Currently while playing Starfield, every minute or so, I will get a brief freeze with the audio occasionally cutting out as well. I have made sure my drivers are updated, and lowering the graphics settings doesn't affect it at all.

Current specs:

  • Intel i5 6600K
  • MSI Z170A Gaming M5 (MS-7977)
  • NVIDIA GTX 1080
  • 16 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 3
    While not true in your case, do note that Starfield requires an SSD. (Literally - it's listed in the minimum specs). It does not run well on an HDD at all, with similar freezes, stuttering, and audio issues. Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 1:35
  • @RavenDreamer good point. Might want to put that as an answer? I am running it off an SSD, but might be worth noting for others.
    – Dragonrage
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 1:54
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    I'm fairly certain that your first priority to be able to play this game should be a much better CPU. I don't have objective data so I will not post an answer. Secondary what @RavenDreamer said. Try to monitor the 1% lows, it could also be RAM latency.
    – Raf
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 13:51
  • Your GPU is like, the minimum supported. I have a 1070 and it had similar issues until I hooked up an external 3080ti. (also did you try CAS instead of FSR? I got a slight improvement when I switched to CAS.) Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 19:25
  • I'm running a core i9 with a 3080. Its.. mostly smooth, and generates a loooot of heat. Its just a heavy game Commented Sep 20, 2023 at 14:36

2 Answers 2


After doing some more debugging and also monitoring my RAM, GPU, and CPU usage while playing, I noticed that the freezes would always occur when my CPU spiked to 100% usage. My GPU and RAM did not seem to be having the same issues.

I found a few posts online of others having similar problems, and this thread in particular mentioned using a tool to limit the CPU usage of the Starfield executable. There are a few different tools that can be used to do this, but I tested Battle Encoder Shirasé(BES) with a setting of -8% and my game has run smoothly ever since.

  • 1
    Very interesting and unintuitive. From what I read on their website, throttling the hogging process makes the CPU cooler so that it can run at a higher frequency (but idling some of the time); this allows other processes or tasks -- which were starved and caused the freezes-- to run faster. By the way, they recommend to check and improve your cooling (for example, by removing dust) because overheating seems to be the underlying problem. You could check the CPU temperature with a monitoring tool (while BES is off) to verify the hypothesis. Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 8:35
  • @Peter-ReinstateMonica I think how it works is unrelated to heat. Process switching is a quite expensive task for a CPU, if all cores are maxed out, all the background processes have to be cycled in between the game operations. As the useage approaches 100%, the OS still tries to have everything running smoothly so even more process switching occurs to the point of a complete breakdown until this race condition is detected
    – Hobbamok
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 9:27
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    @Dragonrage, that program looks so super sketchy but if it works, good on you
    – Hobbamok
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 9:28
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    @Hobbamok Well, overheating is what they mention on their webpage. It's conceivable that parts of the CPU are throttled because of heat generated elsewhere. Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 10:51
  • If RAM usage suddenly drops during those CPU spikes and lags, that could be an indication of garbage collection going on. Essentially, memory that is no longer needed is automatically freed, but can lead to freezes if there's too much to free at the same time.
    – Nolonar
    Commented Sep 20, 2023 at 18:04

I had the exact same issue, but did not want to use Battle Encoder Shirasé because it looked kind of suspicious to me.

It's likely fine, but just in case anybody else doesn't want to have to install yet another random program just to play Starfield, the solution actually turned out pretty simple for me.

I moved the installation to my C:/ drive. I had originally installed it on my E:/ drive which is also a brand new SSD, just like my C:/ drive, but apparently the engine Starfield uses is notorious for sometimes having issues running on non-Windows drives.

Steam has a 'Move Install Folder' feature that I used, and I haven't had any of the issues since moving it to my C:/ drive.

  • 1
    but apparently the engine Starfield uses is notorious for sometimes having issues running on non-Windows drives. where did you hear/read this? My game is on a different (albeit quite fast) NVME drive than my Windows installation drive and I don't feel like I am having any kind of abnormal issues aside from graphical performance (that I attribute to just the graphical demand of the game)
    – Timmy Jim
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 14:43
  • @TimmyJim I will try to find a proper source, though iirc it's mostly just my anecdotal experience and lots of other people on Google with the same issue. On the other hand there's plenty of exceptions of people on non-C drives not having the issues, so I settled on just saying "sometimes".
    – Onyz
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 15:31
  • @TimmyJim Not finding an authoritative source, but just some examples from Googling around: reddit.com/r/Starfield/comments/16kpjog/d_drive_vs_c_drive steamcommunity.com/app/1716740/discussions/0/… and steamcommunity.com/app/1716740/discussions/0/…
    – Onyz
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 15:34
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    it's probably because most non-tech savvy people will have a fast ssd or nvme as their c drive and then a hdd as a secondary drive. Also there are differences in two "ssd", it may just be that your E drive is not a very fast ssd compared to your c drive. Your links seem to indicate this as anyone with knowledge would describe the difference between the two.
    – Aequitas
    Commented Sep 20, 2023 at 7:03
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    @Aequitas That's certainly possible, but at least for me both my C and E SSD's are identical. I bought them both at the same time, so it seems unlikely to be a difference in hardware. Either way, I think the answer could very well be helpful for other people having the same issue. :)
    – Onyz
    Commented Sep 20, 2023 at 12:18

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