Creative Labs Troubleshooting

Discussion in 'Soundcards, Speakers HiFI & File formats' started by ROBSCIX, Oct 25, 2004.

  1. ROBSCIX

    ROBSCIX Ancient Guru

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    Essential Creative Troubleshooting.

    Background
    I have been in this forum for a while helping people when I can and I have noticed that for the most part it is usually the same issues, with creative cards anyway. What I would like to do is put all the eggs in one basket. Hopefully forum members can find a source instead of fishing/waiting and/or searching for the same answers. I will give the issue and the cause and hopefully the solution.

    The Dreaded IRQ Conflict.
    I would estimate that 90-95% of issues with creative Lab cards come from IRQ issues. If you are unsure what IRQs are I will elaborate. A Mainboard has a device on it called a IRQ contoller, These IRQ's are for getting the attention of the processor by triggering one of these lines it means this device needs to perform a task NOW. In the old days there wer 16 IRQs and no more..with the advent of new mainboard technology the number has increased to I think about 24. This is called IRQ Sharing.

    It's a nice idea in theory and for the most part works. Creative cards DO NOT SHARE and they never did. If you can get a CL soundcard to share a IRQ then thats great, very unlikey though with high needs devices. The problem comes into play when two high needs devices attempt to share the same IRQ examples would be:

    Soundcard and Hard disk controller - Random drop,pops and clicks when watching movies, playing games or any other task that requires Hard Disk access while having sound playback.

    Soundcard and DMA controller - Random Drop pops,clicks when performing any task that requires Hard Disk access while having sound playback.

    Soundcard and Modem/Lan - Random Drop,pops,clicks When accessing net either when first dialing out or when downloading while listening to playback.

    Soundcard and Video Card - Random Drop,pops, Clicks during almost anytask that requires fast graphical changes such as gaming video playback etc.

    The list goes on, Creative cards do not like to share. I always think of it as trying to listen to two people talking at the same time that MUST get their point across. The end result is you cannot listen and get all the info. Hence the random Drops, Pops and clicks. On some systems you can have a few high needs devices on one IRQ which causes all kinds of issues. If this is the case then I will give the steps to remedy the situation. First and formost, do not put the sound card in the PCI slot next to Your AGP as it's a 99% certainty it will conflict with your graphics card then you will have issues in your games which we all hate. Good rule of thumb is to put it as far away as you can.

    How to check what IRQ your card is on.
    Navigate to start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Information. in the Left Pan there is a "+" next to hardware resources > Click, we are insterested in the IRQs and is conflict/sharing. Either one will give the info we need. Look through and see what is sharing the same IRQ as your Creative card. Example:

    IRQ 7 Creative SB Live!
    IRQ 7 Direct Memeory Access controller

    Once you figure out where the conflict is you can take steps to resolve it. In some cases no matter what is done, You will still be required to have your soundcard sharing with some device. If this is your case then you need to pick the lesser of the evils. Some devices do not access the IRQ's constantly: such as floppy controller or the PCI to USB controller. The PS/2 keyboard IRQ, in terms of speeds of microprocessors it does not access the IRQ all the time even when you are typing. Mouse IRQ is a low needs device aswell. Either device is very slow to access the IRQ lines. A DMA controller or AGP controller on the other hand will constantly be "Yelling" for attention

    General Tips for freeing IRQ's
    Go into BIOS usually by hitting del during boot up. Check intergrated Peripherals - Disable anything you're not using: If your not using USB devices disable BOTH USB 1.0 and 2.0 Controllers. Serial ports, Paralel port If you don't use a device disable it especially ONBOARD SOUND -i t is possible to run both if bios allows and the have there own IRQ. save changes and Exit. What this will do is free a few IRQ's then during boot your sytem rescans the buses and remaps the IRQ's hopefully reassigning your soundcard to a free one. This is just a generl tip anyhow for freeing up resources. Then navigate back to system info and see if the card remaps itself if it does then test it for stability - play a game, a video, move some files when playing a mp3 etc..if this fixed it then it's all good. Sometimes by checking the RESET DMI DATA in the BIOS..it will rescan and remap the IRQ's.

