Stutter & crackling during playback on new PC

I don’t use this new PC for Audacity much at the moment, but using it this morning I encountered a crackling & slight stutter on the track I needed to work on.
This is just a simple 7.44MB song downloaded from an official website, nothing amazing about it.
On further testing, it is doing it on any MP3 with music (doesn’t do it with acapellas, though I only tried a couple)

I’m on W10 64 bit, the mp3’s I’m trying vary from low quality ripped from YT to files from eMusic. Just updated to 3.0.4 and it makes no difference

This doesn’t happen on my W10 laptop or W7 desktop when using the identical file

Any ideas? Something to do with playback input volume? Issue with soundcard in relation to Audacity?

Thanks in advance

My guess would be that there’s a sample rate mismatch somewhere, eg your soundcard may be expecting a 48kHz signal but is getting 44.1kHz. I’d just try playing around with these settings, both in Audacity and the Windows sound settings, and see if that solves it.

I don’t use this new PC

Desktop? Does it have a Solid State Drive (SSD)?

Are you using an external drive, network drive, or cloud drive/storage? Is Audacity installed on the computer’s system drive (C:)?

Record some of the damage. Either the recorder app on your phone or the built-in mic on the laptop. Actual microphone if you have one. WAV (Microsof) 16-bit, if you can. If you can’t, as high a quality MP3 as you can do

The forum will accept up to ten seconds of sound.

Scroll down from a forum window > Attachments > Add Files.

As a fuzzy idea, the machine is too busy doing something else to pay attention to Audacity. Alternately, the computer is massively underpowered. Not all computers can handle audio (or video) production.