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  1. #1

    Audio stuttering, "popping" and high latency on a brand new build!

    Hello,

    I've recently built this machine about a week ago, and I've been having audio problems with it ever since. I have:

    Asus z170-a
    Intel i5 6500
    Gigabyte Geforce gtx 970
    8gb ram
    250 gb SSD (Win 10 is installed here)
    1tb HDD

    I'm using the on board audio that came with the Asus z170-a, and I've been having stuttering problems since the start of the build. I've tried updating, uninstalling, and reinstalling audio and graphics drivers. I've also updated my BIOS, reinstalled Windows twice, and made sure to check "High Performance" in power options. I have no idea what else to try!

    Here are some screenshots from LatencyMon, and the report from the "stats" page.

    Audio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-1-pngAudio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-2-png

    Read More:


    I appreciate any and all help with this issue. Thank you!!


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  2. #2

    Re: Audio stuttering, "popping" and high latency on a brand new build!

    I forgot to mention that this happens when I use either headphones (tried both usb and 3.5mm jack) or an external speaker system. I have not, however, observed it when using one of my monitor's speakers over HDMI.

  3. #3

    Re: Audio stuttering, "popping" and high latency on a brand new build!

    Hi faust ... and welcome to the forums ...

    Just to see if the results change a little, see what results you get with the newer version of Latency Monitor (the versions from 6.50 or newer are a bit more compatible with Windows 10 .... I believe you currently are using version 6.00). Also, can you see if you can produce a chart that lists the processes by high pagefault counts, as well as the one for the high latencies? (You'd then be posting three different things - the overall graph, a latency chart of processes, and a pagefault chart of processes). Let's see if it still points to the "same suspects".

    Since SSDs are dropping in price and growing in size, I've lately been recommending that the worst-offending audio-pop suffering programs/games be installed onto the SSD. Windows doesn't take up all that much room, and neither do a few games (you can still keep "saved games" and other non-demanding software installed to a larger "spinning" hard drive, along with your photo, music, and video collections).

    Some users who haven't seen any improvement by means of updating drivers have had success by altering their SATA port usage. A recent thread here concerns a system where the audio stuttering was helped by unplugging a DVD SATA drive (...and our tech Cluberti was nice enough to help explain why) ... The last few posts are where you will see mention of the SATA ports (and the nature of USB polling & the effect on latencies) .... Here's a link to that thread:
    High DPC Latency or pagefaults - Fresh Install - USBPORT.SYS and others.

    For the hard pagefaults, it can help to:
    1) Limit startup processes that you don't need
    2) Limit Windows-Updates file-sharing (in Settings > Updates and security > Windows Update > Advanced Options > Choose how updates are delivered > turn off "updates from more than one place" - that will limit unnecessary background network activity)
    3) Limit the amount of "telemetry" (data sent to Microsoft ... choose the "Basic" option in Settings > Privacy > Feedback & Diagnostics ... and you can try "Never" as your "Feedback Frequency" while testing your latency issues)
    4) Limit any Notifications that you don't need or want (Settings > System > Notifications & actions
    5) Turn off "Live" tiles on your Start Menu (to limit unnecessary background updating of any information you don't want or need)
    6) Uninstall any Windows "Universal" apps that you don't want or need (Settings > System > Apps & features -- click the app you wish to uninstall) ... and for those that you don't want, but can't uninstall (some of the built-in apps) - you can still keep them from starting unwanted services (in Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Services) or startup modules (in Task Manager > Startup tab)


    Drivers
    You mentioned that you've updated most drivers. Did you already get the latest 368.39 Nvidia driver? If yes, did you install it using the "custom" option, and the "clean install" option? If not, try that.... you might also see if your want or need all of the background Nvidia services that come with the latest drivers, many as part of the "Nvidia GeForce Experience" - which you can choose to install or not when you choose the "custom" install method. Here's a guide that has some details on the background services installed along with the Nvidia drivers, it might help you decide if you can do without some of them:
    Disable NVIDIA Streamer Service and other NVIDIA processes - gHacks Tech News

    Antivirus
    Some users find that certain modules of their antivirus program can have a rough affect on their audio quality. For some, it is especially noticeable when using the third-party firewall. You can try reverting to using just the Windows firewall, or to turn off a feature in the third-party firewall that blocks port scans (since most routers/modems/gateways have built-in port scanning blocking, it doesn't necessarily lower your defenses, since your hardware provides the service).

