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Sound Blaster Zx crackling/popping with two 290x cards in crossfire

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
I've been searching everywhere and can't find a solution to this problem I'm having with my Sound Blaster Zx. I added a second 290x to my build a couple days ago, so I've got two 290x reference cards in crossfire. After I did that I started noticing some crackling/popping in the sound when I'm playing a game. When I turn crossfire off, the sound is perfect. I found a post from Creative back in 2009 blaming it on nVidia, but I am using AMD and it's 2014.

I've uninstalled and re-installed the drivers, reseated the card, made sure Link State Power Management is disabled, disabled onboard audio, disabled/uninstalled AMD Audio Device (290x HDMI audio), checked in the BIOS for anything that could help, and searched for so many hours for some kind of a solution. I'm at a loss for what to do. Asking for help is my last attempt before taking the card out of the computer and having to use onboard audio.
System Specs (Click to show)
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1
CPU
Intel Core i5 3570K @ 3.40GHz 32 °C
Ivy Bridge 22nm Technology
RAM
16.0GB Dual-Channel DDR3 @ 799MHz (9-9-9-27)
Motherboard
ASRock Z77 Extreme4 (CPUSocket) 34 °C
Graphics
Intel HD Graphics 4000 (ASRock)
4096MB ATI AMD Radeon R9 200 Series (ASUStek Computer Inc) 43 °C
4096MB ATI AMD Radeon R9 200 Series (ASUStek Computer Inc) 38 °C
Storage
232GB Samsung SSD 840 EVO 250GB ATA Device (SSD) 33 °C
931GB Western Digital WDC WD1002FAEX-00Z3A0 ATA Device (SATA) 40 °C
931GB Western Digital WDC WD1001FALS-00J7B0 ATA Device (SATA) 42 °C
119GB OCZ-VECTOR ATA Device (SSD)
Optical Drives
ASUS DRW-24B1ST c ATA Device
Audio
Sound Blaster Zx
Power Supply
SeaSonic X-1250 1250W

This is the first time I've ever had a problem with the card after having it for over a year so I've never had to deal with their support, but it seems like it's pretty bad. I have yet to hear back from them, but from what I've seen I probably won't hear anything or it will be many weeks from now, and when I do it won't be of any help or be something stupid like telling me my SSD is incompatible (a reply someone else apparently got).
post #2 of 40
It's probably some electro-magnetic interference from the 2nd GPU, which is right next to the sound card. You could try putting a conductive metal sheet between the GPU and the sound card, but make sure the conductive metal part doesn't physically touch anything.

It could also be related your PSU, as 2x 290X is right on the edge of what an X650 can handle. It could also be related to your motherboard, as all the power the Zx draws comes from it... Either way, you could try moving your Zx to a different spot on the mobo, and temporarily underclocking/undervolting both of your 290Xs could help.


It could also be a software/DPC latency issue. Run this tool with crossfire enabled to check.
http://www.thesycon.de/deu/latency_check.shtml
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post #3 of 40
In addition to what brucethemoose said ^ note which PCIe lanes your soundcard is associated with, If you have the card sharing the same lanes as your GPU's you may be hearing cross talk over the frequencies.

I've actually got a similar issue with my sound card, and have actually disabled it because I can't seem to isolate it. Onboard audio does not suffer the same issues. My PSU has also (finally) developed a small whine, and I wonder if this is being picked up on my sound card. thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif
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post #4 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brucethemoose View Post

It's probably some electro-magnetic interference from the 2nd GPU, which is right next to the sound card. You could try putting a conductive metal sheet between the GPU and the sound card, but make sure the conductive metal part doesn't physically touch anything.

It could also be related your PSU, as 2x 290X is right on the edge of what an X650 can handle. It could also be related to your motherboard, as all the power the Zx draws comes from it... Either way, you could try moving your Zx to a different spot on the mobo, and temporarily underclocking/undervolting both of your 290Xs could help.


