Audio stutters or sounds timestretched when CPU activity increases

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tristan888 Posted: Mon, Apr 3 2006 7:43 AM
Hi all,

For the last few weeks, whilst playing music/videos on my Sony Vaio laptop, the sound flickers and stutters when the CPU activity increases or when there is hard drive activity (for example, when I load another program). This is obviously causing some form of interference with the sound. It never used to do this before; audio playback used to continute to sound smooth and uninterrupted whilst I was using the laptop for other things. Disabling services and statup processes reduced the problem, but that was only because there was less for the system to execute, therefore less processing activity, but this isnt really a solution. It is as if there must be nothing running at all in order to achieve continuing seamless playback.
The sound card uses RealTek audio drivers, which I have obtained from the Sony Vaio website.
(OS: WinXP Service Pack 1 - might I need service pack 2?)

Cheers,
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mchenj replied on Sun, Jan 7 2007 3:48 PM
OMG i have the same problem!
I was searching for a thread exactly like this. I'm running a SB Live external sound card through my IBM thinkpad, but it's not the sound card's fault. I know this for sure, since it happens when I use the onboard audio as well. It happens mostly when I "Right click" items on the desktop, but also happens whenever the light for the CPU blinks. PLEASE HELP, as I'm losing hope.
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jaibei replied on Fri, May 4 2007 4:39 PM
Any news on what the fix is for this?
I too have sony laptop and the sound has gone funny ie flickers/ stutters when active hard disk activity

using win xp sp2
Please help need to watch DVD film uninterupted
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Well, for starters, you guys might want to take a look at THIS article. If you would like to try this procedure, click on the link in #1 under QUICK SOLUTION and let me know if this helps. There are other things you can do to help alleviate the problem, but try the above procedure first and post back.

 

 *UPDATED ON 12-4-07*: The link I originally provided has expired. Use the link Krawlspace has provided below!

 *UPDATED ON 11-5-08*: I have replaced the expired link with the correct link (above). Also, it has been reported that the solution will not run if you are using Firefox. I recommend that you use Internet Explorer when running this program.

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So it has been 7 days now since I responded to your posts. Did any of you THREE GUYS get any results? C'mon now...someone?

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kmax78 replied on Wed, May 16 2007 10:40 AM
Hey! This actually worked. I have had my sony vaio for less than a year, and have been dealing with the stuttering since it was about 3 months old. I followed the instructions in your post and it is fixed!!!

THANK YOU!!!
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Super Dave replied on Wed, May 16 2007 10:43 AM
You're very welcome! Glad it worked for you.

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 I was in the process of repairing a friends HP laptop, typical malware flush, and all was good except for the stuttering sound.

It happened on startup, when playing MP3 files, WAV files, or any removable media.

This narrowed it to the HD.

The only common link to the problem was the HD activity light was on when the stuttering occured.

I had read on several forums about the DMA/PIO switch, and had tried to reset it several times from Device Manager, only to have it revert right back to PIO every time.

My next step was to wipe and reinstall XP, but then I found this wonderful thread, and the link to the even more wonderful little piece of script.

Ran it, rebooted, problem solved.

Many thanks to Super Dave for the link.

BTW the link he provides in his post is about to die according to it's redirect page, so here is the new link to the overview page, and the direct link to the script page.


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Thank YOU for updating the link, Krawlspace!

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Dave_HH replied on Wed, Dec 5 2007 10:26 AM

Ahhh... this is downright heart-warming. Big Smile  Good to see you guys all learning from each other, getting around this issue.  And WELCOME to you new members here!  I've never seen such activity from new registered users in a thread before.  Thanks SuperDave and all!

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danman183 replied on Sat, Mar 29 2008 3:46 PM

 I have had the same studdering problem on an Acer notebook with XP SP2 as well as a load of other similar problems that have greatly slowed my computer and could not be fixed by wiping the drive.  This did the trick.  THANK YOU!

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gsouth575 replied on Mon, Nov 3 2008 11:12 PM

 Holy cow, this actually worked!!!  I was about to do a whole reformat tomorrow and then I found this thread, ran the "quick fix" and it's fine now.  Even Sony tech support didn't bring this up.  This site rocks...thank you "truly-super" Dave!  You saved me a whole lot of time.  I am shocked, amazed and incredibly pleased this problem is solved!  Hail the power of the internet search!

Rock on fellow former stutterers!

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gsouth575:
 Holy cow, this actually worked!!! 

Glad to hear it worked for you, gsouth. We have a lot of fun here on the HotHardware forum, and you're welcome to post with us anytime!

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slappy replied on Fri, Nov 28 2008 3:26 PM
I found this site through a Google search as I have just started having this problem, but it perseveres! I've tried the PIO to DMA change, I had one drive that had dropped to a lower DMA, but none in PIO mode. I changed it back to BIOS control. It didn't help. So I uninstalled the IDE controller, it reinstalled on boot up, but the stutter under HDD activity still occurs. Does anyone have any other ideas what could cause it?
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Hello slappy, and welcome to HotHardware. If you haven't already done so, run some adware/spyware removal programs and see if you have any unwelcome visitors on your system. At the very least run Malwarebytes Anti-Malware that you can get HERE, and Spybot Search & Destroy available HERE. I have some questions for you: 1)When you call up the Task Manager (ctrl + alt + delete) what is your CPU-usage percentage and how many processes are running? 2)What are the specs of your system? 3)What OS are you running? 4)Has this stuttering just recently started, or has it been there from Day-1? 5)What are you attempting to run that causes the stutter (i.e. DVD, YouTube or streaming-video, MP3 file, etc.)?

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atech replied on Sat, Nov 29 2008 7:38 PM

 I had the problem on my newly built workstation. My search for 'audio stutter' led me to HH. I found my solution at http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic34331.html as follows"

"I had a simillar problem with my machine before. Are you by any chance running a Promise or Maxtor Ultra drive controller card? If so, in device manager, under SCSI and RAID controllers, open the entry for the card and in the properties tab uncheck the box that says "Pass Windows flush-drive-cache commands to disk drives"."

Canceling that checkbox resolved the stuttering problem. It never noticed it using the same ATA133 controller in my Dell Poweredge, but on my new Asus build, it was an issue with all Flash video streams. Hope this helps!

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slappy replied on Sun, Nov 30 2008 12:06 PM
Thanks for getting back Super Dave, this forum seems a nice place to be, I think i'm going to enjoy it!! I think I may have solved the problem. I have recently started using a wireless adaptor, but the extension cable that was plugged into the back ofthe PC - for some reason - decieded not to detect the adaptor. As a quick fix I plugged the adaptor direct into a front USB slot and THIS WAS THE PROBLEM. I think it was because either the 'slave' sound cable to the front of the case is close to the USB slots where the adaptor is, or because teh adaptor was now close to the HDD inside the case. Either way it wasn't actually the HDD activity that was caused the stuttering, it was the wireless adaptor interfering. I figured it out when watching a mpeg movie which started to stutter, and just had the idea to unlplug the wireless, the stuttering stopped. I have fixed the extension cable problem, and all is well. I write this as advice to others. Just for info, my PC is XP SP2, AMD Athlon 64 3000, 1gb DDR RAM self build (about 2 years old). Just upgraded GPU to nVidia 8800GT. The stuttering was on almost anything: film, mp3, streaming, internet sounds etc.
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It is very good to hear that you have solved your problem, slappy, although I am struggling to understand WHY. If unplugging the wireless did it then so be it, and I am very happy for you! I invite you to hang-out with us here on HotHardware, as I have learned a lot by hanging-out here myself! Although I have visited other forums, only HotHardware has shown itself to be flame-free, and I like that!Yes 

 

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Thank you thank you thank you slappy!

I've been having the exact same problems for months now, every now and then tried to fix it by searching for solutions on the internet. Nothing has worked, and I haven't had a clue as to what was causing these incredibly annoying stutters...until I read your post and tried unplugging the wireless adapter. Gone are all the stuttering audio and video, but...

There's still one problem, though. It doesn't matter which USB I plug the adapter back into. As long as it's connected I have the stutters, and I have to use the wireless since the computer and the router are on different floors of the house. Do you guys think that the problem is that the adapter is to close to the computer physically and that some kind of extension USB cable placing the wireless adapter a few metres away could fix this?

