Monday, August 27, 2007

Microsoft Responds to Vista Audio Problems

Last week's post, 'Networking problems when Vista Audio is Active' linked to reports from the 2CPU forums about networking problems in Vista during audio playback. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes in his "Gear for Geeks" column for ZDNET received a response from Microsoft regarding these problems. You can just read his article, but I might as well provide his list of Microsoft responses here:
  • “We have been looking into this problem and are working on a doc that will go into the technical details of what we have found.”
  • “Please note that some of what we are seeing is expected behavior, and some of it is not. In certain circumstances Windows Vista will trade off network performance in order to improve multimedia playback. This is by design.”
  • “The connection between media playback and networking is not immediately obvious. But as you know, the drivers involved in both activities run at extremely high priority. As a result, the network driver can cause media playback to degrade. This shows up to the user as things like popping and crackling during audio playback. Users generally hate this, hence the trade off.”
  • “In most cases the user does not notice the impact of this as the decrease in network performance is slight. Of course some users, especially ones on Gigabit based networks, are seeing a much greater decrease than is expected and that is clearly a problem that we need to address.”
  • “Two other things to note. First, we have not seen any cases where a users internet performance would be degraded, in our tests this issue only shows up with local network operations.”
  • “Second, this trade-off scheme only kicks in on the receive side. Transmit is not affected.”
Seems pretty strange to me. Slight degradation? Some people have reported network performance throttled to 5-10% when playing audio. Heck, when using Windows Media Player the network performance is reduced even when the audio is paused (using other media players like Foobar2000, the network performance is only throttled during playback). Anyhow, I never had any pops, clicks or skips when playing audio on my old Pentium III or IV hardware running Windows NT while connected to a network back around 1999. So I still don't understand why they are having this problem with today's hardware. Hopefully this will be fixed in a future patch or something.

1 comment:

  1. Well 3 years later and I've got the opposite problem. I don't have any network throttling or priority switching happening but every time I try to download or upload a large file my sound skips. I'm using a frigging dual-core and all my unneeded system services are disabled. The thing is stripped down to bare-bones. The worst part of this is that YouTube's FLV videos are large files. So almost every time I want to watch a video on YouTube, I've got to either listen with sound skipping or pause the playback until the entire file is buffered. Didn't have any of these problems on a P-III running XP. Way to go MS :/

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