On 3/3/2019 at 5:02 AM, Lord Xeb said:
It is possible and I have seen it happen. I would backup your drive and replace it to be safe. You could do a read test on the drive to confirm. Use HD Tune and post a screenshot here. I can tell you if it is going. Also check smart.
As it turned out, my CPU was the bottleneck all along. I recently upgraded to Ryzen (R5 2600x to be specific), and almost all of the framerate inconsistencies immediately went away, despite the fact that I'm using the exact same HDD for games.
Turns out that (from what I've read), a lot of modern games don't really take full advantage of / work as well with the old FX chips. So even though there was plenty of CPU power leftover to spare, it just wasn't using it. But the Ryzen chip, in addition to being more powerful overall, doesn't appear to suffer from that problem.