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mccoyjf
1 Nickel

Severe sound and latency problems with Studio XPS 8100

Hi. I have a Studio XPS 8100 running Windows 7 64 bit. The parts are all what came with it originally. I purchased this computer in February, and occasionally noticed oddities with the sound when playing Mass Effect 2. I wrote those off as glitches with that particular game.

In the last couple of months, however, I have begun experiencing much more severe problems. Sometimes when playing games like Dragon Age or Civilization IV the sound will begin to stutter, and then the entire system slows to a crawl. The problems persist if I exit the game, sometimes they are so bad that when I try to shutdown the computer hangs and I have to force a power down manually. I have since learned that if I just let it sit for awhile, it will eventually return to normal.

These problems are intermittent. Sometimes I can game all day long, or on multiple occasions across several days, without any issues. Then the next time I try they happen again.

Based on some posts I've seen here and elsewhere I installed the DPC latency checker. And I see that my problems correspond to huge spikes in latency, sometimes up into the 200k range. So I assume that the latency is the cause of my problems, but I can't figure out what is causing it or how to make it stop. I have tried disabling all of my network adapters and the sound drivers (btw, anyone know why this thing has an Intel Display Audio and an ATI High Definition Audio Device in addition to the Realtek onboard sound card) but that hasn't fixed anything.

All of my drivers are the Dell recommended versions. Although for awhile I tried using a more recent Realtek audio driver without any noticeable change. I called Dell support a few weeks ago and the tech there tried updating my motherboard BIOS. Things were better for a few days, long enough for me to tell them the issue was resolved. Of course then it started up again.

I see that they have since released another motherboard BIOS update. Would it be foolish of me to try and install that on my own? It seemed simple enough when the Dell tech did it. The same question goes for the Radeon 5770 BIOS update for my system which has not been installed. I don't want to ruin my system, but I'm also awfully busy right now and don't really have time for extended technical support calls if I can help it.

Other than those updates, does anyone have suggestions or ideas to share?

 

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9 Replies
Jeff Hoffman
4 Tellurium

Re: Severe sound and latency problems with Studio XPS 8100

Why do you have the ATI HD Audio Device installed? Do you have some sound card installed? If not, the first thing I would do is Uninstall it! That might very well cause a conflict with the Realtek drivers which I know you need. Where did you get the latest Realtek drivers? Although Dell's driver options are sometimes a little behind the manufacturers..... the drivers for a Dell are sometimes tweaked. Meaning a driver directly from Realtek might pose problems. Try a driver from Dell.

Last night I flashed (updated) the BIOS on my system. I had no problems at all. It takes about five minutes after you download and save the file. It works like most driver updates: double click on it and follow the on-screen instructions. NOTE: Do not attempt to flash the BIOS if there is any possibility of a power failure! A failed BIOS flash will "brick" or ruin your motherboard. There is no fix. It would have to be replaced.

I just checked my system again. The only audio device/audio driver I have installed is Realtek. I ahve never had an audio problem.

Let us know how things turn out. I'd like to know and it may help other users in the future!

Jeff 

XPS 8100 i7-860(8MB Cache, 2.8GHz), 8GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM @ 1333MHz, 750GB SATA 3.0GB/s 16MB Cache, nVidia GeForce GTS2401GB GDDR3, Dell ST2310 Full HD Widescreen Monitor, AverMedia G2 Combo hybrid TV Tuner, dual 16x DVD+/- RW dbl layer, Microsoft LifeCam Cinema HD, Running Windows 7 Home Premium, 64 bit. 

If your question is answered here on the forums; PLEASE post back! It may help another user.              

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7 Plutonium

Re: Severe sound and latency problems with Studio XPS 8100

The ATI HD Audio is for the HDMI video and audio output.  If you have the Realtek set as default it should not be interferring.  The Intel Display Audio is probably the HDMI output on the motherboard (that is on some models) and if not being used you can disable that since you apparently have the ATI HD Audio (HDMI).

Latency can be one cause of your problems.  What you have open at any given time (both background items and applications open at the same time) can affect CPU/system and that can also affect Latency.  If the RealTek is on a shared IRQ (often the case) that can be an issue as sound is a "low priority" device and depending on what is sharing the IRQ can affect the sound.  If it's a shared IRQ issue, uninstalling the RealTek in the Device Manager then restarting the PC (and Windows will detect and reinstall it after restarting) can sometimes put the sound on a different shared IRQ and help with audio problems.

Run the DPC Latency Checker when you first startup and no programs open and see if it changes or still shows spikes. 



I am not a Dell Employee

Dell forum member since 2002

Dell Inspiron 15 - 5577 Laptop

Home Built Desktop PC with ASUS ROG Z170, i7 6700K CPU

Windows 10 64 bit Pro and Windows 10 Insider Program Beta Versions. SSD drives. Cakewalk by BandLab and Studio One 4.1 Recordng Studio Software.

Dell S2719dgf Monitor

Member of Nashville based R.O.P.E.

