Epic Games Launcher For Windows Caught Spiking Ryzen CPU Temps, Phoning Home Even When Idle
Though Epic Games is giving away games for Christmas, not everything that seems free truly is. Either by lousy design, stealthy data collection, or a combination of the two, the Epic Games Launcher appears to be continuously running some sort of relatively demanding process in the background. This issue is so pronounced that a Reddit user by the name Neoncarbon noticed that his AMD Ryzen 7 5800X idle temps dropped from 50C to 37C when he closed down the app. We actually proved this out for ourselves as well, as you'll see in the screen shots below. What's odd is that other game store apps, like GOG and Steam, do not show this behavior at all. What exactly could Epic Games Launcher be doing in the background that is elevating CPU temps even while idle, when other launchers do not have this issue?
With over 6.8k upvotes and 864 comments, Neoncarbon’s Reddit post has evolved into people sharing similar experiences after shutting down the Epic Games Launcher. It appears that anyone that has the Epic Games launcher running in the background has higher CPU temps and usage, even while idle on the desktop. However, it seems especially pronounced on Ryzen CPUs such as Neoncarbon’s Ryzen 7 5800X. Again, we were also able to verify this abnormal activity on one of our testbeds, running a liquid-cooled AMD Ryzen 9 5950X and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080. In the first image below, you'll note CPU temps on this well-cooled rig sit around 53C when the Epic Games launcher is running, and with about 2% CPU utilization from the app itself on a 16-core Zen 3 chip.
Using the same rig and taking a look at the task manager, we noted that the Epic Games launcher is lighting up cores and keeping some of them lit even while seemingly doing nothing, and not even updating a game in the background.
Ultimately, these CPU temperature and usage spikes are not typical of game launchers. When experimenting with the Steam and GOG launchers, CPU idle temps and usage remained nominal and much lower, after an initial brief spike on loading. So what exactly is happening with the Epic Games Launcher that idle temps are spiking and CPU usage is unnecessarily engaged?
Doing some testing on another personal machine, we noticed that the Epic Games Launcher has five different processes open at one time. Out of curiosity, we opened up Glasswire, which is a free network traffic monitor. We could see that the Epic Games Launcher and associated processes were firing off data at regular intervals to over 22 different servers. This was happening whether we had the launcher open, minimized, or in the background. The larger spikes shown in the Glasswire graph below are from when we reopened the Epic Games launcher after closing it.
Another interesting discovery is that the “EpicWebHelper” sent some data to the following URL:
tracking-website-prod07-epic-961842049.us-east-1.elb.amazonaws.comOver the course of approximately an hour, Epic Games sent more data than 514KB of data to some server(s) somewhere. This is more than 14x what Steam and NVIDIA GeForce Experience sent in the background during the same timeframe. While it remains to be seen if the data collection is the cause of the CPU usage issue, something smells fishy here. In fact, it may be advisable to kill off the Epic Games launcher for now, when you're not actively using it.
That said, what do you make of these Epic Games launcher shenanigans? What are you seeing on your machine? Let us know in the comments below.