Videologic SonicVortex2 - Part 4

The Tests
Running AudioWinbench 99 was the most straight-forward part of the entire review. Let us analyse the charts below:

ZD AudioWinbench 99 CPU Utilisation Results
Blue - represents best performance
Red - represents worst performance

 

SBLive! With LiveWare 1.0

SBLive! With LiveWare 2.0

SonicVortex2 (Default 4.06.2016 Drivers)

SonicVortex2 (Pre-released 4.06.2030 drivers)

DirectSound,22 kHz,8 bit, Static:Hardware Voices

32

32

32

32

DirectSound, 22 kHz, 8 bit, Static:Voice 8 (Percent Used)

0

0

1.04

0

DirectSound, 22 kHz, 8 bit, Static:Voice 16 (Percent Used)

0

0

1.65

0

DirectSound, 22 kHz, 8 bit, Static:Voice 32 (Percent Used)

0

0

3.24

0

DirectSound, 22 kHz, 8 bit, Streaming:Hardware Voices

32

32

32

32

DirectSound, 22 kHz, 8 bit, Streaming:Voice 8 (Percent Used)

0

0

1.07

0

DirectSound, 22 kHz, 8 bit, Streaming:Voice 16 (Percent Used)

0

0

1.6

0

DirectSound, 22 kHz, 8 bit, Streaming:Voice 32 (Percent Used)

0

0

3.29

0

DirectSound, 44.1 kHz, 16 bit, Static:Hardware Voices

32

32

32

32

DirectSound, 44.1 kHz, 16 bit, Static:Voice 8 (Percent Used)

0

0

1.06

0

DirectSound, 44.1 kHz, 16 bit, Static:Voice 16 (Percent Used)

0

0

2.02

0.0612

DirectSound, 44.1 kHz, 16 bit, Static:Voice 32 (Percent Used)

0

0

4.96

0.136

DirectSound, 44.1 kHz, 16bit, Streaming:Hardware Voices

32

32

32

32

DirectSound, 44.1 kHz, 16bit, Streaming:Voice 8 (Percent Used)

0

0

1.12

0

DirectSound, 44.1 kHz, 16bit, Streaming:Voice 16 (Percent Used)

0

0

1.96

0

DirectSound, 44.1 kHz, 16bit, Streaming:Voice 32 (Percent Used)

0

0

5.14

0.168

DirectSound3D, 22 kHz, 8 bit, Static:Hardware Voices

32

32

16

16

DirectSound3D, 22 kHz, 8 bit, Static:Voice 8 (Percent Used)

2

2.25

2.11

1.24

DirectSound3D, 22 kHz, 8 bit, Static:Voice 16 (Percent Used)

2.68

2.35

3.32

2.02

DirectSound3D, 22 kHz, 8 bit, Static:Voice 32 (Percent Used)

3.93

3.94

15.9

16.1

DirectSound3D, 22 kHz, 8 bit, Streaming:Hardware Voices

32

32

16

16

DirectSound3D, 22 kHz, 8 bit, Streaming:Voice 8 (Percent Used)

1.98

2.22

2.46

1.21

DirectSound3D, 22 kHz, 8 bit, Streaming:Voice 16 (Percent Used)

2.69

2.36

3.26

2.03

DirectSound3D, 22 kHz, 8 bit, Streaming:Voice 32 (Percent Used)

3.94

3.87

16.1

16.5

DirectSound3D, 44.1 kHz, 16 bit, Static:Hardware Voices

32

32

16

16

DirectSound3D, 44.1 kHz, 16 bit, Static:Voice 8 (Percent Used)

1.91

2.24

3.18

1.29

DirectSound3D, 44.1 kHz, 16 bit, Static:Voice 16 (Percent Used)

2.7

2.35

4.72

2.22

DirectSound3D, 44.1 kHz, 16 bit, Static:Voice 32 (Percent Used)

3.89

4.03

27.8

27.1

DirectSound3D, 44.1 kHz, 16 bit, Streaming:Hardware Voices

32

32

16

16

DirectSound3D, 44.1 kHz, 16 bit, Streaming:Voice 8 (Percent Used)

1.9

2.2

3.28

1.23

DirectSound3D, 44.1 kHz, 16 bit, Streaming:Voice 16 (Percent Used)

2.74

2.46

4.67

2.1

DirectSound3D, 44.1 kHz, 16 bit, Streaming:Voice 32 (Percent Used)

3.89

3.92

27.2

27

Observation
From the charts, there is a noticeable CPU hit using DirectSound on the Vortex2 when I used the default 4.06.2016 drivers that shipped with the SonicVortex2. Testing the card with the latest pre-release 4.06.2030 reference drivers from Aureal, performance improved very significantly - bringing utilisation to near zero all the time in the DirectSound tests.

The SBLive! was most impervious; it suffered virtually no CPU hit in all DirectSound tests - even when 32 voices are used. In DirectSound3D tests, utilisation was always very low on the Live! (never exceeding 5% even when 32 voices were used).

In contrast, due to the limitation of the Vortex2 to accelerate more than 16 DirectSound3D streams through 4 speakers, there was significant performance degradation with the additional streams ran in software. Aureal had said that even when v4.06.2030 drivers officially shipped, 32 streams with 4 speakers still will not supported.

Aureal's David Gastor:
The current pre-release 2030 driver supports 76 3D streams when in a 2-speaker mode, and 16 when in quad mode. The actual driver code differences between the modes is currently preventing us from doing 76 in quad mode, though we are still looking at ways to do it for a future driver release. When the final retail 2030 driver is released, I'd expect to see it remain at 16 streams in quad mode

Anyway, from the above tests we can conclude that the latest drivers improved performance by quite a bit when handling DirectSound streams. However, in DirectSound3D, there is still room for improvement before the Vortex2 can match the level of performance delivered by the SoundBlaster Live!

While we understand that the impact on game performance will vary with different CPUs, you'll have to judge for yourself if all these benchmarks are relevant after taking a look at real life in-game performance of the cards.

 

< Previous

Next >

 

Content