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Trying to determine if my motherboard is defective - On board sound

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October 14, 2012 7:06:38 PM

I just finished my build with this motherboard and I'm having a problem that is getting on my nerves, which apparently many other people do with Realtek chips.

At random intervals that can be sometimes 20 minutes apart but sometimes 1 minute, a balloon in the tray pops up up saying that I just plugged a device, and the audio control panel pops up asking which type it is, with headphones selected by default, even though no headphones have been plugged in. I click OK to that, and a few seconds later I get the balloon again saying that a device has been unplugged.

The PC case is the same I used for two years in my last build, a Cooler Master ATCS 840, and I was using a Gigabyte motherboard for an AMD 1090T CPU, and never had this problem. The audio chipset was also Realtek, and the audio control panel was essentially the same but an older version that had a different skin. The new one looks like this (don't pay attention to the Asus thing in the back, they look like they're the same but the Asus suite just happened to be in the background when I took the screenshot):



I opened the case and tried to get to the front audio panel but it seems impossible, even after I took out the optical drive below it. It's inside an enclosure that doesn't have accessible screws as far as I can see. But if it worked fine for two years and I didn't pull on the cables, I don't see why all of a sudden it would start causing shorts or anything. I did unplug the connector to the motherboard, checked that all the pins were straight and plugged it back in.

So I thought I had a bad motherboard, but there seems to be tons of people with this problem across several motherboards, unless all those people also have a faulty motherboard. Nothing else seems to be failing, so I wonder if it's the audio chip on the motherboard or just buggy drivers. The first Win 7 installation I did I installed the latest drivers from Asus, but then I found out that Home Premium doesn't access more than 16 GB of RAM, so I had to go buy 7 Pro, reformat and install again from scratch. This time I chose the driver version that was before last, but it hasn't changed anything.

I could call Newegg and request a replacement, but after all the hours I spent putting the rig together, plus all the hours spent installing Windows, drivers, updates and programs, when I have only three hours a day of free time during the week, is not too appealing to me to say the least.

One workaround that has worked for most people is to select AC97 instead of HD Audio, but since I spent $230 in this motherboard I'm not going to tolerate any faulty component even if it's one I use every once in a while. But, I don't want to get a replacement, waste days taking apart this build, putting it together again with the new MB and then find out that I still have the same issue.

Has anybody else have this problem, and knows how to solve it?

Thanks,

Sebastian
a b V Motherboard
October 14, 2012 10:36:37 PM

Hello,

What video system do you have installed, and by chance did you install the audio drivers of nvidea or amd with the video card installation that might be interferring? Check in Programs & Features to see if both are installed.

Might also check the Device Manager to see if there are any problems noted with the realtek controller or drivers.
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October 15, 2012 2:54:04 AM

John_VanKirk said:
Hello,

What video system do you have installed, and by chance did you install the audio drivers of nvidea or amd with the video card installation that might be interferring? Check in Programs & Features to see if both are installed.

Might also check the Device Manager to see if there are any problems noted with the realtek controller or drivers.


The video card is an eVGA GTX570, and yes, it installed the audio drivers for it along with the rest of the Nvidia package because the card has an HDMI output that at some point I may use. However, that was also installed with my previous build in the same case with a Gigabyte motherboard that also had a Realtek chipset, and this never happened.

As far as the device manager goes, nothing is showing problems:



About an hour ago I disconnected the front audio connector from the motherboard, and the balloon hasn't popped up again, which if this was a new case I would think makes the cables or the front panel the culprit, but this is the same case I've had for two years (CM ATCS 840) and the front panel audio worked without issues up until the minute shut down Windows to replace the old components with the new ones. So I don't know what's the deal.
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a b V Motherboard
October 15, 2012 3:16:00 AM

sebaz said:
The video card is an eVGA GTX570, and yes, it installed the audio drivers for it along with the rest of the Nvidia package because the card has an HDMI output that at some point I may use. However, that was also installed with my previous build in the same case with a Gigabyte motherboard that also had a Realtek chipset, and this never happened.

As far as the device manager goes, nothing is showing problems:

http://i.imgur.com/n8KAF.png

About an hour ago I disconnected the front audio connector from the motherboard, and the balloon hasn't popped up again, which if this was a new case I would think makes the cables or the front panel the culprit, but this is the same case I've had for two years (CM ATCS 840) and the front panel audio worked without issues up until the minute shut down Windows to replace the old components with the new ones. So I don't know what's the deal.


Double check that you are using the digital audio and that all the MB pins are straight.

Might consider giving EVA a call to confirm you are OK. I have 2 EVGA video cards on two separate Gigabyte UD7 boards and they told me not to install their audio drivers as they may interfere with the Realtec Gigabyte drivers. 888 880-3842. Just a thought.
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October 15, 2012 12:53:36 PM

John_VanKirk said:
Double check that you are using the digital audio and that all the MB pins are straight.

