Anyone have problems with their sound cards working with the KT266 Chipset (specifically MS-6380LE ). I'm not sure what sound card I wanna buy but I need a new one to run max payne, I was gonna get the Fort Tissimo 2 but now I'm hearing good things about, Audigy and others...Need a little feedback here, and I know this is the place to go:-)
It depends more on which chipset you are using than it does on the CPU. I was someone who ran into nasty hard drive corruption issues using an SBLive Platinum 5.1 in an Asus A7M266 (AMD 761/Via 686B chips). Believe me when I say that I tried every driver update, BIOS patch, tweak, etc. trying to fix that issue. I still ended up reloading my system every couple of days (I had an image on CD). That got extremely old. I finally broke down and replaced the SBlive! with a Philips Acoustic Edge and all of my hard drive corruption issues went away instantly. From personal experience, I highly recommend the Philips Acoustic Edge. I used Soundblaster cards for over ten years and thought they were great because I never had issues with them. After my experience, though, I have a hard time recommending the SBlive! for use with any system with the Via 686B southbridge.
The slightly confusing thing is that several people with 686B southbridge systems use the Sblive! without any big problems. After doing a lot of reading, it appears that the problems come down to both the Via chipset AND Creative's SBlive! design. The 686B doesn't always deal very well with PCI busmastering and DMA issues. My system included a busmastering SCSI card (Adaptec 2930CU), a bandwidth intensive Geforce3 vid card, the SBlive!, and an Ultra 100 IBM hard drive. Thrown into the mix is that the SBlive wasn't designed to deal with busmastering and tends to be a BUS hog. If a person doesn't have a lot of traffic on the BUS, then the SBlive! seems to work fine on the Via 686B chipset (this is the case for a lot of users). Some people with systems bumping up against the stability/traffic barrier have been able to fix it by using PCI latency tweaks in the BIOS.
As you can see at can get very involved IF you do run into SBlive! issues with your chipset. It is a big if, but it can be hell if you do run into it. My advice is to go with one of the other "premium" sound cards available out there like the Philips Acoustic Edge or the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz. They work great, sound great, and do not have any of the issues the the SBlive! has. I would also suggest you read the following article before you make any purchases: http://www.viahardware.com/686b_1.shtm
Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. - Mark Twain
That's the word length, not the sampling rate. Anyhow, it is hard to tell much useful about performance just based on whether the converters are 16-bit or 20-bit or whatever. What matters is the actual performance, which may be well below what the word length would suggest. Theoretically, you should get about 6 dB of signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) per bit. But if you look at the spec sheets for converters, you'll see that many don't achieve that--and that as the converter word length increases the deviation from ideal performance increases. I have seen 24-bit converters spec'd at what amounted to 17-bit performance (and I dare you to find any converter with better than 20-bit-equivalent performance). Plus there's the ancillary circuitry on the card, which can hurt things considerably if it's not done well. So this is why good technical reviews are useful--it's the performance that counts.