I have an Inspiron i5577 with AC-3165 w/BT. For a long time now, sometimes when I rewind a video on Firefox or Chrome, on any website, with a fresh Windows 10 installation, the video and audio becomes choppy. Imagine looking at a video that only plays 1 Frame Per Second. It plays for quarter of a second, stops, plays again, stops, etc. Once the stutter begins, every sound played through other sources such as local MP3 or Windows notification sound also stutter.
If I rewind videos on a local MP4 file it never starts stuttering. It never starts stuttering with wired earphones. The stutter is always initiated when changing a video playback position on the browser. The more frequently I change the position, the more likely it stutters. Sometimes it stutters only for a second after rewinding but continues to play. When this initial one-time stutter happens, it always starts stuttering permanently after subsequent rewinding. Rewind once - it stutters once but plays fine. Rewind again - it stutters forever.
I have tested it with two BT headsets manufactured by different companies, as well as on two web browsers. The problem is with the Bluetooth adapter or drivers.
I have followed Mr. Carlos A.'s advice to reinstall WiFi and BT adapters but that hasn't solved it (tried Dell's WiFi/BT drivers too).
To temporarily fix the problem I disable and re-enable the BT adapter. The BT headphone automatically pairs and it plays fine after the reset. Sometimes the stutter happens multiple times in 10 minutes, sometimes once an hour. It makes media consumption through BT highly unpleasant.
I've attached Intel System utility log to this thread with a hope that someone can help troubleshoot it. I'm willing to go through technical steps. Thanks in advance!
EDIT: Here is a more detailed look at the problem. Open a YouTube video and play. Click on a rewind bar to skip ahead. Do it again. It starts stuttering. Click on Windows 10 notification button (bottom-right corner of taskbar) and from the action panel click on the Bluetooth card twice to disable and re-enable. Once the Bluetooth is disabled, what surprises me is that the video automatically stops. If I try to rewind the video while BT is being reset, it won't play. The video starts playing automatically on its own once the BT finishes resetting and pairs the BT headset. As soon as its automatically paired the video resumes with a proper sound.
We understand you're experiencing audio stuttering issues when streaming sound to your Bluetooth® headsets in Windows® 10 using the Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165.
Thank you including all this detail in your question, that should help us avoid unnecessary or repeated troubleshooting.
Let's try disabling the audio enhancements on your headset to see if these are what's causing the issue:
1. Run "mmsys.cpl" in your search box or command prompt.
2. Right-click your "Default Device" (Bluetooth® headset, in this case) and click "Properties."
3. On the Enhancements tab, check the box to "Disable all sound effects."
4. Select Apply, but leave the Properties window open, test your sound.
5. If the issue continues, go to the Advanced tab, try setting your audio quality differently. If your quality is set to DVD Quality, lower it to CD Quality or vice versa.
Please let us know if this helps.
Disabled the enhancements, Applied, tested and the problem happened again. The area to change audio quality to something else is currently set to CD and is grey out, making it unchangeable.
I've also tested Realtek audio drivers from Reltek.com.tw and Dell's website but I doubt that's the issue because the stutter doesn't happen with wired earphones.
Also would like to mention that the laptop is only connected to a 5GHz Wireless-AC because I've seen reports of 2.4GHz BT interfering with 2.4GHz WiFis
You're correct, we usually recommend using the 5 GHz frequency for wireless to avoid RF interference from Bluetooth® devices.
Since the previous steps have not helped, please make sure that your power options are correctly set for best performance:
I did those but it still stuttered so I switched back to old values. I just noticed something very interesting. Rewinded a YouTube video, created a stutter, tested to verify a local MP3 stutters too, then I closed Firefox. All the stutter was gone instantly. Re-opened Firefox and played MP3 to verify both were playing fine. I didn't need to reset the BT adapter. The stutter is created by Chrome too.
Another way to fix the stutter without resetting the BT adapter or closing the browser is to terminate the audio playback somehow. For example, right click on Audio on taskbar > Playback Devices > select Default devices and Properties > Enhancements > change the content of "Disable all enhancements" box (disable if enabled; enable if disabled) and click Apply. This resets the sound and the stutter is gone. Keep in mind that the Enhancements itself is not what causes the stutter, but the fact that I made some kind of a change that reset the audio playback.
Thanks for the updates. We'll need to engage our additional resources for help with this one.
I'll update your thread as soon as we have more troubleshooting for you.
Please test the following:
1. Open Device Manager.
2. Right click > Disable every device under "Audio inputs and outputs" and the "Sound, video and game controllers" categories.
4. Re-enable all these devices, test your sound, let us know if the issue persists.
Thanks for the continuous troubleshooting support.
It's still stuttering. I've also tried this: Bluetooth settings> More Bluetooth options > Hardware tab> Intel Wireless Bluetooth properties > Change settings > Power Management tab > do not allow the PC to turn this device off for power saving > Apply and Reboot. Still stutters.
I don't remember when the problem begun. It might have been from day one when I started using Bluetooth for music. Before that I only used wired earphones.
From the Intel® System Support Utility report that you shared with your original post, we can see that you're already using the latest wireless software and drivers. However, this tool is currently unable to display your Bluetooth® driver version.
Could you please confirm that you're using the https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/27493/Wireless-Intel-Wireless-Bluetooth-for-Windows-10?v=t Intel® Wireless Bluetooth® Software version 20.30.0? This should install driver version 184.108.40.206 for your adapter.
That is the latest version available. Thank you for confirming this for us.