    See if any of this helps.

  4. #4

    Re: Audio stuttering, "popping" and high latency on a brand new build!

    Hi OldGrayGary! Thank you for your response!

    I've installed the newer version of LatencyMon, and these are the results from another run with it:

    Audio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-3-pngAudio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-4-pngAudio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-5-png

    This is a test while under a load. All I did was open up a gaming application (Heroes of the Storm in this case).

    I install most non-gaming software on my SSD, and my HDD is reserved for games and other large applications. However, there are a few games that are on my SSD. I believe there is still the latency issue when playing those games. I can test those too and post results, if you'd like.

    I've done all you've suggested for hard pagefaults, so lets hope that helps here. However, I don't have many things that start on boot. This is how I've set it up currently.
    Audio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-6-png

    Currently, I do not have any DVD drives. The only things connected with a SATA cable to my motherboard is my SSD and my HDD. I read about USB devices in that thread also.. I only have my keyboard, mouse, and WLAN adapter connected by USB.

    I do currently have the latest NVIDIA drivers. I have not tried a "clean install". I will try that and update with any results. Also, I only use Windows Defender as my antivirus.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to respond to my thread.

  5. #5

    Re: Audio stuttering, "popping" and high latency on a brand new build!

    These are the results after going through all the things you suggested. This is while playing a YouTube video while running Total War: Warhammer (which is installed on my SSD).

    Audio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-7-pngAudio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-8-pngAudio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-9-png

  6. #6

    Re: Audio stuttering, "popping" and high latency on a brand new build!

    Well .... the latencies are a bit better, and the hard pagefaults not quite as high ...

    Tell you what, just to see - if your current Virtual Memory settings are handled automatically by Windows, try using an overly-generous set range as a test. Sometimes the highest hard pagefaults come from the programs we can't do without, and it they have a few memory leaks, the larger pagefile can help things get by a bit better. If you still have 8 GB of system memory, try a range something like: 8192-16384 .... it's a huge range, but in case a memory leak is hanging around and complicating things - see if the giant range changes anything.

    I'm thinking that with just another ten to twenty percent less pagefaults, the audio trouble might not occur. [I'm an optimist!]

  7. #7

    Re: Audio stuttering, "popping" and high latency on a brand new build!

    Right, so after changing the virtual memory to the range you listed, I tested with LatencyMon while listening to a song on iTunes and checking my email. The hard page faults is higher now, but it was actually slightly below 6000 for most of the test. It only jumped that high once I tried to print something. So, I'm going to post results for two tests.

    Audio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-10-pngAudio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-11-pngAudio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-12-png


    Audio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-13-pngAudio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-14-pngAudio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-15-png

    Stats for second test:
    Read More:



    Would buying more sticks of RAM help with this? Also, could this be a problem with one of the parts in my computer, or is this really only a driver problem? Because if this is a problem with one of the parts I purchased, I'd like to contact the manufacturer and hopefully get it fixed.

  8. #8

    Re: Audio stuttering, "popping" and high latency on a brand new build!

    Hi again

    You mentioned that you set things to Maximum Performance in the power settings for Windows 10 - did you also disable cpu throttling in the Bios? It's a bit extreme, but some users see some relief. The downside is that your system uses more power & might run a bit hotter.

    I still think that the audio/video performance issues in Windows 10 are driver issues in the main (not helped by far-too-much Microsoft nonsense running as background tasks ... often for things we don't even use). But if we can get things to improve well enough now, I'm hoping that eventually the drivers (& Windows 10 too) will mature and improve in performance to a point where we won't have to jump through hoops just to listen to a You Tube video without audio glitches.

    And if you didn't already install the Windows Updates released on Tuesday (June 14), let them install & see if there is any change for the better.

    And, since your motherboard is an Asus, look in on the USB drivers, and see if you have one called "ASMedia USB 3.1 driver" ... and if you do, uninstall it, remove the driver, and see if a generic works better.

