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  • Vista: Throw Out Your PCI Sound Card

    There have been various threads about how DirectSound is no longer supported in Vista along with other sound functions we've all come to enjoy such as EAX . Here is a good thread about why you are better off just using your on-board sound hardware rather than using a PCI sound card such as Creative's X-Fi. To summarize the thread:
    • Sound cards were originally created to take pressure off the CPU.
    • Sound complexity has not changed much in the last 5 years.
    • CPUs are much faster and therefore the hit a CPU takes to process sound now is minimal.
    • Multi-core CPUs and Microsoft's Cross Platform Audio Creation Tool (XACT) handle sound threading very well.
    • Pushing the sound stream through the PCI bus is actually slower than using the CPU.
    • Sound card utilization has been going down anyway because more developers are writing their own sound engines for games.
    • A lot of sound card functionality happens in the drivers (software), so the processing is happening on the CPU anyway.
    Twisted Firestarter
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  • #2
    Re: Vista: Throw Out Your PCI Sound Card

    Yea, Vista is pissing me off, if I want to spend 100 bucks on a gaming grade sound card the OS should have no problem allowing it! Uhhh that just grinds my gears! I know everyone is bad mouthing Vista, i wasnt going to be one, but if Vista really doesnt support DirectSound i'll be royally mad.
    Oyee

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    • #3
      Re: Vista: Throw Out Your PCI Sound Card

      DirectSound is supported, it's simply depreciated. My takeaway from that thread was not that sound support in Vista is crappier because of the architecture changes, but that in fact PCI sound cards are no longer needed.
      Twisted Firestarter
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      • #4
        Re: Vista: Throw Out Your PCI Sound Card

        The changes made to Vista's audio stack are for one primary reason, DRM.

        Some creative users can use "alchemy" to gain back some of that lost functionality. Alchemy translates direct sound calls into open AL.

        http://preview.creativelabs.com/alchemy/default.aspx

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        • #5
          Re: Vista: Throw Out Your PCI Sound Card

          Originally posted by Twisted_Firestarter View Post
          To summarize the thread:
          • Sound cards were originally created to take pressure off the CPU.
          • Sound complexity has not changed much in the last 5 years.
          • CPUs are much faster and therefore the hit a CPU takes to process sound now is minimal.
          • Multi-core CPUs and Microsoft's Cross Platform Audio Creation Tool (XACT) handle sound threading very well.
          • Pushing the sound stream through the PCI bus is actually slower than using the CPU.
          • Sound card utilization has been going down anyway because more developers are writing their own sound engines for games.
          • A lot of sound card functionality happens in the drivers (software), so the processing is happening on the CPU anyway.
          That doesn't change the fact that the DACs on motherboards suck compared to sound cards. It doesn't change the fact that there is much more noise coming out of onboard sound processors, compared to dedicated cards. And, we lose important sound effects like EAX. This is definitely a step back. No thanks.
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          • #6
            Re: Vista: Throw Out Your PCI Sound Card

            This issue was already addressed in the other Vista Sound thread that OP started. If the engine uses OpenAL, X-Fi cards will still be useful. Everything sounds the same in 2142 because it uses OpenAL.

            There's also the ALchemy program. I have it installed but haven't tried it out. Although, ALchemy might turn out to be a poorly supported application considering Creative only has beta drivers available for Vista. There hasn't been a driver update since Dec 06.

            - It's who you game with.

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            • #7
              Re: Vista: Throw Out Your PCI Sound Card

              the new drivers that will be released sometime this month (march 5th i hear) will correct these issues.

              /kill thread.
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              • #8
                Re: Vista: Throw Out Your PCI Sound Card

                Lith1um has it right. This isn't about performance or anything else technical. It is about DRM and the whole "trusted computing" initiative.

                Sound cards put a crimp in controlling what is going through the OS. Video cards do also but doing that with the CPU alone is impossible.
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                • #9
                  Re: Vista: Throw Out Your PCI Sound Card

                  Listen guys, when I'm doing my best to convince myself of something I expect everyone to go along, pat me on the back, and say "You are completely correct." Otherwise I am left with this sour taste in my mouth in regards to Vista, and I'm really doing my best to like vista. :row__589:
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                  • #10
                    Re: Vista: Throw Out Your PCI Sound Card

                    yeah but its only temporary...i'd really wish they'd hurry up and release these drivers though.
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                    • #11
                      Re: Vista: Throw Out Your PCI Sound Card

                      It's definitely better to use something other than onboard sound. It's not just that you get OpenAL but the sound quality. I've compared onboard sound to my Game Theater XP and X-Fi. Onboard sound just doesn't sound as full. It's a very tinny sound. Although, I seemed to notice the difference more when listening to music than playing games.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Vista: Throw Out Your PCI Sound Card

                        Originally posted by Twisted_Firestarter View Post
                        DirectSound is supported, it's simply depreciated. My takeaway from that thread was not that sound support in Vista is crappier because of the architecture changes, but that in fact PCI sound cards are no longer needed.
                        You are completely correct. <pats Twisted on the back>
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                        • #13
                          Re: Vista: Throw Out Your PCI Sound Card

                          I'm not going vista, when xp is no longer longer able to run the games and my X800 pro is crap.(tho it's probley is now) I'll finshing moving over completely over to linux and do something eles for enterainment, maybe UT99 coop on linux.
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                          • #14
                            Re: Vista: Throw Out Your PCI Sound Card

                            Originally posted by sgt fetterman View Post
                            I'm not going vista, when xp is no longer longer able to run the games and my X800 pro is crap.(tho it's probley is now) I'll finshing moving over completely over to linux and do something eles for enterainment, maybe UT99 coop on linux.
                            Eww. Pixelated graphics anyone?

                            Just give the slow corporate farts at nV, ATI, and Creative sometime to do their voodoo magic. It's only taken them about a year and a half to give us magically screwed up drivers that only work for some.
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