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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, I made a post about this a month ago, the thread is here but I'll make a new one to more clearly go about this.

The Problem

Usually a few minutes after starting my computer, The sound on my computer becomes fuzzy/staticy & then cuts out completely. The sound recovers off & on but never is fully "normal" once it cuts out the first time. Always slightly fuzzy/staticy and my microphone output sounds "wierd" to other people.

This is a system wide problem and is not isolated to one program or game. It is not my speakers or microphone as I've used them on other computers and with other hardware and they function normally.

When shutting down my computer (if the sound is not 100% normal), it displays a message saying "Waiting for program to close "explorer.exe - Playing logoff sound". At this point I can either wait at this screen for several minutes for the computer to shut down (2-20 mins usually) or I can do a "Force Shut Down". Now, IF i "Force Shut Down" my computer hangs at the POST screen when I reboot.. It POST's fine.. But will simply hang there and never complete the boot up phase. It registers keystrokes but will not let me navigate to the BIOS or anything else. At this point I have to continuously shut down my computer & restart it until It boots up normally.. Once it DOES boot up normally it doesn't have a problem booting up again, providing I don't "Force Shut down". Usually I only have to shut down & restart a couple of times. But the last few times It has taken 20 or so restarts to boot my computer back up.

I have already re-formatted my PC completely, updated Windows 7 with all the current updates, installed fresh & updated drivers from Asus' website.. Cleared the CMOS. Update older programs I thought were the problem.

After going through all of this... The only option I see is failing/faulty hardware. I built this computer in late August 2010, and never had any problems whatsoever until mid Febuary when this issue started.

What I can't explain though, is that just after the last reply in my previous thread, the issue just.. "Went away" until yesterday when it resurfaced.. I was previously using System Restore to regain sound for a few hours until the issue returned, but over time that window became smaller and smaller, down to only a few minutes of properly working audio. But for literally an entire month I've had no problem at all.. No idea why. I originally thought I had a bad Windows 7 patch because thaw was usually the last thing to change on my computer before this issue resurfaced.

Computer specs:

Case:
CoolerMaster HAF-X
Power Supply: Corsair HX850 Modular PSU
Motherboard: Asus Rampage III Extreme
Memory: Corsair Dominator GT 3 x 2GB sticks
Processor: Intel Core i7 930
CPU Cooler: Thermalright Venomous X-RT
Graphics Card: Asus 5870 2GB Matrix Platinum edition
Boot Drive: Intel X-25m G2 80GB Solid State drive
Secondary Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB
Optical Drive: Common ASUS DVD/RW CD/RW drive (bare drive)
Operating System: Windows 7 64-bit Home Edition (OEM edition for system builders)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Re: Audio Constantly goes fuzzy & dies - Motherboard?

Also wan't to say that I've even flashed the BIOS today to the brand new version that was released 4 days ago. Still no change.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Re: Audio Constantly goes fuzzy & dies - Motherboard?

At default settings.. Ambient air temp of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit or so.

CPU average of 33c and max of 55'ish under full load for 30 mins.

Overclocked to 3.62GHz - Average minimum of 37c & maximum of 63c.

Motherboard is in the mid 40c's at idle. Not sure how to test under full load for a while.

GPU is in the low 40c's as well at idle. Max of mid 70's under full load, however I usually bump the fan speed up to 55-65% and that usually drops 15c-20c off it.

Apparently this motherboards north bridge runs pretty hot. But I do have a good case with excellent airflow & ventilation.. Also I moved the GPU down one PCI-E slot so that it's not covering the north bridge. Did that a long time ago when i built it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Re: Audio Constantly goes fuzzy & dies - Motherboard?

To give a small update.. Again, System Restore would provide a temporary fix lasting a few minutes to a few hours. Well that no longer works at all. Every time I boot up my computer it now says that there is nothing plugged into the audio jacks at all. Sound is 100% completely gone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Re: Audio Constantly goes fuzzy & dies - Motherboard?

Alright.. Sorry for letting the thread go unanwsered for so long.. But I believe I've isolated the problem: Drivers.

I was un-installing & re installing the drivers and it was working.. Sometimes for an hour.. or a day.. Sometimes for a few minutes. Eventually the sound problem went away for about a week? But has seemed to come back, but nothing nearly as bad as it was. Fuzzy for a few seconds, then goes back to normal for at least a few hours.

