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I have audio playback ticks (short dropouts) approximately every 5 minutes with Eset Internet Security x64 v14.022. The problem does not happen when EIS is uninstalled and Windows built-in antivirus is used. The system is a clean install of Windows 10 x64 v.21H1. The problem also occurred on earlier Win versions, e.g 20H2. The machine is an Asus Z370-A i7-8700k 32 MB RAM without any overclocking.  I have tried various "tweaks" recommended for audio without success. The only thing that works is disabling or uninstalling ESET IS. Resplendence Latencymon reports inconsistent results for which process is causing excess latency. Where should I go next to troubleshoot?

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Posted (edited)

the latest publicly available stable Windows version is 19042.867 (20H2, the Ocober 2020 update). you say you have v.21H1. this is a preview/insider build. 21H1 is due for release in May.

are you running insider builds?
since i'm already running the 19042.867 (20H2) stable version, i haven't noticed anything related to sound or video. could it be that the driver is incompatible with certain AVs and it requires an update? have you checked with the manufacturer of your sound card or the optional updates section in Windows Update panel?

if that problem existed in previous versions as well, could you try a linux live dvd to test if the issue persists? it could also be a hardware problem.

Edited by shocked
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Yes, I am running insider builds. However, in the recent past, I used released builds and had the same problem. The Win Update optional drivers are all installed.

The sound card is a pro audio RME UFX+ with the latest driver. There is an active RME user forum and no reports of this issue due to Win or ESET incompatibilities (except my post re dropouts with ESET). On the other hand, ESET is not used by any respondent there. The audio setup is [external digital source] > AES input to RME > digital routing in RME windows interface > ASIO out to RME DAC. So, no actual audio player in Windows, only digital audio signal routing and mixing.

I have a Ubuntu 20 machine with ESET installed. I will test it if possible (not sure that RME supports Linux.) 

Thank you for the ideas

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Does the issue go away after disabling firewall or protocol filtering? What about disabling real-time protection and HIPS followed by a computer restart?

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Solved!

I had been running the computer without an add-on graphics card. My reasoning was that it was not used for games or any graphics-intensive application. The clue came with LatencyMon reporting DirectX frequently with DPC overruns. By adding a graphics card, and setting Bios to use only the add-on graphics, the Ticks and Pops are gone. 

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