Test System System
Processor(s): AMD Athlon XP-M 2600+ @ 3900+ (2.6GHz)
Motherboard(s): ABIT NF7-S
Memory(s): 2x 512MB Buffalo 2-2-2-5 BH-5 @ 221MHz
Video Card(s): Gigabyte Radeon X800 XT PE 256MB (Supplied by Gigabyte)
Hard Disk(s): 2 x 200GB Western Digital "JB" in RAID 0
Sound Card(s): nVidia SoundStorm via ABIT NF7-S (hardware accelerated), Terratec Sixpack 5.1+ (hardware accelerated), Sound Blaster Live! Value (hardware accelerated), Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS Platinum Pro (hardware accelerated) and Cmedia 8738 PCI (software)
Operating System Used: Microsoft Windows 2000 SP4
Drivers Used: nVidia nForce 4.27, ATI Catalyst 4.8, Cmedia v0644, nVidia Audio driver 4.42, Terratec 5.12.01.3057, AUDIGY2_1_84_50 and SBLive! 1.03.001
We tested every game with a resolution of 1280 x 1024 with AA 4x / AF 8x forced on in the Windows control panel. Vertical Sync was disabled for all testing. Maximum sound detail was enabled where possible to make sure the SoundStorm was working the hardest - encoding Dolby Digital on the fly for true positional surround sound in all games. We also provided results with sound disabled to give you an idea of the overall impact of sound in games on frame rate.
We quickly discovered that providing you guys with a 100% true and accurate measurement of sound card frames per second performance would be a tough job. While we cannot be 100% accurate, we opted for a pure real-world testing environment instead. Except for UT2004 and Q3A (our testing showed a good and consistent difference in results) we did not use any pre-recorded timedemos as we want to provide a true indication of performance - as tedious as it was. Instead for the rest of the games we fired up FRAPS and measured the average frames per second while we actually played the game each time.
This is the part where we cannot be 100% accurate - we played the same stage in each game, shot the same amount of rockets, jumped the same amount of times and took the same line in the drag race but each time there were small inconsistencies which cannot be helped. This method of testing took us much longer (an entire weekend in total) than it would have if we used timedemos but the results are certainly truer than they would have been if we just timedemos.
The fact that it was such a time consuming and tough job for us is another testament to the fact that computer audio is a forgotten component because there is hardly a fraction of the audio benchmarks available on the web as there are graphics benchmark software. Everyone makes a big deal out of a few frames per second difference between graphics cards, but why is there never any mention of the differences that can be achieved in that same few fps between various sound card solutions? Some new audio benchmark software would go along way to helping this situation! Any developers out there listening?
Let's get started and see how the mighty SoundStorm shapes up against the competition. It is VERY IMPORTANT to remember although the SoundStorm is hardware optimized, it is working in several cases at least twice as hard as the other sound solutions due to the on the fly encoding of Dolby Digital from an original stereo format in all of the games. Plus the SoundStorm also supports a full 64 path sound environment meaning more sound effects were processed at the same time over other unsupported cards (Cmedia and Sound Blaster Live! Value).
PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.
United States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon's website.
United Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon UK's website.
Canada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon Canada's website.
- What's up with computer audio? - Page 1 [Introduction]
- What's up with computer audio? - Page 2 [What is so good about SoundStorm?]
- What's up with computer audio? - Page 3 [Benchmarks - Test System Setup and Comments]
- What's up with computer audio? - Page 4 [Benchmarks - Doom 3]
- What's up with computer audio? - Page 5 [Benchmarks - Far Cry]
- What's up with computer audio? - Page 6 [Benchmarks - Quake 3 Arena]
- What's up with computer audio? - Page 7 [Benchmarks - 3DMark03]
- What's up with computer audio? - Page 8 [Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 2004]
- What's up with computer audio? - Page 9 [Benchmarks - Battlefield Vietnam]
- What's up with computer audio? - Page 10 [Benchmarks - CS Source BETA]
- What's up with computer audio? - Page 11 [Benchmarks - NFS Underground]
- What's up with computer audio? - Page 12 [Final Thoughts]
Recommended for You
- We at TweakTown openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion of our content. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here.
Latest News Posts
- Microsoft loves PC gaming, no HDR support in Halo Wars 2
- Pentium G4560 costs $64, fights Core i5-2500K at $270
- Modified Tesla Model S goes from 0-100 in 2.1 seconds
- Airbus wants to start testing flying cars this year
- Pokemon GO generated an insane $950 million in 2016
- How to get larger than 2TB HD to work on GA-P35-DS4 Rev 2.0
- G skill Trident Z 32GB ( 2 x 16GB) DDR4 3000 Cas 15
- Intel 82579v - Code 10 - media disconnected
- 80mm or 92mm Fan for D8000-3
- p67a-ud3-b3 with u1d UEFI bios: pcie 4x works as 1x
- BIOSTAR announces Z270 motherboard lineup
- Immersion and Nintendo enter into agreement to bring Immersion's TouchSense Technology to the Nintendo Switch System
- LucidSound invites Nintendo Switch gamers to a new standard of powered audio with the LS20 Amplified Universal Gaming Headset
- Opera Neon envisions the future of web browsers
- Nintendo Switch launches March 3 at $299.99