I have a somewhat odd problem. I was using onboard graphics, and my sound was working very well. Then I installed a graphics card, and when I connect my headphones now, I hear a bunch of strange beeps and sounds (think I can hear the CPU fan for instance), but no sound output. The beeps and noises are correlated with what I do on the computer as well. For instance, if I minimise something, I hear a dull bffffrrr sound. Trying to play music results in a highly penetrating high pitched beep. Part of the strange sounds I hear are independent of the volume. For instance, I can hear myself typing through my headphones right now, even though the volume is set to zero.

After removing the graphics card, the problem remained. The same holds for both front and rear outputs.

Windows does recognise that I insert headphones. Also, it is under the impression that I am receiving sound (the green volume indicator in sound settings). Unfortunately, no proper sounds get through. So it is not disabled, but it's not working properly either.

Does anybody know the cause of this problem?

What did I test

  • Uninstalling the graphics card drivers and removing the graphics card
  • Uninstalling and reinstalling audio drivers (both Windows update and manufacturer drivers)
  • I tried psycogeek's suggestions, disabling all other audio devices, and reducing all other volumes to zero.
  • Windows restore to a time when it was working

This last step lead me to believe it is a hardware issue.

  • I tried grounding the USB port and the case (to the radiator, to avoid a ground loop), this did not make any difference.
  • I booted the computer from an Ubuntu Linux USB drive. The issue was identical.

From this I can conclude that it must be a hardware issue. I wonder if there's anything left but replace my motherboard.

I was grounded while installing the graphics card. Additionally, the ground was still connected to the computer, but the PSU was off during placement.

I'd be interested to know how adding graphics card could have caused this issue, and how I can prevent it in the future.

My computer's main specs: i5-4690; Gigabyte Z97x-UD3H-BK (motherboard); Nvidia Quadro 600 (graphics card); Windows 7

  • Do you have both speakers , and headphones? What is the style of headphones, powered or unpowered? By strange sounds, i assume your referring to data white noise style , frequencies from the board being amped up by your headphones? or just passive noises from the computer? In control pannel sounds Speakers Tab, test by disabling everything that is not what you want sound from, insure a default is set, then check the Levels again in the 1 item you wish to hear it from there. Check the recording tab for "mixer" things which can redirect, disable any that are not needed for testing too.
    – Psycogeek
    Nov 17 '15 at 21:02
  • Dear psycogeek, thank you for your comment. I use unpowered headphones. I don't have speakers, but tested the headphones in the rear output instead. I edited my question to clarify what sort of noises I'm hearing. I will try your suggestion tomorrow (the question regards my work computer).
    – BramMooij
    Nov 17 '15 at 21:36
  • Ok then check also in control pannel, sounds, playback, double click on the playback item there speakers/headphones and check the advanced tab for the "default format" (output bitrate sampling) That is the rate it gets sent to the audio chip and some chips do not handle some of the settings the OS can deliver.
    – Psycogeek
    Nov 17 '15 at 21:49
  • Dear Psycogeek, I tried what you said, and additionally found out that the exact same problem occurs in Ubuntu. See my post for the more complete update. Do you think this is anything fixable? Or should I just RMA my computer?
    – BramMooij
    Nov 18 '15 at 9:39
  • no way to determine for you what you should do. try some other head things at least, some simple ear buds or something. even if say it was not fully plugged you could possibly get that.
    – Psycogeek
    Nov 19 '15 at 5:04

See the image below. Bottom left corner is your front panel IO. You've knocked it loose or re-connected the wrong pins to the wrong connectors. Check your manual and reconnect them and you should be good to go.

enter image description here

  • Dear Linef4ult, thank you for your answer. Bottom left are the front panel led's and the power buttons, did you mean those? Or did you mean the front panel audio connector on the top left? Whichever you meant, I checked both and they were still firmly in place.
    – BramMooij
    Nov 17 '15 at 18:08

First. That's not caused by your video card but it can be of it's drivers (like mine gtx 960 installed some drivers for sound)

Best way. Is to reinstall sound drivers. (Windows 8, 10) automaticly will install it after removing.

  • Dear Ion Draganel, thank you for your answer. I reinstalled the drivers, but this did not solve the issue. I will try to uninstall the videocard, then reinstall the audio driver, to see if that helps. I'll report back shortly.
    – BramMooij
    Nov 17 '15 at 18:10
  • I now uninstalled the videocard. Then removed, and reinstalled the audio driver. Unfortunately the problem still persists.
    – BramMooij
    Nov 17 '15 at 18:20

I am still not sure what caused the issue exactly, but the problem was in the motherboard. Replacing the motherboard solved the issue, and now, many years later, it still works. I disposed of the graphics card, so I will never be sure if it can consistently destroy the motherboard's sound.

In short:

  • Installing the graphics card physically killed the motherboard's sound
  • The damage was permanent, and using other graphics cards didn't solve anything
  • Replacing the motherboard was the option that solved the issue

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.