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Super Dave replied on Wed, Dec 17 2008 12:33 AM

autobahnmessiah:
Do you guys think that the problem is that the adapter is to close to the computer physically and that some kind of extension USB cable placing the wireless adapter a few metres away could fix this?
 

More likely it is a wireless software/driver issue. I have seen other forum posts concerning certain wireless adapters that cause the stuttering problem you have described. HERE is a good example.

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 Thanks. I have the latest drivers and such installed. I'm gonna try some stuff suggested in that thread you linked to tonight. I'll report back with the results (or lack there of) later.

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GregR replied on Fri, Apr 17 2009 6:43 PM

I feel like an idiot.   This fix sounds like it might apply to me, but I can't find "QUICK SOLUTION" anywhere on the page, and I joined the forum just to make sure that wasn't it.   It's probably right in front of me, but I don't see it.  Help?

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Welcome to HotHardware Greg! Go to the webpage mentioned HERE and click on the link under QUICK SOLUTION. It will look like this:

Quick solution

If you're not interested in the details, but just want to fix this problem as quickly as possible:

  1. Click here.    
Use Internet Explorer when you visit the website, Greg.
*EDITED* I just discovered that the link in this post works too, so you don't have to visit the website. The fix will not work with Google's Chrome or Mozilla's Firefox browser, though.

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acarzt replied on Mon, Apr 20 2009 3:26 PM

Hmmm, i've seen this problem before and always assumed it was malware or some other conflict. Never even thought or heard of this before.

Even us guys who do this stuff for a living learn something new every now and then :-P

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Super Dave replied on Tue, Apr 21 2009 12:40 AM

I hope Greg posts back and lets us know if it solved his problem!

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GregR replied on Tue, Apr 21 2009 2:23 AM

OH, sorry, that was impolite of me not to respond.

No, this did not work for me.

But shortly thereafter I stumbled on the true cause: CPU OVERHEATING.  It was approaching 100C.  Thank goodness I DLed SpeedFan and discovered this.  And thank goodness I didn't (knock on wood) injure my cpu chipset.

I spent the next day dissasembling my extremely filthy tower and cleaning it as best I could.  I'm down to 60C and under now, and I haven't put the side panel back on which I'm hoping will even improve on that.

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GregR:
I'm down to 60C and under now, and I haven't put the side panel back on which I'm hoping will even improve on that.

Leaving the side cover off may actually decrease the cooling efficiency, unless you've got a big ol' fan blowing directly on it! Is there a setting in the BIOS that throttles-back your CPU when it overheats?

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GregR replied on Tue, Apr 21 2009 3:26 AM

re: Leaving the side cover off may actually decrease the cooling efficiency

Yes, I know,  which is why I'm hoping for even more improvement when I replace it.  The problems started when I removed it in the first place, which added a few more degress of heating, and started the stuttering.   The irony?  I removed it for cleaning purposes in the first place, but then was slow in getting it done.

I have two 5" fans in the unit; one has ducting to aim it directly at the CPU.  But everything was so clogged with dust and cat hair they just couldn't do their job.

As for a BIOS setting, no I've never seen that.  But I don't know why.  Why have a temp sensor then not act on it?  Seems to me that ought to be in windows, not the BIOS.  But a BIOS setting would help too.  SpeedFan was a savior;  I didn't even KNOW I had temp sensors.

Thanks for all the help and suggestions.  Wrong turns are just as important as right ones.  Edison, after being asked if he was frustrated by 100 failed attempts to invent the light bulb said, "no, I now know 100 ways NOT to make a light builb".   :)

- g

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that link isn't working bro. 

please can you find another link.

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The link was broken, but now it is working again. Hope it works for you, slipknotfan!

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Netty99 replied on Thu, Jun 11 2009 7:36 PM

Thank you SuperDave! Big Smile

This evening my Packard Bell PC (4 years old) started making strange sounds when any sound was played on it and sounded like someone was slowing down/speeding up any noises that came out of it. I phoned a helpline and they advised resetting the PC to it's factory conditions...eek! Anyway I clicked on your link and the stuttering has stopped, although the sound does now have an 'echo' sound to it. But I can live with that as I don't need to spend 2 days re-installing everything back on the PC!.

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Super Dave replied on Thu, Jun 11 2009 10:43 PM

Glad it worked for you, Netty99, and welcome to HotHardware!

