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By: Carl Nelson [03.31.05]
Manufactured by: DFI 

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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). The Ultra-D is the only one to separate the codec from the motherboard, so it is expected to excel in these tests:

Unfortunately, because of the poor choice of components, the Karajan feature does not help with audio quality in any of the RMAA tests.

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.

The Ultra-D performs just as well as the Gigabyte board, which uses the same audio controller chip. Any variances seem to be within the margin of error.

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.

As expected, the cards all perform just about equally here (that is to say, quite poorly unfortunately)

Next Page: (Worldbench 5)