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Video playback randomly skips forward


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#1
Siree Bob

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First of all, this doesn't happen very often, but it does happen sometimes and it's strange enough for me to notice it. It's never happened on any computer I've used before - except this one, that is.

What:
Video skips forward about half a second. Most commonly, the only thing I'll notice when watching a video is that a small chunk of it was skipped over and wasn't played at all. There's no stuttering or stalling at this time; it's an immediate skip-forward, and if I go back in playback position the part I missed plays fine (so it's not a problem with the videos themselves).
.. but at least one time I was able to catch that the sound immediately skipped ahead this amount and the video quickly sped up to catch up.

The main difference from other problems I've experienced or read about is that rather than stalling or pausing briefly, the video seems to inexplicably skip forward. It will be playing fine and then suddenly I'll miss a brief chunk of someone's sentence.

Example: http://www.supload.c...n?s=Sb7EXO_rVQb
I've uploaded a simulated example of the problem above. (Notice the "that" in Porky's expression is missing.) You can check the attachment if you prefer. I have only one usable real recording of the problem, but it does a poor job at showcasing it and it's hard to tell based on the time it occurred (there was no talking).

When:
Randomly. I've been unable to link it with anything. It happens with Windows Media Player, jetAudio, and Media Player Classic - in other words, all of the players I've tried - so I'm pretty confident it's not the fault of any particular player.
I've used Windows XP's "Performance" administrative tool to log a ton of information about what's going on with my computer every second (surprisingly this doesn't appear to use up much CPU at all, but it uses up a lot of disk space). When I look in the log for the time a skip occurred, as of yet I've been unable to find anything consistent but I'm still trying. What's for sure is that when this happens, there is no significant processor or disk usage logged at the time.
I wrote a basic program in C# (.NET) which uses a Windows Media Player object (that was the simplest option) and a timer in order to log the skips. After trying to fix the problem, I usually leave this program running all night as a test, and I record my sound card's output ("What U Hear") in order to verify that a skip-forward occurred where it was detected. But all this does is let me know if the problem still exists. It hasn't helped me to solve it as of yet.
Using this in conjunction with the performance logs, I thought, could help me figure out what causes the problem. At first I thought I was getting somewhere with consistent and significant "page fault"s every time a skip-forward was logged, but these page faults were CAUSED by the skip information being logged to file by the program! So basically all the information I got from that has been questionable so far. I haven't run the test overnight since I removed the log-to-file bit (it just fills up a textbox with the info instead).
(update) Once again, I can't seem to gather any useful information from the performance logs except for one thing that seems consistent across every instance of the problem and that I didn't notice before: the % User Time for the video playback tester spikes up to about 36% usage from about 24% on average. That doesn't appear to be enough to cause the problem, but as the samples are taken every second I suppose it could be a big spike that took place in less than a second on one of the cores. But anyway, I don't know.

How I need help:
What I'm hoping is that I can get some information on why a problem like this might be caused, and how I can further diagnose it and, hopefully, solve it. If there's any other information you need, please tell me and I'll be sure to get it for you.

