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Riptide
04-07-05, 12:31 PM
I'm considering removing my SB Audigy 2 and using the onboard sound my Abit motherboard comes with. It's a Realtek AC97. Am I likely to lose much performance by doing this? Is it heavily CPU dependent?

I don't use EAX, never have, so I'm not worried about losing that. I just would like to get rid of Creative's driver and free up a slot.

zoomy942
04-07-05, 01:46 PM
wow, if i had a dollar for everytime i thought about doing what you are thinking of. i went frmo an audigy 2 value to the realtek to my audigy 2 now.. i will say one thing. eax or no eax, the hardware sound is what makes a differnce. during slower paced games or games that didnt have any big battles, thigns were fine. but in COD for example, when there was ALOT of sounds of things, i noticed a speed difference. and i'm not one of those benchmarkers.. i am a gamer. so to me, if i would have lost 5 fps, i wouldnt care. i dont know what the number was that i lost, but i noticed the game wasnt nearly as smooth, but once the battle was done, it was smooth again.

lots of people talk about sound quality as well. well, again, i dont benchmark but i am a HUGE audiophile, and the onboard and the SB didnt sound different. the volume levels were different and that was it.

so, all in all, i would say that having hardware accelerated sound is the better way to go, but i am HOPING AND PRAYING for the day that i can smach my SB audigy and use a decent onboard.

Riptide
04-07-05, 01:51 PM
OK so we have one vote here for leaving the audigy 2 in. :)

Any more comments?

zoomy942
04-07-05, 02:03 PM
mine should be more like a half vote. because i REALLY REALLY would like to take it out, but i dont have any other choice.

Gator
04-07-05, 02:32 PM
Some time ago JuiceZ did some comparisons between the Realtek ALC850 and the Audigy 2. He concluded that there was very little performance lose with the Realtek, that it did a very adequate job for surround sound, and that the only true difference was the Audigy2's support for EAX3&4. If you don't have a need for EAX3&4 then you might as well ditch the Audigy2 in my opinion.

EDIT: found the link where he advised me
http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=30147&highlight=realtek
I think there was another thread before that where he compared in more detail but I couldn't find it

One more thing, make sure you use the Realtek drivers, not the Nvidia audio drivers. This is very important for less CPU useage.

saturnotaku
04-07-05, 02:41 PM
If your board uses the ALC850, I would very much recommend it. There is one caveat, though - use NVIDIA's audio drivers instead of the reference ones from Realtek. You can do a forced driver install through device manager to accomplish this and your card will be listed as something to the effect of: NVIDIA nForce Audio Codec. NV's drivers are far superior in terms of sound quality and overall CPU usage.

If you do ultimately decide to get rid of your A2, let me know if you'd be willing to sell it on the cheap. :D

Gator
04-07-05, 02:42 PM
...NV's drivers are far superior in terms of sound quality and overall CPU usage...

Eh? I heard the exact opposite? :eek: :confused:

saturnotaku
04-07-05, 02:44 PM
I used the ALC850 on my K8N Neo2. Realtek's drivers when playing MP3's would give me upwards of 10% CPU usage with spikes as high as 15%. The NV drivers would consistently be around 5% with much deeper bass and low-range response.

As always, YMMV, but I'd take NVIDIA's drivers over Realtek's any day.

Riptide
04-07-05, 02:45 PM
Crap how do I tell if I have an ALC850? The manual only says Realtek AC97... No further explanation. The driver I downloaded from Abit's site supports that but doesn't really say what the actual chip is.

|JuiceZ|
04-07-05, 02:45 PM
Yea Gator that's pretty much the gist of it. Unless you play games that it is essential to have EAX 3/4 support, you're better off using the ALC850 codec if thats in fact the one you have. As with most things audio related, always let your ears make the final decision.

btw, the NV Audio driver sounds better & has a much better interface than the Realtek driver w/ that codec.

DSC
04-07-05, 02:48 PM
Realtek AC97 codecs are crappy sounding. Easily one of the worst sounding audio I've heard.

Creative soundcards are also crappy due to poor choice of components such as opamp and board layout, bad resampling in the Audigy2 DSP, etc etc. Despite having a very good Cirrus Logic CS4382 8 channel DAC, it's definitely not gonna sound at its best due to the limitations of the card.

Any Envy24 HT multichannel soundcard like Audiotrak Prodigy 7.1 LT will easily sound better than either.