It could also be a software/DPC latency issue. Run this tool with crossfire enabled to check.
http://www.thesycon.de/deu/latency_check.shtml

Oh forgot to edit my rig, but I switched out that power supply with a SeaSonic X-1250 I had laying around.

Here's the results of the DPC Latency program. Everything was fine until I started up a game, then there were a lot of spikes as shown:


As for the metal sheet, would aluminum foil be ok to try (as long as it doesn't touch anything of course) or do I need something special?
EDIT- Well, actually it wouldn't be just emi from the gpu if there's latency problems right?
Edited by Darkezio - 10/22/14 at 11:57am
post #5 of 40
is your sound card sandwhiched inbetween the gpu's?

can you move it to another slot outside the two?

I have a creative TitaniumHD sandwhiched between my 780's and it works fine.

see if this were me I would be like time to go with DAC + amp lol biggrin.gif

EDIT

I am looking at the layout of your board and see a pcie 1x slot at the very top and at the bottom, is one of these where your card is? I would try the other slot anyway just to see.
Edited by mtbiker033 - 10/22/14 at 12:00pm
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post #6 of 40
More than 1 layer would be ideal. There's a pretty good DIY EMI shield in this thread.

http://www.overclock.net/t/571718/how-to-make-emi-shielding-for-your-sound-card


However, I'm guessing those spikes are the problem. Pinpointing the exact problem is hard... But if it only happens in crossfire, the next logical thing to do is to uninstall your graphics drivers using the default utility, clean them with DDU, and re-install the latest ones. Remove/Disable any software you absolutely don't need (Asus motherboard software gave me similar problems), check your network/sound drivers, and try the 3rd party PAX drivers for the Zx.
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post #7 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtbiker033 View Post

is your sound card sandwhiched inbetween the gpu's?

can you move it to another slot outside the two?

I have a creative TitaniumHD sandwhiched between my 780's and it works fine.

see if this were me I would be like time to go with DAC + amp lol biggrin.gif

EDIT

I am looking at the layout of your board and see a pcie 1x slot at the very top and at the bottom, is one of these where your card is? I would try the other slot anyway just to see.

It's on the bottom. I have a Noctua NH-D14 just blocking the top slot unfortunately. Here's a pic I took while I was messing with the cables so you can see what I'm working with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brucethemoose View Post

More than 1 layer would be ideal. There's a pretty good DIY EMI shield in this thread.

http://www.overclock.net/t/571718/how-to-make-emi-shielding-for-your-sound-card


However, I'm guessing those spikes are the problem. Pinpointing the exact problem is hard... But if it only happens in crossfire, the next logical thing to do is to uninstall your graphics drivers using the default utility, clean them with DDU, and re-install the latest ones. Remove/Disable any software you absolutely don't need (Asus motherboard software gave me similar problems), check your network/sound drivers, and try the 3rd party PAX drivers for the Zx.

I'll try the gpu drivers now, and then the PAX drivers.
Edited by Darkezio - 10/22/14 at 12:12pm
post #8 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkezio View Post

It's on the bottom. I have a Noctua NH-D14 just blocking the top slot unfortunately. Here's a pic I took while I was messing with the cables so you can see what I'm working with.

I'll try the gpu drivers now, and then the PAX drivers.

ok I see, yeah I was wondering if the top slot might be better but the heat sink won't allow it. Nice system btw!
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post #9 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtbiker033 View Post

ok I see, yeah I was wondering if the top slot might be better but the heat sink won't allow it. Nice system btw!

Thanks! I love my system happysmiley.gif

Ok, so I tried the clean install of gpu drivers. Tried the current drivers and beta, neither one of those helped. Then I did a clean install of the SBzx drivers with PAX and same result. Those PAX drivers have a lot of bass, lol.



Not sure if there's anything else to try :\
post #10 of 40
If you disable the new GPU (just unplug the power) does it fix your latency issue?
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