Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is it normal for a computer to lag when sound on a video gets too loud, or when playing music loudly? I have a laptop running vista, 2GB Memory, 512 MB video card, 128 MB integrated sound card. Would upgrading the sound card fix this?

Example of what happens: I am watching Top Gear at a decent volume through my laptops speakers. All the sudden Jeremy Clarkson yells "POWER" and guns a firrari, the video and audio will lag for about half a second then go back to normal, only to repeat this every few seconds if the sound stays up. If i turn the volume down and re-watch the same part the lag will stop.

forgot to mention, if i plug external speakers into the headphone jack i can crank the sound up to my hearts content.

Extra notes: The laptop is a Dell inspiron 1720 (IIRC), and the video or audio files are being played off the internal HDD.

share|improve this question
Maybe put a match stick in the headphone jack and crank it up? – Ciaran Aug 13 '09 at 18:59
What model of laptop is this? If it is one of the laptops with a built in subwoofer, timday's response seems fairly likely to be the culprit. If not... Gremlins. – Jack M. Aug 13 '09 at 22:14

It might be some odd power issue. The only solution to that really though is external speakers. The sudden albeit small power drain from a loud sound might be a problem.

share|improve this answer

Wild guess: the noise is loud enough to make some automatic head parking mechanism in your laptop kick in (this is the anti-shock technology which is supposed to protect the drive if the machine is dropped).

On the other hand, if that was the problem I can't believe you wouldn't have continuous problems using your lappy in a car/train/plane too (is it ok in noisy/vibrating environments ?). Pretty strange problem!

share|improve this answer
Use it on the train everymorning, never had a problem or noticed anything while using it on the go – Petey B Aug 14 '09 at 14:17

Definitely an unusual problem, so lets do a few things.

Is the video a DVD or a hard-drive based source?

Vibration-based skipping is more likely to come from the DVD than the hard-drive, but either are theoretically possible.

Laptop sound-cards arn't generally "replaceable", but you can add an external USB one. If you have a friend or feel like parting with some cash for awhile, borrow/purchase an external sound card and see if it resolves your problem. If not, return it.

share|improve this answer
Hard-drive based videos. I'll borrow one from my work and give it a go this weekend, thanks for the tip! – Petey B Aug 14 '09 at 14:19

Magnetic interference.
The louder the speakers go, the more pesky electrons flow through the speakers coil causing a larger than normal magnetic field.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .