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Old 09-25-02, 10:46 PM   #1
SparrowHawk
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Unhappy Creative drivers ?

Below is a support request I made with creative labs to see what drivers the recommend to use with their sb Live! under winXP. I've seen the behavior I described below on both my machine's that I have sb Live cards and winxp. I was a little disapointed with their response, so I wanted to get an idea of what drivers other people run (latest creative drivers or the one that comes up on windowsupdate).

Thanks! ( sorry for so long a post )

---------------8<------------------------------------
I would like to know what you recommend for what drivers should be installed for WindowsXP. I have downloaded and installed the latest drivers from your site. (LiveDrvPack.exe) However, when using this set of drivers, I often get popping sounds or some white noise / distortion when using this driver with "hardware acceleration" turned on in some games. With acceleration turned off, these effects go away. One of the things I've noticed is that with these drivers, the number of channels with hardware acceleration is reported as 31. But, with these drivers I am able to pass all of the diagnostics tests in the included program. When I goto windowsupdate, Im prompted to download Creative Media Driver Version 5.1.2603.0 Is this an update to the drivers I can download here ? When I install this update, the popping and distortion under hardware acceleration go away, and the number of channels is reported as 63. However, I can't load the mixer and other included software, and several of the diagnostics fail (though I can use the windows mixer and there are no other aparent side effects). What I would like to know, should I install this driver from windows update ? Its seems to fix some problems, but breaks some of your software...I would like to be able to use the creative mixer,etc.


Creative response :

No you should not install from windows installer.

Windows installer uses window driver and not our drivers.

Make sure you have the latest BIOS and motherboard updates for the system. Go into the BIOS and if you have any of the following options, and if so, try adjusting them as indicated:
AGP Aperture Size = 2 times the amount of video card ram
VGA Palette Snoop: Toggle
Peer Concurrency: Toggle
PCI 2.1 support: Enable
Check the PCI slot speed; it should equal 33 or 66 MHz.
Enable a 1 meg memory hole. Usually listed as 15- 16 meg Memory Hole
Toggle PCI Latency Timer: Start with a setting of 16 then adjust up and down

I would also suggest trying to switch slots on the system and see if that has any effect.

You could also go to system proerties --> Perfomance --> Graphics and change the hardware settings.


My reply:
Jeff,

Im a little puzzled by your response. I do have the latest bios/drivers for my other hardware. Why would you suggest toggling these settings, not knowing their current values ? Peer concurency deals with multiple devices being able to use the PCI bus at once, and really shouldn't be disabled. Palette Snoop deals strictly with the video card and the possibility of other devices needing access to its 256 color pallette...which is also unnecessary for my hardare. As for the memory hole, I've never heard of soundblaster cards needing this option enabled. Is such the case ? The other stuff you mentioned deals with graphics, which isn't causing me any trouble.

The problems I described earlier when using the drivers from your site are reproducable on another computer that also has an SB Live! card. It appears to strictly be a driver and/or software issue. When using the drivers from this site, hardware accelerated sound under some conditions is distorted. When using the drivers from the windowsupdate site, the distortion dissapears but the creative software doesn't work (ie mixer exits with a box that says devcon32.dll has returned an error. Mixer will now exit; AudioHQ says cannot init audio driver.) There are also the descrepancies between the number of channels reported.

Because of the differences above, I just wanted to know what the recommended drivers were for WinXP.

What is Creative Media Driver Version 5.1.2603.0 ? Is this a previous driver ? or update to the one on your site ? If its older, shouldn't you guys tell microsoft to not have it appear on windowsupdate when your latest drivers are installed ? If its newer, shouldn't it be what I download from you ? Is there a forthcoming driver release scheduled soon ?
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Old 09-26-02, 07:49 AM   #2
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Here's an easy way to solve all your problems. It's saturnotaku's 9-step method to Creative recovery:

1) Uninstall all Creative drivers - be sure to remove all files and registry entries from your system.

2) Open your case and remove your SB Live - be sure not to touch the PCB too much or else it may infect you with its disease.

3) Go to www.newegg.com and place your order for a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz or Hercules Fortissimo (or Game Theater) sound card.

4) Wait 3 days for FedEx to deliver your package. In the mean time download the latest drivers for the sound card you chose. www.tbeach.com for the Santa Cruz and www.hercules.com for the Fortissmo/Game Theater.

5) Insert new, non-Creative sound card into your PC.

6) Boot your PC and install the drivers you downloaded.

7) Fire up your favorite games and marvel in the phenominal (and bug/pop/click/distortion free) sound.

8) Kick yourself for not having done this sooner.

9) Swear you will never buy another Creative sound card as long as you live.

I was in the same situation as you were. With every Creative driver release, things started to get worse and worse, with both my Live and later Audigy. I said no more and purchased a Santa Cruz and I've never looked back. I don't care how good Creative's future products may look on paper, but their lousy driver/tech support has been enough to drive me away for good.

Last edited by saturnotaku; 09-26-02 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 09-26-02, 11:32 AM   #3
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LOL Saturnotaku you hit that right on the BullsEye.

Im in the middle of you 9-step method as we speak, currently step 4 and im waiting for a GTXP. I dont recommend the Fortissimo series because it uses an older slower DSP chip than the GTXP.

