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Windows 7: Gigabyte GA-X58-UD3R (Rev. 2) - Realtek ALC889 Static and Noise Issue

12 Oct 2010   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
 
 
Gigabyte GA-X58-UD3R (Rev. 2) - Realtek ALC889 Static and Noise Issue

Problem:
I am having issues with the on-board audio, where there is intermittent static, that seems to be only present while playing any audio while in Windows - event sounds or WMP, but disappears when using other applications either gaming, or streaming video, like YouTube. As an observation it seems to increase when using peripherals, mouse, keyboard, inputs while in Windows, but that could be subjective. Moreover the static is present both in speakers or when using a headset.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Computer Specifications
Audio Device - ALC889
Speakers - Logitech Z3200

Processor: Intel Core i7-950 @ 4.0 GHz
Video Card: Palit GeForce GTX 460 2GB (SLI 4GB)
Memory: A-Data 12GB (2GBX3) DDR3/1600 MHz
Motherboard: GigaByte GA-X58A-UD3R
PSU: Corsair HX1000W
Hard Drives: 1X1TB SATA III 6.0Gb/s (WD1002FAEX) and 2X1TB SATA II 3.0Gb/s (WD1001FALS)
Case: Azza Hurrican 2000 Full Tower
CPU Cooling: Asetek 570LX Liquid Cooling System w/ 240mm Radiator Push-Pull Configuration
Optical Drive: Lite-On 24x DVD Burner
OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-Bit

Attempted Solutions:
(1) Updated BIOS - FC1
(2) Fresh Install of Windows 7 Professional 64-Bit
(2) Updated Realtek ALC889 Driver - High Definition Audio Codec R2.53
(3) Installed Third Party Codec (Cole2k or K-Lite)
(4) Uninstalled All Audio Drivers/Codecs and Reinstalled (Tried w/ and w/out Third Party Codecs)
(5) Ran DPC Latency Diagnostic Program and Shows No Significant Drops (DPC Latency Checker)


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

12 Oct 2010   #2

Systems 1 and 2: Windows 7 Enterprise x64, Win 8 Developer
 
 

You might try uninstalling the drivers from the mfg and installing them from Realtek.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2010   #3

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lemur View Post
You might try uninstalling the drivers from the mfg and installing them from Realtek.
Already attempted, original drivers were Realtek 2.52, updated to 2.53, but problems still persist. I could try combinations of older drivers/codecs/BIOs to see if that will remedy the problem, but I am doubtful.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


12 Oct 2010   #4

Systems 1 and 2: Windows 7 Enterprise x64, Win 8 Developer
 
 

Did this problem always exist?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2010   #5

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lemur View Post
Did this problem always exist?
Good question, since I didn't clarify in the original post.

The system is new, arrived recently about roughly week ago, custom build from CyberPowerPC, Inc. For additional background, the majority of that first week was spent stress testing the system and tweaking the system w/ respect to the GPU and GPU. And during that period static was not present during game play, or while streaming video online, but strangely when playing any audio in Windows, ie Media Player, suddenly static intermittently appears.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2010   #6

Systems 1 and 2: Windows 7 Enterprise x64, Win 8 Developer
 
 

If you boot into safe mode, do you have this problem?

If you uncheck programs in msconfig -> startup that you are SURE you can temporarily uncheck (leave microsoft alone) and boot up, does the problem persist?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Oct 2010   #7

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
 
 

Tried some more suggestions, but still no-joy with the intermittent static.

Summary of Attempted Solutions:
(1) Updated BIOS - FC1
(2) Fresh Install of Windows 7 Professional 64-Bit
(2) Updated Realtek ALC889 Driver - High Definition Audio Codec R2.53
(3) Installed Third Party Codec (Cole2k or K-Lite)
(4) Uninstalled All Audio Drivers/Codecs and Reinstalled (Tried w/ and w/out Third Party Codecs)
(5) Ran DPC Latency Diagnostic Program and Shows No Significant Drops (DPC Latency Checker)
(6) Disable C1E, Select Balanced Profile (Windows Power Options), Disabled EIST
(7) Disconnected, Redirect or Examine Shielding of Front Panel Audio Cable
(8) Disable Dynamic Energy Software (EasyTune, RivaTurner, etc.)
(9) Update INF Chipset and LAN Driver

I still do need to check for proper ground and visually I did not see any metal-to-metal contact on I/O Rear Panel Shield, but don't have access to a multimeter at the moment. And I could also try a sound card opposed to on-board audio, to isolate the issue between software or hardware, but the fact that the static is only present in Windows, but doesn't appear during game play or streaming video online, makes me believe it is some driver or codec conflict.