Might consider giving EVA a call to confirm you are OK. I have 2 EVGA video cards on two separate Gigabyte UD7 boards and they told me not to install their audio drivers as they may interfere with the Realtec Gigabyte drivers. 888 880-3842. Just a thought.


I checked the pins and they are perfect. I also checked the HD audio connector with a magnifying glass and it seems to be fine as well.

As for the Nvidia drivers, I had them installed in the Gigabyte board I had before and this never happened before, so I don't think that could be the reason.
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a b V Motherboard
October 15, 2012 4:11:00 PM

sebaz said:
I checked the pins and they are perfect. I also checked the HD audio connector with a magnifying glass and it seems to be fine as well.

As for the Nvidia drivers, I had them installed in the Gigabyte board I had before and this never happened before, so I don't think that could be the reason.


Hi Sebastian,

One last thought about the Nvidea audio drivers. I can only relate what Nvidea tech support told me regarding possible conflicts. A troubleshooting option that is safe would be to disable the 4 nvidea audio drivers in Device Manager, and see it the problem clears. If not, just reenable them.

I have seen guys that have had trouble with the audio drivers, download and install the latest Realtec drivers from the MB site or even the realtec site and have their issues resolved. Might check to make sure you have the latest driver.

Other thing is, since you unplugged the HD audio header and seemed to clear the "new item problem" would be to insert a plug into and out of the headphone and mike plug on your case, to make sure they are not making an intermittant contact and having the OS think you plugged a headphone or mike in.

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October 15, 2012 5:09:51 PM

John_VanKirk said:

I have seen guys that have had trouble with the audio drivers, download and install the latest Realtec drivers from the MB site or even the realtec site and have their issues resolved. Might check to make sure you have the latest driver.

Other thing is, since you unplugged the HD audio header and seemed to clear the "new item problem" would be to insert a plug into and out of the headphone and mike plug on your case, to make sure they are not making an intermittant contact and having the OS think you plugged a headphone or mike in.


Thanks, John, as I said in my original post, the first time I installed Win 7 I installed the latest drivers. As I had to buy 7 Pro to be able to use all 32 GB of RAM, I installed the previous to last drivers, with the same result.

As for inserting a headphone plug into the front panel, I did, and when I do that it does show the popup, which is the way it's supposed to be. I tried to do the same repeatedly and it works each and every time. But when I pull out the headset, after a while it will start doing the same thing.
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October 16, 2012 1:49:22 AM

OK, the issue still continues despite having gone through a series of tests, patiently waiting to see if the balloon would pop up after each of these, and it did:

- I took out one of the PCIe cards, the HD Spark, which was in the nearest slot to the connector, even though most likely it had nothing to do, but it didn't work.
- the cable that came from the front audio panel was sitting on the top of the PSU, so just in case there is some electrical interference, I tied it to another cable so it's not touching the PSU
- I uninstalled all Realtek and Nvidia drivers, then I installed the Nvidia drivers deselecting only the audio drivers, and after the reboot, I installed the latest available drivers from the Asus website. I didn't try the Realtek drivers because as far as I can see they are only drivers, so it would be pointless since Windows 7 installs the basic drivers. The only reason to install the drivers from the Asus website is to have access to the equalizer and sound enhancements.

So having tried all this without success, I'll try to get a replacement from Newegg tomorrow, since this is perhaps a defective audio chipset in the motherboard. If the replacement has the same problem, then I guess I'll have to pull out the front panel and not use it, but at least I have to make sure that this is not a problem with my unit.
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a b V Motherboard
October 16, 2012 2:23:08 AM

sebaz said:
OK, the issue still continues despite having gone through a series of tests, patiently waiting to see if the balloon would pop up after each of these, and it did:

- I took out one of the PCIe cards, the HD Spark, which was in the nearest slot to the connector, even though most likely it had nothing to do, but it didn't work.
- the cable that came from the front audio panel was sitting on the top of the PSU, so just in case there is some electrical interference, I tied it to another cable so it's not touching the PSU
- I uninstalled all Realtek and Nvidia drivers, then I installed the Nvidia drivers deselecting only the audio drivers, and after the reboot, I installed the latest available drivers from the Asus website. I didn't try the Realtek drivers because as far as I can see they are only drivers, so it would be pointless since Windows 7 installs the basic drivers. The only reason to install the drivers from the Asus website is to have access to the equalizer and sound enhancements.

So having tried all this without success, I'll try to get a replacement from Newegg tomorrow, since this is perhaps a defective audio chipset in the motherboard. If the replacement has the same problem, then I guess I'll have to pull out the front panel and not use it, but at least I have to make sure that this is not a problem with my unit.


A good plan, since you've tried everything without success!
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