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Jerky Video, and other strange issues arrise after shipping.

Posted on 2006-06-22
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About a month ago, I battled through a miriad of problems on short order with you all.  See my previous questions for more detail.  Now I have another issue.  

I am running a fairly good DAW (digital Audio Workstaion) for multi-track live recording purposes.  Needless to say, this sytem must be rock solid and stable - and it was with the help of this group for a very critical session that I just recorded.  The session I recorded was in Ohio (www.churchofgodonline.com) - about 6 hours from where I live.  While at the meeting, my system ran fine, and I was elated.  However on arrival home, even though nothing had changed, it no longer worked smoothly.  My recording software (adobe Audition) stops at random, and when annimated objects appear on the screen randomly freeze for a moment then continue, jerkily.

To be sure that this was not a software issue, I went and restored an image of the OS disk.  No change.  I am at my whit's end, and to make matters worse, I am supposed to record an end of school production on this computer on saturday.  My system specs are as follows - and yes, I am using the latest drivers and bios updates:

Intel D945GNT Mobo
PD 2.8  820
Hyper 48 Heatsink (stock paste)
2x Seagate 200GB SATA II (Raid 0)
1 Maxtor 250GB PATA HD
1 WD 40GB PATA HD (OS Boot disk)
1 Plextor DVD-R
1 Sony DVD-R
1 IDE controller card
550w Ultra X-connect P/S
2GB DDR2 Ram (OZZY or some such brand)
1 RME Digi9652 Sound Card
1 PNY Nvidea GeForce 5500 Dual VGA 128mb PCI graphics card

I only wish that I could allocate 1000+ points to this question, but it seems that 500 is the max.  Please help mates!
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Question by:sound2man
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by:puter_geek
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What kind of a case is it in?  What is the CPU Temp when it is stalling.  Do the hard drives have enough ventilation to keep cool?  Sounds like a heat issue to me, and with all of that in one case, it is definitely going to get warm.

jolly good

puter_geek
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by:Watzman
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The first thing I would do in a situation like this is remove and reinstall EVERYTHING.  [Don't pass out, I'm talking hardware, not software.  It will take 10 minutes.]  Turn the machine off, UNPLUG IT (or turn the power supply rear master off), and begin unplugging and replugging in all cards (PCI, AGP, whatever), the memory modules, all cables.  The object here is not to change anything, but merely to insure that all of the connections are good.  This is the most likely thing to have been impacted by shipping.  [I probably would not initially mess with the CPU and heatsink, unless the problem persists after reseating everything else.]

If this doesn't fix it, the next step is to begin examining the usual suspects for unstable systems, and that starts with memory, so run Memtest or Memtest86 and see that your memory is error-free.  The next most common problem is the power supply, but that seems unlikely here (although not impossible).  Also, pick up the computer, turn it "motherboard up" and just shake it laterally, the object being that if there are any loose metal pieces, screws, pieces of wire or solder, whatever, causing a momentary short, you want them to simply fall out of the computer.

Also, on the ultra X-connect PS, I think that you have plugs for the cables on the power supply, so each power cable will need to be reseated at both ends.
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Already done except for the memory and CPU.  The first thig I tried was reseating PCI cards and power cables.  I will try the mem test though.  I may not be able to get back onto here untill tommorow noon, so keep on posting suggestions.
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As far as the heat comment.  This cannot be the issue.  I have plenty of ventallation, and the system is stalling in cool A/C ambient temps ~70F whereas, it was rock solid @ 98F before.  The CPU temps are fine, about 55C and HDs at 35C.  Plenty of fans and airflow.
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I reseated everything and blew out the dust to no avail.  I removed the heatsink from the graphics card and reinstalled with Artic 5 thermal paste.  I don't know what else to do.  HELP PLEASE!
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by:garycase
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Hi Ron,

Traveling tonight and can't follow-up on this until tomorow (or maybe very late tonight);  but it sounds like one of your drives may have reverted to PIO access mode.   We could check it first, but the simplest thing to do is just try this (it's a harmless mod -- just forces the system to redetect transfer modes on the next boot):

Load RegEdit (Start - Run - Regedit)

Go to the following keys:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\ Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\000x

The last four digits will be 0000, 0001, 0002, 0003, and so on.

