Easy Solution for AMD GPU noise

A couple months ago, I put together a new PC out of cheap/used parts since I was still using an ancient 4th gen Intel CPU to power a superpotato tower (ambitiously named “fragmonster”). AMD GPUs are very unpopular in Thailand, so I found a Sapphire 6700xt for a song. I paired it with other decent-but-not-exorbitant components, and made a 1440p rig which made me quite happy. I was using it with USB headphones, and it was all good.

Then one day, I plugged it into my stereo amp via the analog line out and I couldn’t believe the whining and stuttering noises coming out of it that started as soon as Windows booted and got worse as I opened more and more apps. Although I first suspected my CPU cooling fans, I eventually realized it was from the GPU and tried every solution online — reinstalling sound drivers, replacing AMD dll files, running audio troubleshooters, Windows updates, etc. — to no avail. This went on for a few painful weeks, and I just tried to ignore it. I may have, even briefly, come to accept that I could never use the analog sound outputs (front or back!) on my new system.

Then on some obscure forum, in a post from a couple years ago, somebody recommended trying a hardware fix for Sapphire AMD cards in particular — a ground loop isolator. I happened to have one in my truck, since I was going to install it my sound system there. It was an simple RCA connector model, plug and play, and it worked instantly and flawlessly.

The downside to using one of these devices or other isolators/filters is that they may affect sound quality. I am using it for playing audio from a PC, so my expectations weren’t that high from the beginning, and I didn’t notice a difference anyway. What I did notice is that the coil noise (whining, stuttering, screeching) that made the normal use of my PC’s analog sound outputs impossible, was almost completely eliminated… and now I can truly Milly rock, hide it in my sock.

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