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KT333 AC97 onboard sound - popping/hissing noise on hard drive access/mouse movement

I recently dug out an old case I had lying around and installed some parts in it to make a bare-bones PC - single IDE HDD (primary master), DVD drive (secondary master), 2x256MB RAM, Genius ethernet card, Ti4200 AGP graphics card, on a Soltek SL-75DRV5 motherboard (VIA KT333 chipset). I am using the onboard audio for sound.

From when the PC boots up, there are popping/crackling noises, particularly when there is any hard drive access or when I move the mouse (in Windows XP). I have done some research and found out that the VIA KT333 chipset was notorius for audio problems :(

I have tried the following, all to no avail

* disabling the onboard sound
* installed latest BIOS for the motherboard from http://www.soltek.com.tw/soltek/download/download_all.php?CPU_st=Socket+A&chipset_st=VIA&isbn_st=SL-75DRV5%2FSL-75DRV5-C (T1.8)
* installed latest VIA 4-in-1 drivers from viaarena.com (I tried the earlier driver and the newer Hyperion driver supposedly for newer chipsets)
* installed PCI latency patch from http://www.georgebreese.com/net/software/#PCI (0.20b21 version)

Before this case was stored away I also had tried it with a SB Live! Value PCI sound card, which had the same audio problems.

I'm not sure what to try next. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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nem2k4
Asked:
nem2k4
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1 Solution
 
burrcmCommented:
If you disabled onboard sound and it still happens, then the sound presumably is coming from the system speaker. If everything else works, just unplug it. CD/DVD should be on secondary master - never the same channel as HDD, as it will slow HDD access.

Chris B
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phototropicCommented:
Try whatever speakers you are using with a different system. Eliminate the obvious first!

If the "popping and hissing" happens whatever speakers you use, the next step is to check all connections and all cabling. If your machine is made of used parts that you have found, it may be that a phono lead has become unsoldered or a cable has been kinked. Try plugging headphones into the jack socket on the DVD drive and play an audio CD. Still popping and hissing? If not, double check all connectors and cabling.

If you are using the onboard sound, how would disabling onboard sound help?

Can you try installing a sound card to see if the noise persists?
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nem2k4Author Commented:
Sorry, I forgot to mention - I am hearing the popping/crackling through my headphones, which are plugged in to the onboard audio.

Chris B - the DVD is on secondary master already

phototropic - the headphones I am hearing the noises over work fine on my other PCs. I will try some other ones just in case though.
I tried disabling onboard sound to see if the crackling was something wrong with the onboard sound - I could still hear it with it disabled, so obviously not.
I had a SB Live! Value PCI card in the machine previously and the crackling occured with that too
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phototropicCommented:
Like all other computer problems, this must be either Hardware, Software, or Operating System;

Hardware - must be the motherboard, it appears to be all that is left;

Software - some kind of driver issue, maybe. Is everything OK in Device Manager? No "!" or "?" against anything?

Operating System - try System File Checker. Type "sfc /scannow" without the quotes in the run box. Have your XP CD handy.
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nem2k4Author Commented:
I imagine it is hardware-related. because the noises are present at the boot screens and while windows is loading.

No ?/! in device manager
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burrcmCommented:
<<Chris B - the DVD is on secondary master already>> As you stated - sorry, going silly.

CB
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pcchecksCommented:
check your MIDI cable. you could be getting some feedback when this is connected. Its the little 4 pin connector from the optical drives to the mainboard(onboard sound) or soundcard.
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PCBONEZCommented:
Disconnect the sound wire to the DVD drive and let us know if anything changes.
.
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pcchecksCommented:
thanks PCBONEZ

I didn't think he was that daft.
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PCBONEZCommented:
pcchecks
What are you talking about?

In a screwed up design (such as a chipset with noise problems) the wire running up to the DVD drive can act as an antenna and dump random noise back into the onboard sound circuit.

I wanna see if this one is doing that.
.
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PCBONEZCommented:
Incidently,
if this is part of the problem the answer is to get a higher quailty sound cable for the optical drive that has the ferrite beads on it.
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pcchecksCommented:
what i was saying was, that is what i told him to do. see my previous comment :)
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PCBONEZCommented:
pcchecks,, Oh,,
The optical drive sound cable is not a MIDI cable.
That's where you lost me.
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nem2k4Author Commented:
The DVD drive isn't connected via a MIDI cable to anything.. just IDE and power are connected.
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pcchecksCommented:
it could be that something is shorting off somewhere. Try benchtesting the mainboard( remove from the chassis and boot up by only connecting the necessary components. Dust out the system properly also.
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PCBONEZCommented:
Well,, This appears to be an EMI problem..
If nothing is acting as an antenna the answer is grounded shielding and such.

I just left the box...

I think the north bridge of your chipset has a fan on the heatsink.
- Regardless:
Use a small wire and ground the heatsink.
If there is a fan then find a ferrite bead off of some junk MoBo or card or case wiring and run the fan wires through it 2 or 3 times.

Do this to the south bridge of the chipset and to the sound chip if it's not contained in the chipset:
Attach a small heatsink to the chip with thermal ADHEISIVE and ground the heatsink with a small wire.
.
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nem2k4Author Commented:
Thanks, I will try benchtesting it when I next have a bit of spare time.

