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Creative Sound Blaster Performance Guide!

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OC-Master

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2001
Location
Edmonton, Alberta
;I thought I'd write up this article on the Creative line of sound blasters and simply let everyone know what kind of performance advantage each sound blaster has in store. With the help of several friends and there sound blasters, I was able to obtain several benchmarks using old to new sound blaster cards. The cards are as follows,

Sound Blaster 16 ISA
Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold ISA
Sound Blaster Live! (Original Full Package)
Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 Platinum
Sound Blaster Audigy Platinum
Sound Blaster Audigy2 Platinum


;The game used to benchmark the differences was of course UT2003, what else!? ;) My machine specs are the following,

Abit KT7A-R (V-Modded, Hacked Bios)
1.5GHz Athlon
1.0GB Ram
GF2TI @ 266/430
RAID0 (2 X D740X) 160GB Hard Drive Space


;Test Results
-The latest drivers from Creative Labs were obtained as of 10/20/02.
-All tests were done at 800x600x32 @ 100Hz with all settings either on Normal or High depending on the option available. Sound was turned on along with EAX if (hardware) available. Doing exactly the same setup, I simply pulled each sound card and plug the next one in one after another. Tests were the following...


;Benchmarks


Sound Blaster 16 ISA
EAX Mode=Off (Not Available)
MAXFPS= 86.5FPS
AVRFPS= 36.1FPS


Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold ISA
EAX Mode=Off (Not Available)
MAXFPS= 88.1FPS
AVRFPS= 39.5FPS


Sound Blaster Live! (Original Full Package)
EAX Mode=On (4.0 Channels)
MAXFPS= 99.9FPS
AVRFPS= 47.3FPS


Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 Platinum
EAX Mode=On (5.1 Channels)
MAXFPS= 99.9FPS
AVRFPS= 42.9FPS


Sound Blaster Audigy Platinum
EAX Mode=On (5.1 Channels)
MAXFPS= 99.9FPS
AVRFPS= 48.1FPS


Sound Blaster Audigy2 Platinum
EAX Mode=On (6.1 Channels)
MAXFPS= 99.9FPS
AVRFPS= 54.5FPS


;Conclusion

-What does this test mean? Well to break things down, ISA is just slow period and should not be used in any gaming rig no matter on how much of a budget you are on. The Sound Blaster Live! while introducing EAX also introduced a large leap in performance gain due to the fact that PCI is now used. The Sound Blaster Live 5.1 Card actually performanced much slower than the original Live! card with the exception that a center channel is introduced and requires much more demand from the DSP. All Sound Blaster Live cards used the same DSP so performance wont vary if you got the X-Gamer or MP3 series. The Audigy cards were really impressive. They showed much performance gain over the Live! series due to the fact that they are simply 100% faster (1000Mips Live vs 2000Mips Audigy DSP). The Audigy2 while introducing the rear center channel owned all the cards tested. That DSP is also 100% faster than the Audigy DSP. I guess it made sence that while EAX-HD can be very demanding performing wise, i think its safe to say that the Audigy2 would give a very nice boost in performance to any gamer looking for the FPS gain.

If you got an older sound card or simular sound card, these benchmarks should give you a good idea of what to look for in your next sound card purchase.

Thanks for your time in reading this little article and I hope you found this to be of good usefulness :) I had alot of fun writing this article and conducting the test! not to mention holding the Audigy2 card ;)


DS-Master
 
OP
OC-Master

OC-Master

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2001
Location
Edmonton, Alberta
Here is a bunch of the boxes from the cards! I had a blast opening and reading da specs right back from the old school SB16! ;)
 
OP
OC-Master

OC-Master

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2001
Location
Edmonton, Alberta
Here is another box shot from my own pride and joy which I might add I own!! I gotta now put the SB16 back in the K6-2 300 machine in the basement. Those two go good together!


DS-Master
 
Last edited:

Wackygore

Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2002
Location
Seattle
Do you think any of us None-Uber speaker system users would see much of an improvement? For example I'm only using a 2.1 speaker system because I don't have the space to set up any rear speakers. So after running all your test do you think I would see any improvement or should I just stick with the Live! that I’m using now?
 
OP
OC-Master

OC-Master

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2001
Location
Edmonton, Alberta
Wackygore said:
Do you think any of us None-Uber speaker system users would see much of an improvement? For example I'm only using a 2.1 speaker system because I don't have the space to set up any rear speakers. So after running all your test do you think I would see any improvement or should I just stick with the Live! that I’m using now?


