Audio Stutter / Hesitation

I have a new Dell XPS Studio computer with a fresh Cubase 13 install and other unnecessary software removed. I have an easy to reproduce issue where if I switch away from Cubase for a minute or two and then go back it will play 1 second, drop out for 1-2 seconds, and then continue playing audio normally. I can hear the hard drive make noise when this happens, like it is seeking or waking up.

I have configured Intel Optane to set “Link Power Management” → Off. I have configured the power plan for performance and set the drive to never sleep. The issue still occurs.

I do not have “release driver in background” enabled and I have my buffers set to 128. I don’t think this is buffer related. When I am actively working in Cubase I can set buffers very low with this PC and the Focusrite ASIO driver with no issues at all. The issue only occurs when I switch away from Cubase for a minute or so and come back.

I also don’t think this is purely Cubase related. I see the same issue with NI Komplete Kontrol and auditioning sounds. Works fine while using the app but if I switch away and come back it does a similar drop out at first and I hear the hard drive seek/wake noise.

I appreciate any pointers on where to look next to try and resolve this issue.

Specs:

  • CPU: i7-13700
  • RAM: 64GB
  • OS: Windows 11
  • OS Drive: 1TB SSD
  • Audio drive: Seagate Barracude 2TB 7200RPM
  • Interface: Focusrite Scarlett 18i20
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti (driver only, no management software)