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  Analog Devices' SoundMAX 3.0 with SPX 
  May 30, 2001, 09:00am EDT 

Test Results

By: Dan Mepham" alt="Audio Winbench 99" border=0>

Audio Winbench 99 measures the CPU overhead consumed while playing multiple DirectSound or DirectSound3D voices. In this case, the graph indicates the load utilized while playing 32 simultaneous DirectSound voices. The voices are stored in 16-bit format, and use a 44kHz sampling rate (44,000 audio samples per second). The test indicates that SoundMAX's CPU overhead is slightly higher than a SoundBlaster Live!. AC'97 provides the lowest CPU overhead, but also provides the worst audio quality by far." alt="DVD Playback" border=0>

The DVD playback test shows the CPU overhead consumed while playing a DVD movie. Note that this figure includes overhead due to video processing as well (a software decoder was used), and is not entirely due to the audio playback. The three perform similarly, the the SBLive! showing the lowest overhead. The standard AC'97 audio used is not capable of digital output, which is why that bar is missing. Nevertheless, SoundMAX keeps pace nicely." alt="Unreal Tournament" border=0>

The Unreal Tournament demo shows the framerate achieved in Unreal Tournament using varying levels of sound quality. In this case, a higher score is better. Using high versus low quality sound doesn't make much of a difference with any of the sound sources, although the SBLive! continues to hold a slight advantage, with SoundMAX close behind. When the EAX effects are enabled, the performance of both slows, however the Live! maintains a slight lead, as the increased CPU overhead required to perform the SoundMAX EAX effects detracts from the overall framerate.

1. Introduction
2. AC'97, Too Cheap For Its Own Good?
3. SoundMAX, Taking AC'97 a Step Further
4. The Latest SoundMAX, SoundMAX 3.0 with SPX
5. CNR Makes an Appearance
6. Test Setup & Procedure
7. Test Results
8. Sound Quality
9. Conclusions

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