Well from the results, with less sound requirements, the performance improvement will be alot less noticeable between the Live! and Audigy cards.

The reason for this is simple, the Live! it self can easily run 5.1 channels but having the live! only run 2 channels would make performance jump like crazy. Since there really is nothing for the Live! to do when your only decoding 2.1, the Audigy may not even deliver a single FPS faster than the Live! hence there is no sound card stressing going on.


DS-Master
 

Penguin4x4

Are you my Daddy?
Joined
May 28, 2002
Location
Sector 7G
DS-Master said:

;Benchmarks


Sound Blaster 16 ISA
EAX Mode=Off (Not Available)
MAXFPS= 86.5FPS
AVRFPS= 36.1FPS


Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold ISA
EAX Mode=Off (Not Available)
MAXFPS= 88.1FPS
AVRFPS= 39.5FPS


Sound Blaster Live! (Original Full Package)
EAX Mode=On (4.0 Channels)
MAXFPS= 99.9FPS
AVRFPS= 47.3FPS


Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 Platinum
EAX Mode=On (5.1 Channels)
MAXFPS= 99.9FPS
AVRFPS= 42.9FPS


Sound Blaster Audigy Platinum
EAX Mode=On (5.1 Channels)
MAXFPS= 99.9FPS
AVRFPS= 48.1FPS


Sound Blaster Audigy2 Platinum
EAX Mode=On (6.1 Channels)
MAXFPS= 99.9FPS
AVRFPS= 54.5FPS

DS-Master

Less CPU dependency perhaps? Anyway, me likes! :D
 

baqai

Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2002
Location
Karachi, Pakistan
i have a Live Value, will i notice any difference if i go for Audigy?? both in terms of games and watching dvd's ?? i have cambrdige soundworks DTT2500 5.1 speakers attached with my Value right now
 
OP
OC-Master

OC-Master

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2001
Location
Edmonton, Alberta
baqai said:
i have a Live Value, will i notice any difference if i go for Audigy?? both in terms of games and watching dvd's ?? i have cambrdige soundworks DTT2500 5.1 speakers attached with my Value right now

Um,

If I am correct, the Sound Blaster Live! Value is only a 4.0 Channel solution. I dont recall a 5.1 value live card??

On a typical 1.5GHz system with a GeForce2 Ti, you'll gain approximently 7FPS. Most other graphics card should also show a simular FPS gain due to the fact that sound does steal performance whether you know it or not :)


DS-Master
 

Able72

Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2002
The advantage that the Audigy cards have over the Live! series, be that the 5.1 or the previous generation isn't limited to strictly the performance of the card (meaning that it isn't just that it can process sound faster) nor is it limited to the added support for 6.1 sound with the Audigy 2. The Audigy series of cards can run 4 simultaneous environmental effects, do a crossfade of environmental effects from one effect to the next and they do 24bit playback (the audigy 2 also does true 24bit recording as opposed to the audigy which does 16bit recording that is then interprolated into a 24bit sound). These are all things that regardless of the numbers of speakers that you have the Live! series of cards can't do.
 
OP
OC-Master

OC-Master

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2001
Location
Edmonton, Alberta
Penguin4x4 said:
BTW DS: If you dont mind me asking, who is that AV?

<--------AV?

Hey everyone, I'm thinking about getting some other sound cards and see how they compare performance wise to the creativelabs ones. I'm really looking at that 7.1 Hercules solution that just came out.


DS-Master
 

Maxvla

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2002
Location
OKC
shoulda turned off vsync for more reliable numbers above 100fps.

thats the trick to using the glexcess benchmark.
 

Omega Destroyer

Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2002
Location
Alberta
i have a Live Value, will i notice any difference if i go for Audigy?? both in terms of games and watching dvd's ?? i have cambrdige soundworks DTT2500 5.1 speakers attached with my Value right now

Well as far as watching DVDs go, I doubt you'll see an improvement with any sound card you use. You can't expect to see a higher FPS watching DVDs, because they run at a set rate. If your computer can run that, and most can, then it should be no problem. Maybe you'll notice a difference in the sound, especially if you have a 5.1 or 6.1 setup, but I'm almost certain you won't see a performance improvement.