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How do you know if you are getting an nforce2 APU?

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December 10, 2003 8:10:34 PM

In this review, severa sound cards and chipsets are reviewed:
http://www6.tomshardware.com/game/20030405/sound_for_ga...

Among two chipsets are the Realtek ALC650 and the nForce2 APU. The nForce2 APU is a much better choice. However, I am having a hard time trying to find out how to choose a motherboard with an nForce2 APU.

Almost every motheboard I look at, it lists something like this in the specs:
AC97
Audio Processing Unit(APU)

or
RealtekĀ® ALC650
Integrated APU(Audio Processor Unit) SoundStorm

In other words, it is almost as though it is listing two different chipsets (one being the one I don't want, and one being the one I do want). Does anybody have some ideas why this is, and how to make sure that the motheboard I buy really uses the nforce2 APU for audio?

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by KevinAr18 on 12/10/03 05:11 PM.</EM></FONT></P>

More about : nforce2 apu

December 11, 2003 12:12:25 AM

I'm fairly certain that "integrated APU (Soundstorm)" is refering to the nForce APU.

ALC650 can be used with or without nForce APU. It's a codec, it gets digital sound from either a CPU or an audio processor and splits it into analog channels. So the fact it's there doesn't indicate what's processing the digital audio.

nVidia has a list of boards by chipset. The MCP-T southbridge has the nForce APU, the standard MCP version doesn't.

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December 11, 2003 1:02:11 AM

Ah, now that clarifies things... Thank you.

Might as well ask some other questions, while I'm at it...
How about the quality of the sound on the card? Do you know of any reviews that address it's sound quality (and not the performance)?
Is it gonna be worth it to pay another $50 to $100 for another sound card? I was considering the Philips Santa Cruz or SB Audigy 2.<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by KevinAr18 on 12/10/03 10:09 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
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December 11, 2003 1:27:03 AM

The nForce APU is better than most sound cards. I can confirm MSI boards with the -ILSR model numbers have this (such as the K7N2 Delta-ILSR), as well as the Asus A7N8X-Deluxe. I'm sure someone else will mention others.

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March 17, 2004 9:56:12 PM

Evening all,

I just tried something which is normally out of question for me. I activated by onboard sound (haha). I suddenly realized that it was an ACL650 (realtek on intel chipset) and that it could do 192khz, 24-bit and Eax 2 in 6.1 setup.

I tested it with some games and there was quite a significant soundquality difference in games supporting eax2, but of course; an irreversible performance difference. I ran some tests with RMAA versus my SB!LIVE Player 1024 (16-bit, 192khz, Eax 1, goldplated outputs, 1024midi voices) and I found the ACL650 a bit more noisy and with quite poor midi-support compared to the sb!live (not that midi is impotant, just a fact).

I (of course) also ran a 3dmark03 soundtest:
ACL650
no sounds: 45.2
24 sounds: 31.8

SB!LIVE
no sounds: 44.9
24 sounds: 36.1

End-of-line-questions:
what to stick to and why?
Anyone knows if the latency (for e.g. midi-keyb.) is better/worse/equal to the sb!live?



Soltek SL-86SPE-L - P4A -2.4@2.766 - i865PE - 1024mb ddr400@307 w. TT A1165 - Ati Radeon 9700@381mhz 128Mb@626mhz - 600W dualfan(front/rear) PowerTek Psu - maxtor 4K080H4 & 6Y120P0 - samsung sm-352b
March 18, 2004 3:57:51 AM

You aren't sticking to the topic at hand. YOUR situation involves the CPU processing sound. The nForce APU is superior in quality to CPU processing, and takes the load off the CPU.

So a Realtek codec supplied by the APU will have far less performance loss than a Realtek codec supplied by the CPU.

The APU is a feature of the MCP-T. Not all boards that have the MCP-T are "soundstorm certified" as some use non-certified codecs and therefor require different drivers. Of course those drivers are supplied with the motherboard CD. So Soundstorm means APU, but so does MCP-T.

Also, if you don't like the codec, you can connect directly to the nForce APU through S/P-DIF.

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March 18, 2004 1:33:12 PM

Sorry about that, just felt it was uneccesary to startup a brand new post on a 6 month old topic.

Soltek SL-86SPE-L - P4A -2.4@2.766 - i865PE - 1024mb ddr400@307 w. TT A1165 - Ati Radeon 9700@381mhz 128Mb@626mhz - 600W dualfan(front/rear) PowerTek Psu - maxtor 4K080H4 & 6Y120P0 - samsung sm-352b
March 18, 2004 4:19:29 PM

Ah yes. Tom's has mentioned the large CPU overhead caused by some codecs, as well as a few soundcards.

Of course I don't have an APU, and I NEED all the performance I can get for video encoding. But when I'm doing that, I'm not using any programs with sound. So I'm not terribly affected by the performance loss: when my system looses performance to sound processing, I'm doing something that doesn't require incredible performance.

Of course you point to games, which is a good example, but my systems plays my games at such high framerates I need not be concerned.

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March 19, 2004 12:12:35 PM

heh.. I see your point.. but then again, if I am running games at 80fps on a 85hz screen I consider it in-optimal ;)  I recon I will stick with the sblive, it was just the 192khz@24-bit/eax2.0 that was tempting, but I don't want to loose performance on games as well as you in videoencoding, cheers

Soltek SL-86SPE-L - P4A -2.4@2.766 - i865PE - 1024mb ddr400@307 w. TT A1165 - Ati Radeon 9700@381mhz 128Mb@626mhz - 600W dualfan(front/rear) PowerTek Psu - maxtor 4K080H4 & 6Y120P0 - samsung sm-352b
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