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Sound Card test

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April 7, 2003 5:07:27 PM

tom did a sound card test. I am wondering why they didn't include the santa cruz, audigy 1, and the live! 5.1?

Looks like the Hercules 7.1 sound card is the card to get though for 49.99! Thats if you need one. The audigy 2 does just as good and is 2.5 times more expensive at 127 dollars. If only i knew how my santa cruze stood in the rankings.

Life is irrelivent and irrational.

<A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?id=9933" target="_new"> My Rig </A>

More about : sound card test

April 7, 2003 6:42:06 PM

Santa Cruz should be as fast or about as fast as the Fortissimo3. They have almost similar DSP chips (Crystal 4630 in Santa Cruz and 4624 in F3). Audigy may be a bit faster than both (about the same as Audigy2, because the DSP part of them hasn't changed much).

And, the reason you don't see a Santa Cruz in newer articles and comparisons is that, well, it's SO old now compared to other solutions. Santa Cruz came along in late 2000/early 2001 IIRC and became a no-frills favourite for those partial to Creative sound cards (then there was only the Live! 5.1) especially because [I've heard] it has good sound quality. Turtle Beach have long been inactive about it (the latest drivers are more than one year old IIRC) and Fortissimo3 and others have generally reached or surpassed it. It has served its job well I suppose.

These days you can find alternatives to the SC. Audigy is *overall* a more sophisticated card, Fortissimo3 goes for less and has the same features if not better (e.g. 7.1 ouput), Revolution 7.1 beats all others in pure analog sound quality, Audigy2 comes close to the Revo and has better gaming capabilities and if you need the VersaJack, well, just take a look at Philips Accoustic Edge with its abundance of connectors and you'll need no versatile jacks any more ;) 
April 8, 2003 3:30:51 AM

lol cool! that was fun to read ... man i didn't realize i had this sound card for so long. I think i am due for a new one. Actually i think the SC is on it's way out. my computer crashes while watching ATI TV and i suspect it's the sound card. and your right they haven't had new drivers in forever. Did Turtle beach go bankrupt or what? man i always pick sound cards where the company goes bankrupt. First aureal, then turtle beach. I should have stuck with Creative lol. The audigy 2 looks cool .. but way too much for me.

alright thanks!

Life is irrelivent and irrational.

<A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?id=9933" target="_new"> My Rig </A>
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April 8, 2003 7:08:48 PM

I agree with r2k. The Revo 7.1 is manufactured by M-Audio, formerly Midiman. Up until recently they exclusively manufactured professional studio sound equipment, but made an entrance into the mainstream with this card. It's like the Porsche Boxter of sound cards. It may not be the most expensive one, but you know the quality is there. The Audigy2 is more of an $80,000 Accord - a good car, but waaaayyy over priced for what it offers.

XP 2500+ Barton @ 2256Mhz
A7N8X Dlx
2x512MB Corsair PC3200
MSI GF3Ti 500 @ 265/570
16x DVD-ROM
2x80GB 7200RPM Maxtor
Onboard audio
3DMark 2001 SE - 10528
April 9, 2003 12:11:11 AM

I'm sure I must be misreading something about this article, because I don't understand the results. The test demonstrates that the best overall performance in two games with the use of sound can be achieved using the nForce 2 APU, a chipset found on some nForce 2 motherboards (all?). My question is: how can the performance of a game be compared between a chipset included on a motherboard, with an add-on soundcard? Were all the soundcards tested on the same nForce 2 motherboard? Further, how can a sound chipset from an nForce 2 motherboard be compared with the chipset on a different AMD CPU motherboard (especially when the nForce 2 has already been shown to have the best AMD CPU performance)? It's interesting that the performance of the nForce2 APU beats out all the other sound processors, but by using the nForce 2 chipset aren't you really showing the performance of the motherboard more than the soundcards?
April 9, 2003 4:36:25 PM

Depends on how the test is done.

What could be the reason for the increased speed on nforce 2 onboard audio (i "think" thats what the APU is, APU ='s onboard sound) is because it is as good as any sound card like audigy 2 but maybe it doesn't have to go through the PCI bus. Perhaps the APU has direct CPU and RAM access escaping the need to go through the PCI bus.

As you know the PCI bus is the limiting factor of all IDE and cards with the exception of the AGP port.

This is only my thoery i'm not saying this as a fact. It could be a reason why.

If the audigy 2 was onboard you would probably see similar results is what i'm saying.

Life is irrelivent and irrational.

<A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?id=9933" target="_new"> My Rig </A>
April 9, 2003 5:51:11 PM

What can be done is that you disable the onboard sound while testing a pci sound card in the BIOS. That was, as far as windows is concerned, the onboard sound doesn't exist. So yes, they can be tested using the same motherboard.

The reason they compared two motherboards is a result of overall perfomance. The nforce2 could be a top performer for raw power, but be hindered when using the onboard sound. You can demonstrate the difference by comparing the two boards with and without sound, then measuring the difference between the board's results. The bigger the difference, the higher the load from the APU.

XP 2500+ Barton @ 2256Mhz
A7N8X Dlx
2x512MB Corsair PC3200
MSI GF3Ti 500 @ 265/570
16x DVD-ROM
2x80GB 7200RPM Maxtor
Onboard audio
3DMark 2001 SE - 10528
April 9, 2003 5:55:59 PM

APU's are on all sound cards. APU = Audio Processing Unit, just like GPU = Graphics Processing Unit, which is on all video cards and video interfaces. The reason for the increased speed is the efficiency of the onboard encoding process as compared to the PCI. There are many PCI cards out there that measure their latency in tenth's of a millisecond (RME cards can have an ASIO latency of <2 ms, where the Audigy2 clocks in at around 7+, a huge difference when doing studio recording).

If the Audigy was onboard, you would see no difference. In fact, you might even see degraded performance, because the APU is normally housed in the south bridge (at least, lots that I see are), and this can slow the whole bridge down. When using a soundcard, it has the capability of carrying more of the processing burden than the onboard would.

XP 2500+ Barton @ 2256Mhz
A7N8X Dlx
2x512MB Corsair PC3200
MSI GF3Ti 500 @ 265/570
16x DVD-ROM
2x80GB 7200RPM Maxtor
Onboard audio
3DMark 2001 SE - 10528
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