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XP and Bios Tweaks and Fixes, Pops and Glitches

This article is basically a troubleshoot of a problem I have, it’s also an excuse to have a look at some of the tweaks and fixes that can be found in your bios settings.

The problem I’m having comes in three forms:

1. Sonar: CPU spikes to 100% hits red with a ‘warning’ sign

2. Powercore disables itself periodically.

3. After recording hard drive seems slow in updating Sonar with new track.

I’m convinced this is an IRQ conflict, I recently installed a powercore element card alongside my UAD, M-Audio 2496, Adaptec and Gigabit network card.

All my PCI slots are now maxed out.

An IRQ conflict is when too devices are assigned the same IRQ.

IMPORTANT NOTE:As usual with all the troubleshooting and noodling with settings that I write about on this site please remember that I am an idiot and I take no responsibility for anything that goes hooky with your system. Please read this guide first and only attempt the fixes if you’re confident enough to do so. Also please, please, please

***BACK UP EVERYTHING BEFORE YOU START***

:::Check IRQ:::

Start -> Settings -> Control Panel

System -> Hardware -> Device Manager

At the top of device manager you have four choices File, Action, View and Help.

View ->Resources by connection

Click on the (+) next to ‘Interrupt Request’

This will give you a list of all your devices and there IRQ settings.

Check each devices number and see if they conflict with anything else/have the same number.

When I did this I had a few conflicts.

Mainly my Powercore is on the same IRQ as my Gigabit network card.

So time for the old switcheroo.

Switching cards around is usually a way of reaasigning IRQs.

Pain in the arse really. Also worth a mention is moving the sound card as far away from the Processor as possible.

Before you go ahead make sure you have all your drivers just in case.

If you’re going to do this do one card at a time, sometimes software that have protection will get confused and think a new pc has been setup and want reinstalling. To be on the safe side, one at a time, restart windows and check IRQs. You never know you might get lucky.

:::Update on my system:::

Apart from having to update my drivers I have no IRQ conflicts, but I’ve also removed the gigabit lan card.

This is not exactly a pain but neither is it ideal. I used the Lan for FX Teleport and even though I can still use my onboard Lan ikt may not work as well. Oh well onwards and upwards, maybe I can reinstall it later if everything else is ok.

:::Bios Tweaking:::

Now I’ve fixed my first problem the IRQs it’s time to teak my bios.

As I go along I’ll try and give info on each component.

Start PC and press F2 or whichever key it is you need to enter you bios.

First let’s start with disabling anything we don’t need.

Eg: Onboard Sound Card, Midi, Serial Port, LPT port etc.

Make sure they’re not in use. If you’re not sure then don’t touch.

Some tweaks

FDC – Floppy Disc Controller – I don’t have a floppy disc drive so that can be disabled, also must rmeove floppy from start up options.

Spread Spectrum – For better performance disable – spread spectrum slows the system.

CPU Host Frequency – Unless overclocking leave this as auto.

DRAM Frequency – Leave as Auto

Flexibility Option – Leave as disabled

:::Chipset Configuation:::

AGP Mode – Not using games so I’m going to set it x4 rather than the maximum x8 – to be safe leave alone

AGP Aperture Size – Again as this is an audio PC going to set this to the minimum 32mb – to be safe leave as is

AGP Fastwrite – Recommended to disable fast write if having problems

PCI Delay Transaction – Enabled increases performance if you have an ISA bus – check your driver connections in device manager as previously to see if there is an ISA bus if not sure leave alone.

:::Resource Configuartion:::

PCI Latency Timer (PCI Clocks) – Seen a tip that states for better performance increase the value. On other sites though the longer the latency period can affect performance. I’m going to set it to highest and see what happens. I can always test it later.

:::Fini:::

So after a restart it seems that my system is a lot more stable.

I’ve set it to defrag the audio hard drive.

So fingers crossed.

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