I'm running a Gateway MT6728 laptop with snd_hda_intel for audio. The longer things are running, the worse things get. Typically I'm running Pidgin and look at videos on YouTube quite often in Firefox. At some point (not sure when), sound from Pidgin gets backed-up and will either not play at all, or will play all at once sometime later.

But that's not my problem. The big problem is that at some point, audio stops working, and it causes applications to crash, freeze, or simply not run altogether. Firefox refuses to open, and when running gnome-terminal the window will come up but a command prompt never appears. Ctrl+alt+backspace does not solve the problem; at this point, everything will freeze after I attempt to log in. Only a complete reboot seems to fix it.

Any thoughts? Linux audio seems like a big complicated mess to me and I have no idea how it works or how to troubleshoot it.