Question Audio, graphics, and peripherals "popping" briefly -- potentially driver related?

Jun 13, 2022
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Hello! I’ve never posted on this forum before but most people I asked directed me here. Happy to fix any formatting issues and provide more information as needed.

When using my PC, my audio makes a loud “pop” then goes silent for a second or so, then returns with a smaller “pop.” This “pop” is very inconsistent, happening when using the PC actively and when letting it sit and do nothing. This “pop” doesn’t happen at a consistent interval, and can sometimes happen multiple times in a row. It happens in different environments, with different programs, and with no programs at all.

Sometimes more “rare” problems occur too – video input (from a game or application) will briefly “freeze” for a fraction of a second either at the start, end, or during the audio “pop.” Sometimes external devices may also be affected (ie. Razer RGB mice colors either resetting their place in the cycle or briefly shutting off). Sometimes software only things are affected too – the taskbar stops working, Alt + Tab stops working (sometimes even reverting to a Windows XP styled version of itself), and certain software mutes itself until another “pop” randomly happens (not at a consistent interval either) and it fixes itself.

I tested a few things out, and noticed that there are no spikes or drops in the Task Manager’s CPU, Memory, Disks, Networking, or GPU statistics that are notable. I checked my CPU temps as well, and there’s nothing abnormal before, after, or during the “pops.” This problem is independent of any particular application, fullscreen mode, or desktop mode.

One final thing that could affect this is Shadowplay – I run a 5 minute replay buffer at 20k mbps, 1080p, 60fps, with an approx. filesize of 750mb. This does not affect the “pops,” as they happen even when Shadowplay is off, but it did lead to some interesting data – when a “pop” occurs, the video does not pause – in fact, the frame interval remains normal during the pause. What does change is the audio – the audio file is reduced in length and “skips” the “pops” when they occur while I’m recording a game.

The combination of factors makes me believe the issue could be related to my PC’s drivers, but as to which ones I’m not sure. None of my drivers are outdated, and I’ve replaced the drivers for every “symptom” that came up to no avail. This issue has persisted for well over a year by now, though I don’t recall when it started – all I remember is that it wasn’t present when I got the thing.

I’ve tried underclocking my memory so they’re identical to no avail, reinstalled all drivers that relate to the affected PC functions, and tried closing as many processes and programs as possible but the problem still persists. I don’t even know that I expect to find an answer from this thread – but a direction to start looking would be greatly appreciated. Thank you :)

Part List:

PCPartPicker Part List: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/cjj2rD
CPU: Intel Core i5-9600K 3.7 GHz 6-Core Processor
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-L9i 33.84 CFM CPU Cooler
Motherboard: Asus PRIME Z390-A ATX LGA1151 Motherboard
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 CL15 Memory
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 CL16 Memory
Storage: Kingston A400 120 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive
Storage: Samsung 860 Evo 1 TB 2.5" Solid State Drive
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6 GB VENTUS XS OC Video Card
Case: Aerocool Cylon ATX Mid Tower Case
Power Supply: EVGA G3 650 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply
 

Aeacus

Champion
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I'm experiencing the same issue with my PC as well, albeit i haven't bothered to figure out what exactly causes those audio "pops". Since i have relatively old headset in use and i think the issue might be due to the aging hardware i'm using (or it may not be). But i don't get the video stutters you're getting. Still, i have few ideas what you can try and perhaps it helps.

First things first; which of the two is your OS drive?

Storage: Kingston A400 120 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive
Storage: Samsung 860 Evo 1 TB 2.5" Solid State Drive
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What peripherals are you using? I remember reading Razer somewhere.

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Also, what version of Win are you using?

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What Event Viewer "Windows Logs -> System" say, at the time of the "pops"?

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What SFC /scannow says?

  1. Click Start.
  2. In the search bar, type CMD .
  3. Right-click CMD.exe and select Run as Administrator.
  4. On the User Account Control (UAC) prompt, click Yes.
  5. In the command prompt window, type
    SFC /scannow
    and press Enter.
  6. System file checker utility checks the integrity of Windows system files and repairs them if required.
At the end of the scan/fix, it shows you a path of log file, that you can look up, open, and read what fixes it did. There is no need to share that log file here, but it might be interest to you.

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As of why those audio "pops" happen, and as far as i understood, it is because there is some hardware or even software conflict, that stops the audio driver (1st "pop"), but Win is able to restart the driver again (2nd "pop").
 
Jun 13, 2022
2
0
10
0
I'm experiencing the same issue with my PC as well, albeit i haven't bothered to figure out what exactly causes those audio "pops". Since i have relatively old headset in use and i think the issue might be due to the aging hardware i'm using (or it may not be). But i don't get the video stutters you're getting. Still, i have few ideas what you can try and perhaps it helps.

