Doubt about the soundcards and CPU Workload

Discussion in 'Soundcards, Speakers HiFI & File formats' started by SoulSlave, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. SoulSlave

    SoulSlave Member

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    I read a lot of information on the net, but I still couldn't make my mind from those, so I came here for some enlightenment...

    So, as far as I can understend Vista no longer allows direct hardware access for sound processing. Does this mean that it doesn't make any difference between a on-board sound or a Xi-Fi? From the CPU point of view, NOT from the quality point o view.

    Second, I own a M2N-SLI Deluxe MoBo, and I found out that the sound was not so great for surround output.

    I was thinking about getting a off-board sound card, how much of an impact would it make on my performance (under windows xp, for if I am correct, it wont impact at all on vista) and would the sound quility improve seriously?

    THX!!
     
  2. TheHunter

    TheHunter Banned

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    in vista such effect as eax is disabled yes..
    with Creative Alchemy its all back to normal, but this workaround is rather stupid, you need to put in every game you play to take advantage of those eax effects...openAL is a different story, i think but someone correct me if i'm wrong, vista likes openal more and doesn't disable it by default, cus eax is directx effect and openal isn't.

    And yes sound will improve allot over onboard chip.
     
  3. SoulSlave

    SoulSlave Member

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    Ok, so the sound quality improves, I like that, BUT, how about CPU LOAD?

    How much LOAD does a 5.1 positional audio puts o the CPU using the onboard sound? Would it be worth paying the premium if I was to use a off-board SC? Or is it lika 3% load?
     
  4. CJ3D

    CJ3D Ancient Guru

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    If you have a dual core CPU, it doesnt matter. 99% of games only use one core, leaving the second core for devices/drivers (sound chip).

    But with a dedicated sound card, you will get better quality cleaner sound and more features.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2008

  5. RejZoR

    RejZoR Ancient Guru

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    I think most of ppl look at soundcards from audio quality and features point of view, not performance. Though Creative cards offer hardware acceleration which comes in handy for games that use 128 sounds and EAX effects. Thats where difefrences usually start to appear. But still, mostly features over performance.
     
  6. SoulSlave

    SoulSlave Member

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    I see... well...

    But i heard tha some off board cards leave the soud processing for the CPU (such as audigy SE) is this true?

    +

    Can anyone tell me if under vista the processing is made by the cpu os by the board DSP?

    Thx
     
  7. RejZoR

    RejZoR Ancient Guru

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    It depends. X-Fi + Wumpus OpenAL output plugin for WinAMP and all music is hardware mixed by X-Fi itself. Using DirectSound is done pretty much all on CPU and later outputed through X-Fi. Theoretically even Audigy cards should do the same since they support OpenAL...
     
  8. CJ3D

    CJ3D Ancient Guru

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    It depends on the Sound Card.

    Sound cards with a dedicated "sound processor" such as the X-Fi, dont rely on the CPU to process commands. These sound processors are basically little CPU's that process audio.

    Sound cards with a cheap C-Media or Realtek chip are basically the same as onboard sound chips. They rely on the CPU to process commands, which can affect game frame rates. But these cards are still better than onboard sound chips because they are not squashed on the motherboard next to 50,000 other devices which can cause signal-to-noise interference (such as buzzing, humming, and crackling) in the audio output. And they can have more advanced circuitry, including dedicated DAC chips.

    Sound Cards with the more expensive C-Media or Realtek chips (such as the C-Media chip the Asus Xonar uses) are not quite as good as the X-Fi, but they do rely less on the CPU, and have neat features such as DTS-Connect / Dolby Digital Live hardware encoding.

    Then you have the Sound Cards with a cheap previous-gen chip, that "pretend" to be a proper Sound Processor, like that entry level Creative X-Fi Sound Card that has an old Audigy Chip, with the X-Fi features done in software, which is obviously not good for gaming but fine for playing back an MP3 with the Crystalizer turned on.
     
