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biged88

Sound Card Good investment, and general FPS Advice, please :)

8 posts in this topic

My system is slowing falling behind, but from my understanding I could re-use a sound card on a 64bit/dual core system when I have the funds down the road.

So I was thinking of a getting a budget based sound card. What that means in hopefully in the ~100 dollar range... I don't know if that is high-end or low-end... would like less but I doubt I would find it. My main limiting factor is the processor, which is pretty much near the top of the Socket A generation.

I know it doesn't take much to get a soundcard better than onboard but I don't know where to look and what all the sound card features are. For example I really don't need a 8 Speaker super card as I play the game with headphones...I might be nicer headphones but its only once in awhile that I have the abilty to use my 5.1 speakers, and thats usually when no ones home, people don't like to be disturbed by the sounds of explosions...ok my dad doesn't.

I was thinking about this one...

http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=290248 but once again it has alot I don't need...but maybe in order to get the most CPU cycles away from sound that would be needed?

If this is a good "no frills" best performance card I'll jump on it and it'll be in here 2-3 days:

http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=290241 at 30 bucks its pretty much ready for me to pull the trigger.

My Specs:

AMD Athlon XP 3000+ "Barton" [in an ABIT NF7]

Geforce 6800 AGP 128MB [Vanilla version and I am successful in opening up the pipes]

1024MB of Ram [Good Corsiar Stuff]

550w CoolerMaster Power Supply

I have a couple hard drives in the system so I took the liberty of moving WWII Online and my pagefile to the non-windows drive, which from my understanding is what one should do. I also move them to a smaller drive which supposedly would aide in seek times or something.

Its been awhile since I've played the game, but I squeaked by with decent FPS, it was the huge battles that hurt me but from the Air I could usually make a pass to get the first jitters out of the way then do a bombing run. I could play as infantry pretty well...my tanking skills began to suffer from the occasional FPS drop when looking in concentrated people areas.

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If it was me, i would sell the hole comp and buy me a new one. Save the money from the soundcard and put it in the new rig.

If that isn`t a choice, i would take a soundcard inbetween those two.... you don`t need this Fat-ility cr.. stuff, and i would too never buy something with a "SE" in the name.

Take a Audigy music edition, or similiar in price, and you will get something for your money.

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I would buy the X-FI card. If you look around you can probably find one around $100. Maybe not the "gamer" edition. I have an X-FI that I think is the "music "edition that I got for around $100. Great sound and it does have a mode that simulates surround sound on headsets that works pretty nice. It increased my FPS also, and I have a higher end machine.

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General sound-card/circuit recommendations:

Game sound reproduction can significantly impact game FPS, particularly if the system sound hardware utilizes the main CPU to calculate sound waveforms and 3D placements. Some sources say that sound calculations can take up to 15% of the processing capability of a moderate-power system.

The fundamental sound setup guideline is to select a maximum number of sound sources per the general recommendation for your sound card or circuitry, then experimentally adjust that number upward or downward in factor-of-two steps depending on whether the game's run-rate is fast enough or too slow, until you find your system's "sweet spot".

Because integrated (on-motherboard) sound solutions such as AC97 utilize the main CPU to do most of the work, players using a computer with such a sound solution should confugure the game using Setup.exe for no more than 32 sound sources for a fast CPU, and 16 sound sources for a minimally adequate system.

Generally, newer separate (internal slot plug-in) sound cards have adequate processing power for 64 simultaneous sounds. Older sound cards generally should start at 32 or 16 simultaneous sounds.

Most presently available sound cards can support a maximum of 64 simultaneous sounds in hardware. Setting up such a sound card to reproduce 128 sounds will result in the system sometimes being heavily dependent on CPU cycles for sound reproduction, thus taking CPU availability away from the game's graphics calculation requirements.

Some more advanced sound cards, such as the Creative "X-Fi" and possibly others, have support for 128 simultaneous sounds in hardware. Some also have a small CPU onboard to minimize their impact on the main CPU.

As of this posting, the "X-Fi" line of sound cards includes seven internal models, which are named somewhat misleadingly. Here's my analysis of their real functionality:

Xtreme Audio: new base model with stripped capabilities. Includes the X-Fi audio reproduction circuitry, but not the onboard-CPU processing capability to handle many simultaneous sound sources. Not recommended for complex gaming.

Xtreme Music: this is the least expensive model that has full game capability. Includes all of the X-Fi circuitry to reproduce up to 128 simultaneous sound sources and to place them in 3D reproduction space.

Platinum: same as an Xtreme Music, but also includes a remote control and a mini control panel, which mounts in a 3.5" exposed drive bay for front access to several controls and input/output jacks. (Note that all functions also can be controlled via software. The remote primarily would be useful for audio control during music listening or video watching.)

Xtreme Gamer: same as an Xtreme Audio with faster circuitry. Not recommended for complex games.

Xtreme Gamer Fatality Pro: same as an Xtreme Music, but with additional dedicated RAM on board. Note that this RAM functions only with software written specifically for it, and is not useful for WWIIOL.

Fatality: same as an Xtreme Gamer Fatality Pro, plus the mini control panel and remote control from the Platinum.

Elite Pro: similar to a Fatality, but with a fancier free-standing, cable-connected external control panel; a remote control; and more expensive A/D and D/A convertors (certainly inaudible in game applications, but might be significant on some precision wide-dynamic-range music for some listeners with "golden ears")

Note that--model names notwithstanding--all but the Xtreme Audio and Xtreme Gamer can be software-switched into any of the X-Fi software functionality modes...Audio Creation, Entertainment, or Gaming.

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BigEd-

Stay away from that AudigySE. It's a software-driven soundcard. I bought one thinking I was gtting cheap hardware-based audio, but in truth the SE Audigy lacks the EMU10K2 processor- in other words, it's no better than your onboard audio as far as CPU usage is concerned. It did make good sounding audio, but it *is* software driven, ie., uses CPU to calculate sounds.

The X-Fi you mentioned may be a bit overkill, but you won't regret it.

http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=290236

$94.99 with $20.00 rebate makes a $74.00 card- not a bad price.

HTH

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If you plan on keeping you soundcard on your next upgrade I would probably go with the XiFi but not the Fatality or Platinum, just the basic XiFi. If you want one to be in line with your current system I would look at the Audigy Soundblaster 2 or 4 IMO.

They can be had for around $50 or so.

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Forget that AudigySE, it's worthless.

Your bare minimum choice here would be an Audigy2 SE.

The X-Fi is a solid choice and good future investment.

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Thanks for all the info fellas. Great advice will probably get the one with the rebate (X-FI Xtreme Music.)

Yeah my plans are to keep the sound card for when I build my next rig, (along with CD/HD etc) and keep this one running with minimal stuff for office and web stuff....but thats a bit away from now.

Thanks again.

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