SN85G4 Sound Questions

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What sound card choice should I make

Keep the embedded
4
21%
Creative Audigy
10
53%
Think about another solution?
5
26%
 
Total votes : 19

SN85G4 Sound Questions

Postposted on Sun Mar 28, 2004 1:20 am

Ok, I'm stepping up to an SN85G4 Athlon64 box and need an opinion on this. The Nforce2 chipset on my previous cube was using the embedded "Soundstorm" setup thats actually a kick butt sound chip. However, Nvidia decided with its Nforce 150 chipset to forgo the chip in favor of an ALC650 AC97 audio chip :cry: .

So here is my dilemma: do I use the embedded chip, or use my Creative Audigy Gamer card? I will be gaming with this box, but the reason I wonder about using the Audigy has more to do with overall driver quality. The reason my Audigy was pulled in the first place (beside the fact that the SoundStorm was embedded) was Creative's drivers were a bloated mess of unwanted software. Second, the Audigy (First edition, not II) had issue with the quality of the sound it produced. They will be attached to some Logitech Z-5300 speakers. Lastly, if not the embedded or Audigy, then what? (Turtle Beach Santa Cruz, Audigy II, or, Hercules Fortissimo III).

The well has run dry and I'd like to stick with a solution I already posses but I figured you guys could give me a good heads up. What do you think?

-E
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Postposted on Sun Mar 28, 2004 1:33 am

Not sure if this is the same, but I have an SB Live! 5.1 in my setup. The only drivers I used for it are the ones that Windows installed for it. They run perfectly fine (and I don't need any of the bloated software) and beats the crap out of the AC97 codec on my board. :wink:
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Postposted on Sun Mar 28, 2004 1:40 am

I'd get something else, the onboard isn't enough. I'd also avoid Creative like the plague. There needs to be another option out there. I'd think about a TBSC or maybe a M-Audio....
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Postposted on Sun Mar 28, 2004 1:48 am

Is Turtle Beach still in the audio game? I seem to remember them being a nice alternative to Creative 3-4 years ago
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Postposted on Sun Mar 28, 2004 2:21 am

Yes they are, and are releasing a new card, check the sound forum. The only bad thing is that the new one does not seem as good as the old TB.
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Postposted on Sun Mar 28, 2004 3:53 am

Well, I thought about M-Audio Revolution 7.1, or anything with the ENVY24 Chip onboard, but I keep coming back to either a TBSC or their new(er) card the Catalina 7.1. My main concern is 1) Sound quality and 2) low CPU utilization. The second point is the only thing that creative has been good at was keeping the utilization down but never steller in the audio quality dept.

The reason I have an Audigy as I got caught in the Live! crap with VIA chipsets and upgraded to the Audigy when it first came out. Six months later and the Audigy II was released fixing all the problems that were present in the original Audigy. I was hoping that maybe they've improved the drivers and this was fixed, but for some reason I doubt it.

At any rate, please keep any and all suggestions coming.

Regards,

-E
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Postposted on Tue Mar 30, 2004 3:28 pm

If it isnt soundstorm, and you do stuff that requires very good sound, I would go with a PCI sound card.

You may want to check in the gaming forums to see which cards are favored for gaming. Same with HTPC stuff.

Besides complaints about the software, I have yet to hear (pun intended) anything bad about the Audigy 2 ZS as far as hardware goes.

I am not a fan of Creative, but I hear (pun intended) that this sound card is very good for the money.
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Postposted on Wed Mar 31, 2004 10:18 am

Thanks for the input Dposcorp. I'm having a hard time justifying the purchse of a new Creative card due the problems I've had in the past. I have an Audigy I, but I would like to look for another PCI add in card. I don't want to end up using the onboard which is a shame since all those nice panels on the front won't be used :(

-E
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Postposted on Wed Mar 31, 2004 7:39 pm

I know creative is shunned for their BS from a few years back, but I love my Audigy 2 ZS. 7.1 channels of crisp clean audio. The drivers work fine, and you don't have to install all their MediaSource bulk.
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Postposted on Thu Apr 01, 2004 12:35 am

My roomate just picked up an audigy 2ZS and it has worked great for him too. I have plans to pick up one and try it out for my next upgrade.
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Postposted on Sun Apr 04, 2004 3:44 pm

Well, for grins I installed the Audigy card with the latest drivers on a Clean XP install. I'm quite surprised by the quality of the drivers vs. what they once were. I watched the poll at the top and its a dead heat ;) . Talk about indecision :)

Thanks everyone for your input.

-E
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Postposted on Sun Apr 04, 2004 3:55 pm

The TBSC is still a capable -- if middle-of-the-road by today's standards -- card. I have one in my main rig, and I'm quite happy with it. I don't know how much longer they will be available though; the DSP chip used on the TBSC was apparently EOLed last fall by its manufacturer.

Sudhian has a review of the new Turtle Beach cards... they didn't like them: http://www.sudhian.com/showdocs.cfm?aid=512

Looks like it basically boils down to Creative or M-Audio.
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Postposted on Mon Apr 05, 2004 11:03 am

Audigy1 has far superior quality (my experience) to any ALC650 codec based integrated audio. Including Soundstorm paired with that codec. Moreover, when talking about games, Creative cards are simply better than anything else. Much better 3D positional sound and very little CPU utilization. All onboard sound solutions except the Soundstorm eat many CPU cycles. And that's true for plenty discrete cards too.

Driver issues? Yes, but not so terible. In fact, all my game issues went away when I disabled CTHelper in the startup.

And of course, you don't have to install all the software, just choose what you want during the installation. However, I suggest installing Surround mixer and the EAX control panel besides the drivers too. Without that, you have little control over the cards features.
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Postposted on Wed Apr 07, 2004 12:44 pm

Ok, so this is how she looks:

AMD Athlon 64 3400+
1Gb Mushkin PC3200 CAS2 DDR
ATI Radeon 9700 Pro 128Mb Video
250Gb WD 8Mb cache SATA Drive
Liteon DVD/CDRW combo drive
Creative Audigy Gamer Sound

Now, there is some sort of issue with heat in regards to this box that I don't see with my SN45G which was running a 3200+ in it. The new box idles at 131F and under load 140F! These temps are being reported with MBM with the FAN settings on "mid" in the BIOS. Ouch.

The SN45G ran 118F under load. Huge difference. The PSU in the box is way too hot to the touch. I was checking out Sudhian's Forums for SFF and saw that a lot of people report similar results. Now, I think I need to break out the dremel and do some carving and fan replacment to drop the temps in this thing. I'll probably black mesh the video card side and replace the Sunon fan for either a Panaflo or Vantec fan, and mod the ducting on the power supply to give it better flow.

This is just an FYI to all who want this box, be prepared for a very warm one.

-E
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Postposted on Wed Apr 07, 2004 1:05 pm

I'd just download the drivers from Creative's website for the audigy...this beats using the CD because you won't have hte option to download all the dumb software...maybe you already thought of that...heh
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Postposted on Thu Apr 08, 2004 9:13 am

Yeah, this system is a complete new install of everything. I usually don't bother with included CD's unless I need a NIC driver to download all the latest drivers and then go from there. Course, no sooner was all this installed did ATI release new 4.4 drivers ;). Will have to load those and see if there is any difference in performance.

-E
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