Some things I've tried:
- I just recently built this system. The problem has persisted through repartitioning and reformatting and reinstallations, but I won't rule out that it could be caused by a piece of software I've installed..
- I've tried various player options that I can't think of right now.
- So far I've been unable to reproduce the problem with my Realtek onboard "HD audio," but I would much prefer to use the Audigy. Also, this sound card was in my previous computer (ASUS A7N8X Deluxe, Athlon XP 3000, 1.5GB RAM) and I never had this problem even though I watched a lot of videos. I've tried installing older sound drivers, but that didn't solve the problem... I've checked to make sure the sound card was seated correctly and tried moving it to another PCI slot but that didn't help. By the way, I'm not positive it's the Audigy's fault. The card performs beautifully other than this issue which may/may not be related to it.
- I've tried checking available system temperatures and they all seem within normal range. I haven't seen the CPU get over 50C, but the video card approaches 60C during normal use and 90C during intense use (video games), the latter of which doesn't apply to the skip-forward issue.
- I've tried copying videos over to drive D: from drive L: before playing but there was no difference.
- (as described above) Created a test program to log occurrences of the skip-ahead and checked performance logs for the time the skip occurred. So far fruitless and no significant disk usage or CPU usage has been linked to the problem yet.
(new) - I removed nVidia's IDE driver in favor of the standard Windows driver. This may or may not be related, but I had a record number of skips logged when testing after doing this.
3/15/2007 12:20:54 PM: 00:55: 381ms *
3/15/2007 12:36:09 PM: 16:10: 399ms *
3/15/2007 12:37:55 PM: 17:57: 389ms *
3/15/2007 12:54:49 PM: 34:51: 392ms *
3/15/2007 1:11:43 PM: 08:45: 395ms *
3/15/2007 1:14:09 PM: 11:12: 384ms *
3/15/2007 1:24:00 PM: 21:03: 390ms *
3/15/2007 1:31:09 PM: 28:12: 415ms *
3/15/2007 1:31:30 PM: 28:34: 391ms *
3/15/2007 1:40:45 PM: 37:49: 414ms *
3/15/2007 1:55:36 PM: 09:40: 376ms *
3/15/2007 1:59:44 PM: 13:49: 406ms *
Unfortunately, for some reason the Performance monitor wasn't logging so I can't see any information about what was going on at the time. It was probably pointless to even post the skip times and amounts. There's nothing useful in the Event Viewer either.
But by comparison, the usual number of skips logged in a 6-hour period is two or three. This obviously is far more than that, and they happened close together. They stopped happening completely after 2:00 PM, though. Hmm. Once again, virtually useless information.

System info:
Motherboard: Asus P5N-E SLI
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
RAM: 2 x [1GB DDR2 667MHz]
Video card: ATI Radeon X800 XT
Sound card: Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS
OS: Windows XP Professional SP2; all latest updates
HDDs:
1 - Western Digital WD1600AAJS (SATA 3 Gb/s, 160GB; Main system drive with 3069MB pagefile; C: for Windows and F: for (large) programs and documents)
2 - Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS (SATA 3 Gb/s, 320GB; Data drive, also has a pagefile of 4096MB; D:)
3 - Western Digital WD5000KS (SATA 3 Gb/s, 500GB; Data drive; L:)

Other info:
Though it seems that this problem is limited to the Audigy, that may not be the case, and even so it works fine in every other way and this problem seems pretty obscure. Is there any way I can be sure or any way I can fix it or diagnose it? That's what I'd like to know. Thanks.

I would upload minute-long segments of the performance logs of the glitches but I'd have to compress them for them to fit in the 500KB space. That much is okay and I was able to accomplish it but geekstogo won't allow the 7-zip format to be uploaded.

- Siree Bob

Attached Files


Edited by Siree Bob, 15 March 2007 - 05:31 PM.

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#2
starjax

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have you tried using a different driver for the audigy? I have a similar configuration and haven't had any issues with my audigy.
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#3
Siree Bob

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Thanks for the reply!

Which driver are you using, exactly? (Like what's the version in device manager?) I've tried one from the end of 2005 and the most recent one available and both have this problem. I've used DriverCleaner too. I'll mention again that I didn't have this problem with my old computer, though, even though I used it with this same Audigy 2 ZS card.

Also, I ran the tests again last night and it's definite: the Realtek onboard audio does not produce this problem. I started the system up with limited startup programs, basically the essentials, and the problem still occurred but not on the Realtek. For some stupid reason I, once again, forgot to start up the performance logs so I couldn't try to get a look at what might be causing the problem again...

But today I'm trying it with no startup programs at all and no non-Microsoft services enabled. So if the problem is software-related it really shouldn't persist unless it's a lower-level issue, which is what I'll hopefully find out.

(update) When I ran it with no startup programs, the problem persisted. The next time, I ran it with msconfig's "diagnostic" setting and manually enabled necessary services like those for sound. Still happens. So it's almost certainly lower level than that, as in it's probably driver-related as has been mentioned. I don't know which driver to use, though..

I wanted to add something else...
Just for the record, this problem does not in any way appear to be related to stressed components. The performance logs show nothing to indicate that the CPU or memory or anything else is under heavy utilization when the skips happen, and most importantly I can't induce them. Sure, I can get the video to stutter if I load my system up with enough heavy tasks, but this skip-forward problem is totally different and I seem to be unable to make it happen.

