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I'm Jason, a web applications developer in the San Francisco Bay area.

Dell Dimension 3000 - Audio is Choppy

At work I have a Dell Dimension 3000 workstation, and for months I’ve put up with the computer being kind of slow. I just figured it was due to the computer being kind of old…but I brought in some headphones so I could do some serious music listening while I work and just got fed up with the way the sound was choppy. Anytime I’d do anything processor intensive the music I was listening to in Grooveshark (which I highly recommend you check out) would sound like crap.

So I installed the latest sound driver from for the integrated sound card and still after rebooting it sucked. Also when I start the computer up in the morning, I would have to wait like 3 minutes at least for all the startup programs to load. Nothing else would open until this was done.

So anyway, I searched for a solution to this issue and found this post:

choppy sound on DELL Dimension 3000

It turns out that the Primary IDE controller in Windows XP was set to use some sort of PIO mode to communicate with the hard drive on the computer, as opposed to DMA mode. DMA stands for Direct Memory Access, and is totally more efficient than the PIO mode, Programmed Input-Output, where the central processor transfers data byte for byte or word for word through your system to the other components (like your sound card).

My computer runs blazing fast now in comparison to how it was running before. I’m so glad I checked into this. If you have a Dell Dimension 3000 and it’s running like crap, definitely try this.