Cant Wait!!!!!!

Also, what made me snap was having to wait 1 hour just to START downloading the newest Creative Garbage (oops meant drivers).
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Old 09-26-02, 11:38 AM   #4
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FastM, make sure you take a picture of yourself and post it here when you get to step 8, hehehe.
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Old 09-26-02, 11:52 AM   #5
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Damn I must one of those "Lucky Creative SBLive users" Three years and three motherboards later, Im still yet to hear a pop in any games or even in Windows Does anyone want to touch me? Maybe I have some sort of luck that could be passed on Im not here to preach Creative, so good luck with your new card, be sure to post your thoughts once you've installed it.
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Old 09-26-02, 01:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Smokey
Damn I must one of those "Lucky Creative SBLive users" Three years and three motherboards later, Im still yet to hear a pop in any games or even in Windows Does anyone want to touch me? Maybe I have some sort of luck that could be passed on Im not here to preach Creative, so good luck with your new card, be sure to post your thoughts once you've installed it.
Smokey, if all you have ever heard is creative, then how can you know the difference?
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Old 09-26-02, 03:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Smokey
Damn I must one of those "Lucky Creative SBLive users" Three years and three motherboards later, Im still yet to hear a pop in any games or even in Windows Does anyone want to touch me? Maybe I have some sort of luck that could be passed on Im not here to preach Creative, so good luck with your new card, be sure to post your thoughts once you've installed it.
I've always had problems with their drivers..but once I got it too works somewhat stable the sound was decent..

Its the drivers and their crappy tech support that makes people hate them..
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Old 09-27-02, 04:08 AM   #8
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I nearly always had some popping sounds when I used my S.B.Live in Win XP and over 4 years of useing it and it has been in four of my systems I decided to upgrade and get a S.B.Audigy and I could hear a notable difference and all my popping was gone and it just sounded cleaner.
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Old 09-27-02, 04:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by FastM


Smokey, if all you have ever heard is creative, then how can you know the difference?
Its not the only thing Ive heard Other people have computers, ones that ive seen and heard in person But really Im one of those people that cant tell a great deal of difference, more so I guess than the people using the onboard sound(not including NForce). 95% of the time my sound card is used for games, and for that the SBLive does a great job.
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Old 09-27-02, 02:22 PM   #10
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Woohoo! Another thead to comment in.

Creative sucks. I have done lots and lots of research on this. Creative can do hardware, no doubt about that, their cards are filled with features, but the most important is their drivers. Their drivers have and always have sucked. I had an Audigy, I suffer the clicks and pops in music and things like Winamp stopping and going and stuff. I'm just up to here with it. I've been insulted by Creative staff on the phone, in their newsgroups and just e-mailing them. They sent me similar e-mails to the one that originated this thread and I thought. WTF do I need this crap for. Screw it, I want to get rid of this Audigy and get a different card. And so I got rid of the Audigy and I have a Hercules Theatre XP. I have not yet regretted it and to be honest, my sound sounds better and my game perforamance is like I got a new machine. Not as many slowdowns, sound is just as good as an Audigy if not better at times and the drivers are just continually better.

Creative is crap. But unfortunately most of the Creative Labs customers don't know about the hunk of crap bus hogging sound card they have in their machines and continue on because it sounds good. As such Creative continues to dominate the sound market. Sad Sad Sad... we can criticize other companies like MS and stuff, but in my mind, Creative is a bunch of deceptive SOB's that I'd love to have every site slander their products and their driver qualities, but do you think it will ever happen??

No site and I mean no site unless you dig really deep will have the balls to do it. And why not? There is probably a very big amount of people who are like us, realized the crap of Creative and moved on.

Until that time comes, Creative will continue to dominate this market and nothing will ever improve. And thus my comment about Audigy 2. They haven't even got the Audigy working properly and they have the audacity to put out a Audigy 2! These guys are smoking some serious drugs, but obviously the right ones cuz they continue to spam magazine with their hardware and companies like Hercules and Turtle Beach are masked by their shadow.

It's truely sad. But I'm always happy to see another person who sees the light, the true quality of Creative Labs.
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Old 09-27-02, 10:50 PM   #11
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I used to swear by the Live! Value cards, the series they released before the whole 5.1 line of Live! cards that had the WORST dma and IRQ sharing in the world. I loved my Live! at the time, but finally got extremely fed up with the lack of Creative's support and bought a Santa Cruz last week.

This was where my life was changed forever...well, maybe not that dramatic, but I did notice an increase in my games. It's amazing how badly a crappy sound card can bog down a system, and I never would have thought it was my Live!. I have what I would consider a mid range system on todays standards but was getting frame rates that didn't seem right. After replacing my Live! with the Santa Cruz, my games run much smoother...as much as 50% smoother, as seen in Dungeon Siege.

The only thing I own that's creative now is my Nomad mp3 player. As long as that plays MP3s, I'll be happy with it.
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Old 09-30-02, 08:54 AM   #12
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Enjoy the card. I was initially going to get a Santa Cruz but I rather try the impossibility of getting a Hercules.. I like the break out box.

Congrats on leaving Creative, you made a great choice.
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