    Moving the sound card
    If you still have an IRQ issue then your going to have to move your card. Grab yourself Driver cleaner. Remove all drivers using unistall, Then use driver cleaner to remove what was left!. Shutdown computer. Open the access panel. Word of caution if you are not comfortable sticking your hands in the system then get somebody who is. General safety tips are UNPLUG POWER!!! touch the chassis of the computer (The bottom of the case..the back where the fan is on the outside to discharge any static you may have accumulated. then proceed to move your card. DO NOT start running accross your carpet to get a screw driver after you have discharged yourself. Stay still. You'll need a small star screwdriver for those unfamiliar with installing/removing PCI/AGP devices. If your really nervous you can get a strap that grounds you to the case. I would try and locate your card on the farthest slot away from AGP. If you have another card there, Move it to another slot. Put the panel back on (do not fasten screws) Plug system back in. Boot up!

    Don't panic right away if the system takes longer than usual, It's normal as the IRQ's are remapping themselves - That's good. Reinstall drivers, Test system by playing game..video..mp3..etc. If this seems stable shut down refasten screws and your done. If not then proceed to remove drivers again and go up another PCI slot. Making sure to follow all the safety steps. If after going up all the PCI slots you still have weird things happening then put it back in the bottom and continue to other issues. There is a possiblity this is not the problem very slim I would say.

    The ACPI(Advaced configuration and Power Interface Issue)
    There seems to be a issues with creative cards and the ACPI driver of peoples systems. I'll explain, for the people that are unsure what this device is. This is part of you HAL(Hardware Application Layer)..what ACPI does is assist in system mappings and power control e.g. Low power mode..power off. Most individual computers are set to Standard PC..meaing 1 processor etc..if you have duals I don't think this is for you. I had this issue myself when attempting to use creative drivers to play a game with EAX. The issue would make a weird "ZZZZZZZZTT" sound when playing mp3's etc..very annoying..anyway, If you think you may have this issue you can change the ACPI HAL of your system...Don't worry it does not change any type of function for
    your power or anything else I can detect. What it does do is set your system to 16 IRQ's which do not share. Also just to note this tip for changing the HAL is well known and used generally when optimizing a system for audio production..it's not just a patch for SB issues. For this issue though it just resolves it.

    Navigate to control panel > System > Hardware Tab > Device Manager.. Right at the top is computer expand that menu by hiting the "+" should say stadard PC..or standard
    Uniprocessor PC > Right click on the standard PC label > Click Update driver > Click install from a specific location >Click Next > At the bottom click DO not search I will Choose the driver to install > hit next. This should show two drivers one for
    Standard PC and one for Advanced Configuration and power interface (ACPI) PC - Select this one and continue through and reboot. Test System for stability. Hopefully this resolves thi issue. Side note when you are in your device manager take note of any devices with either a "!" or a "?" beside them...try and get those resovled. I would say this article will be added to as time goes on new issues with new cards etc. but I would say this is a good starting point. There are also other issues with overclocking and PCI latency. as well as Hardware acceleration (I don't condone that one) Dma disable which is also related to IRQ and they will be added when required.

    Also I have to note that some people have tried the ACPI Fix and either didn't perform it properly or didn't understand the information correctly. I Don't think it's as easy to change it back..So be sure. These are just suggestions. There are other places to search to double check information I have provided. I try and be as clear as possible but accidents happen. If you have a issue with this fix, there might be a bit of work to get it back. Be sure.

    A final Note: People have asked me if there system has a problem if they have a soundcard sharing or other devices sharing. Short answer is NO, unless you detect a problem the system is sharing IRQ's and working the way it should so it's all good.

    If you have any questions about this info feel free to ask..

    Now the new X-fi line has hit the Market, if Anybody has fixes specific to the X-fi line Send them PM or post them in the thread...


    New additions to the thread.
    A user brought it to my attention in which he had channel mix ups..e.g Front channel sound on the rear outputs etc. The user disabled his unused USB ports which freed up some IRQ and this fixed his channels for him. IRQ issues can manifest many different types of trouble with soundcards.
    Good luck.
    ROBSCIX


    Link to all Creative ISO's
    Alternative Location
    Youp Pax Modded Drivers
    KX Project Drivers for Live!, Audigy 1, Audigy 2 and Audigy 4
    DPC Latency Tool
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2010
    1 person likes this.
  2. WLADYC

    WLADYC Master Guru

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    Great Sticky.. Sometimes Creative rather slow to respond their customer problem.
     