Under each key, delete all occurences of the following values:

     MasterIdDataChecksum
     SlaveIdDataChecksum

Now reboot your system and see if the problem disappears.
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by:sound2man
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Thanks Gary,

I haven't tried this yet, but I after much trial and error before I read this message, I found that the computer worked if the sound card was unplugged.  I went ahead and bought a new mobo - Asus P5LD2 Deluxe - and plan to install that tonight or tommorow.  I will probably try your fix first just to check.  It does puzzle me though, why would a mobo have a conflict with my sound card after the trip if it didn't before.  Any ideas?
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This is definitely ***NOT*** a good time to buy a new motherboard.  On July 23rd, Intel will release the "Conroe" processors, and the 965 chipset, a whole host of new motherboards will come out (from everyone), there will be wholesale price changes, and the entire landscape will change (I think that AMD has a major price adjustment set for the next day).
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Could very well be a bad time to buy a mobo, but I can't get work done with a broken computer, and I can't wait a month to get it to work.  A computer without a soundcard is less than useless to me as I am a sound tech.  If the computer works with the new mobo (I install it tommorow) I think it's a well spent $200.  Once this system is stable I don't plan to update for the next four to six years, other than addaing HD space - I go through about 400 GB a year.
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by:garycase
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"... why would a mobo have a conflict with my sound card after the trip if it didn't before. " ==> it's not clear that the conflict is with the motherboard.   Since everything WAS working fine, something has obviously changed, so the trick here is to isolate what it was that changed.   Having a spare motherboard won't hurt anything, but it's not at all clear you needed to replace it.  

... as you've probably already done, I'd ignore the "don't buy a motherboard now" post ==> first, you've already bought it; and second, I'm sure you want to use all of your current components, which you can since you bought a very compatible (even uses the same northbridge/southbridge chipsets) motherboard.

Give the registry mod I suggested a try before replacing the motherboard.   If that doesn't do the trick, look in Device Manager under "Resources by type" and see which interrupts your sound card is using, and which of those are shared with other devices (post the results here).


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I will try, but I assure you that nothing changed from the last time i booted the computer before I transported it to the time I booted it up at home and it wouldn't work smoothly.  I instantly thought of the mobo as during the first week of usage the p/s2 mouse port stopped working.  I switched over to a usb mouse so as to avoid trying to sort that issue out in the middle of the conference.  

I will report as to how you reg mods afffect the system this afternoon.  I will give them a try before I send this board off for warrenty work.
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"... during the first week of usage the p/s2 mouse port stopped working ..." ==> Ahh ... more info :-)   I understand now why you jumped on the "bad motherboard" bandwagon.   Could be -- but as a matter of interest, does the PS/2 port work if the sound card is unplugged?  (since the other issues goes away in that case it would be interesting to know if this one does too)   Don't "hot plug" the PS/2 mouse -- it's best to do that with power off (PS/2 ports aren't designed for hot plugging).
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No the mouse still doesn't work.  I think it's toasted.
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I tried the reg mod and it didn't fix the problem.  

I tried switching the card to a different slot as well to no avail.  It is using IRQ18, but at a quick look, I couldn't find anything else that was.  I installed the card into my home pc and it didn't cause any issues.  It is really looking like a mobo problem - I kinda like the ASUS board anyway.

I will be swapping the board now and will post results once done.
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by:garycase
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... sounds like a good plan :-)
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Replaced the mobo and still have the same problem.  Also swapped the hard disk just in case with one I had laying around.I am really stummped now.  I have no idea what's going on.  

The problem seems to be less pronounced with this board than the other, but I thought it would be gone.  I will mess around with some of the settings and stuff, cause this is just really strange.

The program I am using for testing is - don't laugh - microsoft pinball.  I got the heads up from a couple of other techs that a good way to find out if you system is running stable or not is to run a game.  Grant it, pinball is not very intense on the system, but as I am not a gamer, I only have the games installed by default by windows.  

The problem I am noticing is that the ball will not travel smoothly - it goes in fits and starts.  When this happens, CPU ussage jumps up to 40-80% with only this program running.  This is happening with other programs as well, but not in quite as obvious a manner.  It is causing adobe audition to hiccup and stop recording.

I really don't know what to do.  The only PCI cards I have installed are myt RME sound card and my dual head graphics card.  I can't disable the graphics card on this mobo as that is the only graphics device I have on this system, but I did disable it on my other mobo and use the onboard card to no avail.

I would say it's the sound card, but it works fine in my other system - a dell P4 3.2 - and it worked fine a couple weeks ago in this system.  

