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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [04.07.05]
Manufactured by: Shuttle

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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".

For the first time in a while, I get to test an integrated audio solution that doesn't automatically suck. I am looking forward to seeing how this Envy24 solution performs!

And sure enough, the audio controller shows a significant improvement in 3 RMAA tests. This should equate to a noticable increase in audio quality compared to other integrated audio solutions.

3D Audio Performance

Rightmark 3DSound was used to test peak CPU utilization under several scenarios. Most integrated sound controllers peak at 25 buffers, so we only tested up to 24. The Envy24 solution used on the SN25P actually supports up to 60 buffers (although without hardware acceleration, CPU usage at that point would be too high).

Audio performance is actually right there, with other integrated solutions. Considering how much better it sounds, this is pretty impressive.

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.

Once again, the performance is right there with other, poorer quality integrated audio controllers. I'm quite impressed!

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