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Gigabyte K8VT890-9 Motherboard -

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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [03.14.05]
Manufactured by: Gigabyte

MSRP: $83

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Audio Quality

To test audio quality, we used Rightmark Audio Analyzer 5.4. Using the analog output on each integrated controller, and a Philips Ultimate Edge as the input device, on a common host PC. The Ultimate Edge uses a VIA Envy24GT, and a high quality audio codec.

RMAA uses words such as "poor" and "very good" to describe performance. For simplicity, we translated the six possible results to numbers. 1 being "very poor" and 6 being "excellent".

Although the boards we tested with have different audio controllers, the codec chips were the same (Realtek ALC850) so final quality results should be very close.

And they certainly are. Again, even though different controllers are used, audio quality is only as good as its weakest link. In this case, the ALC850 codec used on all these boards is not much better than 'average' in most tests.

Actual performance is what is going to differ, so let's take a look at audio performance:

3D Audio Performance

Rightmark 3DSound was used to test peak CPU utilization under several scenarios. Both sound controllers peak at 25 buffers, so we only tested up to 24. High end cards such as those using VIA's Envy24 or Audigy cards usually support 60 buffers or more.

All is fine when 2D sounds are used, but as soon as you enable DirectSound 3D, CPU usage skyrockets. And this is with only 16 buffers...

Things are even worse when more buffers are used.

Let's see if this trend continues with our Real World performance test:

Real World Audio Performance

To see how each sound controller affects real world gaming performance, we ran several tests using UT2K4's various audio settings. First a control was run with no sound, then each test was run, using 640x480 and the lowest detail settings. Consider any performance loss to be 'worst case scenario' because nobody would ever play with these settings.

Sure enough, the Gigabyte board performed the worse with 3D audio enabled. In hardware mode, expect to lose up to 30 frames per second compared to having sound disabled! Ouch!

Next Page: (Worldbench 5)