  3. davaid

    davaid Master Guru

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    Yeah and Logitech as well.....
     
  4. gram_vaz

    gram_vaz Ancient Guru

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    Nice.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2006

  5. Netsurfer733

    Netsurfer733 Member

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    Interesting! I hope this will help my issue with my new x800 XT PE here (screens here): http://forums.guru3d.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=116690

    EDIT: Omg....amazing! I've just uninstalled my sound card drivers so it was no longer in IRQ conflict with my x800 so the x800 has its own IRQ slot now, fired up some games, and BARELY any problems at all! I had to really look in order to still find the corruption which, sadly, is still there a little :( I'm going to actually try physically removing my Soundblaster Live! 5.1 now so maybe that will finish it off for good....<sigh> I do miss surround sound though :(
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2004
  6. dudikaz

    dudikaz Active Member

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    I have the Video Card, Network Adapter and Sound Card all running on the same IRQ :/ IRQ 5... It just sux... when i'm playing q3 online, i get half sec freezes with bzzz sound... :/ Sometimes same happens when playing winamp... i think when someone on my LAn turn on his PC... Well i'll try to do something now... ;)
     
  7. ROBSCIX

    ROBSCIX Ancient Guru

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    thats bad man......move things around..possibly try changing the systems ACPI driver as was stated above this will bounce the system to 16 IRQ's and hopefully the system will assign each of your devices to a seperate IRQ...Now between physically moving devices and change the HAL you should be able to fix your system up...good luck....
     
  8. InFiD3L

    InFiD3L Maha Guru

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    The ACPI(Advaced configuration and Power Interface Issue) was a new one on me. Top article...

    TY :D
     
  9. ROBSCIX

    ROBSCIX Ancient Guru

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    Yeah it is a weird one, but in reality it is a common thing for people who use their computer for serious audio recording to change the ACPI layer. In some cases it is preferable to have the standard IRQ's with no sharing, because that is the only way they can get their card on it's own IRQ. BTW guys if you come up with fixes that aren't posted here let me know and I will append the article that way all the creative issues are in one place easy to find so people can get their audio system up and working in no time:rock:
     
  10. TheGr81

    TheGr81 Master Guru

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    OK here's a question. My video card is sharing IRQ 16 with 2 Intel USB Host controllers, my onboard network card is sharing IRQ 18 with a USB host controller and a SATA hard drive controller, and my sound card is sharing IRQ 19 with a USB host controller.

    I know I can change my sound card's IRQ by changing the settings for the PCI slot in my BIOS or by moving the card but what about the other conflicts I have? How do I change my video card's IRQ, my network card's IRQ and the USB and SATA IRQs? I am having some serious problems with games giving me sound loops and I also seem to lose network connectivity for about a second when this happens as well. This is even after doing a reinstallation of Windows so it has to be some kind of conflict. Any help would be appreciated.
     

  11. ROBSCIX

    ROBSCIX Ancient Guru

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    trial and error, the AGP cannot be changed..now do you use your USB? if you don't disable it. Same as serial Parralel, everything your not using then if you get an option in bios to reset the DMI data then Do that, sometimes especially with new mobos with all the integrated stuf..your stuck, that is what the ACPI fix will do, but it these are add in cards try moving things around, avoid the slot under the AGP...IRQ issues are some of the oldest problems in the history of computers:) good luck
     
  12. TheGr81

    TheGr81 Master Guru

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    OK, my ACPI driver is set to multi-processor by default. I guess because I have a P4 with hyper threading. Can I still change this to the suggested driver?
     
  13. seether123

    seether123 Active Member

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    GREAT, i was looking for this info some days ago, I have AGP FX 5600 AGP, Audigy 2 ZS, and Ethernet Lan card sharing the same IRQ:

    is that why i have lag/high ping issues, clicks on sound, and very low frame rates in games???

    my audigy is in the bottom pci slot, i also have a pixelview tv tuner and the lan card. so it makes a total of 4 cards.

    i disabled onboard midi and joystick since i dont use them, audigy has its own port, but then i couldnt listen to music, maybe because i didnt install drivers fine.

    this weekend im gonna format, and i will disable everything i dont use, like parallel port, since my printer is USB; serial ports, on board audio, on board lan, so maybe i will fix my trouble,

    thanks for taking some time to write that, i do appreciate, and i'll come back to tell you what happend with my pc.

    sorry for my english
     
  14. TheGr81

    TheGr81 Master Guru

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    GOD DAMNIT!!!

