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help needed; after changing NIC have sound card problem

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December 26, 2005 10:22:25 PM

Problem: after upgrading my ethernet card my sound card started making pops and occasionally pausing in the middle of playing music. I've heard this can be caused by pci latency, but typically the articles I've seen say that pci latency is usually caused by the video card rather than the network card (no to mention most of the win98 programs for working with pci latency only are for the video card).

(for system info, see below next few paragraphs)

I did not have the problem with my previous NIC (a five-years-old LNE 100-TX ver.4). My brand new NIC is a d-link DLE 530-TX rev.1.c. (The new d-link card is providing much faster send/receive rates... something like 25% to 33% faster than the five-year-old linksys).

The vers.4 card by linksys is no longer supported (the drivers on their site are only for the newer vers.5 cards. The vers.5 card drivers did run my vers.4 card but oddly decreased my overall speed and performance).

Somewhere I think someone also said that moving which pci card is in which pci slot might fix this... I haven't tried it yet. (I think it said that my mobo splits the 4 pci slots into 2 channels or 2 irq's or something so that slots 1+3 run on one and slots 2+4 are on the other, but I can't find that webpage so I'm not entirely sure what it said).

Has anyone had this kind of problem before? Will changing what card is in what slot make a difference? If not, what programs are recommended for adjusting pci latency or the like while in win98se? (I do have one called powerstrip, but I'm not exactly sure how to work it. I'm guessing I'd decrease the mhz of the vid-card, is that right?)

Any help and/or suggestions would be appreciated. I could go back to my older linksys card, but prefer my newer d-link card since its providing me with a faster send/receive rate.

System:

Win98se with 128mb ram
BIOS setting for PCI Latency is set to: 32

Hardware:

mobo/cpu:
ASUS p55t2p4 rev.3.10 with k6-2 533mhz cpu
(runs at 500mhz since I can't figure out how to set the FSB higher than
83mhz)
pci slot 1 (slot furthest from ISA slots):
hercules prophet 4000xt pci 32mb (runs at factory default of 115mhz)
pci slot 2:
d-link DLE 530tx ethernet card
pci slot 3:
sound blaster live 24bit pci
pci slot 4 (nearest slot to ISA slots):
usb card (has 2 usb sockets)

Matt Shokoff
matsho@sympatico.ca
December 27, 2005 12:54:29 PM

I think the D-Link NIC you have uses bus mastering which uses up a lot more bandwidth. Thats probably why your seeing better performance but at the same time the latency. The Linksys LNE 100TX cards don't use bus mastering. I have an LNE 100TX in one of my machines and its pretty compatible with everything.

Try to put the D-Link card in a slot that doesn't share an interrupt (IRQ) from any of the other cards. It may be currently sharing an interrupt with your sound card.
December 28, 2005 11:00:54 PM

I've checked that my d-link isn't sharing an IRQ with another card. It isn't. It has an IRQ all to itself.

Switching what card is in what pci-slot DID affect audio playback. Depending on what went where, the pauses were less frequent or more frequent, sometimes shorter, sometimes longer.

At worst, it was playing 10 seconds, pausing 5, playing 10, then pausing 5. And in two physical configs, the audio would pause and not return
(though the system otherwise continued running fine) but the audio wouldn't return short of a system reboot.

After multiple switches I managed to reduce the number of pauses to about 1 pause every 20 to 30 seconds with typically it pauses about a 1-second pause. Strangely though, network speed (and everything else)appears unaffected by card position.

The best config I came across after about a dozen different setups was:

(slot 1 furthest from ISA - slot 4 nearest ISA)

PCI Slot # was formerly is now
1 herc.prophet 4000xt pci d-link DLE 530tx ethernet
2 d-link DLE 530tx ethernet herc.prophet 4000xt pci
3 sb.live 24bit usb card
4 usb card sb.live 24bit

Matt
matsho@sympatico.ca
January 10, 2006 10:13:02 PM

After a bunch of trying I finally tried replacing the new network card with the old card and removing the new card's drivers. Strangely the music-pausing/skipping problem remained.

I can only guess the new card did something odd to my win98 system registry or something because the problem didn't exist prior to installation of the new network card. I've tried looking through advanced network settings (both through control panel and a pre-existing internet optimizer program I had) but see nothing amiss.

I even tried removing ALL my network-card drivers and then putting the new network card back in and installing its drivers fresh (thinking that maybe some leftover from the old NIC was causing the new NIC to have PCI latency or the like). No change. Problem still existed with audio playback, regardless of whether I was connected to the net or not.

Up next I'm going to check my media driver files. Maybe something got partially messed up or set to an ultra-low priority.

Matt
!