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Something I learned about GPUs with HD Audio

Discussion in 'Graphics Cards' started by Frag Maniac, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    I thought I'd share this because I've seen others with this problem, and in searching I finally found out what causes it. Bear with me if any of you already know this, because really there isn't much in the way of warnings about it.

    We all know that many whom have bought GPUs with built-in HD Audio via HDMI have had problems of one sort or another right? The scope and variety of them can vary. Many of us have also read that it's best to disable onboard sound in the BIOS when you CAN get HDMI audio to work.

    Did you know however that if you CAN'T get HDMI Audio to work, you run the risk of severe lockups in game, accompanied by loud audio stutter, if you leave the GPU's HD Audio device enabled in Device Manager?

    Many probably assume it's fine to leave it as is because Windows will only let you enable one sound device as the default. Well I'm here to tell you that those whom went into Device Manager and disabled the sound device not set as the default have reported no more in game freezes.

    The problem often doesn't show until well into a gaming session, so it can have the appearance of being mere overheating, memory leaks, or any one of many other possibilities.

    I had OCed my i7 950 to 4GHz, getting excellent results in Prime95 on just 1.3v, so I assumed I was not giving the CPU enough voltage when I got these lockups after a long session, since many use 1.35 @ 4GHz with this CPU.

    The lockups were merely due to two sound devices being enabled in Device Manager though. The reason I never get the lockups running Prime95 is obviously because there's no audio running at the time.
    techtard says thanks.
  2. erixx

    erixx

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    Weird. I have half a dozen audio devices and the only problem I have is that the X-Fi sometimes mutes the speakers even when no headphone is plugged in.

    HDMI audio, never had a problem, it is fantastically simple as a backup audio devide and could well be the only device for many people, eliminating the need for onboard sound or discrete audio cards.
  3. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    this sounds like a false positive to me. if you're on an OC'd system, the crashes are random. so this doesnt really rule anything out.


    i have about 5 sound devices enabled, and have no issues (onboard, digital, USB, BT, headset)
  4. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    It's not an OC issue. It has also happened at only 3.2GHz and even stock OC speeds and is not the typical screen freeze but rather accompanied with a loud audio stuttering sound as I said.

    It also could very well have to do with whether or not the MB itself tolerates more than one audio device being enabled. I've read for instance some ASUS MBs do not support multichannel PCM pass through. Which may be why I can never get HDMI Audio to be configurable as more than just stereo in the Windows sound panel when it actually DOES show up as plugged in and ready for use. I also noticed it's when I disable onboard audio and uninstall the Realtek onboard driver that it DOES show up as plugged in and ready for use.
  5. 3870x2

    3870x2

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    I have HDMI problems where the audio is just not recognized, and the cause is that the drivers for ATI are just horrible.

    A restart usually fixes the problem, but it is very annoying.
  6. techtard

    techtard

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    I disable the hd-audio built into my video cards as a matter of habit, same goes for all the extra processes or unused hardware.

    It may be the placebo effect, but doing so eases my mind with regards to Windows and any weird conflicts that may arise.
  7. BlackOmega

    BlackOmega

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    I'd have to disagree with that. I've run a multitude of ATi video cards that use HDMI audio and have never had an issue. Cards I've ran with HDMI audio 5850's (about 4 total), 5870's (4 or 5), 6870's (2), 6950's (4 total), 6970's (2).

    No issues with any of them and the audio. When I plug them in to a device with audio output, such as our main plasma TV, it automatically enables the sound via the HDMI cable.

    The only time I've disabled other audio devices is when I have my XFi Xtreme music hooked up. Not that it poses an issue, it's just that the OS defaults other audio devices to the primary.

    For what it's worth, I've also ran a multitude of Nvidia cards with HDMI and have never had an issue with them either.



    OP, you said your OC is P95 stable; how long did you run it for? Note, P95 doesn't completely rule out instability. There's other testing methods, such as Folding @ Home, that are also good at finding errors.
    If you didn't run P95 for at least 24 hours, I wouldn't deem it stable, especially if you've overclocked the memory. Memory errors tend to be found after the 14 hour mark.
    Note that memory errors are the only ones that can corrupt an OS.

    One more question, when was the last time you checked stability? Overclocking can and will lead to chip degradation. While it may have been stable 3 months ago, it may very well not be stable now.
    H82LUZ73 says thanks.
  8. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    What part of happens even without an OC did you not get and/or read?