Anyone have any ideas?
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garycase earned 400 total points
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Okay ... one little step at a time here ...

(1)  We've already ruled out what I would have expected to be the most likely cause here ==> a PIO reversion.   Just to be certain, look in Device Manager under the IDE/ATA/ATAPI controllers and confirm that for each channel the Advanced Properties tab shows UDMA as the "Current Transfer Mode" for all devices (i.e. that there are NO "PIO" entries).

(2)  If by any chance there ARE any PIO entries, repeat the registry modification I noted in my post above at Date: 06/27/2006 04:52PM PDT

(3)  Are you sure you're using the most current graphics driver?

(4)  Are you not currently using the additional IDE controller ??  (you indicated you're only using the video card and sound card)

I'll think about this a bit and post some more after you respond to this ...
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by:sound2man
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(1) Roger

(2) N/A

(3) no will update in a minute

(4) Not sure what you mean.  I only have two slots filled - graphics and sound.  The other slot is vacant.
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#4 ==> your configuration list indicates "1 IDE controller card", which I assumed (perhaps incorrectly) was an add-in PCI IDE controller.

Some more thoughts ...

(5)  Have you disabled the on-board audio on the new Asus motherboard?

(6)  If #5 is Yes;  try this:

    (a)  Remove your sound card
    (b)  Enable the on-board audio
    (c)  Record something through the on-board audio (I know this is nowhere near useable for what you need -- just want to confirm whether or not this works)
    (d)  Exercise the system for a bit and see if everything seems to be working okay -- records with Audition;  plays pinball okay; etc.

(7)  If #5 is No; then disable the onboard audio and see if this resolves the issue.


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#4 - My apologies, I removed that card early on because I could not get it to work with my prievious board.  The asus board has enough i/o so I don't need it.  I just copy/pasted that list from a previous post.

5 - I had not, but just did and no difference.

6 - will try tomorrow - need to go to bed

7 - just finnished disabling the onboard sound driver, and it made no difference.

8 - THANKS SO MUCH GARY, YOU ARE GREAT.

I'll get back in touch tomorrow as I need to log off now - got to get up early tomorrow (EST)

Thanks again - you'll never know how much I appreciate your help.

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Any progress today?   ... a couple of other thoughts:

(a)  since you just bought the Asus board, did you confirm it has the current BIOS?   Boards are often shipped without the most current BIOS => I always flash them to the newest version when building a system.

(b)  do you have "Plug 'n Plug OS" disabled in the BIOS?  (this is counter-intuitive, but disabling is usually the most compatible setting)
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Unfortuanatley, no.  I had an audio project come up that needed my immediate attention, tomorrow have to record a wedding, Sunday I do Church Sound, so I probably won't get to it before Monday unless something stange happens - never bored for a minute and happy to have it that way!

(a) no, I haven't updated yet

(b) yes it is disabled in the Bios, I almost switched to Plug and Play OS, but deceided to leave as is.

Thanks for checking back.  Will be posting as soon as i get the time to take another step.  Now back to editing a children's school end production that was recorded with sub-par gear - not fun.

rw
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No problem -- just checking.  It wouldn't hurt to try "Plug 'n Play" OS => as I noted, it's counter-intuitive to disable it; and on some systems it actually works better with it enabled.   It's an anomoly in the way BIOS-writers allocate the resources that causes this.

... the far-and-away most likely cause of this type of behavior is what we've already eliminated (PIO reversion).   I'm wondering if there's something strange in the RAID setup that might be causing a similar behavior.   When you get back to this, try copying an audio file to your 250GB PATA drive; setting Audition so none of its temp files are on the SATA (not sure how you have it set now); and then try some edits.   You could also set Audition to record to the PATA and try recording a bit.  (i.e. what you want to do is try using the system without the RAID array being involved)

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Not the raid.  I have disabled that temporarily so that I could eliminate that from the list.

I tried the plug 'n play setting to no avail, as well as removing a mem chip, swapping PCI slots, removing the CD drive, and messing with almost every bios setting.  No different.

Any suggestions?
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by:garycase
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... thinking about your "jerky ... animated objects ..." ==>  Do you have hardware acceleration enabled for the video card ??
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I just disabled all sound and now pinball works fine.  I found that the issue of the jerky pinball was that the wrong sound device was welected.  The card has a wack of different outs and I had the misfortune of having the only one of the 13 outs selected that wouldn't work.  

