Cycles Render Freezes At Start Of Frame

I’m trying to render an animation, and whenever a frame starts to render, Blender freezes for around 20 seconds before doing any rendering. Like, even before loading resources. I can’t even close the render window. It just freezes.

This is a brand new computer, with an 8-Core Ryzen CPU, GTX 1650, and 32 GB of 3600 MHz RAM. It’s not a system specs issue. Once it starts loading resources, the render takes around 7 seconds. BlenderFreeze

It does this for every frame, and nearly quadruples the render time. My old laptop renders things faster than this.

Does anyone know how I can fix this? I’ve tried copying things into a new project, and it doesn’t change. Rendering the default cube is much faster, but still has about a second or two of freeze before the render starts.

Switching to GPU rendering takes almost the exact same time. Maybe a few seconds longer, even. -

This is what my task manager looks like while it’s frozen.