NVIDIA GPU driver bug can slow down your CPU

NVIDIA has acknowledged a frustrating bug whereby processer usage can be spiked by a sizeable chunk after you exit a game in some cases.

NVIDIA GPU driver bug can slow down your CPU
1 minute & 38 seconds read time

NVIDIA has confirmed a bug in its latest graphics driver which spikes processor usage by an unfortunate amount, potentially slowing down your PC a fair bit.

Tom Warren (of The Verge) flagged this on Twitter (see the above tweet), noting that GeForce driver version 531.18 pushes up CPU usage by 10% or more after closing some games.

NVIDIA tells us that one of the known issues with v531.18 is: "Higher CPU usage from NVIDIA Container might be observed after exiting a game."

What this means is that if you quit a game and notice your PC seems a bit less responsive than usual - or noticeably laggy, even - if you check under Task Manager, you may spot an NVIDIA Container process towards the top of the list of running apps.

That can be eating up 10% of CPU usage, or even 15% in a screenshot we've seen from someone posting on NVIDIA's GeForce forum (as unearthed by tech site VideoCardz). So that's a fair chunk of resources that is continuing to be used when everything related to the game should've been closed down and done with.

The fix? At the moment, all you can do is manually close that NVIDIA Container process (or reboot the PC). As for a more permanent cure, the only workaround is to abandon the latest driver and roll back to the previous version you were using.

With any luck, NVIDIA might have a hotfix in the pipeline, meaning a quick patch to apply on-the-fly (as opposed to waiting for the next major driver version to be released for the solution to the issue).

Other known problems with driver version 531.18 include some bad news for Assassin's Creed Origins players, who may find that the game now randomly crashes.

Those running Watch Dogs 2 with a GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card may also suffer at the hands of some nasty flicker when looking up at the sky. And Halo Wars 2 addicts might also experience flickering, this time with in-game foilage, which sounds even more irritating.

Again, with new drivers it usually pays to wait a little while to see what kind of gremlins are potentially in the works, and if any of them apply to your favorite games, you can always avoid upgrading until things have been ironed out.

The flipside of that caution around updating is you don't want to let your drivers get too outdated due to potential security holes not being patched with older driver versions.

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Darren has written for numerous magazines and websites in the technology world for almost 30 years, including TechRadar, PC Gamer, Eurogamer, Computeractive, and many more. He worked on his first magazine (PC Home) long before Google and most of the rest of the web existed. In his spare time, he can be found gaming, going to the gym, and writing books (his debut novel – ‘I Know What You Did Last Supper’ – was published by Hachette UK in 2013).

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