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Sound Blaster Z Crackling noise every minute (literally) and the solution

saracg
Level 7
I solved the problem but wanted to share it for future references 🙂

i didnt pay attention if i had this problem with 802 BIOS or not but right now on 901 the problem was;

A crackling sound every minute (i mean it, every 60 seconds) when using audio (games, movies, music). No problem on desktop.

SBZ was on x4_1 slot (gray one). when i changed the slot to x8_2 the problem gone.

I think it is because x4_1 is shared with x1_1, USB 3 and SATA ex but strange thing is i didnt have anything connected to this other shared sources.

Any ideas? i really would prefer x4_1 since soundcard is blocking air of the GPU at the moment compared to its previous position.
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12 REPLIES 12

ariskar
Level 7
I used the same SB Z in the same slot, with contact problems. Check back of MB if in potential intermittent contact with anything metallic in the case or if too dusty.

I found SB Z a bit tough to sit well in the long pci-e slots of this board, so I use the short x1 one

ariskar wrote:
I used the same SB Z in the same slot, with contact problems. Check back of MB if in potential intermittent contact with anything metallic in the case or if too dusty.

I found SB Z a bit tough to sit well in the long pci-e slots of this board, so I use the short x1 one


unfortunately mine (x1 slot) is blocked with second GPU card

saracg
Level 7
suddenly my second 980 started to work in 8x mode instead of x16 and it was seen on port x8_2 (where my SBZ is installed) instead of the real port it is installed which is 16x3.

uninstalled the SBZ and problem went away. Anyone experienced this problem before?

Any theory on what could cause such error? (Chino, Raja, Live or Die)

PS:right now im using SBZ on x8_4. i hope there will be no problems anymore.

LiveOrDie
Level 11
The Sound Blaster Z is only PCI-e 1x the same as my sound card i can't say i've had any sound problems when using x4_1 slot but i did have all types of USB problems so my guess is this problem could go ether way, I would get random disconnects when using the x4_1 slot and the problem your getting could also be some type of disconnect problem / power fluctuation with the slot, I have seen other people report cards showing up in the bios in the wrong slots but i never really looked when i have my card in the x4_1..... 2 weeks after i went SLI so i no longer can test as my cards are water cooled, I now use my card in the bottom slot x8_4 and all my USB problems are gone, Asus would have to look into this because for me it seems there getting read in the wrong slot because of shared PCI-e lanes.

ariskar
Level 7
To me it seems that:

R5E + Sound card + M2 + GPU = PCIe allocation mess
and various cominations of thereof...

Asus staff are looking in to the lane allocation issues, hopefully we will get something coming up with next bios revision releases.

saracg
Level 7
thank you both for the answers :). hope this all will be fixed in future BIOS releases.

maartieboy
Level 7
Hello guys,

I also get a static noise every now and then.
I'm using the 5820k and 2x gtx 980
The manual says that PCIE_X8_4 is disabled for 28 lane cpu's. Does this mean I can't even plug my soundblast z into that slot to fix it?

Korth
Level 14
ariskar wrote:
R5E + Sound card + M2 + GPU = PCIe allocation mess

I think this is basically correct.

Plugging the sound card into the x8_2 (PCIe 2.0) slot interfaces it to the chipset PCH, less inter-device polling clutter distracting the processor PCIe 3.0 controller. As long as the PCH-to-processor DMI 2.0 bandwidth isn't saturated (by SATA devices, USB devices, etc) the sound card will function just as well (or better) than it would on a crowded PCIe 3.0 bus - while incidentally no longer interfering with operation of the GPU(s), maybe you get +1fps lol!

I doubt a firmware update can do much, the mobo slot configuration is hardwired into the R5E design, along with add-on implementations of device/interface support for M.2, SATA Express, more USB 3.0 ports, etc.

saracg wrote:
SBZ was on x4_1 slot (gray one). when i changed the slot to x8_2 the problem gone.
...
Any ideas? i really would prefer x4_1 since soundcard is blocking air of the GPU at the moment compared to its previous position.

You can steal a little server technology here: various kinds of PCIe slot risers/adapters/extenders can use the electrical connection at one slot while mounting the card at a different physical location (such as in an unused chassis backplate slot beyond the bottom edge of the mobo). Cable management might be a little challenging when other slots need to remain populated/reserved, but it's still an option for possible improvement. You can even mod an entirely non-standard internal placement for your sound card (bolt it into a drive bay or whatever) and bring the connectors out through conventional ports. Incidentally, the capacitors you see on some of these products are meant to compensate for the increased impedance of the longer signalling runs (which are technically disallowed by official PCI-SIG standard specifications), they can reduce critical timing/latency problems which wouldn't be much of an issue on a device like a sound card anyways. (But don't blame me if your sound card makes strange whirring noises when your drives spin up!)

maartieboy wrote:
I also get a static noise every now and then.
I'm using the 5820k and 2x gtx 980
The manual says that PCIE_X8_4 is disabled for 28 lane cpu's. Does this mean I can't even plug my soundblast z into that slot to fix it?

The 5920K will only support up to x16/x8 or x8/x8/x8 SLI. And the R5E deactivates the PCIE_X8_4 slot entirely - but this actually seems like an arbitrary limitation and is perhaps something which might be corrected through a future firmware update. Plug sound card into PCIE_X4_1 slot, upgrade processor, or use a different X99 mobo, sorry.
"All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others." - Douglas Adams

[/Korth]

I actually solved the problem with my issue.

To describe the noise I experienced: I heard some kind of static surge 'TSSK' every now and then. It seemed unrelated to any pc activities.

I turned OFF the 'Broadcom 802.11ac Network Adapter' which I used to make a wifi hotspot. This solved the problem for me.
Perhaps switching to the x8_4 slot solved it for some people because they moved the soundcard further away from the wifi adapter.

If my fix works for you please report back. Perhaps it can be fixed with a driver update.

Now that I know the origin of the problem will just switch on wifi when I need it and don't care about the noise anymore.