Why does sound playback "drag" sporadically on my PC?
November 6, 2008 7:03 AM   Subscribe

Why does sound playback "drag" sporadically on my recently built (decently powerful) PC?

In the spring I built a new PC. I'm using the on-board sound card. Specs below:

- GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX All Solid Capacitor Intel Motherboard
- EVGA 256-P2-N768-A1 GeForce 8600GTS SSC 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card
- Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 Allendale 2.4GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80557E4600
- Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500KS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
- CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X2048-6400C5DHX

When I playback basically anything (MP3s, DVDs, Youtube videos, Myspace music) the sound has a tendency to drag. I'm not doing any intense processing (90+% idle) or hardcore downloading. Its not my internet connection, since it happens with MP3s on my comp as well. There doesn't seem to be any connection to activities (ie. the dragging happens randomly, not while opening a new browser window or something along those lines).

I've updated the driver (the latest is from 09/2008). I'm running XP Professional SP3. Firefox 3.0.3. Windows Media Player (same problem in iTunes and WinAMP).

Any suggestions?

I'm hoping for a free answer (not "buy a new soundcard"). Thanks!
posted by steeb2er to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
When you say "drag" do you mean "stutter" as in... there are small silent gaps... in the music? And does the video picture drag or is it just the audio?
posted by so_necessary at 8:17 AM on November 6, 2008

A standard first check in these situations is whether the soundcard driver offers you parameters to change.

Look in whatever XP supplies in the Control Panel for sound or multimedia. You may be able to increase the size of the buffer it's using for sound I/O.

Though, like so_necessary, I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "drag".
posted by galaksit at 9:02 AM on November 6, 2008

Yes - stutter is a good way to describe it. The playback speed is noticeably slowed for 1-2 seconds.

I haven't noticed the stutter in video, but its not as obvious as the audio. It may or may not be happening.
posted by steeb2er at 9:04 AM on November 6, 2008

Definitely a driver issue. Also check if there's a firmware update for your motherboard. Is there an option for 3d audio or Spatial-processing on your device settings for audio that could be slowing it down?
posted by blue_beetle at 12:07 PM on November 6, 2008

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