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Stuttering Sound. Should I switch from ACPI to Standard PC?

by Ellen1910 / October 16, 2007 7:34 PM PDT

Firstly, I can afford to play around; I've had XP on ide1 since Fall 2001. I've left it at SP1 stage, and everything -- including sound -- works fine.

Recently, I bought a used 40GB ATA100 drive and attached it to the HPT370 UDMA/ATA controller on my 440BX motherboard. Then, I installed a fresh copy of Windows XP Home and SP2 (I wanted to use PivotPro with my new LCD monitor and it seems to need SP2).

And here's my problem -- severe sound stuttering on internet radio (possible all sources of sound but I haven't checked them out).

Windows XP installed itself as ACPI; doubtless, it is supremely confident it can handle any interrupt challenges it faces. HA!

Windows has assigned IRQ9 to my 3COM ethernet card, my Soundblaster Live card, and the HPT370 controller. All my devices are old (6-9 years) and no longer supported; in fact I think the most recent drivers are all pre-SP2. I've upgraded the drivers as much as possible. Moving the cards has had no effect on the problem or on Windows' IRQ assignments. And selecting IRQs in the BIOS can't help; Windows overrides BIOS IRQ selections when in ACPI mode. I can't think of any other solution except manually assigning IRQs.

But to do that, I have to update the "Computer" drivers from ACPI to Standard PC. I'm assuming I can use the Hardware Update Wizard and select the driver, manually.

My questions ---

1. Should I get the HAL.DLL from the original Windows XP CD or should I get it out of the SP2 cabs?
2. Do I have to install a new ntkrnalpa.exe and a new ntoskrnl.exe, also? If so, where do I get them?
3. Is it possible to switch back to ACPI without reinstalling Windows?
4. Will Windows boot after I've done this?
5. Has anyone here done this? Had success?

I know I'll lose ACPI power and shutdown benefits and it may not work anyway, but given the restraints my system is working under, has anyone got a better idea of how to solve the "stuttering sound" problem?

Any help will be most appreciated.

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Two problem areas.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 16, 2007 11:48 PM PDT

1. I didn't find a good sentence about how you installed motherboard drivers. It appears you let Windows do that. Stuttering would be normal since the IDE drivers are going to be quite slow.

2. Read


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Didn't F6 in Setup
by Ellen1910 / October 17, 2007 5:20 AM PDT
In reply to: Two problem areas.

You're right. I'd completely forgotten the fact that I downloaded an updated High Point driver five years ago (it's no longer available on HPT's site) and presently, it's sitting in my driver archive. Since I'd never connected anything to the HPT controller in the past, I never needed it.

My plan is to move the new drive off the HPT controller and attach it to the IDE ATA/ATAPI controller, boot up, remove the HPT370 device in Device Manager, reboot, and assuming Windows discovers the HPT controller chip and gives me the chance to install my driver before it installs its driver, install the newer driver.

I'll report how it goes.

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ACPI is for power management
by Jimmy Greystone / October 17, 2007 2:59 AM PDT

ACPI (Advanced Configuration Power Interface) is for power management, and would have absolutely nothing to do with your problem.

Secondly, if your devices are all PCI, then it's perfectly normal for some of them to share an IRQ. The PCI bus will take care of handling all that. You only need to worry about it if you have an ISA card in the mix, where IRQs must be locked in.

Third, until you are sure that this problem affects all audio playback, you can't rule out that it's just a network connection issue. Either insufficient bandwidth, high latency, a saturated connection, or a host of other things.

Fourth, more of an FYI than anything, but modern operating systems tend to bypass the BIOS completely for performance reasons. This is true for Windows, Linux, and pretty much every other x86 OS still being developed.

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It's an IRQ assignment issue, not a power issue!
by Ellen1910 / October 17, 2007 5:36 AM PDT

The reason I'm considering switching from ACPI Computer to Standard PC Computer is for the purpose of gaining access to the ability to manually assign IRQs, something I can't do in ACPI. If you know of any other way to do that under XP Home Edition, I'd love to hear it.

And if I do make that move, I expect to do IRQ assigning in Device Manager and not in BIOS.

But first, I'm going to try updating the mass storage controller. See, above.

