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Gator
06-16-04, 06:27 PM
I've ordered a new Gigabyte K8NS Pro motherboard and Athlon64 from Newegg. Now the question is would I better off installing my SantaCruz into the new rig, or just use the builtin Realtek ALC850. Would the ALC850 be more than adequate for my needs? Would I see any performance hit, I can't find a benchmark comparing the two.

I donot use surround sound, I only have a simple 2 analog speaker setup, nothing fancy.

|JuiceZ|
06-17-04, 12:53 AM
If you only use 2-spkr analog setup, the onboard sound should be sufficient, haven't heard sanatcruz audio in a while though so can't remember its quality. The thing that really makes the difference overall is the spkrs. I've seen other ppl talk down to ALC850 but if you couple it w/ a good set of spkrs, the onboard codec doesn't sound bad at all.

Gator
06-17-04, 04:36 AM
Well I read this article at Tom's HArdware
http://www.tomshardware.com/game/20030405/index.html
and it says the ALC650 has trouble keeping pace because it uses "soft audio" meaning it's processed thru the CPU. I wasn't sure if this was still the case with ALC850, and of course it's impossible to find a comparison with the SantaCruz because that card is so much older.

JuiceZ I know you said you're keeping your ALC850 over the Audigy2zs, and I'm trying to understand why and if ALC850 is best for me.

DSC
06-17-04, 04:49 AM
Keep your Santa Cruz, audio quality is superior on it than the onboard sound. It uses better quality DACs.

|JuiceZ|
06-17-04, 07:40 AM
Well I read this article at Tom's HArdware
[url]JuiceZ I know you said you're keeping your ALC850 over the Audigy2zs, and I'm trying to understand why and if ALC850 is best for me.


Because at least on the z680's, the A2 only sounds slightly better even though it has a better dac.
rare use of EAX
the ALC850 comes equipped w/ both optical/coax digital ports
low cpu usage
Creative drv's are :barf:


If I already had the card lying around from a previous system, it would prolly still be in my rig after the upgrade but I just couldn't justify laying another $100 for a sound card at the moment when the onboard for my needs is sufficient. The bottomline is if you've already got one or just can't live w/o EAX grab one, but for most, ALC850 dac should be just fine.

Gator
06-17-04, 09:31 AM
Ok, if the Realtek ALC850 does indeed have low CPU useage, that's what I wanted to hear!. I love my SantaCruz simply because the previous SBlive stunk, but I'd also like to phase-out any PCI cards I don't need with this new rig. I may not even keep the WinTV card because I barely use since I graduated college in 2001 (it use to be my space-saving dorm TV alternative). And since I'm a 2 speaker setup, no thrills, not using EAX, no surround sound, etc... I'm gonna try the ACL850. If I suspect my performance is hurting or I get any scratchy sound issues, then I'll simply disable the onboard sound in the bios and reinstall the SantaCruz.

Thanks for the replies! I'll post feedback next week on the ALC850 when I receive the Athlon64 and Gigabyte K8NS Pro :)

Gator
06-18-04, 07:29 AM
update: Last night I decided to remove my SantaCruz from my current setup and enabled the Asus A7N8X onboard audio, which uses the Realtek ALC650. From the review at Tom's hardware, the ALC650 does not perform well, but honestly I don't see any hit to performance or sound quality. In fact I think UT2K4 may have studdered a tiny bit less, possibly because of less PCI bus traffic? I could be wrong though, I'm not going by any benchmarks, just my eyes.

As of right now, it looks like I'm gonna retire the SantaCruz from my main gaming rig because if the ALC650 performs this well, then the ALC850 + Athlon64 should be even better!

Will update again next week...

Dazz
06-18-04, 10:07 AM
Realtek update their drivers all the time what abount Santa Cruize?, the AL650 is infact a hardware soloution however it depends on the drivers used, nVIDIA use software drivers while the RealTek drivers use the hardware. I have tried both with my old MSI K7N2 and found Realteks drivers to be far far better then what NVIDIA use. However i heard their lates drivers now use Realteks now for the nForce3 Range due to them dropping the sound storm. Also the AL850 should be better as it uses better DAC's and also is a 24bit soloution too.

Gator
06-18-04, 10:11 AM
Realtek update their drivers all the time, the AL650 is infact a hardware soloution however it depends on the drivers used, nVIDIA use sfotware drivers while the RealTek drivers use the hardware. I have tried both with my old MSI K7N2. Also the 850 should be alot better as it uses better DAC's and also is a 24bit soloution too.

WOH! You're saying if I use the latest Realtek drivers it'll really perform that much better than the standard Nforce driver? Nforce is software based but the Realtek driver is hardware based?!?! That's good to know, I was just gonna install Forceware and be done with it. I'll try the Realtek drivers for the ALC650 tonight, and next week I'll install them for the ALC850 when I get. Thanks Dazz!

Dazz
06-18-04, 10:30 AM
Yeah NV's drivers gives you no hardware sounds while REaltek gives you 18.

Gator
06-22-04, 12:12 AM
Well folks, I installed my new motherboard tonight and the ALC850 seems just fine to me. I'm gonna keep on using it, UT2k4, videos, mp3s, DVDs, everything seems to be working fine with it. Quality seems onpar with my SantaCruz.

Thanks for the feedback, and the tip about that Realtek driver over the Nvidia driver.

Oh ya... mandatory ATHLON64 OWNS!!!
:drooling:

Dazz
06-23-04, 12:37 PM
What CPU did you have before? I know my A64 (939) 2.2 @ 2.4GHz well out paces my P4 2.8C @ 3.5GHz and not just by a little bit either :D

Gator
06-23-04, 02:00 PM
What CPU did you have before? I know my A64 (939) 2.2 @ 2.4GHz well out paces my P4 2.8C @ 3.5GHz and not just by a little bit either :D

I upgraded from an AthlonXP 2600 Barton to an Athlon64 3200 1MB L2

I'm very pleased with the upgrade :)