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Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Elite Pro - Objective test: RM3DS

To give a raw picture of these cards 3D-preformance have we chosen to test them in RightMark 3D sound 2.0. These tests count the CPU-usage with different settings. The numbers to the left (16, 32, 64 and 128) refer to how many voices are being tested.

First we tested the performance in DirectSound3D with EAX:

Voices:
Audigy 4 Pro
X-Fi Elite Pro
ALC850
16:
2,9
3,0
8,4
32:
3,8
3,8
12,2
64:
6,9
6,7
-
128:
-
12,0
-

Despite Creative’s bragging about the better gaming performances we can’t see any difference compared to the Audigy 4 Pro except that it supports 128 hardware voices. The difference between X-Fi and our integrated motherboard sound card is a lot bigger which is easy to understand as ALC850 with 32 voices can’t perform better than X-Fi with 128 voices. The integrated circuit can’t handle more than 32 voices and this is affecting the quality and the content in a negative way.

Now its time to test OpenAL, an API that Creative prefer over the DirectSound3D, maybe the optimizing and faster architecture do better here?

Voices:
Audigy 4 Pro
X-Fi Elite Pro
ALC850
16:
1,7
1,5
-
32:
3,0
2,6
-
64:
4,8
4,3
-
128:
-
8,9
-

Just as we expected, the OpenAL makes a huge difference, especially when we tested it with 128 voices. The ALC850-chip should support for OpenAL according to Realtek, but we couldn’t even select it in the program when we wanted to test the integrated sound circuit. The interesting bit here is that X-Fi performs, in OpenAL, with 128 voices as ALC850, in DirectSound3D, does with 16.

After some tests we decided to see how the sound cards perform in games.

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