    If your system memory usage is up around 80% a lot of the time, adding some memory might help a little for performance. But I'm not sure it would affect your audio issues, since many systems with 4 GB of memory and Windows 10 have no audio troubles at all. (But folks don't usually play games on 4 GB systems).

    Let's hope for improvement soon.

  9. #9

    Re: Audio stuttering, "popping" and high latency on a brand new build!

    Unfortunately, after trying all the things you suggested, the problems still persist. I have not seen my memory usage even get to 80%, so I don't think I need any more right now. Like I said, the problem only occurs when I use either one of my headsets or the external speaker system. When I use my screen (through HDMI) I don't hear any of the audio problems that I've been having. Not sure how relevant this will be, but this is the LatencyMon while using HDMI with World of Warcraft running.

    Audio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-16-pngAudio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-17-pngAudio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-18-png

    Not sure much has changed.

  10. #10

    Re: Audio stuttering, "popping" and high latency on a brand new build!

    Crazy, huh!

    Your DPC latencies are almost non-existent in your last few graphs. It's all pointing to high ISR and high hard pagefaults (though oddly enough, your pagefault usage processes list doesn't look that bad)... The ISR has pointed to HDAudbus.sys, dxkrnl.sys, & Wdf01000.sys all along, and still points to that trio. Sadly, I haven't found any remedy for those three's misbehavior.

    The audio on you monitor is using the Nvidia HD Audio driver (since it's coming through the HDMI cable). I'll assume the other audio is integrated onboard. You could try different versions of the onboard audio drivers just for the heck of it - I wouldn't expect miracles, but we might luck into something.

    I've mentioned a tactic to several sufferers of the audio troubles in Windows 10 --- taking advantage of your "downgrade rights" ... if Windows 10 doesn't perform up to snuff, I believe there are situations where you can downgrade to a less-troublesome version (at least until the drivers for Windows 10 mature and perform better).
    Downgrade rights for Windows 1 – licensing how-to - Windows 1 - Spiceworks

    The Frequently Asked Questions section of that article is particularly helpful.

    For more improvement, I might have to stop in Diagon Alley & see if Mr. Ollivander has something made of holly, with a phoenix feather core ....

  11. #11

    Re: Audio stuttering, "popping" and high latency on a brand new build!

    Okay, it's been a bust weekend, so I'll try different drivers and rolling back to Windows 7 (if I can, if not I'll probably try linux mint) on Monday. If I roll back to Windows 7 and it doesn't fix the audio problems, would I be able to re-upgrade to Windows 10?

    Yeah, this definitely needs some sort of magic to get fixed. Hopefully, I can come across some..

  12. #12

    Re: Audio stuttering, "popping" and high latency on a brand new build!

    Hope it goes well. Since you have activated Windows 10 on that hardware, you retain the "digital entitlement" to run Windows 10 on it indefinitely. Just like having a product key registered with Microsoft in the old days, the new "digital entitlement" linked to your Microsoft account (or simply to that hardware) stays on the Microsoft activation servers indefinitely. In other words, for the lifetime of the computer.

    I use Linux Mint 17.3 for much of my remote repairs: it is a nice, stable, and inexpensive (free) solution. But it can be difficult to get Windows programs to run in Linux. Some do OK, some don't. And of course you have to install and run them using something like "Wine" (not an emulator, but similar).... or use a virtual machine (which might lead back to the same issues in Windows natively ...plus requiring a fair amount of resources).

    If you find a solution (especially one in either Windows 7, 8.1, or 10) - I'd be interested to hear it. Lots of folks would be interested, I'd guess.

    Those are mighty nice specs for the components in your system ... hate to see them not showing their capabilities to the fullest.

  13. #13

    Re: Audio stuttering, "popping" and high latency on a brand new build!

    OldGrayGary,

    I know it's been a while since I have replied to this thread, but I was finally able to downgrade to Windows 7 (I had problems using a bootable USB and I didn't have an optical drive). I'm currently installing all drivers and updating everything I can. I will run more tests when it is all complete, and update this thread on if my audio problems were solved.

  14. #14

    Re: Audio stuttering, "popping" and high latency on a brand new build!