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Dave_HH replied on Thu, Jun 11 2009 11:12 PM

Well done, SD!  Big Smile

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Super Dave replied on Fri, Jun 12 2009 12:04 AM

Dave_HH:

Well done, SD!  Big Smile

Thanks Dave, but I can't take credit for steering others to a useful website. It is really great to see that old thread still helping others, though!

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thrives replied on Fri, Jul 3 2009 2:45 AM

Hi Everybody, 

I am really happy that I found this place and I have to say that this is the first time after buying my new rig that I am optimistic to be able to solve this problem. Basically, my machine shows the same symptoms as the ones described and to boot, it is brand new (as in BRAND new). Here is my rig; 

Fujitsu AMILO Xa3530 17"WXGA+ Radeon HD3650 (512mb), Athlon QL62, 4GB RAM, 320GB HDD, Blu-Ray, Bluetooth, VHP

I run Vista. 

Now, I wrote the following a week back over that the Fujitsu-Siemens forums thinking that it was a specific problem with their systems: 

---

Hello everybody ...

I have just taken delivery on a

Fujitsu AMILO Xa3530 17"WXGA+ Radeon HD3650 (512mb), Athlon QL62, 4GB RAM, 320GB HDD, Blu-Ray, Bluetooth, VHP

And as much as I like the rig, I think I have contracted the dreaded "brr-bug" which was so heavily debated in the context of the old Mx43x Series.

http://forum.de.ts.fujitsu.com/forum/vi ... 98&t=13089

Basically, I get a lag and a stuttering of the sound and it does it during gameplay as well as during regular sound playback (Itunes, online radio, etc). During games (like e.g. UT3) the sound issue is also followed by nasty lag/glitch.

So, my question (with a trembling heart) Is there any known solution to this problem or will I have to send the thing back and have them ship a new one?

A general question ... is this a widespread issue for X series too? I would very much like to hear from other XA3530 owners and whether they have the same issue. Clearly, I see this is a pure a cut warranty issue and I am determined to make my demand stick, but oh boy is it annoying.

Incidentally, it was said that the problem on the old Mx43x Series had to do with the mainboard ... am I running the same mainboard.

best wishes

Thrives

---

I have tried the quick fix and it does not work in the sense that I get the following message; 

"No resettable DMA channels ... found"

Do you have ANY suggestions on how to proceed from here; especially in light of the fact that I am running Vista. Basically, the bug appears at 80-100% CPU usage during normal and standard processes such as excel, word, online radio and internet browsing. Also of course on games ... 

Now, this was a problem from DAY 1 with my machine and I contacted support and I wiped the HDD and reinstalled to no avail. I have also tried updating the BIOS as well as reinstalling my sound card drives although I am quite sure the latter is not the issue. I have had it at sell side support for a week but the baboons could not replicate the error although I had added a very detailed RMA (*sigh*)

ok, here is to hoping that Super Dave is indeed, well, SUPER :) 

thanks in advance 

Thrives

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There are a couple of things you can try, Thrives. HERE is a free program called the PC Decrapifier that eliminates a lot of the unwanted programs and trial-offers that come installed on new computers. These insidious programs often run in the background, gobbling-up resources and slowing everything down. Also, you may want to read THIS article that explains how to prevent unwanted programs from running at startup, also slowing things down. Welcome to HotHardware, Thrives!

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thrives replied on Fri, Jul 3 2009 12:33 PM

Hi Dave, 

 

Thanks for the swift reply. I will report back with my findings.  

 

Thrives

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thank you sooooo much i know this is a long time later but i suddenly started gettin a stutterin and just thought ah what am i gonna do now plus my computer took forever loading anything and now all that got sorted not sure if it was meant to make my laptop go at its normal speed again but it has thanks

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Super Dave replied on Tue, Apr 27 2010 12:47 AM

Thank you for taking the time to register and post about your results, fletch1982. Glad it worked for you!

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daveydave replied on Fri, May 28 2010 9:49 AM

I just created an account so I could thank you guys for this thread!! I had this problem with an Acer One laptop and luckily I found this thread before I bought some more memory in a final attempt to fix the problem. I followed the instructions on the link and found my harddrive was set to PIO mode. I used the script and its as good as new again. :o)

 

Great site, good advice, many thanks!!

 

Dave.

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