Computer Problem Solved

It is solved at least for now. This entire mess is occuring on a Dell Dimension E521. Overall this is a good computer. A decent machine. Like most newer computers this thing has built-in Ethernet, video, and sound. Currently all three of these features are disabled. Six months ago we disabled the sound. It quit working. We replaced it with a common PCI sound card.

It worked for about six months.

This computer is used primarily as a PVR. We record shows off cable, off air, and off anywhere we can get sound and video information of interest including surveilance cameras. For the most part this thing runs quiet. No sound even though it is equipped with an excellent pair of amplified speakers.

When we replaced the on board sound with an external card we noticed a slight reduction in sound quality. The reduction was not pronounced but it did have a different ring to it.

Five months later we noticed that the picture on the capture card was no longer ‘real time’. It never was real ‘real time’ but now it looked like it was way past time. Picture was several minutes behind the real video action.

The recodings were still good so we did not investigate the new problem. As time passed we began to suspect that we were once again getting screwed by windows again.

This week we needed to use the sound feature of the effected machine. No sound. Dead. Not breathing not moving not a peep.

Getting down to basics we replaced the sound card with the last SB live card we had for PCI. Turns out that windows XP is pretty good at installing new hardware on the fly. Five seconds after installation we were back up and running with full sound. Good sound too. The funny scratchy sound with the old card was gone now.

Also gone was the lagging video display. The Hauppaque video capture card was now performing as it should once more.

I just hope we are not doing something that is shelling out sound cards. Those cards do interface with the outside world in a most direct way. Plug in the wrong device into the right socket or vice-versa and you may be looking for another sound card.

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