I'll keep you posted as usual and definitely let you know if I solve the problem.

Edited by Siree Bob, 16 March 2007 - 06:18 PM.

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#4
starjax

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i have an audigy 2. I do not have any of the creative software installed, only the driver. It is version 5.12.7.1164 12/5/2005.

what video card are you using? Have you updated the nforce drivers? Current nforce drivers are 5.10
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#5
Siree Bob

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(03/17/2007 1:18 AM PST) I just noticed something. In the Resources tab in the device properties for my sound card, an IRQ of 16 is shown. When I check the device properties for my video card, the same IRQ of 16 is shown. Windows notes that there are no conflicts and I'm unable to manually edit either of the IRQs, but with my limited knowledge I don't know if this is important or not. Shouldn't my video card and sound card have unique IRQs, and could this be causing any problems? (As a note, I just read that this seems to be typical of newer computers and it shouldn't be an issue.. but if/when it becomes the last thing on the list or if somebody suggests it, I'll try to get them on separate IRQs. I noticed on my laptop the video and sound share an IRQ and though they're integrated solutions it doesn't have this problem. Hmm.)

Anyway, my video card is an ATI Radeon X800XT (256 MB ram). I didn't suspect it so much because the problem doesn't occur with the onboard sound. I used a utility that came with ATI Tray Tools to monitor and log the card's temperature and free memory and nothing unusual was going on with those at the time, except that the core temperature seems to idle near 60°C... but the temperatures for the card seem typical, anyway.

The nForce drivers I'm using are version 8.43 and they're for the nForce 650i SLI/Ultra chipset (mine is a 650i SLI). My Sound Blaster's driver version is 5.12.8.1164 - a slight difference - and its date is 12/8/2005, so they're 3 days newer than yours. I'll make it a point to try those drivers if my BIOS tweaking hasn't had the positive effect I'm hoping for.

I went through and disabled everything related to Spread Spectrum. I also changed the "JumperFree" overclocking settings from "Auto" to "Standard." I disabled the onboard sound (I'm reasonably sure I had it disabled when the problem first appeared so this probably won't be what helped) and I disabled the serial and parallel ports - I don't even appear to have a serial port but I disabled it anyway.

That's all that I can remember that I did. I'm now running 4 instances of the playback tester at once and have been for an hour or so. 3 of them are using the Sound Blaster and one is using a virtual sound output driver (just to see what effect that has). I'm now also running all the programs I usually run since disabling them had no effect anyway. So far so good - clear across the board as far as skip-forwards go. I'll see how that goes...
..What a pain in the butt it would be to diagnose this or solve it in a timely manner if I actually had to watch videos and check for the skipping to do so. Fortunately this automated method has turned out to be pretty accurate.

I'm using the latest BIOS, ASUS' 0401, by the way.

(update re BIOS tweaks) Nope. Didn't work, unfortunately. And I was so hopeful that the spread spectrum settings would help! I'll try that slightly older driver now if I can find it.
(update re older driver) Hmm. Cannot find it at all, anywhere. Anyway, I know the driver I'm using now worked fine on my old computer so that's probably not the problem..

Now I'm running the tests with the network interface disabled, the graphics driver uninstalled (going driverless) and nVidia's system management bus driver disabled. Onboard audio is disabled in the BIOS as before, and nVidia's IDE drivers aren't installed as before. If there are no problems then at least I'll have narrowed it down a little. And if there ARE problems, then I'll have narrowed it down some, too.

(re tests) After over 2 hours without a glitch, I enabled the network interface. Another hour and I enabled the PCI System Management driver, used Driver Cleaner on almost every ATI profile available, and installed ATI's 7.2 video driver WITHOUT the Catalyst Control Center. As I was installing the drivers, I got a notification that the video had skipped a negative amount. The amounts for the skip-forward are usually 400ms or so which theoretically means that since the last time the playback position was checked the video has skipped forward by 400ms. The timer is set to check the playback position every 10ms so this should be pretty accurate. A negative value probably indicates stuttering due to the lack of a graphics driver and the extra tasks the CPU had to perform as a result (plus I was only VNC'ing to the machine at the time which caused some extra CPU strain). In other words, in the time I had the tests running, which was a total of about 3 hours, in the state that I've mentioned above, there were no problems. Whether problems would have shown up after, say 4 hours, I don't know, but the trend with 4 videos going at once seemed to indicate a skip-forward should occur at least every 2 hours.