    As for the built-in HD Audio in GPUs thing, I've seen enough people mentioning problems with it to think at the very least it's a thing where the right combo of components, internal and external, determine whether you have success or not, but to sit there and imply it always works when so many have had issues with it is not seeing the big picture. Then there's the fact that ever since MS raped Windows of HAL, things in the PC audio world have been more hit and miss than before.

    I'll throw this rule of thumb out there just to clarify my meaning of this whole post. If you are of average or above PC expertise and after numerous gleanings on workarounds and several attempts and failures to get HDMI audio working properly it still fails, then by all means, disable it in Device Manager to avoid any potential problems, because after all, you can't use it anyway if it doesn't work, right? It's as simple as that really.
  9. BlackOmega

    BlackOmega

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    I read it. What part of if your system was overclocked and already corrupted the OS don't you understand?
    At that point it doesn't matter if you set it back to stock or not because it'll still be corrupted.

    Besides, you didn't answer any of my questions regarding your stress procedure/regimen.
  10. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    The OS isn't corrupted and I ran the test plenty long. You just seem to assume a lot.
  11. BlackOmega

    BlackOmega

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    I don't, you provide vague, at best, information. Therefore, don't be surprised when people want to know more. I suppose I could just be like, it's your f*ckin problem dude and it's obviously YOU that f*cked it up because MANY other people don't have problems like you.

    Have a nice day.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2012
    jboydgolfer, ThE_MaD_ShOt and Mussels say thanks.
  12. SK-1

    SK-1

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    I have a similar issue. Whenever I install any sound card... I get audio loop lockups. Just like OP described....at any time. Ill reinstall my Sound Card and disable the HDMI audio. Then test and report back!
  13. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    Yep, a common problem that some seem clueless about.

    BO,
    I have mentioned before in other posts that I CAN get HDMI Audio to show in the sound panel as plugged in and enabled as default device, but only if I'm careful about how it's setup. On my current GPU that meant uninstalling the Realtek onboard driver and disabling onboard sound, but even then the HDMI Audio device could only be configured as stereo, which is kinda pointless considering I'm using a 5.1 receiver and speakers.

    I tried using ALL HDMI inputs on my TV, as well as those on my receiver to attempt a video pass through. None of it worked. Goody for you that you have a nice plasma TV with HDMI outputs, that's a luxury for many and something you typically don't see in the smaller LCD sets some us have due to budget and space.

    Did it ever occur to you just having a TV with such outputs and/or a receiver with video pass through may very well be REQUIRED to do what you're talking about? Before implying it's my mere ineptness at setting up my hardware and drivers, maybe you should consider that.

    It's not what you said in your first post, it's that you said it with the attitude now made clear in your last one.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
  14. SK-1

    SK-1

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    Ok, Ive played about 5 rounds of BF3 and about 1 and a half hours of metro 2033 and no problems. Still not 100% convinced. Im hopefully optimistic. Going to give this a few more days.
    Forgot how good my auzentech prelude 7.1 x-fi sounds.
  15. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    Of course clean video and audio driver installs, by thoroughly scrubbing the previous ones, helps, and some configs are more tolerant to beta drivers than others as well. AMD drivers in particular can sometimes take 2 or 3 install attempts before everything works as should.

    For instance my first time installing the drivers for my 7970, CCC's scaling feature would not respond after enabling it until I rebooted. I tried installing the 12.10 WHQL and had no such problems, which I'm currently running. I'll trade a little performance if it means more stability.

    Also make sure you have the latest MB BIOS and flash the safest way possible, like with a flash drive, CD, etc. I'm not saying disabling a non used audio device will work for everybody, but I've heard feedback from several for whom it seems to have worked.
  16. Jetster

    Jetster

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    I have a couple of rigs with mutipal audio devices and never disable any of them. Ive never had an issue like that. The only problem Ive ever had is somtimes it will switch from one device to another without asking. But never a game freeze
  17. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    From what I've read some MB models are licensed differently as far as how many channels of audio they can produce of a given encode, which could have something to do with it, as well as their latency.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
  18. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    Out of my last 4 video cards that have had HDMI in some way, shape, or form, this has never happened to me. If it is actually the audio device on your motherboard while your overclocked it could be the OC. If you're hitting the bclk you could be making the chipset run faster would would mean that the CPU is perfectly stable but the link between the CPU and the chipset might not.

    All in all, I have to agree with Mussels on this one. This really sounds like a false positive, but it diserves investigation nonetheless.

