VOGONS


First post, by d1stortion

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In this topic some members stated that it is disadvantageous to use an ISA card with newer W95/98 games due to the limitations of the old bus. This made sense to me, but I asked myself what the difference in actual FPS numbers would be. Since I haven't found such a comparison anywhere, I decided to do one myself. The rig I used for this consists of:

Asus P3B-F 1.04
PIII 500 Katmai
V3 3000 AGP (newest 3dfx drivers)
128MB SDRAM
16GB CF card
Win98 SE w/ newest DX9.0c packages
AWE64 Value CT4520 and SB Live! CT4760, respectively.

As a game to benchmark, I settled for Unreal Tournament and its CPU limited utbench.dem (16 bots), which I figured would show the difference between the sound cards best in combination with the fairly weak CPU.

Running at 1024x768x16, all sound settings were left on normal, except for setting 44100 Hz output rate. I uninstalled and unplugged the AWE64 after doing the benchmark on it to go safe. As for drivers, I used the newest ones from Creative Labs in combination with the CDs found in the Vogons driver archive. Damn, enough rambling, now for the results 😁

AWE64: 12.96 Min, 41.61 Max, 27.40 Avg
SB Live!: 11.71 Min, 41.18 Max, 28.91 Avg

As expected the Live is faster, although really not by much. I find it really weird that the max FPS on it is actually lower then on the ISA card... 😳 The results vary a bit from run to run obviously (had 18 min on the Live one time), but all in all, from my testing I can say it's totally not worth switching to PCI just for better performance. Any comments or input on this?

Rerun (PIII@560, V3@184):

AWE64:
1. 16.63 Min, 41.9 Max, 29.27 Avg
2. 12.92 Min, 42.2 Max, 29.58 Avg
3. 19.94 Min, 50.1 Max, 29.61 Avg

AWE64 w/ UseSurround and Use3dHardware:
1. 20.13 Min, 45.81 Max, 29.74 Avg
2. 10.63 Min, 44.13 Max, 29.68 Avg
3. 9.99 Min, 41.77 Max, 29.41 Avg

Live:
1. 15.58 Min, 43.89 Max, 30.37 Avg
2. 12.71 Min, 44.15 Max, 30.56 Avg
3. 12.9 Min, 44.65 Max, 30.55 Avg

Live w/ UseSurround and Use3dHardware:
1. 16.27 Min, 41.89 Max, 28.64 Avg
2. 12.99 Min, 43.91 Max, 28.77 Avg
3. 12.9 Min, 43.96 Max, 28.73 Avg

Last edited by d1stortion on 2012-09-02, 01:22. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 2 of 15, by TheMAN

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the reason is simple... the early live cards had crappy bus mastering because due to how it handled PCI latency

there's also no "newest drivers from creative labs".... the newest drivers (released over a decade ago) are already in the driver collections here

Reply 3 of 15, by elianda

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SB Live! is not a good choice for testing. As TheMAN already said, the Emu10K DSPs try to take control over the PCI bus all the time.
Also the setting of ISA bus relevant settings might be important as Delayed Transaction f.e..
ISA is usually reached via a PCI/ISA Bridge so it is not so unexpected that it is a bit slower.

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Reply 5 of 15, by d1stortion

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Jorpho wrote:

Were you using the VxD Live drivers, or the WDM?

Dunno exactly... I installed the CD, and then updated through sblw9xup.exe from their site.

TheMAN wrote:

the reason is simple... the early live cards had crappy bus mastering because due to how it handled PCI latency

there's also no "newest drivers from creative labs".... the newest drivers (released over a decade ago) are already in the driver collections here

At least for the AWE64 installing their driver over the CD one will change the date in the device manager... from 12-9-97 to 12-10-97, to be precise
As for the latency thing, that's interesting... How would a Vortex fare then?

Reply 6 of 15, by Jorpho

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d1stortion wrote:

Dunno exactly... I installed the CD, and then updated through sblw9xup.exe from their site.

I seem to recall that the installation CD explicitly lets you choose between VxD and WDM. I would not expect the update from the website to be VxD, however.

Reply 8 of 15, by feipoa

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d1stortion wrote:

The results vary a bit from run to run obviously (had 18 min on the Live one time)...

From 11.7 min to 18 min is more than a bit. You might want to present the results from 3 runs on each card, then display the average for each. Given the 50% variance you have just shown, I'd say that your results are well within measurement noise and I see no real difference between the two sound cards.

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Reply 9 of 15, by d1stortion

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Davros wrote:

did you enable 3d sound in UT

You mean UseSurround or Use3dHardware? Both were on false, as I used default settings except for the output rate.

feipoa wrote:
d1stortion wrote:

The results vary a bit from run to run obviously (had 18 min on the Live one time)...

From 11.7 min to 18 min is more than a bit. You might want to present the results from 3 runs on each card, then display the average for each. Given the 50% variance you have just shown, I'd say that your results are well within measurement noise and I see no real difference between the two sound cards.

I'll eventually do such a rerun and edit it in the first post. I also remembered that especially with old hardware and drivers it may be best to use something like DriverCleaner when changing stuff, so I'll give that a try as well.

Reply 10 of 15, by swaaye

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Use3DHardware enables A3D and probably DS3D. The Live will process this but the ISA card may cause DirectSound3D to use CPU-computed 3D streams, resulting in significant performance impact.

For a PCI sound card to show a clear advantage you probably need to have it doing hardware 3D. Otherwise the game may just be mixing audio itself and pushing only 2 channel output to the sound card.

Reply 12 of 15, by feipoa

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About 1 min. less required for the AWE64 compared to the Live!
About 1 min. less required for the Live! w/UseSurround and Use3dHardware compared to the AWE64

From these results, neither card comes out as being much better or worse than the other.

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Reply 15 of 15, by Logistics

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I would do this, again using the kX drivers for the live, since we are only comparing 2ch stereo. Also, make sure the kHz are not set to 44kHz when using the live since it natively outputs 48kHz and would have to convert everything to force 44kHz.