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mccoyjf
1 Nickel

Re: Severe sound and latency problems with Studio XPS 8100

I flashed to the latest BIOS yesterday. It hasn't helped.

I run DPC Latency checker pretty much constantly these days. Also process Explorer. I've yet to find any patterns or explanations. I seem to have a baseline latency of around 100, with little spikes up to 200 or 300 every few seconds. Soemtimes it shoots up to around 1k even when I'm not doing anything at all.

The real problems only seem to start when I am running a game. Sometimes, by no means always, I'll see the latency start to spike into the red, and then often it will go up into extremely high numbers, 100k +, and stay there for 5-10 minutes. Shutting down programs (including whatever game I was playing) doesn't seem to help. I can't spot anything in Process Explorer that seems amiss, there's no program that starts up or shuts down or uses up lots of extra resources when all of this is happening. At least nothing I've thought to check on so far, process Explorer has a lot of options that I barely understand.

My realtek is sharing an IRQ (13) with some other things. I've tried uninstalling it and having it reinstall, taht didn't change anything. maybe I'll try again.

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myn
1 Nickel

Re: Severe sound and latency problems with Studio XPS 8100

I have the same issue with my Dell 8100 Studio XPS.

http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/desktop/f/3513/p/19330063/19732478.aspx#19732478

 

Would love to see this fixed.  It's a pretty major bug.

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myn
1 Nickel

Re: Severe sound and latency problems with Studio XPS 8100

Question for the original poster and others with this problem.  Are you running Microsoft Security Essentials ?

 

I've been keeping an eye on my DPC latency lately and noticed just today that disabling Microsoft Security Essentials real time security that my DPC latency remained low (not going into red terroritory) after it was running high and making my audio skip.  After renenabling MSE realtime security again it remained low although I am expecting after a few days it will go back up.

I found some articles on this over at the MSE Microsoft forums:  http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/msestart/thread/0519ba5e-f3d8-4caa-a193-01fea178aa4f

 

 

 

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7 Plutonium

Re: Severe sound and latency problems with Studio XPS 8100

I have Microsoft Security Essentials and not having any Latency problems.  I don't disable it when I use my PC for Recording with Sonar and my M Aludio FastTrack Ultra 8R USB audio interface unit.  I have very low (4 ms) latency for recording with the Ultra 8R.  

 I ran the DPC latency checker with the MSE and my SoundBlaster sound card and did not have any issue with the SoundBlaster either.



I am not a Dell Employee

Dell forum member since 2002

Dell Inspiron 15 - 5577 Laptop

Home Built Desktop PC with ASUS ROG Z170, i7 6700K CPU

Windows 10 64 bit Pro and Windows 10 Insider Program Beta Versions. SSD drives. Cakewalk by BandLab and Studio One 4.1 Recordng Studio Software.

Dell S2719dgf Monitor

Member of Nashville based R.O.P.E.

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mccoyjf
1 Nickel

Re: Severe sound and latency problems with Studio XPS 8100

I do not have Microsoft Security Essentials installed. As you can imagine I've been researching this issue a lot and that's definitely a solution for some folks, but not me. It seems like this DPC latency problem crops up in a lot of different ways for different people, unfortunately. Another common cause, or so I've heard, is misbehaving network cards. I'm reasonably sure that's not my issue, since I've experienced the problem even when all my network cards are disabled.

My latest move is to install xperf and xperfviewer, and use them to get more details about what is going on with my system. These are programs I barely understand (if that) but the report seems to be telling me that numerous system programs are suffering high latencies. Tops on the list are USBPORT.SYS, iaStor.sys, and HDAudBus.sys. Based on that I've gone into my device settings and specified that the system cannot shut down my USB ports to save power. We'll see if that has any effect. Most likely not, in which case I'll move on to looking for an updated usbport.sys driver.

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mccoyjf
1 Nickel

Re: Severe sound and latency problems with Studio XPS 8100

It's been nearly a week now since I changed the power settings on my USB ports as described above. So far my performance has been much improved. I have had the sound skip on me while gaming one time, but only for a split second. That's much better than what I was dealing with: extreme latency and system slow downs lasting for 5-10 minutes at a time.  I have had some periods in the past though where things seemed to be better only to go back to being just as bad as before. So while I'm hoping the USB power settings were the cause of my problems and are now fixed, I'm not positive.

DPC Latency checker does still show pretty frequent spikes into the red. Since they aren't as prolonged as in the past, and haven't noticeably slowed down my system, I may just ignore them. But they are an indication that all is not entirely well with my machine.

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mccoyjf
1 Nickel

Re: Severe sound and latency problems with Studio XPS 8100

The problem came back yesterday. I'm not surprised. It seems to enjoy disappearing for awhile, just long enough for me to think my latest fix worked. :p

Now I have investigated the isStor.sys file that continues to report high latency. Turns out there's an updated driver for that in Dell's patch for Intel Rapid Storage Technology. Installed it. Things seem better so far, but only time will tell.

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