shadow460
2 Iron

Inspiron 1501 audio stuttering and skipping STILL

I'm STILL having audio problems with my Insipron 1501. I have a Vostro 1000 (similar motherboard) and it, too, has the same problems. I need an updated sound driver to fix this! the 5.10.0.5515 is simply not going to cut it.

Here is a list of everything I've done.

Tried disabling vizualizations under WMP 11
Disabled 802.11a band
Set wireless roaming to "Conservative"
Updated to latest ATi drivers, had to force install, though.
Set power and GPU to max performance even under battery power
Set preferred wireless band to 802.11 b/g
Disabled screen saver
Disabled core temp
Disabled Catalyst system tray icon
Removed DVD Region Killer from autostart
There is no way to disable audio enhancements in XP. They are disabled in Windows Media Player, however, Windows Media Player is not the only program affected.
Every time I try another solution, the problem goes away for a few days, then it gradually gets worse and worse until the machine simply gets stuck stuttering in one spot. I can tell you that it is NOT something I am doing to the machine since the Vostro 1000 also does the same thing. I hardly even touch that computer.
Where do I find a REAL audio driver for this machine? Is there a solution or should I just sell both of the affected computers and buy a different brand of laptop?
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5 Replies
shadow460
2 Iron

Re: Inspiron 1501 audio stuttering and skipping STILL

I just reinstalled the drivers exactly as recommended in jimco's FAQ, and frankly, I feel that absolutelynothing I did based on that FAQ worked as it should.

I deleted the folder c:\dell to keep Windows from re installing the driver from there. Windows re installed the driver anyway. I could not remove the AMD CPU driver through device manager, but it removed itself when I tried to just reinstall it. I ran the Inspiron 1501 notebook system software installer, and from what I can tell, the only change it made was to install the Dell Download Manager.

I will try listening to some music again. I wish I could make the audio skip or stutter all the time, but I cannot.

Next is to try Dell diagnostics.

Note that with the fresh xp install, I formatted the entire hard drive. It has a single partition that fills the entire drive, just as I would do for a desktop. The install is an OEM version, not the Dell xp that this computer had when I got it. I think I have Dell diagnostics on CD. If that fails, I'll try the generic driver and if that fails, it's time to find another laptop (besides a Dell) that can use my TL-68, my SSD, and the 4 GB of DDR2 I got for this machine.

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Jim Coates
6 Gallium

Re: Inspiron 1501 audio stuttering and skipping STILL

To answer your question about an updated audio driver, there will never be one for those old models with Sigmatel audio. I suppose the basic Windows HD audio driver gets updated from time to time but I don't know that for sure. I feel that the Sigmatel drivers, which are over 4 years old now,  have proven themselves to be very good. We have seen over and over again that when the laptops with XP have audio problems, it is hardly ever the fault of the audio driver. Of course sometimes the files can become corrupted which is why the advice is sometimes given to install a fresh copy.

I deleted the folder c:\dell to keep Windows from re installing the driver from there.

Did you delete the entire folder?  In the Audio Driver FAQ I wrote, 'Delete all folders that have a sub-folder named "WDM".'

if that fails, it's time to find another laptop (besides a Dell)

Is your 1501 a used machine or did you get it new. If used, don't buy from that person again. If new, when did the problems start? If after the SSHD then can't you put the original HD back in and test the audio? If it works all right then you can rule out the Sigmatel hardware and driver as the problem.

Jim Coates -- 15 years on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04 

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shadow460
2 Iron

Re: Inspiron 1501 audio stuttering and skipping STILL

yes, I deleted the entire c:\dell folder. Do I need to do a search for all folders with WDM on the machine, or are they just in the c:\dell folder?

The problem with the Inspiron 1501 has been going on since I got the machine. Even when it had a standard hard disk I had trouble with the sound. I just assumed (probably correctly) that the sound chip was inferior compared to what's in my desktop computers. I disabled the wireless card and the trouble went away. I upgraded the CPU from the Sempron 3500 to a Turion 64 X2 TL-58. I did not notice the problem as much with that CPU. I installed an SSD and 4 GB of RAM. I know that xp won't see all of that RAM. It sees 2.6 GB, I think. I adjusted many settings to accomodate the SSD. Most of them have to do with automatic defragmentation, disk caching, and virtual memory. I did not notice the problem increase or decrease at that point. After that, I performed a fresh install of XP. I didn't notice anything had changed about the audio. Next I upgraded the CPU again to a TL-68, which was DOA. I got a replacement TL-68 and installed that. That's when it started getting stuck stuttering again like it did with the original CPU. I made the adjustments above.

Now for the Vostro 1000: That's simple. It stuttered the other day for the first time after a fresh install of XP. It has a standard hard disk (this rules out the possibility of my SSD causing the problem). It has an OEM version of xp. It has the latest driver provided by Dell for the Radeon Xpress 1150. That rules the video driver out. It has the same kind of wireless card: a Dell 1490. I ran my Inspiron 1501 driver CD on the Vostro and the only driver that didn't work was for the 56K modem. Everything else I needed installed great.

I've read several posts stating that it's not a problem with the audio driver. I'm sorry but I'm just not convinced. It's either a sub standard driver or a sub standard audio chip. I've seen this happen in desktop computers that have audio codecs. the problems vanish with a dedicated audio card.

Oh, before I go, let me explain the weirdest thing about this: The Inspiron 1501 will pop and skip a little bit inside my house, but it won't stutter at all in my house or at my church. It only stutters when I have it in my truck. It doesn't matter if it's plugged in or not, or if the wireless card is active. It doesn't matter if it's plugged into the stereo or not.

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shadow460
2 Iron

Re: Inspiron 1501 audio stuttering and skipping STILL

BTW, I got both computers used. They came from two different pawn shops. I think I paid $180 for the Inspiron and $120 for the Vostro.

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shadow460
2 Iron

Re: Inspiron 1501 audio stuttering and skipping STILL

I just looked up some Creative sound cards that will fit my express card slot. I may buy one of those. I run Creative in both desktop computers and they are crystal clear.

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