No sound, problem with graphics

By lock2000 · 8 replies
Mar 4, 2008
  1. Computer Specs:
    Acer Aspire, about a year old.
    Modifications: installed 3G extra memory (total 4 x 1G)
    AMD Athlon 64 X 2 Dual Core Processor 4200+
    Cache: 64 Kbytes x 2 L2 512 Kbytes x 2
    Motherboard: Acer Mod. EM61SM/EM61PM Core Speed 2210 MHz
    Chipset: NVIDIA MPC61
    BIOS: Phoenix Tech Version R01-A4
    Memory: DDR2 Dual Channel 4096 Mbytes
    Operating System: Windows Vista Home Premium

    This is not my main computer, and was purchased it to use with a wide format printer, and very little else. So I didn’t go to much trouble to fix it when a sporadic problem with the sound started a few months ago. I figured it was just some minor problem, settings or such. But over the months, I've done everything I can think of. I changed the speakers and wiring, checked for any problems with the software settings, etc. The sound would come on and work for days or weeks, & then go out. I could never narrow it down except to exclude the speakers, wiring and settings. I've tried to load new drivers, but it says the one it's using is the best one.
    And it says "This device is working properly" which really irks me.

    But since I use it at home now, I need to fix it. When I changed the location, I used the recovery disks to return to factory software. I had previously done this a number of times with no change in the sound problem. However, this time I noticed that now there's a problem with the graphics too. I have a video poker game that used to work fine, but now when I start it, it brings up an error screen, something about graphics, and locks up the computer. I have to do a hard shut down and on reboot I get the blue screen that says Windows has recovered from a fatal error, how do I want to start it, etc.

    As I said, the sound problem comes and goes, right now I have sound from my front speaker jack but not the back, and it's got constant static. It is not a problem with the software settings... I have tried every possible setting many times, and it has worked, as well as not worked, on the exact same settings.

    I opened the case to see what cards I would need, and it seems that the sound and graphics are built into the motherboard. There are no cards plugged into the available slots except a modem. What I would like to know is, can I simply go into the BIOS and bypass the integrated sound and graphics, and install new cards in the motherboard? I would like to have something better than what came with the computer, but I don't play a lot of games other than what came with Windows and a few others that don’t require a lot of memory. My other computer was built for gaming and I could use it if I could find a game as much fun as they seem to be in some of the forums I’ve read. I would not mind spending a couple of hundred dollars, or more if it would increase performance, but I really don’t want to replace the power supply.

    I ran CPU-Z but can't find anything on it about the graphic interface.

    Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

  2. turbo1

    turbo1 TS Maniac Posts: 353

    1. For your on & off audio problem:

    You can narrow it down starting with the external equipment attached to your

    Web cam
    External HDD
    Usb hub
    Card readers
    Other USB powered peripherals

    Try temporarilly unplugging the devices (if you have any of stated above).
    They can eat up system resources & can cause hardware malfunctions.
    Normally caused by inadequate supply of power.

    2. For the static sound:

    > Ground loops
    > EMI “electromagnetic interference” (ie: washing machine that runs in the same electrical circuit line & other motorized equipments)
    > Wireless equipment (ie : keyboard & mouse)
    > speakers (if not shielded or too close to your computer)
    > if you have an amplified speakers,try plugging it to another AC wall outlet that is
    not congested with other AC equipments.
    > also try your speakers to another PC

    if none of the above worked,then you can try un-installing & re-install the
    sound driver.please do not override the current sound driver or get over to it by just loading the driver,you have to un-install then re-install.
  3. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Is the driver nForce or Realtek? Some people say Realtek's driver works better.
  4. lock2000

    lock2000 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    1. Disconnected all peripheral devices.
    2. Computer is on a dedicated circuit that is well grounded.
    3. There are no devices with motors or other magnetic fields near the computer or speakers.
    4. Keyboard and mouse are hardwired.
    5. Acer speakers are powered by USB, but I use speakers with a separate power supply. Both have the same problems.
    6. There is no sound from any of the rear jacks (even without jacks plugged into the front) although my software shows speakers. When I attach speakers to the front jacks it shows headphones plugged in. That is when I get sound from the speakers and loud spurts of static every 4-5 seconds.
    7. I have uninstalled and reinstalled Realtek drivers a number of timers.
  5. turbo1

    turbo1 TS Maniac Posts: 353

    there are still some areas to check but
    a new sound card is a good idea better than the onboard.

    just to keep you informed,pls check your cables/wires from your
    front panel output to your motherboard (pin connectors).
    please ensure nothing is shorted or bent before you plug in your
    new sound card.

    BTW, what power supply do you have? how many 12 volt rail & amperage?
  6. lock2000

    lock2000 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I have tried everything that has been suggested with little change. It's not any type of external interference because this computer as well as half a dozen others have worked fine under all the same conditions in the same location. I reloaded drivers for the sound card and got sound from the rear output for awhile, but with so much static I can't listen to it. The static is there even when the volume is turned all the way down, but goes up when the volume is increased. I have checked the wiring from the from the front output jacks and there is not any obvious shorts or other visable problems. I am at the point where I just want to install a new sound card but don't know where to start since the sound is intergrated into the motherboard. Can I just turn off the built in sound and install a new card and if so, how? Also, it seems like there is a shortage of cards that lists Vista as a platform it works with. I just looked at about 20 different cards on Newegg and not one of them did, although a couple said "Vista Compatable" which I guess means they don't have Vista drivers in the software they provide.
    Can someone suggest a card in the $40-$50 range that will work with Vista and where I can get directions to make the switch? Also, I guess I will have to disconnect the front outputs or can I unplug them from the motherboard and into the new card?

  7. turbo1

    turbo1 TS Maniac Posts: 353

    For your onboard sound causing static:

    try opening the case & temporarilly disconnect all case fans,
    earth yourself first by touching the back metal part
    of your case before touching anything inside.

    other than that,a BIOS flash/upgrade could fix the problem.
    but before doing it,please refer to your mainboard's website & download
    your latest BIOS & a flash utility tool & carefully follow the procedures & guide.
    you must have a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) incase of power outage.

    For the PCI sound card:
    you may want to check the links below.

    for the creative X-Fi sound cards,some end users are having a problem
    with rear speakers (5.1 sound format speaker system) not firing a sound
    when installed in VISTA.option is to have a speaker system that has a
    line in (3.5 mm minijack) input socket to utilize the stereo to 7.1 format from the
    X-Fi sound card's flexijack output socket.(if you really opt to X-Fi cards)

    most likely all the cards listed above (link) will not work in VISTA 64 bit.

    Note: you sound card would be dependent (when you purchase) on your current speaker system's channel 5.1 or 7.1 Ch.
  8. lock2000

    lock2000 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I bought a $30 sound card and it solved all my problems. Intergrated sound sucks.
  9. turbo1

    turbo1 TS Maniac Posts: 353

    Great news !...and thanks for informing us as well...:)
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