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I purchased a brand new Gigabyte EP45-UD3LR, but when I put together the computer and started it, the music seemed to crackle. I taught it was some driver problem, so I reinstalled Windows 7 x64. However, after reinstall the problem was still present.

My default music player is foobar2000. MP3s crackle only very rarely (but they do), however the problem is much worse with WMA files and MMS streams, because they crackle almost at every second. KMPlayer seems to crackle randomly on avi or mkv files as well. The problem is much worse with VLC: the sound makes 0.5 second stops at every 3-5 seconds.

I googled the issue and tried every possible fix:

  • Changed sound output format from Studio Quality to CD Quality. No effect.
  • Since my CPU was overclocked to 3.6 GHz from 2.6 GHz, I disabled the overclocking, but that didn't fix it neither.
  • I tried changing the RAMs. Nada.
  • Tried using the drivers installed by Windows, instead the ones from Realtek's website. The sounds seems to be somewhat quieter, and doesn't crackle that much with VLC, but still does.
  • I did CPU and memory tests, and they're stable.

The sound equipment is a Genius 5.1, but it doesn't crackle with other sound source. (set-top box)

DCP Latency checker shows an average of 5500μs latency, and an absolute of 5952μs. All the bars are red. I tried disabling drivers, but that did not solve it either. Also, it is on a fresh Windows 7 installation.

Unfortunately I don't have a sound card to test it.

What could I try to do?

EDIT: I fixed the sound problems by turning off C1E and EIST from the BIOS, then turning off the Gigabyte Dynamic Energy Saver in Windows.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

It's hard to diagnose it without hearing it, but you can break it down and try to eliminate the different possibilities.

First, it can be either software (drivers, etc) or hardware. Try booting with a linux live CD, and see if you still have the problem. If you do, it's probably hardware - if not, it's software.

Assuming that it's hardware related, there are two basic possibilities: a bad connection, or distortion.

I'm not familiar with a "Genius 5.1" - I'll assume they're powered speakers, though. You've verified that the input to the speakers works - again, make sure that you test by plugging in to the same input as you're using for the computer. If possible, use the same cable to eliminate that.

Now you're down to the connector, or something internal. Are the ends of your connector clean? Try cleaning them a bit - rubbing alcohol is good. Now, with something playing, lightly try to wiggle the connector - does that make any difference? If so, it could be that there's a problem with the connector itself, or the mounting.

The next things to try are a bit more dangerous, and shouldn't be tried if you're at all uncomfortable dealing with electricity. With the case open and sound playing, take a wooden pencil (with an eraser) and lightly tap the various sound chips & connectors on the MB - this will help determine if there's a bad connection. This is unlikely, but possible.

If none of this helps, you might need to get a sound card, or replace the MB.

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I would also recommend the Linux Live CD, this allows you to easily isolate the problem to either a software issue (OS, driver, application) or hardware (RAM, motherboard, connectors). That is a huge distinction in troubleshooting – RussellW Jul 31 '10 at 16:14

I have the same problem with a Gigabyte board. On mine, it's only the headphone jack that does it, line out is perfectly fine. So, I switched to using line out with headphones that have a volume control on the cord.

I also noted that if my processor (both cores) were pegged at 100% utilization, the crackling went away. It seemed to correspond to when the CPU speeds were throttling up/down for power saving.

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I have the Gigabyte X58A-UD3R (rev1.0) and experienced the same issue - when the PC was idling or playing music and movies, I'd get a high-pitched whining noise.

I sent it back and tried the rev2.0 of the same board, and got the same fault.

Only with the latest release of the BIOS ('FE' for this board) has the issue been completely fixed - it may be worth seeing if there's an update for your BIOS so you can make use of the CPU power saving features again.

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