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-   -   Choppy sound/freezing mouse problem (http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/troubleshooting/14148-choppy-sound-freezing-mouse-problem.html)

Maplicito January 23, 2009 06:58 PM

Choppy sound/freezing mouse problem
I updated this thread in my last post, but for anyone coming in - I'll quote that last post, followed by the original post:

Well, I took some time to work on my dad's computer, and I found the problem. It really truly is the IDE drive!

I swapped my power supply for his, the choppiness was still there. I swapped my hard drive for his - the choppiness was gone. Just to be sure, I put his power supply back in, and left my drive hooked up - still no choppiness. I took out my drive, and hooked his up, not hooking up the floppy or DVD drives, just to be sure that it was the hard drive - sure enough, the choppiness returned.

So... unless anyone has further ideas, he may just deal with it until a new SATA drive is in the budget.

Original post:

Well so far you guys have been a great help, and I'm here to abuse your freely given knowledge again.

I'm working on my dad's system, and the CPU performance seems very subpar. It does only have a Celeron D 356 running at 3.33GHz for the time being, but it can't even play mp3's or wma's without problems.

The system is:

Windows XP Pro
P5e3 Deluxe WiFi-AP @n
Celeron D 356 3.33GHz
2GB OCZ Gold 10666
Powercolor HD 4670 1GB

When playing music, the music will at several intervals within each song become choppy, and when it does this, the mouse cursor hangs until playback returns to normal.

I have updated the sound driver (Soundmax onboard sound), and I have updated drivers for the motherboard chipsets, but neither has solved the issue.

If it were just a CPU issue, he will eventually be buying a better CPU, but it seems almost unimaginable that this processor couldn't even handle simply mp3 and wma playback.

I have seen some reference to the SATA controllers causing sound issues, but I haven't been able to track down much information on this.

I have essentially had the same system running on my computer with a few exceptions - I have a SATA hard disk - he is running two EIDE drives, I have a Q8200 - he has a Celeron D 356, I am running Vista 64, he is running XP Pro. I currently am using different RAM than he is, but his RAM was previously in my system.

I haven't had the sound issues - I'm assuming that the problem would almost have to be within those few configuration differences?

I'm almost tempted to just give him a fresh Windows install... I probably should. But short of that, any ideas?

frontier204 January 23, 2009 07:19 PM

Sounds like some software/drivers malfunction. You're right in that you shouldn't have problems with MP3 and WMA, as I can play (up to 640x480) compressed videos off a Pentium 4 2.4 GHz.

I'm not sure if you've tried this yet, but have you checked out the Task Manager? (right-click on taskbar or press CTRL+ALT+DELETE to get it open)
Under Task manager, go to the Processes tab.
Open up a few simple applications (web browser, e-mail, etc), and monitor your CPU usage and Memory usage. CPU usage should always be under 10% if you're inactive, and for your CPU I doubt playing music would even bring it to 15%. As for memory, the "commit charge" should be below ~512 MB unless your taskbar is full of something dumb like 30 instances of Internet Explorer or Firefox with 40 tabs.

If you note that a number is too high over there, find out which particular process it is, and fix / delete the program related to it. Usually for me the culprit is antivirus or some stupid plugin (Adobe).

Maplicito January 23, 2009 08:09 PM

Task Manager was a great idea... and I thought I had the answer... but I guess not. Initially it looked like AVG was the problem, but after closing that - the CPU would show periods of high load, however system idle would still show as being quite high as well... doesn't make sense to me, but that's what it did.

So... I'm trying a Windows install - at least I'll know exactly what I'm working with.

Maplicito January 23, 2009 11:55 PM

Well, I went with a completely different OS altogether - I installed Vista 64 Ultimate. This seems to have made the problem somewhat less obnoxious, but it's definitely still there.

I don't know how reliable Vista's "Windows Experience Index" scores are, but the computer scores a 4.1 with the CPU being the weakpoint. I would assume that even in Vista, this should mean it's much more than adequate to play music, and perhaps play solitaire at the same time. That's all the computer is likely to be used for before it gets a CPU upgrade.

I'm not sure if this is a music only problem - the CPU load fluctuates more than I would expect when the system is idling, although not nearly as wildly as when music is playing. I've monitored the system both with Vista's CPU meter and with Task Manager, and the CPU load has very severe and unexplained spikes in it. I'm unable to identify a background process that may be causing it as nothing in Task Manager reports taking up the resources.

I'm at a bit of a loss, anyone have any ideas?

Eagle Eye January 24, 2009 02:13 AM

Forget my last post according to Asus that motherboard does not support that CPU

See for yourself here, you can always e-mail Asus to get confirmation I don't how up-to-date this list is.

ASUSTeK Computer Inc.-Support-

Looks like a new cpu is coming sooner than you thought :sad:

Maplicito January 24, 2009 02:34 AM

Maybe it's just because I'm tired and it's been a long night, but I actually found that really amusing!

Now... the processor works - after a fashion. If it boots fine, and runs, albeit less than astonishingly well, would you feel there was any liklihood of this being a problem and causing damage? Temperatures are in the 40's and 50's if that makes a difference. I'm wondering if the BIOS just doesn't specifically support a FSB below 800MHz - I noticed none of the chips on that list run the FSB any slower than 800MHz, and the Celeron D 356 runs it at 533MHz. For that matter, there isn't any way for me to get the RAM to run any faster than 800MHz with that chip installed. Is it likely just a matter of the BIOS not being written to accomodate that chip?

If the CPU is safe, I may just make my dad stick with it until he gets a new processor - I've pulled and installed too many motherboards the past few weeks, so I don't want to pull that one just so he can go back to his old Athlon XP for a couple of months. If it's potentially a motherboard wrecker though, I'll either get him to buy something quicker, or suck it up and put the old motherboard back in.

Thanks for the input, it's much appreciated.

Eagle Eye January 24, 2009 02:47 AM

Glad I gave you a bit of laugh, I kind of chuckled when I didn't see it there to.

I was actually going to say, x38 board with DDR3 and a celeron not the choice of CPU I would have expected in such a modern mobo, probably the first I have ever seen.

Maplicito January 24, 2009 02:56 AM

Yeah... I managed to pick up the board for my dad on clearance for $100... shortly after that I switched from 1333MHz RAM to 1600MHz, and a guy at work happened to have an old processor he didn't want. With that much of the system completed, I figured what the heck, I'll buy myself a second HD 4670, and let my dad use it until he gets his own video card, and let him get himself another CPU when he's good and ready. Basically, it was a great opportunity for him to transition from Socket A to LGA 775 for a mere hundred bucks. I guess I shouldn't be surprised ASUS had no intention of having such a CPU run off that motherboard!

Eagle Eye January 24, 2009 02:59 AM

Hey Map where abouts are you from CAN, USA, UK?

Maplicito January 24, 2009 03:01 AM

I'm in Canada - southern Alberta to be more precise. How about yourself? Err umm.. nevermind, I just took the liberty of reading it off my computer screen :help:

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