    Example: I had a stable 4.5Ghz overclock two days ago, passes stress tests and everything and once StarCraft II loaded a level, it would crash (hard crash.) At first I thought it was drivers but it was actually the overclock even though it apeared stable on Prime95 and ADIA stress tests, it was not stable in SC2.
  19. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    i used to fall for stuff like this all the time, and come up with various reasons why things crashed.


    then i ran at complete stock, and tested all my hardware and settings. at the time i had bad ram that overheated (needed a fan on it, and higher than specced voltage)

    swapped the ram, sorted out a more reasonable OC and i dont crash at all. ever. now i think that if a system crashes even once, its unforgivable.
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  20. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    One thing I find odd is even with what appears to be a more stable install of Cat 12.10 vs 12.11 (scaling didn't respond after enabling until reboot with 12.11 install), I still get several instances of the AMD High Definition Audio device showing up in the sound panel, vs just one. And both installs were done via checking for traces of both Nvidia and AMD first.

    I think there's far too many things that can cause crashes and lockups to say they should never happen. Hell, some games are so horribly made they can cause such things.
  21. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    software crashing is not the same as a BSOD or total freeze.


    just to chip in:

    [​IMG]

    no problems with stability here. one possible cause for these issues could be that some console ports (cough CoD) hate audio being set to anything other than 16 bit 44Khz. they may find a soundcard with other settings and have issues.
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  22. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    +1: I know Skyrim wouldn't even start for me unless the sampling rate was no more than 48khz, 96 or 192 would cause it to crash when it starts.
  23. ThE_MaD_ShOt

    ThE_MaD_ShOt

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    Hi! I'm from the Internet
    I too have no problem at all with the gpu HDMI enabled. My systems are rock stable as they crunch 24/7/365. I also game and have never experinced any issues. First pic is my CF'd 6850 rig and the second pic is my 7850 rig.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Crunching for Team TPU
  24. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    @Mussels,
    Your pic doesn't even show which audio device is default, and like mine, both AMD HD and HDMI devices are showing as not plugged in. And like mine, Realtek devices always show as plugged in when their drivers are installed and they're enabled in BIOS, nothing new there.

    I'm also doubting this is the audio sampling rate setting because when the crash DOES happen it's typically after several hours of play, vs not allowing me to play at all.

    Thanks for showing the pics though, because it does indicate multiple instances of AMD HD Audio showing, so maybe that's common, but why? Also, even though my latest install of Cat 12.10 seemed to go smoother, with no problem with scaling working right away, the CCC Installer said to read the log about errors during the install, yet there were no errors in it.

    @MaD ShOt,
    Again, your AMD HD devices are showing as not plugged in. In your case though the pics don't even show any AMD HDMI devices, and the ones used as default are in fact Speakers, which is analog out, not HDMI digital out.

    I appreciate your guys input, esp since it's kept civil, but I've yet to see anyone show me any proof of HDMI out working, and I suspect if it were, it would be a case where it's sent either to a receiver with video pass through, or an HDTV with HDMI out, and many TVs don't even have such a feature. Or, in my case, as I've said before, I DID get HDMI Audio to show as plugged in and default device, but only when I disabled Realtek HD in BIOS and uninstalled it's driver before installing the Cat driver.

    It would only configure as stereo though because the device connected was my HDTV, which again, doesn't have HDMI out. This was unacceptable because it would have meant using just my TV speakers. I don't have the option of connecting my PC to the receiver as video pass through to the TV, because I don't even get any picture that way.

    Last night I played a fair bit of Far Cry 3 on Cat 12.10 with no problems and temps peaked at only 53c. I was playing at the stock #2 OC BIOS of 1000 core and the CPU is back at stock speed on XMP profile.

    Going to try again tonight at 1100. If that goes well, I'll bump the CPU up again and see how things go. So far though it's looking like this is either due to problems with 12.11 itself or it not installing as well as 12.10 for some reason.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2012
  25. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    1. The bottom one. realtek optical. its cut off in the photo to show the second HDMI at the top.

    2. that means your system is unstable. no ifs, ands or buts about it - you have an unstable overclock, or you're unstable at stock.

    3. i use my HDMI + audio daily on my AMD A6 laptop. zero issues at all. i can even unplug the HDMI and have it revert to the inbuilt speakers without apps crashing or glitching out.

    4. Not sure what you meant about the HDTV/receiver comments. HDMI goes into the TV, or into a receiver first. thats how it works. i run into a TV and have no problems.
    Aquinus says thanks.

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