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Sound card sharing IRQ with NIC: Missing and cut-off sound effects

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  • Sound Cards
  • Components
Last response: in Components
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January 12, 2011 12:09:05 AM

I've noticed while playing online games, sound effects are missing. For example, the sound of a gun reload will not play. Other times, sounds will play but cut off. Like the sound of a gunshot will play half-way through then silence abruptly. I also have problems with popping sounds and crackling sounds while playing certain youtube videos.

Googling my issue brought to my attention a couple articles about Creative sound cards behaving badly while sharing IRQ's. I do not own a Creative card but I assume the same principle would apply to me, so I decided to take a look at my IRQ assignments:

IRQ 0 System timer OK
IRQ 1 Standard 101/102-Key or Microsoft Natural PS/2 Keyboard OK
IRQ 3 Intel(R) N10/ICH7 Family SMBus Controller - 27DA OK
IRQ 8 System CMOS/real time clock OK
IRQ 9 Microsoft ACPI-Compliant System OK
IRQ 13 Numeric data processor OK
IRQ 14 Primary IDE Channel OK
IRQ 15 Secondary IDE Channel OK
IRQ 16 Intel(R) G33/G31/P35/P31 Express Chipset PCI Express Root Port - 29C1 OK
IRQ 16 NVIDIA GeForce 260 GTX OK
IRQ 16 Intel(R) N10/ICH7 Family PCI Express Root Port - 27D0 OK
IRQ 16 Intel(R) N10/ICH7 Family USB Universal Host Controller - 27CB OK
IRQ 17 Intel(R) N10/ICH7 Family PCI Express Root Port - 27D2 OK
IRQ 17 Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller OK
IRQ 17 ASUS Xonar DG Audio Device OK

IRQ 18 Intel(R) N10/ICH7 Family USB Universal Host Controller - 27CA OK
IRQ 19 Intel(R) N10/ICH7 Family USB Universal Host Controller - 27C9 OK
IRQ 23 Intel(R) N10/ICH7 Family USB Universal Host Controller - 27C8 OK
IRQ 23 Intel(R) N10/ICH7 Family USB2 Enhanced Host Controller - 27CC OK

As you can see, my sound card is sharing an IRQ with my NIC, which would explain why I'm getting sound issues only during online play. That would also explain the mysterious issues I've been having with my internet that Comcast was unable to remedy.

First off, I have absolutely no way of manually assigning or altering IRQ's in BIOS, which is strange. There is a menu labeled "Cell" which describes "configue devices, IRQ's" etc. but entering the menu only has options to adjust CPU/DRAM frequencies. Weird.

There is an option to enable/disable ACPI but from what I understand, that can make my problem worse. Also, I've read that disabling ACPI does not work well on multi-processor systems, which I have and I'm sure everyone else does too.

The last thing, if you take a look at my IRQ's, IRQ 9 is supposed to be used by something called "IRQ steering" but I do not have that on my system. All options to manually configure resource management are either grayed out or completely missing in device manager.

So pretty much what all this means is, I have absolutely no way of changing my IRQ's in the BIOS or in Windows.

Changing PCI slots is not a option either. I am using a mini-ATX motherboard. It has a PCI-Express 16x slot (used by my video card), PCI SLOT 1 (completely blocked by my video card), and PCI slot 2 (used by my sound card).

Before I forget, I've disabled both COM ports and my parallel port in the BIOS. I've also disabled both IDE controllers since I do not use any IDE devices.

So my question is, does anyone have any tips on how I can get my sound card to stop sharing an IRQ with my network card? Or should I just abandon this system?

More about : sound card sharing irq nic missing cut sound effects

January 12, 2011 2:46:06 AM

Quote:
Is your PC a mid-range P3 or earlier? If it's newer...it's most likely following APIC standard, you should have over 24 IRQs


Take a look at my IRQ assignments, that should answer your question.

Quote:
IRQ sharing....worrying about this has become non-existant.


This is a myth. Regardless of Microsoft's official stance on the subject, IRQ conflicts still exist and have been well documented on the internet.

Quote:
try moving the NIC to a different slot...there was a standard back then...2nd PCI slot from the top.


As stated, I have two PCI slots, one of which is completely blocked by my graphics card. The other slot is being used by my sound card. So obviously, that would mean I have a onboard NIC, which is immovable.

