops. My monitor is 60hz and the computer NVIDIA settings states it is outputting 60 too. It seems smooth enough most of the time and I’m not at all fussed about gaming monitors that are 120hz+, but the display output just randomly has frame rate drops that feels more like 10 for anywhere between just a few seconds up to a minute, then it goes back to normal again. This has nothing to do with what applications I’m running as it does it when the system is busy or virtually nothing is running. It also isn’t the system itself as that says programs are running at 60. So it is something related to the graphics card and display output – or software. When the problem occurs, you can notice it when dragging windows about. They are very jerky and choppy rather than smooth. I’ve read advice that mentions if you have a 75hz display for example and you have an output of 60, things can sometimes be similar to what I’m experiencing, but I know that my monitors are 60hz.

After a lot of experiments, I’ve worked out one partial solution that makes no sense, but it then causes another issue. Connecting 2 monitors to the graphics card appears to stop the sudden frame rate drops happening as often or to the same extent. This just about makes the system usable or at least tolerable. Motion still isn’t as good as it should be (still too choppy at times), but it no longer is quite as bad. However, 2 monitors intermittently introduces terrible horizontal tearing in several applications, which enabling force composition pipeline in nvidia does not fix. If I use just 1 monitor and have the force composition pipeline off, then it has tearing the entire time on everything, but enabling it fixes it entirely.

Maybe it was since the first time I used the DVI port (normally using HDMI) that I couldn’t even get one monitor to work on it’s own properly without having these spikes of low frame rate. I’ve since deleted my nvidia configuration, but that has made no difference. I’ve also had help from someone online updating to the latest drivers available ( NVIDIA driver metapackage from Nvidia-driver-460 (proprietary, tested) ) and this made no difference to the visual frame rate drops. I was previously stuck with this one: (NVIDIA server driver metapackage from nvidia driver-450-server (proprietary) ) as it came up with errors as shown in the picture below whenever I attempted a change. I think that just before I started having these issues that I was maybe using drivers below 450 that are no longer available. I still incredibly often get this error message when I attempt changes, and it seems if I keep trying, I can occasionally get a chance of managing to do it without it popping up.

Nvidia x-server-settings also seems to be such a pain to use. It often seems to not save the configurations changes I make and often reverts back to how it was before after a reboot – especially with things like which monitor I have as my primary one.

I may as well mention some other problems that seem to have sorted themselves out that could still be related to this output issue as they both are to do with the graphics card output. All these started occurring some time after the first time I had used this PC with 2 monitors. Then there were still issues after weather I used one or both with either output.

1: — Blank screen at login.

When I was using just 1 monitor, I could not see the log in screen whether I used the DVI or HDMI port. It was just a black screen with the mouse cursor. However, I knew I was at the log in screen as I could type what I needed, enter the command line via CTRL, ALT, F1, then quit and I would be on my desktop. I could enter the command line before I logged in too, then quit and I would see my log in screen. However, if I used 2 monitors, both screens were visible at the log in screen, with DVI always seeming to be the primary monitor and HDMI being the secondary one. This has randomly sorted itself out and hasn’t been an issue in over 3 weeks.

2: — In game brightness not adjustable via the toggle when using the native resolution.

Again, with just one monitor was when I had the problem. I couldn’t adjust the in game brightness. It seemed like Open GL in the game was enabled which implies you can only control the brightness via the graphics card controls which was the situation I was in. But that wasn’t enabled so it made no sense. If I plugged in the other monitor and ran it at 1920x1080 and full screen on just one of them, I could then adjust the brightness…… But if I ran the game at the native resolution which was now 3840x1080, the brightness would then be fixed again. The other option on a single monitor was to scale down the resolution keeping the same aspect, and that also enabled brightness adjustment.
This issue has since been solved and it was fixed by going from the 450 drivers to 460.

I’m using 2 monitors at the moment but having the secondary one disabled and out the way as much as possible as that is the best solution I have. If I set both monitors to output the same image, I have the exact same issues as just using one.

As many of you can imagine, my PC is currently incredibly hard to use for most things that involve lots of horizontal movement or anything fast paced as it just looks a mess. Been like this for well over a month month. I did get told on the other nvidia forum that going back to older drivers may be a fix, but I’m not sure how to do that as I can only see what is in the picture I included.

A couple of PC components if this helps:

Motherboard: ASUS B550 Plus

Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650

Would really appreciate some help.

Thanks.nvidia-bug-report.log.gz (398.3 KB)

Please run nvidia-bug-report.sh as root and attach the resulting nvidia-bug-report.log.gz file to your post.

I read about this in the thread that gave advice about posting but didn’t quite understand how to generate one. I’ve had help now and included it.

I can understand how it can help people out.


Which desktop environment are you using, this doesn’t look like Gnome?

Since getting Ubuntu 20.04, logging in with Gnome was rather limiting. I couldn’t drag any icons around on the desktop. Switching to MATE solved this. In terms of the appearance that makes the windows look different, I’m using the “New Wave” theme as I wasn’t keen on MATE’s default theme. I don’t think this will be related as I’ve used 20.04 MATE and this New Wave theme ever since I bought this PC and it was stable with this setup for the first month or so.