Help Replacing Busted SoundCard

By dud88dud
Jan 3, 2009
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  1. I've had my Dimension 4700 Desktop for about four years now, but about two years ago, the sound started to get funky. After about an hour of use (it would vary), it would start popping. It would hardly be noticeable at first, but after another hour or so, it was hardly bearable. I have an Creative SB Audigy 2 (WDM) sound card with Legacy audio drivers and SoundMax digital Audio.

    Over the past two years I've tried everything: changing the speakers, moving the computer, replacing the driver (a couple of times), switching the PCI slot, etc. I've scoured forums and nothing seems to fix my problem. It finally hit me a while back that the sound card could be overheating. That would explain why the problem goes away when I leave the computer off or in standby for a while, but isn't fixed by a restart. Then when the computer heats back up the popping returns.

    My question is three-fold.

    -Do you guys think I'm right about the heat, or could it be some other problem (and if it is the heat, is there a way I can fix this)?
    -Is there anything you guys think I should try before replacing my sound card?
    -If nothing else works, do you think replacing the sound card will fix the problem? If so, what's a cheap card you would recommend?

    Any help is really appreciated. Thanks in advance!!

    -Thomas
  2. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,909

    Heat may be a problem, but it could be a slightly defective card too. I'd say replace it.

    I'd recommend anything from the Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi series, this one being the cheapest in that series.
  3. dud88dud

    dud88dud Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Thanks for the advice, MetalX. I've already done some searching, and I've found cards for <$10, such as the SABRENT SBT-SP6C (I would link, but apparently I haven't posted enough...). Is there a reason why I shouldn't just get something inexpensive? I just need it for playing music, mostly, and for a few older games.

    Also, should I be worried about compatibility, or should any normal PCI card work?
  4. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    The symptom is often caused by over driving the sound card... Too much volume for too long... burns out the card.
    So I suggest, if that is the case, that you do not replace it with a low cost, marginal sound card. Get the best you can afford... a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi, a ASUS Xonar D1 Sound Card, or at least a Turtle Beach.
  5. tengeta

    tengeta TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 632

    Never scrimp on sound or video, your processor and wallet will pay the price in the long run.

    Music can be as tolling on a sound card as modern games are depending on the format/bit rate used.
  6. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 4,349   +122

    You don't necessarily need a sound card if your motherboard has one.

    I don't have enough experience with sound cards to know if its overheating.

    Ive learned the hard way not to try to cut corners on money spent. If you don't have good audio output, you may as well not us a sound card as the sound quality will go to waste through low quality speakers.

    if your old sound card was a PCI, i would assume any normal PCI card will work.
    Beware, i hear creative is NOT nice to their vista users driver wise, though AuzenTech X-Fi cards seem to have better support.
  7. tengeta

    tengeta TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 632

    This part is VERY true, I seem to be one of the very rare and lucky few that had their old Creative sound card work in Vista.
  8. adweston

    adweston Banned Posts: 333

    The SoundMax drivers are for the Dell onboard sound, the Audigy 2 is an add-in card. Why do you have both? Remove the soundmax, disable the onboard sound in the BIOS and see if that makes a difference.
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