I don't want to get my hopes up but I think the problem may be solved now.. It's too soon to tell for sure, though. I'll know by tomorrow.

Edited by Siree Bob, 17 March 2007 - 02:23 AM.

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#6
Siree Bob

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Well, that settles it. Problem source determined at last - the card IS dying.

Woke up this morning and checked the sound - one of the videos had skipped forward, but most interestingly when I hooked up my headphones most of the videos were producing loud and constant beeping noises. This problem is no stranger to me, actually. When I installed iTunes 7.1 and played music while gaming this would happen in a matter of seconds.

And after it happens - after the programs with the beeping are closed - the computer shortly after BSOD's with a MACHINE_CHECK_EXCEPTION. The only time this happened before was with iTunes 7.1 and gaming, but when I reverted to the previous iTunes everything was fine so I figured it was a software bug. But now that the problem has occurred outside of the situation, I know the card must just be failing.

So that's enough diagnosing this problem for a bit. I'll just buy an X-Fi or something and if the problem persists I'll let you guys know. Thanks for the help, by the way, starjax! :whistling:
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#7
Siree Bob

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Plot twist - Still no problems on old computer?
Interesting. I can't induce a MACHINE_CHECK_EXCEPTION or any of the loud and continuous beeping with my old computer (nForce2 chipset) - I've moved the card back to it to run some tests and see how it performs. So far so good on the video playback tests. I have a feeling no problems will turn up whatsoever. Hmm... The plot thickens. It's seeming like this could be a (relatively) known issue with nForce 4+ chipsets and sound blasters... Now if I could just figure out how to solve it.

There were absolutely no problems in my old system when I tried the card in it today. Everything ran perfectly - no skip-forwards, no MACHINE_CHECK_EXCEPTION's with iTunes 7.1 and Oblivion... Hmm. It's definitely looking like this is going to be a tough one.

Oh, and by the way, setting the hardware acceleration slider (for the Audigy 2 ZS on my new computer) down to Basic does at least solve the MACHINE_CHECK_EXCEPTION, though it's a waste of the card's capabilities and it shouldn't be necessary. I don't know if it solves the skip-forwards.

-- YES!! --
I've finally discovered what was causing this - or at least what was causing the BSOD's and messed up sound. There's an LDT Frequency option in the BIOS that defaults to 5x. I lowered it to 1x and the problems were gone. I'm going to experiment and see how high I can get it to go while remaining stable.

[LDT 1x] Stable
[LDT 2x] Lasts about as long as LDT 3x.
[LDT 3x] Didn't even last as long as LDT 4x. Brief.
[LDT 4x] Unstable but it lasts measurably longer
[LDT 5x] Unstable

.. It seems the skip-forward problem is not solved, however. Bummer. Oh well. Hopefully my new sound card will be more compatible.

...

LDT 1x has actually proven to be stable so far. But when I'm using anything above 1x I get the BSOD's in the conditions I've described. I used Debugging Tools for Windows to decode one of the minidumps and got this:
VAL   - MCi_STATUS register is valid
		Indicates that the information contained within the IA32_MCi_STATUS
		register is valid.  When this flag is set, the processor follows the
		rules given for the OVER flag in the IA32_MCi_STATUS register when
		overwriting previously valid entries.  The processor sets the VAL 
		flag and software is responsible for clearing it.

UC	- Error Uncorrected
		Indicates that the processor did not or was not able to correct the 
		error condition.  When clear, this flag indicates that the processor
		was able to correct the error condition.

EN	- Error Enabled
		Indicates that the error was enabled by the associated EEj bit of the
		IA32_MCi_CTL register.

PCC   - Processor Context Corrupt
		Indicates that the state of the processor might have been corrupted
		by the error condition detected and that reliable restarting of the
		processor may not be possible.

