Ewww.... yeah ...... definitely an issue with the audio card. That one did not even cross my mind, glad you caught it. I've not seen an audio card cause that error in at least 2 years now, erratic framerates, but it happens.
Get yourself a PCI audio card from either Creative or Turtle Beach. I tend to prefer Turtle Beach cards these days. Creative SoundBlasters can be a pain to install sometimes (not sure why), and Creative Audigy cards are really uncooperative with video capture cards.
In my two ATI AIW setups, I have a SoundBlaster Live that's about 5 years old and works okay, and then I have a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz card in my primary system.
Pretty much any card will run you $25-50, don't spend less, don't spend more. My local Circuit City actually had some TB Santa Cruz cards on clearance a while back, for like $20-25 range. Fry's caries them too. Best Buy seems to only carry Creative cards, mostly Audigy. Walmart has some of the non-Audigy Creative cards for about $25 also.
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