  9. GREGIX

    GREGIX Master Guru

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    why all the time u speaking about ****y creative products?
    u wonna better sound, h/w accelerated in vista- buy asus xonar d2/d2x/dx card or razer barracuda ac-1
    less driver problems, excellent sound quality, lots od digital dolby features, and pure, crisp sound...
    x-fi sucks anyway
     
  10. RejZoR

    RejZoR Ancient Guru

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    Yey, you told the exact bable crap everyone is yelling all around. I don't have any driver problems (so far), i don't need Dolby Digital Live! because i use analog connectivity and considering the sound it's still pue and crisp.
    Considering i'm also a gamer and i prefer good gaming sound X-Fi makes it an obvious choice... If you don't like it because everyone hates it just because its from Creative Labs, thats your loss, not mine.
     

  11. GREGIX

    GREGIX Master Guru

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    i had x-fi, got some driver problems in past, overall i hate creative not because everyone does same...but:
    1. rape on aureal inc, they even didn't implement their technology properly to x-fi
    2. face lifting old product all the time(x-fi fatality>>gamef platinium champion blabla crap series), leaving users with no support after 2-3 y of product release,
    3. lack of proper drivers update, no linux support
    4. and sound- some kind muffled, flat sometimes - best thing i've done after buying microlab solo 7c was connecting to onboard hd audio, my mp3/flac got another life with it
    and i've sold this card last week(x-fi fatality), i'm a gamer, and i'm waiting right now on razer barracuda ac-1
    as i've said- got better sound, and as for gamer- better 3d positioning sound in games
     
  12. Postalisback

    Postalisback Ancient Guru

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    Doesn't seem like many people are having driver problems with the Auzentech X-Fi Prelude though, neither am I, brilliant card. :)

    Creative X-Fi's are a different thing entirely (which seems to be something you forgot, not all X-Fi's are made by Creative...) :rolleyes:
     
  13. CJ3D

    CJ3D Ancient Guru

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    Same here, no problems at all, drivers are rock solid. Very hard to fault :)
     
  14. Ultraq

    Ultraq Master Guru

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    SoulSlave, you'll find that most of the performance-improvement aspects of sound cards, ANY sound cards whether they be X-Fis or Xonars, is a bit over-hyped and any performance gains that you may or may not actually get will likely be within the margin of error for any generic/overall performance benchmark you throw at it.

    Sound cards are really there to improve the audio quality of a game/program and audio experience of the user; they aren't as much of an FPS-maker as a video card is.
     
  15. SoulSlave

    SoulSlave Member

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    Ok, i guess it's all relative uh?

    I'm not much of a sound purist (well... not at all), but I would appreciate the improved quality, and since:

    1st: I'm not really interested in killer features, just nice quality overall.
    2nd: I currently use on-board sound (it already consumes my CPU anyway...).
    3rd: Vista won't make it easy, even if I have a better board.

    And last but (Definitely) not least: I'm on a (tiny) budget...

    I'll go for the old Audigy SE... I mean, I know that Xi-Fi or Xonar or whatever are far better products, but I don't think I'll have much use for them...

    I would appreciate though , if someone could suggest me something in the same price range, it would be really helpfull!

    By the way, thanks for the posts, they were very helpful.

    THX!
     

  16. Postalisback

    Postalisback Ancient Guru

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    They don't really improve framerates but they do make them much smoother, that was the first thing I noticed in source engine games, my framerates were much smoother overall compared to when I was using my onboard sound.
     
  17. SoulSlave

    SoulSlave Member

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    Ok, around here (Brazil), I have the option of Audigy 2 SE R$ 75 (about 55 USD) and SB Live! 5.1 for about R$ 50 ( ~ 30 USD) is there much of a diference between these two? Is the premium for the Audigy worth paying?

    THX!
     
  18. ROBSCIX

    ROBSCIX Ancient Guru

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    Personally, I would save more money and try and have a better card imported to where you are.
     
  19. SoulSlave

    SoulSlave Member

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    Ok, let's say I would do so...

    Up to 60 USD what would you suggest?
     
  20. ROBSCIX

    ROBSCIX Ancient Guru

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    What would I suggest? Save more money then that, but If your not really into spending that much money on a soundcard then I guess you can get a Audigy 2, I am not sure if that SE model has a 10K2 processor or not.
    Can't you get any newer cards where you are? Cards such as the Preludes?
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2008

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