First things first; which of the two is your OS drive?



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What peripherals are you using? I remember reading Razer somewhere.

---

Also, what version of Win are you using?

---

What Event Viewer "Windows Logs -> System" say, at the time of the "pops"?

---

What SFC /scannow says?



At the end of the scan/fix, it shows you a path of log file, that you can look up, open, and read what fixes it did. There is no need to share that log file here, but it might be interest to you.

---

As of why those audio "pops" happen, and as far as i understood, it is because there is some hardware or even software conflict, that stops the audio driver (1st "pop"), but Win is able to restart the driver again (2nd "pop").
I seem to have made an error in my list -- the OS drive is actually the Kingston A400 240 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive, not the 120 GB. Regardless, it has ~84GB remaining so I don't think it's being filled or anything odd. I'm using a Blue Yeti, a Razer Viper 8k mouse (though the polling rate is set to one of the lowest settings due to odd FPS issues in some FPS games), and I believe a Razer Kraken Ultimate USB headset -- though I've updated all of these drivers as well as synapse frequently and reinstalled them while trying to solve this. I'm using Windows 10.0.19044 Build 19044. I've done the SFC thing in the past and it repaired some things, though the popping still happened. I just ran it again, and the only thing it "repaired" was OneDrive (which I had intentionally uninstalled...) so I don't know where to look past that. I'll check the Event Viewer the next time it happens, and post here once I see. Thank you so much :)
 

Aeacus

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Ambassador
You had nice spacing in initial post and it was nice to read. Now, i got a wall of text as a reply.... Oh well, i guess the politeness ran out. :LOL:

the OS drive is actually the Kingston A400 240 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive, not the 120 GB. Regardless, it has ~84GB remaining so I don't think it's being filled or anything odd.
While it may not be filled to the brim, A400 is poor SSD performance wise, compared to other 2.5" SSDs. It loosing performance over time, is common for those cheap A400 series SSDs.
For example, your OS drive vs my "worst" performing drive (MX500 1TB),
comparison: https://ssd.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Kingston-A400-240GB-vs-Crucial-MX500-1TB/3953vsm406099
And here's a topic what others say about A400 series, link: https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/kingston-a400-240gb-ssd-is-it-that-bad.3538240/

Now, it is possible that your poor SSD has lost quite a bit of it's performance (it didn't had much to begin with). You can test it by running CrystalDiskMark benchmark.
Though, there isn't much you can do, to improve SSD's performance. Going with new and better drive would be better. Oh, in bigger size too, for convenience.

For example, my OS drive is Samsung 970 Evo Plus (2TB), while my old OS drive was Samsung 960 Evo (500GB). When it comes to SSDs, Samsung drives rule the world. They are known for performance and reliability.

a Razer Viper 8k mouse (though the polling rate is set to one of the lowest settings due to odd FPS issues in some FPS games)
Have you tried your mouse with another PC, to see if those issues with mouse remain? And have you tried different brand mouse as well?

Razer Kraken Ultimate USB headset
The same what i said about the mouse, applies for the headset as well.

All-in-all, Razer products, while popular for some reason (have no idea why) are plagued with software and hardware issues. I still wonder why people still buy Razer products when it's known well that their products have issues. I guess too much marketing is behind it with catchy looks.

For example, i'm using Corsair peripherals. Now, i'm not saying that Corsair peripherals are the best out there. iCUE is pain to use and crashes sometimes, especially when you have full roster of peripherals, like i do (KB, mouse, headset, headset stand and mouse pad), all controlled by iCUE. But Corsair hardware is solid, especially their KBs. Though, Logitech and HyperX peripherals have had favorable feedback, for the most part.

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The three i listed, are most suspicious, hardware wise, which may cause the issues you're having. And without testing with replacements and also testing your current hardware with 2nd PC, it is impossible to tell which of them (if any), is the culprit.

Oh, like i said in my previous reply, i too am experiencing this audio "pops". Now, i experience it only when using my headset: Corsair Void Pro RGB USB. My headset is 4 years and 9 months old. And when it was brand new, it didn't have the audio "pops" either. Those audio "pops" started ~2 years ago, back then when i was still running Win7Pro. Now, i'm running Win10Pro and sadly, the issue is still present. I just haven't bothered to replace my otherwise well working headset out. Once my headset completely dies on me, then i'll look towards new one.
I also have 2.1 speaker system with my PC. And when i use my speakers, there are no audio "pops", what-so-ever. So, i think, at least for my case, my aging headset is the one causing those.

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Software wise, it's nigh-impossible to tell, why OS produces these issues you're having. And finding it is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. If, for some reason, the issue lies within software, best option is to do fresh Win install. This will get rid of all software issues you may have (including bloatware and malware).
 

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