Quote:
Also can try disabling onboard devices that you don't use..such as LPT (IRQ 7), COM ports (IRQs 4 and 3). To manually specify an ICQ...some motherboards have BIOS which let you specify what IRQ a device in a specific slot gets. Or...you can do it in Device Manager.


Again, as stated, both COM ports and parallel ports are disabled. All options to modify IRQ settings in BIOS and device manager are either grayed out or non-existant. My drivers are up-to-date also.

Honestly, it doesn't look like you even bothered to read my original post before replying.
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January 12, 2011 10:21:21 AM

I've uninstalled drivers, ran driver sweeper and cc cleaner in safe mode, reinstalled, no change.

Also did a "factory restore" from my hard drive partition, no change.

Desperate, I did a complete reformat of my harddrive and reinstalled windows xp pro sp3 from scratch, no change.

These IRQ assignments are set in STONE

Ugh... headache. time for bed
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January 12, 2011 12:21:22 PM

Unfortunately for me, reallocation is impossible. Well, technically, I could remove my video card which is blocking the first PCI slot and try my sound card there. But then I would have no display capabilities (my motherboard does not have a VGA output).

I guess it's time to look for a new motherboard. I'd advise anyone adding a PCI soundcard to there mini-ATX motherboard: do so at your own risk, you will most likely end up with a irq conflict like me and experience sound issues.
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January 13, 2011 3:07:43 AM

I have learned my theory is wrong. Here is how I found out:

Uninstalled OpenAL driver, restarted computer

Uninstalled sound card driver, restarted computer

At this point, I checked my IRQ assignments. My soundcard was now on IRQ 11 by itself, labeled (?) Multimedia Audio Controller. Meanwhile, the NIC was still on IRQ 17.

I restarted my computer into safe mode and checked my IRQ assignments again. My soundcard was still on IRQ 11 but my NIC moved over to IRQ 11 also.

I ran driver sweeper and CC cleaner, then restarted back into normal mode.

Soundcard was still on IRQ 11 but my NIC moved back to IRQ 17. That's odd, why is my NIC moving around in safe mode?

Anyways, I shutdown my computer, removed the soundcard and started my computer.

NIC was still on IRQ 17.

Restarted my computer, entered BIOS and enabled my Realtek HD Audio Device. Booted into Windows

Checked my IRQs and saw my NIC was still on 17 but my Realtek HD audio Device is on IRQ 16, sharing with my video card and a whole bunch of other stuff.

Installed the Realtek audio drivers and restarted.

Here is my IRQ assignments:

IRQ 0 System timer OK
IRQ 1 Standard 101/102-Key or Microsoft Natural PS/2 Keyboard OK
IRQ 3 Intel(R) N10/ICH7 Family SMBus Controller - 27DA OK
IRQ 8 System CMOS/real time clock OK
IRQ 9 Microsoft ACPI-Compliant System OK
IRQ 13 Numeric data processor OK
IRQ 14 Primary IDE Channel OK
IRQ 15 Secondary IDE Channel OK
IRQ 16 Intel(R) G33/G31/P35/P31 Express Chipset PCI Express Root Port - 29C1 OK
IRQ 16 NVIDIA GeForce 260 GTX OK
IRQ 16 Microsoft UAA Bus Driver for High Definition Audio OK
IRQ 16 Intel(R) N10/ICH7 Family PCI Express Root Port - 27D0 OK
IRQ 16 Intel(R) N10/ICH7 Family USB Universal Host Controller - 27CB OK

IRQ 17 Intel(R) N10/ICH7 Family PCI Express Root Port - 27D2 OK
IRQ 17 Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller OK
IRQ 18 Intel(R) N10/ICH7 Family USB Universal Host Controller - 27CA OK
IRQ 19 Intel(R) N10/ICH7 Family USB Universal Host Controller - 27C9 OK
IRQ 23 Intel(R) N10/ICH7 Family USB Universal Host Controller - 27C8 OK
IRQ 23 Intel(R) N10/ICH7 Family USB2 Enhanced Host Controller - 27CC OK

As you can see, my onboard audio is sharing with 4 other devices on IRQ 16, including my video card.

So no matter what, it is impossible for me to get a audio device on its own IRQ on this computer.

So anyways, the moment of truth. I booted up my game and tested things out for half an hour.

I'm getting the exact same audio cut-outs and missing sound effects as I did with my add-in card.

So unless my onboard audio is having a IRQ conflict with my video card and other devices, the cause for my audio issues is unknown.
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