The current & updated drivers I've downloaded from Asus website for this motherboard work best by far. The drivers downloaded/installed automatically by Windows 7.. Not so much.

I think the problem is that I can't get a "fresh" driver instillation because EVERY TIME I re-start my computer It automatically installs the sound drivers. Which I then have to delete & install the drivers I want, then manually from my external storage.

I think that because of this there may be some registry errors, conflicting drivers, or something like that. Not sure, but is there a way to STOP Windows 7 from automatically installing drivers it already has? This way I can delete these un-optimal drivers, restart my computer, and install the better ones.

Also.. I seem to have two audio drivers installed for some reason. Why is this?

This driver is automatically installed by windows 7 as soon as I start my computer. Disableing or deleting it does.. Nothing? All my sound works perfectly fine when disableing or deleting this. Only output/input I havent tested is the Optical Output at the back & the 7.1 3.5mm Audio jacks on the motherboard.

High Definition Audio Device (Ver. #6.1.7600.16385)

What is this driver for? The second Driver installed under "Sound, video and game controllers" is my "Realtek High Definition Audio" Driver. Also, If I let Windows 7 automatically install the sound drivers, the 2nd driver is also called "High Definition Audio Device" but with a different version # than the above driver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Re: Audio Constantly goes fuzzy & dies - Motherboard?

(Please read previous post first)

New problem!

Alright. Sound cut out & died once again.. I un-installed the drivers & went to re-start my computer..

Computer displays the following message once again.

"Waiting for program to respond "Explorere.exe - Playing log-off sound""

Upon re-start.. Windows no longer installs the secondary sound driver that actually does something. The above driver in the previous post above still installs automatically.

I manually install my own drivers.. No sound whatsoever.. System Restore does nothing.

I'm lost.

[EDIT]: Installed Updates to Windows 7 after system restoring & sound is now back. Though the issue in the previoius post is still present.

The second sound driver that actually affects my PC's sound I mentioned earlier? Driver version # is 6.1.7601.17514
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Re: Audio Constantly goes fuzzy & dies - Motherboard?

Above problem is happening again.. Windows 7 no longer seems to notice that it's missing a driver.

1st time this happened I System Restored to a week prior. Did not "fix" the issue until I re-installed updates to W7 and restarted.. Then the missing/undetected driver installed itself.

2nd time this happened I just re-installed & removed the sound driver (with re-booting) 3-4 times and it eventually installed again.

3rd time this has happened (now) ... No clue what to do. Nothing seems to fix anything.

Could I get some sort of response to either have an idea of what to do or if I should just RMA my motherboard or another piece of suspect hardware.? I've already done a complete re-format of my PC twice now to TRY to fix this.
 

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Re: Audio Constantly goes fuzzy & dies - Motherboard?

Win 7 correct? Your tag still says Windows XP

I would suspect an audio driver issue. Especially as it's an Asus board with a Realtek audio chipset (and Win 7). This and other boards are littered with Win7/Realtek audio issues...especially 64bit.

Try the driver from the Asus website. If that doesn't work, try the driver from the Realtek website. After that, keep trying using older driver versions. Maybe, you will find one that works.

You can also attempt to contact Asus support as your MB is still under warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Re: Audio Constantly goes fuzzy & dies - Motherboard?

Win 7 correct? Your tag still says Windows XP

I would suspect an audio driver issue. Especially as it's an Asus board with a Realtek audio chipset (and Win 7). This and other boards are littered with Win7/Realtek audio issues...especially 64bit.

Try the driver from the Asus website. If that doesn't work, try the driver from the Realtek website. After that, keep trying using older driver versions. Maybe, you will find one that works.

You can also attempt to contact Asus support as your MB is still under warranty.
Well, to conclude this thread.. I've replaced my motherboard with an advanced replacement from Asus and the problem was immediately fixed. So it WAS the motherboard. I simply swapped motherboards, booted my PC up, and it worked fine for 6 hours.

But, just in case, I re-formatted and installed the Asus Xonar Essense STX sound card I purchased.. And even though it looks like I didn't need it I'm very very glad I bought it. Really is an awesome piece of hardware. Can actually drive my Sennheiser HD-650's properly.

Thank you for all your help. I appreciate it.
 
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