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SB Live! Value vs. AC97 Realtek ALC850 vs. nForce2

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December 14, 2004 7:49:32 PM

Hi!
I now have a motherboard Gigabyte GA-7n400e-l with nForce2 400 (non ultra, non dual channel). I transfered my SB Live! Value without asking me too much questions and I use a 4.1 speakers system.

I have ordered a new system with a nForce 3 ultra MSI K8N Neo2 plat. which comes with a Realtek ALC850 AC97 chip. I wonder where the SB Live! Value will be the most useful between the two system.

Is it true that the nForce2 onboard is very competitive with my SB, but the one with the nForce3 which is in fact a chip apart (AC97) is much less effective? That would mean that as long as I keep a 4.1 spkr, I'm better off with my SB Live! value? And leave the other system with onboard audio?

Thank you very much!
Bungee

<font color=red>The good Smoked Meat Maple Leaf Extra-Fat!
December 15, 2004 12:42:42 AM

No, you're confused. I'm not certain if your board has the nForce APU, but it was only available on the MCP-T southbridge. Since most nForce2 chipset boards did NOT come with the more expensive MCP-T southbridge, most were codec-only.

The nForce APU (Audio Processing Unit) was a DSP (Digital Sound Processor) competitive with the Audigy2! It output digital sound to either digital audio connectors or an AC-97 codec. The codec was used to divide the digital sound (combined signal) into seperate analog channels.

The latest AC97 codecs are fairly good. That includes the Realtek ALC850. In fact, even though the ALC850 by itself is inferior to a similar codec powered by the nForce APU, it's still good enough for most users.

So, did your nForce2 board have the nForce APU (MCP-T southbridge)?

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
December 15, 2004 2:19:26 AM

Thank you very much for the enlightment, Crashman. I checked in the manual and you are right: my nForce 2 board has only the "nVIDIA® nForce™ 2 MCP Integrated Peripheral Controller (PSIPC)" and this is complemented with a Realtek ALC650 CODEC that seems to be a 5.1 system (2 front, 2 rear, 1 center+sub = 6 channels).

My real concerns are about the performance drop of using the onboard audio on my new nForce 3 system. I have seen the benchmark on HL2 in a recent thread and it showed a very significant performance drop between using the onboard audio (don't remember which one exactly) and an add-on sound card. I did not investiguate the methodology of that test or seen other tests that could confirm or infirm those results or explore the trend with other applications.

I think the nForce 2 system will be fine with onboard audio because I will sell it to my sister who don't have great performance or audio needs. So the real question is if I should keep the SB Live! Value or use the onboard audio ALC850 on my new system considering audio quality and overall performance of the system. What do you think?

Thank you very much!

<font color=red>The good Smoked Meat Maple Leaf Extra-Fat!
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December 15, 2004 3:04:29 AM

I'd use the onboard, but feel free to try both and decide.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
December 16, 2004 3:42:47 PM

Just my 2 cents:

Had almost the same dilema as you. Had a SBlive 5.1 MP3 in an old system, then upgrade it to NFORCE2 with Soundstorm so ditch the SBlive and now upgraded it to NF3 with the RT ALC850.

CD's where ok, games not that bad but CS:Source was horrible ... HL2 also.

Tried the SBlive and now I got crystal clear sound in CS:S ... didn't get an improvement in my frame rate through.

Everything was hook up to 2.1 Klipsh promedia's.
December 16, 2004 4:54:38 PM

<pre> pssst, SB sux! </pre><p><pre><font color=red>°¤o,¸¸¸,o¤°`°¤o \\// o¤°`°¤o,¸¸¸,o¤°
And the sign says "You got to have a membership card to get inside" Huh
So I got me a pen and paper And I made up my own little sign</pre><p></font color=red>
December 16, 2004 5:07:34 PM

Indeed SB sux .... but its the ONLY decent choice for gamming.
December 26, 2004 6:37:40 AM

I am having game crashes in NWN with EAX enabled on an NT7-S with Sandstorm... I am vert tempted to install my old SBLV as well...

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