I thought I'd refer you to my thread regarding Realtek audio issues with a GS60 -064 model... http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/volume-too-low-on-gs60-2qe-970m-6gb.777903/ So far I've found no solution to these issues but they began after updating to the latest BiOS and EC for this model. Did they update those to the new versions when you used the RMA process? My pet theory is that the new firmware somehow caused these audio device driver problems. I have all the same symptoms as yours, including the Realtek Audio Manager failing to launch properly. MSI tech support also suggested a re-install of windows / system restore to resolve the issue but I think that's a bit of an extreme measure. Let me know if you find some resolution.