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Crackling Static w/ Hard Drive

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May 22, 2006 12:11:47 AM

I recently added another PCI card to my ancient system and I must have bumped something, or otherwise introduced a fault.

The problem is, when there is hard-drive activity, my sound card outputs snap-crackle-pop - static. This only happens when the sound card is otherwise producing sound - no static when the system is idle. However, if I'm playing music, or a game, or just getting an 'alert' from some program, then there's an occasional pop, or a rush of crackling.
It seems to coincide with my hard drive's read-write head activity. Recording mp3s to my HD does not affect the recordings, it only appears on output.

Any suggestions for how I might track down and correct this interference?

Abit TH7-RAID
P4 1.6 Ghz
512 Mb - Rambus
EVGA GeForce 6200
Sound Blaster Audigy
80 Gb Western Digital
40 Gb Hitachi

Semi generic 4-port USB, 10/100 NIC, Modem (unused).

Thanks for the Help!
Fireheart

More about : crackling static hard drive

May 22, 2006 12:58:12 AM

Run!!!!!!!! It's gonna blow!

Just kidding. Sounds like a cable or card is faulty(loose) somewhere. Check your plugs into your sound card. Look for dust. Try blowing out any dust in any of the PCI slots. Make sure all your PCI cards are seated correctly.
I would reccomend taking everything out(cables and cards) and giving a through cleaning if your case is really dusty. This may not be the case but atleast you can return everything eliminating the possibility of the bad connection or dirt.
May 22, 2006 12:06:49 PM

Pops and clicks can occur when the soundcard is sharing an IRQ channel. Check it in your device manager. You can sort your devices by resource for an easy overview. The simplest way to change IRQ channels is to put your soundcard in another pci slot.
Related resources
May 22, 2006 1:05:37 PM

This could also be caused by RF interference. Is your HDD cable running near your sound card? Check all of you cables. Move them around a bit...
May 23, 2006 12:38:53 AM

Dude im having the same prob when i installed a promise ata 100 controller so i can hook more Hd's to my computer now i have a 45 gig ibm deskstar, seagate 120gig, and seagate 160 gig in their all running. I have an ancient ws440bx intel motherboard with a p3 800. I though the sound card was just overheating but whenever i open a app, defrag, check for virus and spyware my sound crackles, skips, and play the same sound over. I have tried 2 diff pci ports, 4 total and it does not solve the problem.
May 24, 2006 5:23:33 AM

Thanks for all of the suggestions, I'll give it a try - after Finals. I can live with funky sound for a week, but if my computer blows up I'm toast!

Be Well!
Fireheart
May 24, 2006 8:14:20 PM

Wow an working 45 GB IBM Deathstar!

Mine broke withing 2 months, my friends lasted 3. We bought both on the same order so they were likely from the same production run.

Are the power pins extra thin and flimsy so that if you look closely they flex everytime you plug in the molex connector?

---
Integrated sound cards often pick up EMI from other components. Sometimes its the hard drive, sometimes its the mouse.

Usually the interference is less when you there is real sound.

Sometimes mutting everthing that isn't needed helps.

Other defects are often a resource or driver issue. If trying different PCI slots didn't help then try the latest drivers. With cheap cards sometimes the best drivers to use are not the latest. Sometime you have to try the latest 3 releases and see which one works the best.
May 26, 2006 1:20:57 AM

That 45 gig deathstar I really dont even use i have a multi boot system with win 98 and win 2K win 98 is on the deathstar. That deeathstar is 5 years old and I have had many problems with it lately like clinking sounds and computer failure becouse of it and it gets so hot I cant touch it. I actually took it out of my computer and put it in a shoubox yesterday with all my other old and no longer used computer parts. And ya it does have crap pins it takes me a while to plug it into the ide cable becouse it has to be positioned a certain way so the bent pins can plug in to.
May 26, 2006 7:30:38 AM

There are really SO many things that can affect audio ouput...

A bad ground, Drooping rails, a poor quality MB that has poor quality PLL or Decoupler caps, RF 'over-the-wire' interference, etc.

Good luck ;) 

I had a problem with a ground on my Xazer case at work... Every time I touched the case, my headphones would make a high pitched sound. It also happened if I put my phone near the case. Computer was fine otherwise. Was kind of eery, honestly *shrug*

You have no idea how upset I was after frankensteining my computer one night for 4 hours, just to remove the noise the next day by moving my desk phone...
!