First post, by ChrisR3tro
since I have been reading that there supposedly are performance differences between the two revisions of the Vortex II chip (AU8830 rev. A2 vs. B0), I decided to try and measure these using Quake III as a benchmark tool. Just wanted to share my findings here with everybody.
Benchmark system specs:
- Mainboard: ASRock 775i65G R3.0
- CPU: Intel Celeron 450 @ 2.2 GHz ("Conroe", Intel Core-based)
- Graphics: nVidia GeForce FX 5500 based
- RAM: 512 MB DDR
- Soundcard: Aureal SQ2500 / Diamond Monster Sound II MX300* (both Aureal Vortex II AU8830 based)
*) The MX300 has an earlier "A2" revision of the AU8830 chip, whereas the SQ2500 has a "B0" revision.
All benchmarks were done with Quake III 1.11 due to the following reasons. Quake III 1.15c has a bug that the "crackling fire" background noise in the first map (Q3DM1) is completely inaudible when A3D is enabled. Also L/R channels are switched using A3D on 1.15c (tested with drivers 2048). Earlier drivers don't seem to experience the channel swapping issue. Later revisions of Quake III dropped A3D support altogether. To my knowledge, 1.25p still has the A3D option in menu and in 1.27g it was gone.
All this has led me to the conclusion that the A3D implementation in Quake III has been treated as an orphan to begin with. It seems buggy and inconsistent throughout all the later point releases. Sound occlusions for example, one of the main features of A3D has been disabled by default and the overall sound quality is not something to remember, speaking totally subjectively, of course. I have re-enabled the occlusions using a console command (see below).
Nevertheless I think the game may be a good candidate to try to measure AU8830-A2 vs AU8830-B0 performance.
The graphics quality was reduced as much as possible to minimize impact of graphics card on benchmark results. Here's a small Quake III config file I have used to run the benchmarks:
//A3D benchmark config
//Turn down graphics stuff
set com_maxfps 0
seta cg_drawCrosshair "0"
seta cg_drawCrosshairNames "0"
seta cg_marks "0"
seta cg_drawfps 1
seta cg_draw3dIcons 0
seta cg_drawGun 0
seta cg_shadows 0
seta cg_simpleItems 1
seta r_swapInterval "0"
seta r_detailtextures 0
seta r_textureMode "GL_NEAREST"
seta r_texturebits "16"
seta r_colorbits "16"
seta r_depthbits "16"
seta r_fastsky "1"
seta r_dynamiclight "0"
seta r_dlightBacks "0"
seta r_mode 0
//Audio and A3D
seta s_volume "0.7"
seta s_musicvolume "0.2"
seta s_khz 44
seta s_loadas8bit "0"
seta s_occlude "1.0"
Benchmarks were run in Quake's "timedemo" mode using demo file "demo001". If you place my config file as a3dbench.cfg in the baseq3-subfolder. The following console commands start the benchmark:
I have included some benchmark results with A3D turned off just for comparison. I always did four benchmark runs and took the average. The result of the first run was discarded to minimize any type caching done by the game between tests (you never know...).
2040 version drivers
SQ2500 A3D Off: 556.7 fps / 558.0 fps / 552.8 fps = 555.9 fps
SQ2500 A3D On: 311.3 fps / 299.6 fps / 301.7 fps = 304.2 fps
MX300 A3D Off: 527.7 fps / 514.1 fps / 528.5 fps = 523.4 fps
MX300 A3D On: 305.6 fps / 307.3 fps / 291.8 fps = 301.6 fps
2041 version drivers
SQ2500 A3D Off: 562.0 fps / 561.1 fps / 561.1 fps = 561.4 fps
SQ2500 A3D On: 319.2 fps / 305.5 fps / 314.6 fps = 313.1 fps
MX300 A3D Off: 541.2 fps / 536.5 fps / 536.9 fps = 538.2 fps
MX300 A3D On: 293.1 fps / 310.6 fps / 314.6 fps = 306.1 fps
2048 version drivers
SQ2500 A3D Off: 560.8 fps / 559.0 fps / 559.7 fps = 559.8 fps
SQ2500 A3D On: 296.9 fps / 286.0 fps / 283.6 fps = 288.8 fps
MX300 A3D Off: 538.8 fps / 538.2 fps / 540.3 fps = 539.1 fps
MX300 A3D On: 280.5 fps / 275.7 fps / 284.3 fps = 280.2 fps
As you can see from the results, A3D alone has a severe impact on performance when enabled. However the difference between the two chip revisions is negligible, I would say. Also the 2048 version drivers seem to be a bit slower overall.