    I just tried switching my ACPI driver as suggested in this thread and it has completely hosed my Windows installation and now I can't switch back to the multi-processor ACPI driver!!!!!!!!

    Now I have to do a reformat AGAIN which I just did 2 ****ing days ago..........................................................
     
  15. ROBSCIX

    ROBSCIX Ancient Guru

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    That fix is not for multiprocessor PC's, in alot of cases thats not the problem, try rolling back the driver, try system restore, try removing the driver and redetetcing it...Did you try unchecking the box that says show all compatible hardware?
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2005

  16. TheGr81

    TheGr81 Master Guru

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    Yup I tried all of that and it would not let me go back to the multiprocessor PC driver. Oh well, it's all reinstalled now. I even upgraded my sound card from a Live! to an Audigy 2 ZS and I'm still getting problems with CS:S locking up in a sound loop. I moved my sound card around to different PCI slots so that it now has it's own IRQ but the problem persists. I don't understand what the deal is. I still have things sharing IRQs but it is all stuff that is built into the motherboard which I can do nothing about. Why would they design the components to all use the same IRQs like this? Here are the ones that are currently shared.

    IRQ 16: Nvidia GeForce 6800 GT
    Intel USB Universal Host Controller
    Intel USB Universal Host Controller

    IRQ 18: Intel Pro/1000 CT Network Connection
    Intel USB Universal Host Controller
    OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 Host Controller
    Intel Ultra ATA Storage Controllers

    The IEEE 1394 controller is on the sound card, I have the one on the motherboard disabled because I have no use for it, so I can't move it or anything. The graphics card can't be changed and the rest of it is built into the motherboard so it can't be changed either. I have several IRQs with nothing on them at all. Do you think that this is causing problems in my system? If so, what can I do about it?
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2005
  17. ROBSCIX

    ROBSCIX Ancient Guru

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    no, Did you try upgrading your driver set such as chipset, IDE,AGP..etc..If you don't use a device diable it..frees resources anyway.. Unfortunatley sometimes no matter what you do you can't get something to work..now something else comes to mind, You have this issue in one game only is that correct?...maybe there is a patch or something...because it would suggest to me that if it doesn't have an issue all the time then it's probably just the game..look for a patch or search around an see if anybody else has the same issue...for now if it doesn't have problems all the time, I would keep modigying setting, becuase I don't think thats your problem..goodluck. sometimes on certain mobos you can modify IRQ's within the bios..but as I said just leave it be until you figure out if it's just the game or not...
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2005
  18. jutapa

    jutapa Guest

    Hi

    As an addon to those mentioned before ...

    #1 - When the Audigy was released, it was not usable under Windows XP or Windows 2000 because of the "Squeal of Death" ... @ http://oui.com.br/nando/essays/audigy/t03audigy01.htm

    #2 - If youre using SB sound card on PC made by Dell, Hp, Compaq, ...
    --> go and check 'drivers'/'bios updates' from manufacturers support pages since
    - Creative drivers may not install properly into these machines
    - there is BIOS updates available which fixes some problems associated to SoundBlaster cards

    jp
     
  19. jutapa

    jutapa Guest

    Hi

    Never hassle with ACPI/APIC settings. Best is if you keep it ON.

    Which motherboard (give model + ver of bios)?

    Can you link picture (or paste) of the situation of IRQs.

    You can disable
    - all unnecessary USBs (try one by one)
    - onboard things like sound, midi, serial, floppy, ...

    Try if mobo's FireWire gets different IRQ vs Sound cards.

    jp
     
  20. ROBSCIX

    ROBSCIX Ancient Guru

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    well, you can disable these devices if your not using them...or you can try the ACPI fix....this changes your IRQ's to 16..so there is no sharing involved...but sometimes it causes other problems..are you familiar with hardware profiles?..you'll get a menu when loading up asking what profile you would like to load...you set one profile to default..then another with all these conflicting devices disabled...use this one for your games....etc... two bad things to be sharing is your GFX and anything..and your SND and anything..hope that helps..
     

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