I'm not sure about the ferrite bead solution, I don't even know what they are :o

Here are some pics in the meantime if they help with diagnosis ;)

http://img212.imageshack.us/my.php?image=kif21541jz.jpg
http://img212.imageshack.us/my.php?image=kif21551dd.jpg
http://img82.imageshack.us/my.php?image=kif21564jy.jpg
http://img212.imageshack.us/my.php?image=kif21578om.jpg
http://img212.imageshack.us/my.php?image=kif21585nu.jpg
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PCBONEZCommented:
Ferrite beads are basically a doughnut or hollow cylinder shaped piece of ferrite.
Ferrite is an iron based alloy.
In addition to the beads it's used as the "iron core" in transformers and inductors.
See those doughnut shaped things on your board that have a few wraps of copper wire over them?
~ That's an epoxy coated ferrite bead that's been used to make an inductor.
Putting a ferrite cylinder over a wire or wrapping the wire around a doughnut shaped bead blocks RF frequencies from passing through the wire.
Inside PC's you sometimes see them on power supply wiring (often inside the PSU) or on the wire bundle for the front panel. (The idea there is to keep the front panel wires from becomming an antenna and sending static into the mainboards power distribution.)
http://computer.howstuffworks.com/question352.htm
http://www.surplussales.com/FerBeaSle/FerBeaSle-1.html

If I got it right this is a pic of your onboard sound chip:
http://www.motherboards.org/images/reviews/motherboards/1135_p2_7.jpg
VIA VT1611A

Look at the cap next to your battery.
In the pic it looks like it might be bloated but I can't really tell.
.
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thoffmanCommented:
I had a very similar problem with a very similar motherboard. I could hear the hard drive through the onboard sound. I spent an hour or so trying all sorts of different possible solutions, but nothing worked. Finally, I fixed it by dumping the piece of junk onboard audio and plugging in a PCI sound card. It solved the problem completely. :)

I'd try that Soundblaster PCI card again, if you still have it. If that still gives you the same problem, try the Soundblaster card in another computer, if you can, to see if that, too, has a problem.

By the way, as far as the internal audio cable goes, I never even bother with those anymore. CD audio can easily be sent through the IDE channel with anything after Windows 95, and DVD audio is never sent through that tiny cable anyway. So, all it ever does is cause problems.

--
Troy
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nem2k4Author Commented:
Ok, I have tried benchtesting the motherboard, same problems. I tried the soundblaster card again as well, still no luck.

PCBONEZ: the cap is fine, doesn't seem to be bloated at all

Could the problem be the PCI latency as described here? http://www.georgebreese.com/net/software/#PCI

I have tried googling for a v0.19 version of the PCI latency patch but I can't find it...
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PCBONEZCommented:
I dunno... I've never messed with BUS Latencies....
Reading a little it definately seems related........
.
If you read carefully in one place it says "crackling when cooling is enabled" and elsewhere it says "when CPU cooling is enabled through software" or "when CPU cooling is enabled".
- Perhaps you can get a bit less noise if you simply turn off the CPU fan controls (in the BIOS and in any softeware) and just let it run full speed.
.
That link (site) shows builds 6 through 21 of version 0.20.
I think this is a case where you are stuck with a beta.
0.19 might have never have even made it out of beta.
And considering all they've added though all these builds of 0.20,,, 0.19 might not do much anyway.
.
Here is a similar utility from someone else.
http://www.overclockers.com/articles538/
.
I found a blurb regarding noise in some VIA chipsets:
Many sound cards need constant access to the computer's PCI bus. Rather than store entire sounds inside the card, these cards retrieve the sound from the computer's RAM in very small amounts. Any delay in retrieving any piece of the sound will cause a crackling effect in the audio.
.
You might try a different sound card that's not PCI and has it's own memory.
Soundblaster 64's don't cost much anymore. (Go for the Gold!)
.
You might wanna do some reading and searching here. VIA has a following (club?) and they communicate here.
You might dig up some usefull info on other things too. (Best to join, I did and I'm not getting junk mail. - So.)
http://www.viaarena.com/default.aspx?PageID=10&Search=PCI%20Latency&Filter=1
.
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nem2k4Author Commented:
I've posted on the viaarena.com forums, no luck yet. I saw a few posts of people with similar problems, they installed a Realtek AC97 audio driver and it fixed things for them, I tried installing the Realtek driver, no luck

BTW here is some history about the motherboard.. it used to be in a different case and ran fine, none of this audio crackling. Could it be caused by a cheap power supply? I am uisng the power supply supplied with the case.
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PCBONEZCommented:
The PSU could have an affect.
Power supplies have circuits to filter noise and to reduce emitting EMI to other components inside the case.
Some are better than others at this...
So, if you add one with a little more noise to a MoBo with a chipset that already has some noise problems....
.
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nem2k4Author Commented:
Ok, this is weird.. I moved the PC from my workbench to the top of my entertainment unit and used an audio cable from the single output jack on the motherboard to the L/R audio channels on my TV and the sound is gone! I have no idea why, but the box is working how I had intended to use it.

Thanks to all who helped on this question :)
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PCBONEZCommented:
The noise filters in the TV are probably dumping the noise to ground..
Glad you got it going!!!
.
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