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Soundcard overheating Athlon XP

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July 7, 2002 4:26:11 PM

Hi all. Okay here's the issue and let me know if it's possible for a simple new soundcard to overheat the Athlon to unstability. I was using the integrated sound on the GA-7vtxe board, which was the worst integrated sound I've ever heard. I bought a PCI soundcard based on the C-media 8738 chip, which sounds 1000x better, but will playing some MP3's my system froze, rebooted and again it froze. I checked the CPU temp and it was 70C!!! I had it overclocked to FSB of 140, so I set to to HW specs (133) and it doesn't crash but the CPU temp when playing MP3's goes from 64C to 67-69, which is way hot. This overheating started with the addition of a soundcard, does the CPU work alot when playing MP3's?? What's going on. How come it's running hot even at stock speeds, what should I do? I liked having it at 140FSB so it was an 1800+, plus it did run slightly faster (I can notice a small decrease in speed)? I have stock cooling, artic silver 3 all over the core, it never got above 65C until this card was added. I used to have it at 145FSB so it's was higher than a 1900+ and it didn't even go above 65C then, but my video card didn't like that high of a bus speed so I took it to a 1800+ (140FSB)
July 7, 2002 8:00:23 PM

well first off, i would throw away that stock fan, go find a volcano 7. I have the same motherboard but i never see it go above 60C. Also what type of case do you have? Their is a chance (very slight one) that the card could have moved the cables in your computer to block the airflow.
July 7, 2002 8:14:43 PM

Whats the room temp, what kind of case temps do you have (not the CPU temps), what kind of HSF are you using, and since you were overclocking, what is the Vcore? If you are using a the HSF that came with the CPU, is it possible that you are putting too much AS3 on the CPU? Mostly, the stock HSF that comes with is good for keeping the CPU cool enough to operate, given that you have decent case cooling, the room temp isn't 30C, and you're not overclocking. But, if any one of those three is not true, you could have problems. My HSF for my 1.2GHz T-Bird @ 1.33 keeps it at 56C or so, but I have real good case cooling and a low room temp. Otherwise, and this has happened, I get above 65C and my computer locks. In fact, I may have damaged my CPU a bit, since it can no longer withstand 1.4GHz like it used to. Also, I'd have to suggest a different sound card, like the Fortissimo II, if you want a cheap sound card. It shouldn't use much, if any, of the CPU to play MP3s. And if you use WMP, you can set it up so that all the MP3 decoding is done on the soundcard. Just remember to disable that before you game, since some games have problems with that option.

-SammyBoy
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July 7, 2002 9:26:48 PM

The case is a standard ATX case, I have front and rear panaflo 80x80 fans which are quiet and offer a decent airflow. My room is usually about 70-75F all year around. I live in NW Ohio so in the summer it's HOT but the house is always A/C'ed and in winter it's ass cold and of course the house is heated. I have the round cables installed in the system and airflow is fairly unrestricted. Yes the HSF is stock, I was careful to put only a thin layer of AC3, and it normally ran at 60-64. Now it's 64-69 since I installed the card, and the only time I freeze is when playing MP3's using Windows MP 8 on XP. As I said I went to stock speeds and no more lock-ups, but it's still running hotter than before at 63-67 when playing music. So obviously I need to upgrade the CPU HSF, but I'm simply curious as to why the CPU is running hotter and started freezing with the addition of a PCI based sound solution? I didn't think simply playing MP3's were CPU intensive, I'm thinking the lockup could have been a combo of high temp and maybe the cheap card not being able to take a higher clock? I dunno, will replace the HSF eventually because but was curious as to how this card affected the CPU's temps.

Oh, and how do you set WMP to make the soundcard do the work of decoding? I looked around in options didn't see anything or I missed it. Thanks man.
July 8, 2002 6:03:52 AM

Being clueless to C-Media soundcards, I can only guess that the soundcard is forcing the CPU to do the work of decoding the MP3s, and possibly other sound-related tasks. Therefore, when you play your MP3s, you're making the CPU work. In most cases, the CPU has to work to play MP3s, but its possible that the new PCI card is more reliant on the CPU than the integrated solution that you had. Therefore, you need to do a few things. First, you need a new HSF. Period. Those temps, even at stock, are way too high, and I find it hard to believe that AMD supplied an underpowered HSF for their chip (though, it's quite possible, since it is in spec). Was that a retail CPU, or an OEM that came with a HSF? Regardless, you're killing your CPU more quickly than you need to.

Second, you need to check the case temps, as lowering that 3C will lower your CPU temps 3C. Use MBM 5 to check it out.

Last, you really should consider a different sound card. It sounds like, that while the sound quality increased, the reliance on the CPU is just too much. To see how bad it is, try running a benchmark with sound from the PCI card and sound from the integrated card. I would guess that the PCI sound card is sucking more CPU power than the onboard did, which would give you lower benchmarks. I would suggest either a Hercules Fortissimo II or Game TheaterXP (though that will run you $120-150), or a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz, or a Philips Acoustic Edge. Those three makers have some pretty nice audio solutions, and I promise you that the Game TheaterXP (and the FortissimoII, besides in Black&White) run perfectly, and have no problems with resource conflicts. I tend to shy away from the SB lines, since the one SBLive!Platinum I had caused problems, and they seem to have issues with VIA chipsets. I also shy away from C-Media solutions, since they suck a lot of CPU power for the quality you get.

As for the decoding of MP3s by WMP, you need to have a sound card that can do it (all that I named above list hardware decoding as existing). For the Hercules cards, it's a setting in the control panel that you use, telling the drivers to route all MP3s to the soundcard. But, at least for Hercules cards, this only works in WMP and other players that use the DirectShow aspect of DirectX, I don't think this works in Winamp. In fact, the only other that Hercules knows of is AudioStation by Voyetra/Turtle Beach. Perhaps Winamp 3 will use it.

The Phillips has probably the best directional sound of all of them, called QMSS. It is s'posed to be extraordinarily good at placing sounds, so you know where it's coming from.

The Turtle Beach is a good card, cheap, but has nothing that stands out. If anything, it's great competition for SB, as are the other three cards.

So yeah, that's my long-winded post that probably does nothing to help you. But, you really need a new HSF. Really. Especially if you're going to overclock. Invest in a Thermalright AX-7 with a moderate 80MM fan, something in the 45-55 CFM range, or ... well, I can't think of another right now. That will set you back 35-45 dollars, depending on shipping costs. Look at Plycon.com. They had the best prices that I found so far. But, your processor is running hotter, probably because the PCI sound card is forcing the CPU to handle more than it did before, upping the core temps.

-SammyBoy
July 8, 2002 6:44:30 PM

thanks sammy :o ) will consider a new soundcard and am already looking at better cooling. It was a retail chip, AMD supplied and labeled HSF.
July 9, 2002 12:13:14 AM

even so... decoding and playing a cpu is NOT a cpu intensive task.

sure it used to be with 100 to 200mhz processors, but on modern CPU's you should be only using a fraction of the cpu power.

course there might be some conflict or bug thats making it use 100%.

P.S. overclocking on the stock cooler is not an amazingly smart idea.

So I fixed my BIG PC problem by pressing the reset button. I'm not a moron am i? :lol: 
!