    Okay, so after installing updates and updating drivers, the audio problems still exist on Windows 7. This test was done while just watching a YouTube video. I didn't hear any or the audio problems during this test, but they definitely exist when I'm playing a game.

    Audio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-19-pngAudio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-20-pngAudio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-21-png

  15. #15

    Re: Audio stuttering, "popping" and high latency on a brand new build!

    Hi again

    Since you recently returned to Windows 7, you likely will have a fairly large amount of background activity that should become less bothersome in a few days. I recently clean installed Windows 7 for a customer, and the first round of Windows Updates installed 140+ updates, then the second round installed another 60 or so, then after reinstalling MS Office, another two rounds of updates arrived..... and any of the batches of updates that include updates to the .NET framework also kick in a round of the ".NET Optimization Service" taking up large amounts of system resources until they've run a few times.

    If things don't improve within the next week, see if dialing back the Nvidia services (the Network Streaming service, the GeForce Experience optional modules) helps at all. Here's a link to a guide for that again:
    Disable NVIDIA Streamer Service and other NVIDIA processes - gHacks Tech News

    Hope for luck!

  16. #16
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    • specs System Specs
      • Motherboard:
        ASRock Z77E-ITX
      • CPU:
        E3-1230 V2 3.3GHz
      • Memory:
        16GB G.Skill DDR3 2400
      • Graphics:
        Asus GTX1060
      • Sound Card:
        Onboard
      • Hard Drives:
        3x250GB SSDs, 2x 2.5 1TB HDD JBOD
      • Power Supply:
        Seasonic 360W Gold
      • Case:
        BitFenix Prodigy Black
      • Cooling:
        Be Quiet Shadow Rock Topflow + 2x case fans
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    Re: Audio stuttering, "popping" and high latency on a brand new build!

    Hi guys.

    See also the last comment by Jeff in the gHacks article: Disable NVIDIA Streamer Service and other NVIDIA processes - gHacks Tech News

    I'd uninstall Chrome and not run any browser in the background whilst gaming during troubleshooting.

  17. #17

    Re: Audio stuttering, "popping" and high latency on a brand new build!

    I'll try testing with chrome uninstalled. I'm still having this problem when running Windows 7. I'll update ASAP.

    Thanks.

  18. #18

    Re: Audio stuttering, "popping" and high latency on a brand new build!

    I uninstalled chrome and have, instead, started to use firefox. I ran two tests: The first is taken while having one tab open in firefox to watch a video. The second is while playing a game with no browser running in the background.

    Audio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-22-pngAudio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-23-pngAudio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-24-png


    Audio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-25-pngAudio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-26-pngAudio stuttering, "popping" and  high latency on a brand new build!-27-png

  19. #19

    Re: Audio stuttering, "popping" and high latency on a brand new build!

    Hi again faust

    On both sets of your latest charts and graphs, the HDAudBus.sys numbers are impressively high. Only on the 2nd set, interestingly enough, do we see ataport.sys generating high counts. The HDAudBus.sys numbers were high in Windows 10, too.

    To add to the "Tale of Two Charts" oddities: your hard pagefaults go from nonexistent in the 1st set to off-the-chart (literally!) in the 2nd set of charts.

    Have you tried disabling the onboard sound & trying an add-in card? (just to see ... maybe a friend has an extra card laying around from a recent upgrade...). And does the issue only persist when you aren't using the sound through your HDMI connection to your monitor (and its speakers)

    So many of the systems with issues are Asus/ASRock Z170 boards ... I have to wonder if their hardware/software mix isn't quite right.

    I'll have another look at things (partly to refresh my memory) a bit later on (at the moment, I've got a few systems to deliver).

  20. #20

    Re: Audio stuttering, "popping" and high latency on a brand new build!

    Yes, I thought that was interesting when looking at the charts as well.

    In the beginning, I did try disabling the on board sound and using a sound card instead. Weird enough, it was worse when I did that. Maybe it was the sound card I tried to use? I returned the card shortly after that.

    I have a dual-monitor set up, so I connect both to the graphics card, one using HDMI (a TV) and the audio plays without any problems regardless of hard page faults or DPC latency. If I choose to use any other method for audio (headphones, external speakers) then I get the audio problems again.

    I'm going to contact ASUS and hopefully get this fixed.

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