I've got a home built Gigabyte phenom 9550 Quad Core PC with on-board sound and a low end Altec speaker system. Recently the sound has been getting very scratchy and occasionally cuts out.This happens with all programs. Do the on-board sound components have a finite life and if so, how long?
Borrow a friend's speakers and see if they work. If your speakers are really low-end, and the connecting wires are thin, they may have broken inside the insulation - that would cause creaky or scratchy sounds and even to stop the sound.
Treefrog07, you didn't really answer my question. The speakers. by Altec, are newer than the MB. What I want to know is if the MB's sound system has a finite life and if so, what PCI based sound card should I get.
What I want to know is if the MB's sound system has a finite life and if so, what PCI based sound card should I get.
Lifespan ~ generally not really an issue. In addition, you may want to update/reinstall your on-board sound driver.
The "real" question is "why get a separate / dedicated sound card" ~ the BIG issues with "bad sound" is SHIELDING whether it be from wires (cheap + poorly shielded thin wires), on-board interference (poorly shielded) ~ most MOBOs have this issue to some degree. The cheapest thing to try first is to move your speaker wires away from ALL other wires. A free fix can be to wrap the speaker wire(s) that are connected to the rear of the PC in (first 1'-2'/couple of layers) aluminum foil + tape. In addition, check for dirty/oxidized connections ; alcohol or a pencil eraser to clean the connections. Possible broken wires/components already mentioned.
As far a sound cards themselves go; "I" like the Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium ~ great shielding + great sound ($129) ; not so cheap.
Run DPC first - too deep a queue can be responsible for all manner of peculiar problems in both audio or video throughput. The usual 'noise' problem symptom is humming, from inductive pick-up of powerline harmonics caused by ground loops, in which case the fix is a 'bonded' ground:
There is very little going on on a modern motherboard that is at anywhere near an audible frequency, and, generally speaking, nothing can 'throw' a harmonic lower than its primary - indeed, most digital signals are sufficiently damped to have, in essence, no harmonics!
This is getting old. zipzoomflyhigh is right - you are "an annoying gnat!" You repeatedly distract and fiddle with involved troubleshooting, confusing some of the posters to the point of PMs. You repeatedly cite your 'ten bad boards' as evidence of something (several times suggesting a GB problem...), while consistently missing reporting the crushedboxes - which are actually 'evidence' of only one thing - your ignorance in not inspecting a shipment, and/or failing to refuse shipment; or at least immediately filing a claim with the shipper!
I, like zipzoomflyhigh, have about had it with you! You think you know about ten times what you actually do; you actually know about enough to be dangerous; and appear to have gotten your electronics training in Elbonia, studying with the mudweasels! Tinfoil!