BUSCONNERR - Bus and Interconnect Error   BUS{LL}_{PP}_{RRRR}_{II}_{T}_err
		These errors match the format 0000 1PPT RRRR IILL



   Concatenated Error Code:
   --------------------------
   _VAL_UC_EN_PCC_BUSCONNERR_0

So the problem is either with the PCI bus or with the card itself. Oy vey.

But if I put that problem behind me, I still have the main problem of this thread: video (or audio if the buffer is small enough) still skips forward, but only with this card in this computer. If I could find a way to fix that and continue using this card I'd be happy.

Edited by Siree Bob, 20 March 2007 - 01:27 PM.

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#8
Siree Bob

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I got a new sound card, an X-Fi XtremeGamer, and the skipping still happened. I ended up having to replace my motherboard, so I replaced it with a Gigabyte 965P-DS3 (Intel chipset instead of nForce) and some other problems went away, but the video (or Matroska audio) problem still exists. So I tried a PCI video card instead of my current PCI Express ATI Radeon X800 XT. And the problem still occurred.

So now I don't know what else to do. The problem goes away, if I recall correctly, when I have the sound hardware acceleration at None (or Basic), and I KNOW it goes away with the kX Project drivers, and if I use onboard sound the problem doesn't exist, but I'd like to get it solved for good since - as I've said - it doesn't happen on my old computer at all with either card.

Edited by Siree Bob, 02 April 2007 - 11:12 PM.

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#9
Siree Bob

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Figured something out, fellow geeks! :whistling: Maybe somebody can tell me what this means - e.g., should I replace the processor, etc.

At first I discovered that the skipping-forward problems only happened when the Processor Affinity in task manager was set to CPU 1, or both (default). When I set it to CPU 0, there would be no skips! By CPU I mean "core".

After digging deeper, I used Microsoft's Interrupt-Affinity Tool (available as part of the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit tools) to change my sound card's IRQ affinity to CPU 1. As I suspected may happen, this caused a reversal of the problem. After doing this, there would be skip-forwards for CPU 0, but not for CPU 1.

Weird, huh? Apparently, for some reason, with my system the video application or some component of it needs to be on the same core that the sound device's interrupt requests are sent. This is not the case with onboard audio - just the Creative cards (either of them).

Does this suggest a problem with the drivers, the CPU, the motherboard, the power supply... or what? It's strange. Other than that everything works fine with this new motherboard.
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#10
Siree Bob

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Ugh, and so it goes on...

I ordered a new, and older, processor to see if it would solve the problem: an Intel Pentium D 805. But the same thing happened, so I returned it for a refund.
I'm on my third motherboard now - don't worry, I switched from my old one for other reasons. It's an EVGA nForce 680i LT (or "Lite"). And the problems aren't solved on this board either, but I didn't really expect them to be.

Because this problem is bugging me so much, I researched and expanded my test application to have the ability to manipulate thread affinities, rather than an affinity for the whole process. So far, in a 15-hour or so test (problems usually occur within an hour or two), there have been no skips with particular affinities set: splitter.ax, or Haali Media Splitter, on core 0; quartz.dll, or DirectShow, on core 0; and (possibly unnecessarily) dsound.dll, or DirectSound, on core 0. It is looking as though only splitter.ax and quartz.dll affinities are necessary at this time but it's not certain. In any case, with this setup, there are no skips.

Well, that's nice to know. But more importantly, what can be done about it? I'm only familiar with .NET programming languages like C# (sad, I know), and I tried to write a simple application to scan for Media Player Classic running and set the appropriate thread affinities. Unfortunately it took up too much CPU to be worth it, and I'm still longing for a proper end-all fix. Setting the Processor Affinity to CPU 0 does solve the problem, but I'd rather have the ability to use multi-threaded codecs. With thread affinities only set for a minimal number of threads, I can still do this..

My feeling that this is an issue with Creative's sound driver is only getting stronger over time. My goal now is to create a proof-of-concept application of some sort that induces this issue in a matter of minutes on affected systems, my hope being that Creative would finally take some interest and solve their driver's MPS issues completely.

Edited by Siree Bob, 13 April 2007 - 04:49 PM.

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