Back in March, I purchased a new system. My old one was built in 2008 and the Windows 10 upgrade was breaking things.
As you can see (go look 🙂 ), a nice video setup.
I don’t watch a lot of videos on my computers. I had four monitors on the old system for screen real estate. Coding and reading websites. The new system had an even larger monitor so more space in one screen.
But there was a small problem. When I watched a video or listened to music, the system would pause and buzz. I did some checking on the ‘net and tried a few suggestions, even a 15 year old’s youtube video 🙂 Most pointed to the onboard RealTek sound chip or RealTek wireless network chip. As I didn’t have wireless and it only affected youtube, itunes, and media player, things I really didn’t do much of, I felt it wasn’t something I needed to spend much time on. There were discussions on compatability with Windows 10 that was being worked on and since I received somewhat regular BIOS updates from Asus, I figured it would eventually get straightened out.
Besides, games like Rocksmith, Carmageddon, and Doom worked fine.
Until Windows 10 Anniversary.
Then games had problems. The same problem.
Time to get serious then. I checked again online for solutions. Nothing new had popped up. I purchased a SoundBlaster ZX sound card. I figured if there was a problem with the onboard sound, an external sound card would correct the problem.
Sadly, the SoundBlaster had its own problems. YouTube videos would have the voices muted but music clear. Plus the buzzing and pausing didn’t go away. A driver update reversed the SoundBlaster problem to the music muted and voices clear. I disabled the RealTek in the BIOS but no change. I disabled all sound except the SoundBlaster but no change. Eventually I disabled the SoundBlaster and reenabled the RealTek. At least it was just buzzing and pausing
More research. In troubleshooting the SoundBlaster, I realized my speakers weren’t working in 5.1 mode. I switched the configuration to stereo but it didn’t fix the buzz/pause. It did fix the muting issue on the SoundBlaster though. Still, not 5.1.
At this point I figured it was a Windows 10 issue. It was there day one and worse with the Anniversary update.
With the RealTek wireless network chip, maybe it was some network activity. I brought up Task Manager to monitor the system and disabled the network. Buzzing was still there but I was seeing CPU spiking. Reenable the network. Check the startup tray programs. Maybe the buzzing is some app checking the home site for updates. Disable everything not clearly needed for the system. Still the problem exists.
Maybe the 4k monitor was just too much for the video card. Turn off the monitor and reboot the system.
I played videos on my two Acer monitors. No problem. I played Rocksmith. No problem. Well. This will be annoying but maybe it’s just the card can’t drive the 4k monitor. Well, but, I did check before purchasing and the card did say it could easily support a 4k monitor. Heck, I bought two of the video cards just to keep the two Acers off the main card.
Testing time. I powered off the system between each configuration change.
Card 1: 4k DisplayPort Monitor
Card 2: 2 Acer Monitors
Card 1: 4k off
Card 2: 2 Acers
Card 1: 2 Acers
Card 2: Nothing
Problem exists. Hey, maybe it’s the card!
Card 1: Nothing
Card 2: 4k
No problem. It’s not the monitor then. Plus moving windows around with the mouse is smooth. On Card 1, it’s a little jerky and if I move too fast, I lose connection with the window.
Card 1: Nothing
Card 2: 4k and 2 Acers
I figured the problem is with the card then. I tried setting up SLI then just to try something different but it didn’t change anything. SLI seems to work best with 3D or Surround and I wasn’t interested in either,
It appears I have a problem with the first video card.
I posted on the MSI forums and there’s a suggestion to check the VBIOS and maybe update. We’ll see but I suspect it’s a bad card. Note the serial numbers are sequential.
I posted the BIOS versions and posted a link to the video documentation of the problem.
Yesterday I tried moving the video cards to see if the problem followed the cards, to see if it was a slot problem or a problem with the actual card.
Card 1 to Card 2 slot
Card 2 to Card 1 slot
No video. System came up and no sound but no video.
Card 1 back to Card 1 slot
Card 2 back to Card 2 slot
Video but only on the two Acers on Card 2. Sound was disabled.
Remove power cords to Card 1.
Card 2 – 4k DP Monitor plus 2 Acer DVI monitors
Video on all three but Sound still disabled.
Remove Card 1.
Video on all three and Sound enabled.
This was even worse.
Later on I removed all cables and pulled the system out, put it on its side. I removed Card 2 (the “good” card) and put Card 1 back into Card 1 slot. Success! Sound enabled. Everything works. I then removed all cables again, pulled the system out and put it on its side and put the Card 2 back into Card 2 slot and plugged its original configuration back in. 4k DP in Card 1, 2 Acer DVIs in Card 2.
It’s all working now and I don’t know why. I can speculate.
The cards have two female power plugs for additional power for the fans and such. An 8 port plug and a 6 port plug. But the power cords themselves are 6 prong male plugs but each have a separate 2 prong male plug. So you can plug the two 6 prong plugs into the 8 and 6 ports and then push the 2 prong plug into the two remaining ports on the 8 port plug. In putting the 2 prong plug into the last 2 ports, there is an audible click as it seats. Maybe the plug wasn’t fully seated so the card was under powered.
Also, the PCI-E slots have a holder that lifts up to hold the back part of the card in the slot. These cards are quite large. If the holder wasn’t snapped up, it’s possible the card wasn’t fully seated into the slot, had gradually migrated out.
I will continue to keep an eye on the cards. One thing I noted, with one card in the system, the two fans on the card were spinning. When I first booted the system after both cards were installed, none of the fans (2 on each card) were moving. So I don’t know if there may be an issue the longer the system stays up or if there was more of a load with three monitors (one a 4k) on one card vs the DP on one card and the two Acers on the second card.
Maybe put the Logitech webcam in the box with a light to see if the fans are moving, or locate tools for the card and monitor the fan speed from the system.