Sound/Stuttering issues in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (using AC'97)

At any rate, I've got a copy of the PC version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Fun game and all... But I'm having issues with it. It's an old system based on an nVidia Nforce 3 150 chipset, and is running off of the ridiculously generic and cheap "C-Media AC97 Audio device." The drivers for it (don't seem to list a version) are dated to 9/5, 2003, which are the latest drivers I could find.

Now here's the problem: in running the game, I notice something very wrong right away: attempting to start a new game will get as far as when it'd first start doing an in-game cutscene, and then it locks up; I can use [alt]+[F4] and other methods to get back out of it fine, but the game ceases to function at that point.

However, if I copy over a saved game and attempt to load it, it'll load fine, though I'll notice a stuttering noise as soon as it begins the fade-in. Later in playing, after maybe a minute or so, gameplay begins to stutter, and sound cuts out. It proceeds to get worse and worse as time goes on, until it gets to the point of being less than one frame in a second.

Quitting out of the game and then loading it back up again do not reset the issue at all; it'll stutter just as much as when I closed it then, as when I open it up again. Rebooting is the only thing that will change this.

Does anyone perhaps know the specific technical cause at work, or perhaps at least, something that provides a work-around without necessitating, say, installing a separate sound card? Are there perhaps some issues known with particular drivers or such, or is it a case that the game won't run with this chipset?
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  1. Well the way I fix my same issue with my K9N v2 board is unplug the speaker and plug it back in. It was annoying at first so I started to use my front ports for the speakers ^-^

    Its not a great fix but id rather unplug my jack then boot up GTA then reboot each time.
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