CPU slows down and sound crackles after playing games for a while


I have a recurring issue and I was wondering if anyone has any solutions.

When I play games on my computer, my sound begins to crackle and drop out (2-3 seconds at a time) after a while. It's fine for about 10 minutes, then a bit of light crackling starts happening every few seconds or so, then it gets worse and worse as time goes on (escalating to a point where everything is quite distorted and it's about 5 seconds of sound and then 5 seconds of dropout, back and forth). Additionally, after playing games for 30+ minutes, the CPU seems to run physically slower. So far I've only continued playing past that point once, and the computer eventually totally froze. Because of that, I don't think the issue is primarily with the sound card, and that's also why I put this in the CPU section of the forums.

I don't play games all that often, but it seems to occur every single time I play one. I've tried Counter Strike: Source, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and Just Cause 2 and they all do it. Just Cause 2 is what I was playing during the time I just mentioned when it froze. If I exit the game when this crackling starts, the sound problems persist even in non-related Windows programs. Things are fine if I restart...until I start playing a game again.

Here are my specs:

Corsair 750W power supply (I can't remember the model)
Intel i7 950
Line 6 POD HD (Audio interface for recording, but I also use it as my primary sound card. It automatically switches to ASIO drivers if I have my DAW open but is the default playback device for Windows at all other times)
Realtek AC97 (not in use)

I have the latest drivers for my audio interface, but I also used to have this exact same problem before I bought it and I was just using the Realtek AC97. I've disabled all of the Realtek's inputs and outputs in the Windows audio settings, as well.

My temperatures seem fine, as well. As a side note, according to my friend at Best Buy Geek Squad, my water cooler's radiator hose developed a leak and most of the solution evaporated. This happened about a week ago, causing the CPU to severely overheat and for the computer to automatically shut down. This was not while playing games, but just doing casual web browsing. I've been having the issue I'm talking about since months before this happened though. However, the faulty water cooler was replaced with a Corsair H60 and the CPU temps have been fine since. Anyway, my GPU and CPU temps while playing games are both consistently under 55 C, so I'm not sure if that's related.

I did some searching and found a handful of people over the years reporting similar problems, but didn't find any concrete solutions. However, it was pretty hard to come up with search strings to find exactly what I'm looking for, so I'm posting about it in the hopes that maybe someone else has encountered this and fixed it. Does anyone have any ideas?
8 answers Last reply
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  1. FC3 is very CPU intensive, & 65C is TOO HIGH. Clean out your fans, put on some new paste, hell just replace the damn cooler & paste with a Hyper 212 Plus, that should help a lot!
  2. Those temps are why too high. I would go with the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo it is about $30. The issues start to occur in about what I think it would take for it to overheat.
  3. Sorry, that was a typo. They actually don't get above 55 C, and that's at the highest. And that's including when these issues are occurring. That's mainly the GPU. The CPU rarely gets above 48 or so.
  4. 55 is better, does this still occur on the integrated audio. If their is any?
  5. knuckleonAMD said:
    55 is better, does this still occur on the integrated audio. If their is any?

    Yep, I had the same problems before I bought the interface and was just using the AC97. I reinstalled its drivers back then, and I have reinstalled the Line 6's drivers since getting it, as well.
  6. Does your Ram check out when tested with Memtest? Just trying to eliminate components
  7. I tried Memtest and the Windows 7 memory diagnostic tool and there are no errors.
  8. You can try some of the suggestions in this forum. From what I read online it is a chipset problem that is common

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