When using front panel audio there is a loud buzzing sound only while playing games. When on the windows desktop the buzzing is not audible. If headphones are plugged into the rear audio ports, there is no buzzing on the desktop or in games. I have tested both the onboard audio and
a Creative X-Fi PCI express audio card but both produce the same result. My guess is that there is some audio interference happening with the front panel audio cable but I don't have any ideas what I can do to fix this.
My analysis tells me that if it's a hardware problem then you should hear the buzzing on whatever sources you use, and since you mentioned that you only hear it when playing games then that leads to drivers’ problem.
But if you hear the buzzing sound when playing other that games then it is your hardware. Trace the wire that connects your front panel to your motherboard; disconnect and use a VOM/Ohm meter and check for continuity. If the wire is fine then your motherboard is the culprit.
I have the same problem. I have found that the main contributor to the interference is my video card (XFX 9800 GT). When I bring the HD audio cable near the 6-pin PCI-e cable connected to my card, the noise nearly doubles. To confirm that the problem arises from the high current drawn by the card, I borrowed a Quadro FX 370 from work, which does not have a PCI-e power connector. It nearly eliminated the buzzing. However, I am still picking some up from the fans and hard drive, but not even a tenth as much. This means that there is a problem with line noise from the power supply, ground loops or a poorly shielded HD audio cable. My guess is all of the above. Since I am not willing to downgrade my video cards, I have mostly given up on using the front panel for audio since the rear ports work perfectly.
Sorry, I wasn't checking on this forum for a while.
higgsHunter is right, A poor construction of a power supply will lead to higher EMI/RFI, which will further influence by use of motherboard with more phases power designed to improve powerful handling to CPUs and others components the system supplies.
Soft ferrites is probobly the sollution. Try rerounting the front pannel audio cord if it's help.
If you know how to solder, replace the cord with RG-45 cable + a ferrite or two on both end of the cable.
I have an NZXT vulcan, and I found out it was none of these problems. It wasn't EMI, nor the X-Fi, or the mobo auido. My case's front audio shared a ground with the USB, so any time I plugged something into the usb while my headphones were plugged into the front headphone jack, I could hear it through the headphones. The only way to fix it is to separate the grounds of the USB from those of the Audio, as they each have their own grounds.
Why case companies design their printed circuit borads this way is beyond me.
Here's a link to my blog, where I show you how to fix it.