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  1. #1
    500+ This must be a daytime job mauriceb's Avatar
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    Sound card & frame rates

    I have a pretty high end motherboard with audio built-in (like most/all motherboards these days). I have read some claims that a separate sound cards can give you slightly better frame rates than using the on-board audio.

    This sounds logical, but I have also read some claims that a separate sound cards barely makes any difference in frame rates.

    So, discounting audio quality, has anyone experienced a big increase in frame rates when using a separate sound card?

    Thanks,
    Maurice

  2. #2
    2000+ Poster - Never Leaves the Sim Michael Carter's Avatar
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    When I was using an Athlon 1.3 Thunderbird core I installed a SB card after dealing with frame rates in the low double digits, sometimes dropping below 10using 3rd party scenery and the DF727.

    I noticed that when I used the "Q" key to turn off the sound that frame rates jumped by about 5. On a very low-end system like this, 5 fps was a Godsend.

    On new machines you may not notice much of a difference, but it made a big difference on my old machine.
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    Mycockpit, Inc. CTO Deesystems's Avatar
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    Post Snd Card

    I would think that it would be a Driver issue, a dedicated MFG of a sound card would optimize the drivers for a given OS.

    Dee

  4. #4
    500+ This must be a daytime job mauriceb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boeing Skunk Works View Post
    I noticed that when I used the "Q" key to turn off the sound that frame rates jumped by about 5. On a very low-end system like this, 5 fps was a Godsend.

    On new machines you may not notice much of a difference, but it made a big difference on my old machine.
    I would take an extra 5 fps any day with FSX. I guess I will try turning the sound off first. I thought that this maybe would only mute the sound but the CPU would still be processing it, so this would make no difference.

    Thanks,
    Maurice

  5. #5
    2000+ Poster - Never Leaves the Sim Michael Carter's Avatar
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    I thought the same thing. I have no explanation for why the increase when silencing the sound. I just know it did happen.
    Boeing Skunk Works
    Remember...140, 250, and REALLY FAST!

    We don't need no stinkin' ETOPS!



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  6. #6
    1000+ Poster - Fantastic Contributor Tomlin's Avatar
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    My understanding is that when you have the sound turned off, or using a dedicated Sound Card, you relieve the load off of the CPU and therefore will possibly notice a difference. I think this was much more noticeable back in the day before multi core PCs and all though.

    I did notice it too by turning off the sound, but since I must have sound, I never kept it that way.
    Eric Tomlin-
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  7. #7
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    If we are talking fsx: I gained about .5 fps when I upgraded to a creative x-fi sound card from on-board sound. The sound quality improved remarkably however. YMMV.

    The biggest hardware improvement I have made so far was upgrading to 4gig RAM. I run XP and while it does not use all of it (I get something like 3.1gig total), it gave me about 7-8 fps. Again, YMMV.

  8. #8
    500+ This must be a daytime job mauriceb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QFA175 View Post
    If we are talking fsx: I gained about .5 fps when I upgraded to a creative x-fi sound card from on-board sound. The sound quality improved remarkably however. YMMV.

    The biggest hardware improvement I have made so far was upgrading to 4gig RAM. I run XP and while it does not use all of it (I get something like 3.1gig total), it gave me about 7-8 fps. Again, YMMV.
    I tried the "Q" option yesterday and it's hard to really say because fps vary all the time, but fps did go up by ~1 fps fairly consistently with sound turned off. Not really a reason to get a sound card, but now I'm curious whether the sound quality alone makes it worth it anyway. When you say the sound quality improved remarkably, are you talking about FSX sounds or was that when playing any kind of music?

    Also, what was your original memory size before you upgraded to 4 Gig? I now have 2 Gigs and I doubt this is limiting my frame rates, but I could be wrong .

    Thanks,
    Maurice

  9. #9
    Boeing 777 Builder


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    Maurice,

    I think you'll find a greater improvement with a RAM upgrade than a soundcard upgrade. As others have said a dedicated soundcard was more of an issue in the past but with multicore CPU's and massive RAM these days it's not so. However it is still advantageous to have good onboard sound. If as you say you have a high end mobo then this should be the case. I based my purchase of a Gigabyte mobo partly on the fact that it had high quality onboard sound. This will achieve better audio and also minimise any FPS impact that might be imposed.

    Ken.
    Opencockpits | Aerosim Solutions | Sim-Avionics | P3D | FDS | FTX | AS16 | PPL | Kennair


  10. #10
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    Hi Maurice,

    I upgraded from 2 to 4 gig and it really did make a big difference. However the gain could well have been from the fact that the new ram was high-performance orientated while the original chips were very much bargain basement. Hard to tell, but for $150 I think it is worth a roll of the dice.

    In terms of the sound quality, the creative card certainly improved everything coming out of the speakers. It wasn't a night and day change, just clearer, crisper, and much more definition. For me it was worth it and it was another relatively cheap upgrade. Please keep in mind that I have a low-end mobo and thus the on-board sound may have been below-par to start with.

    Cheers

    Dave 'the fps hunter' Q

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