Gator
04-07-05, 02:48 PM
Ah ha! I found JuiceZ's post

http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=29514&page=3&pp=15&highlight=realtek+audigy

Ok, after several tests and hrs research on sound technologies, I take back everything said earlier about the Realtec ALC850 codec thats equipped on this board. Switching between it and the Audigy2 zs is no difference whatsoever, dare I say the alc850 codec sounds a tad better. Yes technically on paper the A2 should be much better but the ears tell a different story. Also it comes w/ optical & coax digital out ports, the later sounds better to me. Newayz, this latest vers of onboard codec from Realtec should not be overlooked. At least until Creative's next card comes out ;)

Needless to say the A2 is going back to BestBuy....

Riptide
04-07-05, 02:49 PM
Well you're talking to someone that believes 128K bitrate MP3's sound good enough. So I'm not exactly some extreme audiophile. ;)

I just want decent sounding stereo with a reasonable s/n ratio and good performance in games.

How can I tell if I have an ALC850 onboard?

I can't find it here.
http://www.abit-usa.com/products/mb/products.php?categories=1&model=175

Gator
04-07-05, 02:52 PM
Crap how do I tell if I have an ALC850? The manual only says Realtek AC97... No further explanation. The driver I downloaded from Abit's site supports that but doesn't really say what the actual chip is.

Is this your board?

http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=13-127-181&depa=1

If yes, then I'm sorry to report it appears you may have the Realtek ALC650/655, not the 850. :( ALC65x only has 6 channels in comparison, and I think they tweaked a couple other things with the ALC850.

Gator
04-07-05, 02:53 PM
Well you're talking to someone that believes 128K bitrate MP3's sound good enough. So I'm not exactly some extreme audiophile. ;)

I just want decent sounding stereo with a reasonable s/n ratio and good performance in games.

How can I tell if I have an ALC850 onboard?

I can't find it here.
http://www.abit-usa.com/products/mb/products.php?categories=1&model=175

6 channel sound... yep... you definetly have the ALC65x and not the ALC850 :(

DSC
04-07-05, 02:54 PM
I believe your mobo has the Realtek ALC658 6 channel AC97 codec. The Realtek AC97 drivers are unified and will support all the common Realtek codecs like 650, 658 and 850. The Nvidia drivers will probably support any of the 3 codecs above also.

Riptide
04-07-05, 02:56 PM
OK so the 658 is a POS then. Looks like I'm stuck with the Audigy 2. :mad:

DSC
04-07-05, 02:59 PM
No, 658 is actually better than 850. It's also used in the Fatal1ty AN8 mobo.

http://www.realtek.com.tw/products/products1-2.aspx?modelid=2003101

Featuring four 16-bit two-channel DACs and a stereo 16-bit ADC, the ALC850 is an AC'97 Rev 2.3 compatible multi-channel audio CODEC designed for PC multimedia systems.

http://www.realtek.com.tw/products/products1-2.aspx?modelid=2003084

The ALC658 has six 20-bit DAC channels, two pairs of stereo 18-bit ADC, and an AC'97 2.3 compatible six-channel audio CODEC designed for PC multimedia systems.

Both are still crappy sounding compared to an AV-710 with the Wolfson Micro WM8728 DAC. :p

Just to remind everyone, the Realtek codecs are the same basically, differing only in how many channels they support for surround sound or the DAC/ADC resolution. They are HSP devices, they depend on the cpu to do the work.

zoomy942
04-07-05, 03:34 PM
this is the spot i was stuck in for a while too. i didnt know whether or not to take out the card or keep it. i ended up keeping it just cause i play COD with the EAX.

Riptide
04-07-05, 03:35 PM
OK then. Anyone want to make me an offer on a SB Audigy 2? :)

zoomy942
04-07-05, 03:53 PM
rip, maybe you should yank the audigy and try out some games and such and make sure you like the results. i had an audigy 2 value, sold it, and though "okay, onboard will be good enough". for me it wasnt, thats not to say it wont be for you, but just keep that in mind. i would keep the card around while you try out the onboard.

Riptide
04-07-05, 04:12 PM
Yeah I have a friend that might want it anyway. So I'll just hold onto it and as long as CS:S and UT2004 still keep plugging away on the onboard with no problems then I'll sell it.

zoomy942
04-07-05, 04:19 PM
man, now i am thinking about getting rid of mine again. the agony!

Riptide
04-07-05, 09:40 PM
How do you remove the creative labs driver? I don't have anything in add/remove for it. Am I supposed to just remove it from device manager and then use drivercleaner to finish killing it?

EDIT n/m, found the instructions on their website.

Rakeesh
04-08-05, 03:38 AM
<lame brag> I have realteks flagship card :D </lame brag>

On that note though, anybody know if the nvidia drivers support this card? If so, which driver?