The issue was that whenever a system or game noise happened/played the system would hand for a second.  I will be running Audition all fay tommorrow and will report back as to the whether this was a complete fix.  I don't kn ow whether this was the same issue with the other mobo or not, I can't see how the setting could have changed on the trip home, but computers are fickle machines.

I hope this did the trick.

Thanks for you help, and I will try to report tomorrow as the the success of the opperation.
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... as I re-read the whole thread earlier the "jerky ... animated objects" kept gnawing at me ==> seemed it had to be a video or sound issue since it was not the PIO reversion problem (which is almost always the case for that type of issue).   Could have been video acceleration -- or, as you discovered, an incorrect sound device.  I'd say there's an excellent chance that's the issue -- but look forward to tomorrow's note confirming it :-)
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Sorry, I am a week late as things got ultr busy around here and I could not get to the computer.

The news is bad, negative, nada - however you wish to put it.  The computer is still acting up after everything I can figure out to do with it.  Sound drivers, bios, new mobo, new HD, PIO settings, disabling windows services.  I don't know what to do.

I ran Audition today, and whenever I do a common task like pull down a menu from the filebar or resize a window, I get a really harsh crackling noise injected into my audio.  I don't know what to do.
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I did get a couple of advantages with the new ASUS board though, even if it did not solve my sound issues.

1.  Added another IDE HD for a total of 3 IDE devices - old board only supported 2.
2.  fan control works now.  Other board would not change the speed of any fans, but the front case fan regardless of temp changes.
3.  overclocking abilities - might not use them, but still nice to have available.
4. half decent owners manual - last mobo only had a picture manual.
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"...harsh crackling noise injected into my audio ..." ==>  this triggers a couple of thoughts:

(1)  Is the "harsh crackling noise" injected into the audio stream;  or is it just injected into the audio output ??   In other words, if you make an edit to a recording and save the result;  and then play the saved .WAV file, does it actually have the "harsh crackling noise" in it?

(2)  What happens if you (with the system off) unplug the second monitor and just use one monitor?

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1 - really, either way is the same thing - the way my work flow is, I playback 12 tracks into my mixer (yamaha 01v96) and bounce (simultaneously them to another track on the computer.  So if the playback is imperfect, the recording will be as well.  I will be doing a non-crucial live recording tonight, so I will be able to comment more a bit later.

2 - one monitor or two makes no difference.
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I just came back from using Audition, and for some reason it worked flawlessly.  I had to change a couple of audio settings within Audition in order to get Audition to work, but I don't know if that had any bearing on the system working.

I did notice though that the system usage seemed to have increaced.  I was at 50-60% CPU usage while recording - I think I used to be at 5-15% usage when recording.  Not that it matters much, as long as it works.

I will try to do a couple of mixdown tomorrow, and I certainly hope tht this issue has vanished - I just wish I knew what caused it.  I will be posting back here and hopefully I can close this thread.
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Well ... if your memory is correct and the CPU % increased that much, it AGAIN points to a PIO reversion issue !!   Look in Device Manager under ALL of your IDE channels on the Advanced tab of the Properties page  (right-click on the channel;  select Properties; click on the "Advanced" tab) and confirm that ALL of the channels are set to "DMA if Available" for their "Transfer Mode" and to "UDMA-x" (x will vary) for their "Current Transfer Mode".   If ANY of them have PIO as the current transfer mode, then do the PIO-reversion registry mod I detailed much earlier (in the post at Date: 06/27/2006 04:52PM PDT).

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The system is working well enough to get my work done now, so I am grateful.  The issue is not all the way solved, but I can live with it for now until I have more time to devote to exorcising the gremlins.

I did some work tonight and did not notice that there were any artifacts in my recordings, although I did not have the time to listen ultra critically, or even set up my monitors - I just did what I needed to do through my headphones.  I will be checking this more though and will also look into the PIO issue on the weekend.  I will try to report back again either on Sunday or Monday with more detail.

Thanks for you help.
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Sorry, I should have returned sooner, but forgot about it.  Too many other things on the go.

The computer is working, but not perfectly.  I can however get my work done, which is what counts.

Special kudos to Garycase for his excellent help.
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ps.  The PIO issue was not the issue in this case.  I still don't know what it is for sure, but am suspecting it is a hardware issue with the sound card.

I eill not be swapping that out though due to the high cost of a new on - around $400.  Will continue as is for now
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