Note. It's not an internet problem. Within a minute or two I can switch from my new XP install to my older XP OS or to my Debian Sarge install. I've done that switch many times, and in the latter two situations I don't experience stuttering sound.

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I doubt if it's IRQ, but you seem to be very sure ...
by Kees Bakker / October 17, 2007 5:52 AM PDT

too sure, maybe. I've never seen the need to manually assign IRQ's in Windows XP (in fact, after the MS-DOS area, but that might be just a lack of experience or machines). Jimmy or Bob will surely know.

Still, why not do a better assessment of the situation before doing anything? You told about stuttering sound of streaming audio, and hadn't yet checked other sound. It won't take too long to try a CD or a mp3-file or (if you have one) a midi-file with different mediaplayers.
Also, go into Task manager, and check the CPU-usage of the running processes. Compare with your other installation. It might just point to an unexpected issue.

Did you tell already about the audio hardware (on the motherboard or a separate sound card)? I didn't study all of your posts.


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Once again
by Jimmy Greystone / October 17, 2007 6:18 AM PDT

Once again, unless you're using an ISA card, the bus will handle all IRQ assignments, and juggle multiple devices sharing the same IRQ. There is no need to manually assign IRQs with PCI cards.

Also, I don't recall seeing you eliminating the possibility of spyware anywhere in your posts. The stuttering could well be caused by spyware saturating your network connection. Since your older XP install and Linux lack this spyware, they work fine. It's a possibility that must be considered.

I would like to repeat one last time, since you seemed to ignore it the first time I said it. Unless you are dealing with ISA cards, there is absolutely no need to manually assign IRQs. The PCI bus takes care of all of that for you, and allows for multiple devices to share the same IRQ without any sort of conflict. Along with increased bandwidth, that was the whole point of creating the PCI bus.

Your problem almost certainly lies elsewhere, and I fear you're going to go to all this effort of trying to manually assign IRQs, only to fail in resolving your problem. You're also likely to quickly run out of IRQs. Only 9-11 are really free for use by the user, though a couple of them can be reassigned if you can live without a floppy drive or serial and parallel ports, though I imagine some of those have been taken over by USB controllers on newer systems.

If you insist on ignoring everyone telling you otherwise and charging headlong into this, we'll be here when you inevitably come back with an even bigger mess to sort out.

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I'm Following Suggestions and Recommendations. Okay?
by Ellen1910 / October 17, 2007 7:34 AM PDT
In reply to: Once again

Assessing sound: I've now played CD music in Windows Media Player and Winamp -- with network connected and disconnected. In all cases I'm getting stuttering and sometimes, full stoppage.

I've watched CPU usage and interrupts per sec and % in perfmon (1 sec. renew). CPU usage doesn't seem unusual and interrupt info (idle is 255/sec; Winamp is 1530/sec; WMP is 1150/sec) doesn't mean anything to me. And none of it shows pattern between sound cut-out and performance info that I can see.

I'm not going to do anything drastic until I've tried everything else, but I would like an answer -- if anyone knows -- to the question of whether I can go back to ACPI after switching to Standard PC.

And I appreciate that you'll all be here to help me out after I mess up and come back with head hanging. Happy

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This makes me think of a driver problem.
by Kees Bakker / October 17, 2007 7:44 AM PDT

Nothing remarkable (like a yellow exclamation mark) in Device Manager? I think a pre-SP2 driver should work. Maybe something has gone wrong with your "updating as much as possible" from your original post. For a fair compare, use the same drivers.

And - although it doesn't seem to be relevant for the soundcard - you did install all motherboard drivers, like in the older XP version, of course. And all IDE-devices are in DMA-mode as noted by Bob above?

On the face of it, it is rather mysterious.


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Success -- I think -- and thanks to all
by Ellen1910 / October 17, 2007 1:06 PM PDT

Thanks guys -- and especially, Bob and Kees.

Your diagnosis of my problem -- that it was probably driver related -- appears to have been correct.

I installed the driver High Point wrote a year after XP first came out (v.2.34), and it seems to be working -- occasional hicoughs but that's likely network-caused. The stuttering, chuffing, grating, grinding sounds are gone.

My forehead is getting flat from slapping it for having completely forgotten the existence of the driver in my archive.

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(NT) Glad we could help, and thanks for telling.
by Kees Bakker / October 18, 2007 5:07 AM PDT
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