Any other ideas?

Quote:
If you boot into safe mode, do you have this problem?

If you uncheck programs in msconfig -> startup that you are SURE you can temporarily uncheck (leave microsoft alone) and boot up, does the problem persist?
Booting into safe mode, the audio either isn't recognized, or doesn't work. I didn't assume this was a problem, since safe mode disables many devices/drivers, to help diagnose other issues. If I have some more time, I'll see if I can disable non-key processes, to see if it's some other software that is causing the strange conflict. But I am doubtful, as even with a fresh install of windows the static was present from the on-set, prior to any installation of other third-party software. And I'll also play with msconfig, to see if it is some Windows process.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Oct 2010   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by MingtheMerciles View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lemur View Post
Did this problem always exist?
Good question, since I didn't clarify in the original post.

The system is new, arrived recently about roughly week ago, custom build from CyberPowerPC, Inc. For additional background, the majority of that first week was spent stress testing the system and tweaking the system w/ respect to the GPU and GPU. And during that period static was not present during game play, or while streaming video online, but strangely when playing any audio in Windows, ie Media Player, suddenly static intermittently appears.
Couple of things to try.

Both the Realtek driver and Windows Media Player have built-in "enhancements".

Open WMP and switch to "Now Playing" view, go to the menu/enhancements (right click on wmp) select any one of the enhancements. Right/Left scroll through and turn all of them off.

-----------------------------------------

The Realtek drivers have enhancements as well.

I edited out the Realtek control panel from the registry... after the initial setup you don't need it running, most everything is available in the Windows audio setup.

Right click on the MS speaker icon in the taskbar, select playback devices. Select Speakers with a single click, the "Properties" button becomes active, select.... look through the tabs... under enhancements, first select immediate mode then look and see what enhancements are active, try disabling "all sound effects" to start with, see if that changes anything, if it does experiment and see if a single effect is related to the problem.

You mentioned more static when USB mouse/keyboard is active, try a different set of ports.

Ap
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Oct 2010   #9

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
 
 

Quote:
Couple of things to try.

Both the Realtek driver and Windows Media Player have built-in "enhancements".

Open WMP and switch to "Now Playing" view, go to the menu/enhancements (right click on wmp) select any one of the enhancements. Right/Left scroll through and turn all of them off.

-----------------------------------------

The Realtek drivers have enhancements as well.

I edited out the Realtek control panel from the registry... after the initial setup you don't need it running, most everything is available in the Windows audio setup.

Right click on the MS speaker icon in the taskbar, select playback devices. Select Speakers with a single click, the "Properties" button becomes active, select.... look through the tabs... under enhancements, first select immediate mode then look and see what enhancements are active, try disabling "all sound effects" to start with, see if that changes anything, if it does experiment and see if a single effect is related to the problem.

You mentioned more static when USB mouse/keyboard is active, try a different set of ports.

Ap
Thanks for the suggestions, and unfortunately, no-go with resolving the static. Though it was interesting to see or rather hear how the quality of the audio changed by toggling on or off the different enhancements.

As an update as well, see below.

Summary of Attempted Solutions:
(1) Updated BIOS - FC1
(2) Fresh Install of Windows 7 Professional 64-Bit
(2) Updated Realtek ALC889 Driver - High Definition Audio Codec R2.53
(3) Installed Third Party Codec (Cole2k or K-Lite)
(4) Uninstalled All Audio Drivers/Codecs and Reinstalled (Tried w/ and w/out Third Party Codecs)
(5) Ran DPC Latency Diagnostic Program and Shows No Significant Spikes (DPC Latency Checker)
(6) Disable C1E, Select Balanced Profile (Windows Power Options), Disabled EIST
(7) Disconnected, Redirect or Examine Shielding of Front Panel Audio Cable
(8) Disable Dynamic Energy Software (EasyTune, RivaTurner, etc.)
(9) Update INF Chipset and LAN Driver

Update 10/15/2010
(10) Swapped USB Peripherals with PS/2 Keyboard and Mouse
(11) Toggled Off WMP Enhancements and On-Board Audio Enhancements
(12) Tried Various Audio Settings, Sound Quality 16 bit to 24 bit, Various Frequencies, and Enabling/Disabling/Muting Devices
(13) Installed Discrete Sound Card (Creative Lab Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium)
(14) Disabled On-Board Audio, Updated Discrete Sound Card Driver

I installed a discrete sound card yesterday evening, hoping to narrow down if it was a hardware or software issue. The card is a Creative Lab Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium, and the sound quality seems on par if not better than the on-board audio. Unfortunately, after installation, the static still persisted, however, after disabling the on-board audio, updating device drivers, and finishing the configuration, the intermittent static seems to be mostly resolved. But I believe it is definitely some software issue at this point as the static is present in both devices, so the Gigabyte X58A-UD3R, is good-to-go. There is an occasional static, which occurs for instance when web browsing with WMP minimized, but the noise is considerably less pronounced and smaller intervals than running with the on-board Realtek ALC889. Hopefully this weekend I can troubleshoot some more, and find exactly what driver/device/codec is causing this issue.

