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Definitive Guide to NF7-S sound

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May 21, 2003
Definitive guide to NF7-S sound problems.

Ok, this thread seems to pop up once a week so here is a little help!

There seems to be a problem, espescially with certain games, where you will get a crackling sound while using the onboard audio on the Abit NF7-S. Almost every NF7-S owner seems to get this problem, so here are the possible fixes, and they are in order of importance when trying to fix it.

1. Update your nVidia Unified Drivers. The most current version is v2.45, released on July 29th. They are supposed to fix sound problems with some games, most notably Battlefield 1942, which seems to have a real problem with the NF7-S' onboard audio. The prior version, v2.03, seemed to fix many people's problems, but the crackling was still present for some. If the v2.45 drivers do not fix it, consider trying the v2.03 drivers.

2. If the above does not fix the problem, enter the Soundstorm Control Panel and disable EVERY input. That is, mute the Line-in, Mic and CD volume levels. You should also un-check the Mic2 box just to be sure.

3. Run Windows Update. No, I don't mean download 40 MB of "Critical Updates," just run it and trust me. When Microsoft is done peeking into your case when it's pants are down, choose "Driver Updates" from the left. If you don't already have the updated driver, there should be an option for an nForce Audio Update in the main frame. Go ahead, download, and let Windows work it's...ahem...magic (it hurts me to say that).

4. If you to this step, and you still have sound problems, there is one more possible fix. You will need an old/new Northbridge heatsink, and some thermal epoxy. WARNING: This is a permanent fixture, Do not do this without making sure there is proper clearance inside the case and around your AGP and PCI slots! Using the thermal epoxy, attach the heatsink to your Southbridge just below and right of the AGP slot. Be careful not to short two components or lines together, as this may damage your motherboard.

Note When I installed a heatsink on my Southbridge, I used a Zalman Northbridge HS, which comes with the HS, screws and assembly to attach to the motherboard (which you will not need), and thermal epoxy. After installation, I noticed I had placed it too close to the AGP slot and the HS came in contact with heatsinks I had affixed to the Ram on my Radeon 9700. All it took was bending the fins on the Southbridge heatsink, and I was back in business with no noticable problems.

If none of the above steps fixed your problem, to my knowledge, you are going to have to live with it and wait for any and all driver issues to be resolved (if they ever are...wait...is that possible?). Anybody that knows another way to solve the problem please let me know. I hope this helps anyone out having this problem. If you have any questions, feel free to message me or give me a holler at "[email protected]"
I doubt there will ever be a true driver fix to this. It seems this is a hardware issue. The chip just gets too damn hot. I think different drivers help the problem because they reduce the amount of processing the APU is doing thereby reducing the heat it produces, perhaps offloading more to the CPU? Has anyone checked the difference in CPU load between driver versions?

Some other common suggestion I have seen on other forums is to lower the main volume (and raise the volume of your speakers) and reduce the reverb routing level. This didn't fix the problem for me, it just extended the time before I got the crackle.

Also, why does everyone avoid getting microsoft critical updates? These are entirely security and stability patches. Why would you want your system open to bugs which there are simple patches for?
I can see how lowering the main volume and reverb routing level would work, IF you owned a pair of $20 speakers. Any good set of speakers, I use the cheapie Logitech 2.1 setup, should (and I stress the word should) be able to handle any audio output coming from your PC. Unless there is an amplifier somewhere between the little green speaker jack and the actual speaker, you should never have any distortion.

Now about Microsoft Critical Updates...

Almost everyone I know and I have had the unfortunate experience of downloading a "Critical Update," restarting the computer, and finding the computer to be running like a 486 inside an oven... So what happens, try and find out what "Hotfix" it was and uninstall it using the Add/Remove Programs feature in the Control Panel. A day or two after that I was watching TechTV and watched as someone called in trying to alert people that one of the "Hotfixes" was actually gunking up people's systems...and guess what, it was the same one!

However comma, Microsoft did issue a "Hotfix," to fix their previous "Hotfix," which was actually meant to "Fix" something...Please excuse me while I wait for the next Service Pack, and even then, I'll wait until I've read what it does/fixes before installing it. Call me picky and paranoid, but unless it's absolutely necessary, why go installing a "Critical Update" every day when my system runs great...

And if my firewall doesn't stop the next big bug...well, I guess I'll have to put up with the "Told you so" routine and live and learn...

Happy breaking stuff....I mean....Happy overclocking!
Hey Manhart !
I found the same " Slowdown" after installing the Hotfixes ! Sounds like you've found the one that causes this. Would you mind sharing the info on which one or ones that are responsible ?
I think you misunderstood what I said. It has nothing to do with the quality of your speakers. It isn't the speaker causing the distortion, I never said anything about speaker distortion. I was talking about the crackle problem.

Apparently the master volume and the reverb settings create an extra load on the SB, therefore lowering them reduces heat and slows the onset of the crackle. That's the theory at least.

My computers have never had a problem with any microsoft patches, guess I'm just lucky and missed the faulty patch. To make a blanket statement that people should never install security patches - or just wait for a service pack - is not good, this opens person's computers to a variety of potential problems. It's great you have a good firewall, but not everyone does.

Here is info on the problem hotfix: http://www.windows-help.net/WindowsXP/kernel-patch-problems.html

There was obviously a problem with that hotfix - but all other hotfixes have been fine. Microsoft isn't trying to mess up your computer (they don't want you going to the competition...oh...wait...nevermind).
Ok, I see what your saying with the sound volume and reverb levels (it was a long day at work before I got home to type the post).

As far as the Hotfixes go, I agree with you, everyone should get every single Hotfix, so as to prevent that 12 year old in his parents basement from screwing up your computer. Thanks for the correction, and happy Microsofting...wait...happy overclocking...
im going back to the 2.03 drivers tbh...even now typing can cause music to stutter on the 2.45, I think they are really terrible...I doubt mine is a heat issue as I have had my comp on for ages and very hot case temps and it wont do it...where as now its just been turned on and is doing it straight away.