Please hang on while we engage our aditional resources.
Does the issue also occur while listening to your Bluetooth* headphones even if your wireless adapter is disabled or disconnected from WiFi?
Does a network reset make a difference?
Wait for your PC to restart and see if that fixes the problem.
Did you perform a clean installation of your drivers at some point, or simply switch from OEM to our drivers?
This is our clean installation method. A clean installation allows us to make sure we're not carrying any settings or corruptions over to the new installation:
Did a clean install today. Also tried a network reset and the computer rebooted after uninstalling the adapter. The stutter still happens.
I opened dozens of YouTube videos and let them load as much as possible, then disabled the WiFi adapter, and after half an hour of watching and rewinding videos, it stuttered again.
Thanks for the reply. There is a new driver set to be published soon, however, I'm still looking for alternate troubleshooting options for you.
I have sent you the results via private message as requested.
Here is an example of what I see when the stutter begins: https://streamable.com/e2pg5 3-15-2018 7-51-39 PM - Streamable
The video appears as in slow motion. The audio source in this case is coming from my BT headphone so you can't hear it, but what I hear is a stuttering static noise. Waterfall sound - pause - waterfall sound - pause.
Disabling hardware acceleration and restarting the Firefox browser did not fix it.
I used a program called LatencyMon to monitor the hardware and it appeared to be fine. Someone in their forums was having another audio problem so they suggested to use Resource Monitor to monitor Paging File Faults. Turns out I have those too, not sure if this is normal:
red - file is read from Page file instead of RAM
green - SSD activity
I upgraded the SanDisk X400 SSD's firmware to the latest version but it's still happening.
At the moment I can reproduce the stutter more consistently in the following environment:
On Firefox, open 17 YouTube video pages. Open this video for testing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOXm32zDH-A Easy Way to Add Countdown Timer in OBS Studio - YouTube
Play the video. Click in the center to pause for no more than 2 seconds before playing again. Play again immediately and pause immediately for another < 2 seconds.
Play - pause - wait 1.5 seconds - play - pause - wait 1.5 seconds - repeat dozens of times to reproduce. You'll notice that at some point when you begin playing the video, it appears to start it with a hesitation, like a mini-stutter. Do not click anywhere else while doing this. In real life it can happen randomly only by pausing and playing once, but this is a reliable way to reproduce quickly at the moment.
Here is the important part. When I do the above and create the stutter, I don't actually have to reset the BT adapter or terminate the audio source by other methods in order to fix the stutter. Once the stutter begins, clicking on the video progress bar to place it at a different time location fixes the audio.
I had Firefox opened for a while and slowly closed all tabs down to this one video
https://youtu.be/rOjHhS5MtvA?t=3333 Beethoven 9 - Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Riccardo Muti - YouTube
The browser was using 2.5GB RAM despite only having one tab. The page was slow to interact with. Moving the mouse to the center of the video would reveal the progress bar only 5 seconds later. Every click registered 5 seconds later. When I clicked in the middle of the video to play the video again, after a 5 second delay, the video played after a brief stutter. Did it again and the stutter became permanent. It was much easier to reproduce the stutter in this environment. I opened another tab and switched to it. When I switched back to YouTube tab it had a spinning icon in the center of blank Firefox tab before loading the YouTube page. It usually happens when the browser struggles due to RAM or other shortage. I disabled all extensions to make sure they don't cause it. The only thing that solved the general sluggishness and easily reproducible stutter was restarting the browser itself, after which it went back to 600MB with one tab.
Does this mean the BT audio stutter is related to heavy RAM taxation?
I used Windows 10's RAM tester. It rebooted and scanned the stick for half an hour but found no errors. SMART is showing the SSD in good health. SFC /SCANNOW doesn't show system corruption.
We've discussed this quite a bit, but have not been able to reproduce on our end, as can sometimes happen since we don't have your exact hardware, but all the information you have provided has been very helpful.
The 20.40.0 Bluetooth® and WiFi packages have now been released publicly, could you please test them together?
Also, what is the brand and model of your wireless headset(s)?
There's a possibility this could be rooted in a hardware problem. Is it possible for you to also engage your computer manufacturer in regards to this issue?
Hello Carlos. Thank you and the rest of the team for looking into this!
I did a clean install of the latest drivers, no difference. The stutter is reproducible on two different BT headsets: SoundPeats Q12 and iClever. Both are in-ear earphones.
There hasn't been any response from the PC manufacturer yet. I decided that it'll be easier and faster if I buy a new WiFi card and replace it myself. I will update this thread with the results once it's done.
The last question is, how can I make sure that the replacement card is compatible with this Inspiron i5577 laptop?
Right now it has AC-3165 (prefer not to purchase the same model for replacement): https://ark.intel.com/products/89450/Intel-Dual-Band-Wireless-AC-3165 Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165 Product Specifications
Replacement candidate AC-8260: https://ark.intel.com/products/86068/Intel-Dual-Band-Wireless-AC-8260 Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 Product Specifications
Replacement candidate AC-9260: https://ark.intel.com/products/99445/Intel-Wireless-AC-9260 Intel® Wireless-AC 9260 Product Specifications
All adapters compared side-by-side: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/products/compare-products.html?productIds=99445,86068,89450 Compare Products
I came across those adapters because they were listed in my adapter's driver download page. I figured they must be pretty similar if they all use the same drivers. Feel free to recommend others. I only care about it being physically compatible with the laptop. Thanks for your help.