In my case, it’s likely NOT the hardware itself…but rather the DRIVERS (and in my case, they are bad for all versions of Windows from 7 - 10). I never could track down replacement drivers for Windows though. It uses whatever Microsoft sends from its ‘signed driver database’, and if there are options to roll around to ‘alternate drivers’ I’m not able to find them. PNY’s web site was no help either (No firmware or driver updates, or rollbacks there).
Some drives use fancy drivers to manipulate read/write buffers/caches in real time, or even throttle other stuff on the system in order to increase their own burst mode bench marks (so they can say their drives are FAST [runs bench-mark apps well], as marketing hype). Nicer drives often have ways to ‘disable’ or otherwise ‘configure’ that stuff (Intel and Samsumg SSD’s come with utilities to fiddle with the various driver enhancements and optimize for the system/situation), but the PNY drives I had do not. In short, they’re fine for fast as possible burst mode situations (dump a big file into memory), but totally stink for timing sensitive, continuous A/V file streaming.
All I’m saying, is if you have, or can borrow a spare drive (of different type/brand) of any sort long enough to backup a project on (so files that stream are on it), and then give a try…it’s one more thing you can either confirm or ‘rule out’ as a system issue for CuBase on that particular rig.
If your drive(s) have any way to fiddle with the cache and buffer settings, it might be worth having a look there as well, in case there is some flag to improve A/V real-time streaming performance. Sadly, Windows updates have been known to ‘change’ things like this. Particularly if you had any ‘unsigned’ drivers on the system. Windows sees those as a ‘security risk’ and replaces them right away. PITA, but I have a number things I often have to manually force back into place (sometimes just change a few settings, others the entire driver) after some Microsoft Updates
The PNY disks pass latency checks with flying colors…but they still glitch every single time I try to stream synced up audio D2D from them in a DAW…even with just a single instance of a plugin with samples living on it, or a single stereo track. Again, in my case, it was not limited to CuBase though. I had problems with the drives in every DAW I could throw at it. They even give me fits with something like HALion 5 or ARIA in stand alone mode if content is hosted on said drives.
Also pull up task manager and watch for system interrupt calls. If you can locate any driver, or piece of software that does that often, that MIGHT be your problem (even if the system passes latency checks with flying colors). Network drivers sometimes do this, and it can throw timing sensitive operations off. I’ve even seen cases where the drivers/software that comes with fancy gaming keyboards/mice do it (why I’ll never know). I’ve seen various ‘system optimizing’ utilities, often included with security and performance suites that do it (they claim to improve CPU and Disk performance…and maybe they do for topped burst mode apps, but not so good for time sensitive multi-threaded apps like a DAW). I’ve even seen some video cards with HDMI ports that do it when the audio feed is active (only way to get rid of it was to disable the audio drivers for the HDMI ports or swap to a different graphics card). I’ve seen cases where people were using encrypted file systems and did not realize it (not a difficult mistake to make when setting up Pro [as opposed to Home] versions of Windows), and that was causing issues. Etc…
The stone cold reality of trouble shooting a DAW set-up is that without much experience and knowledge with some really nice diagnostics software [sometimes that is only available by registered service-technicians of specific brands], sometimes one must go to the bare-bones and rebuild the whole setup one bit [both software and hardware] at a time [trying alternate parts and such] to figure out the problem. A long, boring process of starting with almost nothing, and adding things one bit at the time until the problem surfaces. Sometimes we never quite find the problem (or it’s a problem with the DAW itself on a given system)…and the only option is to switch systems, or find a DAW that can somehow manage to work OK on it.
Trying hosting a project from an alternate drive is one of the easier things to ‘check off the list’ as a possible issue.