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

Whenever a lot of drawing is happening on my laptop a buzzing noise is emitted by the sound hardware, which is clearly audible with headphones (similar to this question or this one). I've tried both the headphone jack on the laptop itself, and also on the dock. I've used other laptops and they all seem to have similar problems here, which leads me to believe this is more a function of relatively low quality laptop sound hardware than any fault with the headphones or this laptop in particular.

I'm curious if there's some piece of hardware I might use to eliminate the buzzing. For instance, would an external USB sound device fix the problem or is it likely subject to the same kinds of issues? Would a simple filter/choke on the headphone cord itself possibly help? Or is one simply stuck with poor quality audio from laptops period?

share|improve this question
I tried on my Sony Vaio, using some good noise-cancelling headphones, and couldn't hear anything. Presumably your problem is the current draw of the graphics hardware. – Daniel R Hicks Mar 22 '12 at 2:06
@DanH: This machine uses the plain old integrated graphics. Nothing fancy – Billy ONeal Mar 22 '12 at 2:13
Yep, but the system draws more current when doing intense graphics. – Daniel R Hicks Mar 22 '12 at 3:11
(In any event, the USB sound adapter would likely eliminate the noise, especially if you put it in a powered hub rather than directly powering from your laptop.) – Daniel R Hicks Mar 22 '12 at 3:13

External USB would go far in resolving this. Bluetooth (from the laptop, not an audio converter) would be even better, since there would be no possible way to couple the audio circuitry to the laptop's digital circuitry.

share|improve this answer

This is personal opinion, but I think your problem is cheap hardware. I've had both Dell and Apple laptops and not had the problem you mention. I certainly would have noticed it.

The problem also may not be your sound hardware, but poorly shielded video hardware.

I doubt there is much you can do apart from buy a better quality machine.

share|improve this answer
I've tested with Dell Latitude E6500 and Lenovo ThinkPad X220 machines. To be fair, you need a pretty decent pair of headphones (such as the Sennheiser HD 280 Pros I'm using) to hear it. – Billy ONeal Mar 22 '12 at 1:06

You must log in to answer this question.

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