Thanks for the help guys!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Oct 2010   #10

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
 
 
[SOLVED] - Intermittent Static

After spending many hours starting with a fresh install of Windows, installing drivers, codecs, rolling them back, trying alternative permutations, checking for grounding, checking latency, front audio shielding, purchasing a discrete sound card, I have finally found the issue, the SLI. Simply disabling it, will resolve the intermittment static and cracking while playing audio in Windows, unbelievable. As a temporary fix, I'll be sure to disable SLI when working with my productivity software, until some new driver is released. Lastly, thanks for all the help, input, and suggestions. Hopefully having gone through this, maybe this thread will help other people in the future as well.

Summary of Attempted Solutions:
(1) Updated BIOS - FC1
(2) Fresh Install of Windows 7 Professional 64-Bit
(2) Updated Realtek ALC889 Driver - High Definition Audio Codec R2.53
(3) Installed Third Party Codec (Cole2k or K-Lite)
(4) Uninstalled All Audio Drivers/Codecs and Reinstalled (Tried w/ and w/out Third Party Codecs)
(5) Ran DPC Latency Diagnostic Program and Shows No Significant Spikes (DPC Latency Checker)
(6) Disable C1E, Select Balanced Profile (Windows Power Options), Disabled EIST
(7) Disconnected, Redirect or Examine Shielding of Front Panel Audio Cable
(8) Disable Dynamic Energy Software (EasyTune, RivaTurner, etc.)
(9) Update INF Chipset and LAN Driver
(10) Swapped USB Peripherals with PS/2 Keyboard and Mouse
(11) Toggled Off WMP Enhancements and On-Board Audio Enhancements
(12) Tried Various Audio Settings, Sound Quality 16 bit to 24 bit, Various Frequencies, and Enabling/Disabling/Muting Devices
(13) Installed Discrete Sound Card (Creative Lab Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium)
(14) Disabled On-Board Audio, Updated Discrete Sound Card Driver

RESOLVED 10/16/2010:
(15) Disabled SLI

Source for idea:

Creative Worldwide Support
Quote:
Some causes of crackling and popping during sound playback are particular PC settings or a particular way a PC is setup. Please try the following suggestions as they apply to the PC, the audio card is installed in.

A game's audio samples may have levels, or DC biases, that are unusually high. These samples can overload the X-Fi audio enhancement algorithms which result in output streams that clip, or exceed, the allowable output signal swing.

Try reducing the game's audio level. Where this is not possible, try reducing the master volume level in Windows.
Very lengthy handling of Interrupt Service Routines (ISR) and Deferred Procedure Calls (DPC) by the graphics driver on nForce motherboards (Asus, MSI, and Gigabyte are some motherboard vendors that use this chipset), particularly when nVidia SLI graphics are used. One game where this problem has been observed is the game Far Cry, though other games may be affected as well. These times have been observed to be as long as 100 milliseconds and causes the audio data buffers handed to the sound card driver by the application to become stale.

A third party tool called nHancer (available at nHancer - Advanced Control Panel for nVidia Cards) has been found to make it possible to mitigate this problem by retuning the graphics driver. We recommend setting the AFR (Alternate Frame Rendering) mode in nHancer to reduce the maximum interrupt deferral times (called DPC) to the 10-25 millisecond range. This problem is not unique to the X-Fi; it causes crackling/distortion with a number of other audio products tested.

Note: nHancer is a 3rd party application. As such, Creative Labs cannot support, warranty or guarantee the functionality, usability or accuracy of nHancer. Please direct any and all questions or concerns to the makers of nHancer.



X-Fi requests for PCI bus service are being "retried", or deferred, an extraordinary number of times, presumably while the graphics system is using system memory when playing Battlefield 2 during complex graphic scenes. It may also occur in other games, and is associated most often with nVidia nForce chipsets with SLI graphics. The Sound Blaster X-Fi sound card can withstand up to about 450 bus retries on occasion, but in some cases there are over 8,000 bus retries for a single request, for a total deferral time of up to 2 milliseconds (240 nanoseconds per retry). These deferrals can cause audio defects in non-Creative PCI sound cards as well.

Please try the following to lower the number of bus retries per request:
Invoke dual-channel memory mode on the motherboard. Systems that are not configured in dual-channel mode can experience crackling during games. For more information about invoking dual-channel mode, please refer to your motherboard manufacturer.
Flashing the BIOS or changing the CMOS can cause the memory and PCI performance to improve. Occasionally, this can cause performance to degrade. For more information about specific versions or for information about updates, please contact your motherboard manufacturer.
Ensure that the SATA hard drive is not conflicting with PCI memory resources. Changing to a different controller may help.
Sometimes removing one SLI graphics card, rebooting with the X-Fi, then shutting down and reinstalling the second graphics card fixes the problem.


In a small number of cases, the game crackling issues were found to be caused by the X-Fi driver related implementation.

Download and install the latest drivers from the Creative website which can resolve crackling in some PCs.

Note: In some cases, the latest drivers are Beta drivers which may help correct this issue. Please be aware that Technical Support cannot assist with troubleshooting Beta drivers. Install any Beta drivers or software at your own risk. For instructions to uninstall Beta drivers, please click here.



Overclocking of nVidia based graphics cards can cause crackling issues in Battlefield 2 and other gaming titles. It has been found that the card's Memory Clock Speed most directly affects the intensity and frequency of the crackling in Battlefield 2.

Try installing the nTune application from nVidia's website to give individual controls for memory clock speed and GPU clock speed.

Note: nTune is a 3rd party application. As such, Creative Labs cannot support, warranty or guarantee the functionality, usability or accuracy of nTune. Please direct any and all questions or concerns to nVidia.


The slower the Memory Clock Speed, the fewer and more subtle the crackles. When turning the Memory Clock Speed down as far as the application permits, crackling can disappear entirely. It is recommended that any overclocking be reduced and, if necessary, underclock the graphics card no more than necessary to resolve any audio crackling issues.
Modifying the clock settings on an nVidia GeForce SLI graphics card (for other brands of graphics cards, please consult the documentation for that card or contact the manufacturer):
Right click the Desktop.
From the context menu, choose Properties. The Display Properties window appears.
Click the Settings tab.
Click the Advanced button.
In the new window, click the nVidia tab (the one with the nVidia logo).
In the list that appears, click Clock Frequency Settings.
Select the Manual radio button.
In the Settings drop-down menu, choose "Performance (3D)".
Adjust the Memory Clock Speed to your specifications.
Click Test Changes.
Click Apply.
Note: Changing the default clock speed on a graphics card can have unexpected results. Please consult your graphics card documentation for further details.

Feedback on User Escalations

Further to the reported cases of crackling issues reported by owners of Sound Blaster X-Fi cards, we have extensively tested both Creative and non-Creative audio cards on motherboards where the issues were reported in an effort to isolate the root cause.
The findings indicate that circumstances causing these audio glitches only arise on nVidia's nForce 4 range of motherboards.

The Sound Blaster X-Fi card was designed to meet PCI bus standards and tolerances and this is the only range of motherboards that operate in this manner.
A full technical description is detailed below, but in brief, the PCI bus data requests are not being serviced leading to "gaps" in the audio, resulting in sudden dropouts to no audio and back again which gives rise to what is perceived as crackling.

As we have identified the resolution of this issue to be beyond our control, we would advise customers experiencing this issue to escalate their concerns to nVidia in an effor to seek a possible solution.

Technical Details

We have observed through direct observation of the PCI bus on the nVidia nForce 4 motherboards that when the crackle symptoms are occuring, the Sound Blaster X-Fi card PCI bus master memory requests for audio data are being held off (not serviced) for very long intervals.

We have observed peak holdoffs of up to 2 milliseconds in some cases. This is unusual chipset behavior that is beyond the ability of a hardware audio accelerator to compensate for in its internal buffering. The Sound Blaster X-Fi tolerance for these PCI holdoffs is approximately 120 microseconds peak holdoff, with a 1 microsecond average holdoff.

These design tolerances are based on observation of real PCI bus behavior on leading motherboards over a period of many motheboard hardware generations.

The nForce 4 motherboard is the first motherboard on which these extremely long PCI service holdoffs have been observed by Creative, where another PCI device in the system was not causing the holdoff.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Gigabyte GA-X58-UD3R (Rev. 2) - Realtek ALC889 Static and Noise Issue




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