EAX still broken in Realtek audio drivers

Back in November we explored EAX performance with onboard audio and discovered that Realtek’s HD audio drivers weren’t properly implementing occlusion and obstruction effects. These effects are a part of the EAX 2.0 spec that Realtek’s codecs supposedly support, but they didn’t work with the company’s then-current audio drivers. Realtek hasn’t responded to our numerous inquiries regarding the issue, and some readers have requested that we revisit the subject with the company’s latest audio drivers. So we have.

Unfortunately, little has changed since November. We tested Realtek’s latest 1.66 audio drivers in Windows XP with an EVGA 122-CK-NF68 motherboard that features an ALC885 codec chip, and EAX occlusion and obstruction effects still aren’t working. This problem is easily observed with RightMark 3D Sound 2.3, but it also affects games, including Battlefield 2. That title makes particularly extensive use of occlusion and obstruction effects, and it’s still unplayable in EAX mode with Realtek’s audio drivers.


Since Windows Vista doesn’t support EAX, this isn’t an issue for that operating system. However, those planning to use onboard audio with Windows XP would do well to avoid Realtek codecs if proper EAX support is a priority.

Comments closed
    • yehuda
    • 12 years ago

    Thanks for the follow-up, Geoff.

    • DarkUltra
    • 13 years ago

    This an argument for Microsoft XACT sound system? I’m kinda tired of Creative driver bloat and countless startup programs.

    XACT is pure software, Command & Conquer 3 and Lost Planet uses it, and they have very good audio. Still don’t know if software can beat Battlefield 2 + Eax 5.0 and xram.

    • sativa
    • 13 years ago

    well clearly EAX certifications are pure shit. I’ll cut them a check tomorrow and get my ass EAX certified.

    • shank15217
    • 13 years ago

    I have the 883 and in World of Warcraft if I turn on the hardware sound acceleration and turn the tab to anything but the lowest knob there is no sound at all.

      • TravelMug
      • 13 years ago

      That`s because The Realtek solutions do not support hardware acceleration. What you actually do by setting it up as described is you turn on hardware acceleration in the application then force the OS to disregard that and do software sound anyway. That`s why you have sound with the “lowest knob” 🙂

      Edit: several typos…

    • FireGryphon
    • 13 years ago

    This is such a shame. The crab is so much fun to make jokes about in reviews. Too bad it sucks.

    • Bensam123
    • 13 years ago

    Too bad almost all games don’t use OpenAL.

    • Crisao23
    • 13 years ago

    Actually, Vista supports EAX on OpenAL games.

    Realtek released new drivers today.

      • Dirge
      • 13 years ago

      True, I was about to post something similar

        • Crisao23
        • 13 years ago

        By the way, new Realtek drivers are messed up. I had some problems with Battlefield 2 and Battlefield 2142 with the new drivers. Will doublecheck it today.

    • BKA
    • 13 years ago

    I swear Realtek releases driver updates more frequently than anybody else I get drivers from. I don’t know what they heck the keep updating but it seems like a weekly thing with them.

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 13 years ago

      Windows Update brings me a new version of the SiI RAID driver almost monthly, and I still haven’t figured out what they’re changing.

    • TravelMug
    • 13 years ago

    Seeing from the reviews that Analog Devices has no problems supporting the feature and having extremely low CPU utilization I don`t really understand why their chips are not used more on MBs. Would the price difference be so big? Yes I know that every cent matters for MB manufacturers, what I meant was what might be the diff between AD and Realtek chips.

    Geoff, wouldn`t that be a good idea to ask various MB manufacturers what drives them towards the more inferior solutions?

    • tempeteduson
    • 13 years ago

    I remember reading somewhere that Realtek’s later drivers are marginally improved in terms of properly supporting EAX effects, but that they still don’t do a decent job. Guess this confirms it.

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