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Thread: HDA Intel Audio To Improve A Lot In Linux 3.9 Kernel

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke_Wolf View Post
    I'm not an audiophile, and you don't need to be to be able to tell that difference because it is very literally like going from adlib to "cd music" just by replacing the card even on $30 speakers, quite frankly whenever I hear the "You don't need a soundcard" It's like someone using pre-sandybridge intel graphics asking why they should use a videocard when gaming. The difference is seriously that much.

    And on the topic of gaming, you know the section in Crysis Warhead, where the troop transport crashes and then things start microstuttering all to hell? That's 3D audio being calculated and the sound codec hammering the CPU with interrupt requests to try to do it, that goes away when you put in a sound card, and it helps to smooth out things in general, because the problem with microstuttering it creates is not CPU Usage, it's that it's interrupting the CPU.

    Oh and while I'm at this: The biggest boost you can do to the performance of your games is not getting a new CPU or a better Video Card (assuming you're starting out with at least a Radeon ?670 level card which current gen integrated graphics are close enough to), though those will help of course but what's really going to give you the biggest boost is actually maxing out your memory and setting up a RAM drive. With a RAM drive and a sound card, a Radeon HD 5770 can play Crysis Warhead completely maxed out at 1080p, and it plays so very different when you do that.
    There is an astounding amount of ridiculously inaccurate information in this post. Sounds cards barely have any effect on game performance these days, most modern games don't even support any kind of sound card hardware acceleration anymore. Justify your sound card purchase all you want, it doesn't make your post any less hyperbolic.

    Yes a good sound card coupled with very high quality speakers or headphones can produce noticeably better sound quality, but telling people that a sound card will give them a huge boost in gaming performance is completely false.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke_Wolf View Post
    It's like someone using pre-sandybridge intel graphics asking why they should use a videocard when gaming. The difference is seriously that much.
    If they are playing flash games on facebook, then they probably don't need a dedicated graphics card, or sandybridge graphics. I'm not referring to people that play games like Crysis and don't see why a dedicated sound card would be good, I'm talking about the "joe bloggs" user.

    For the record, I have a reasonably good dedicated sound card and some reasonably good speakers. I like the sound they make together. I noticed the difference from my onboard sound and my previous speakers. However, I spend (too many) hours per day listening to (losslessly compressed) music and playing games, so it makes enough of a difference to me to be worth the extra money.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwat47 View Post
    There is an astounding amount of ridiculously inaccurate information in this post. Sounds cards barely have any effect on game performance these days, most modern games don't even support any kind of sound card hardware acceleration anymore. Justify your sound card purchase all you want, it doesn't make your post any less hyperbolic.

    Yes a good sound card coupled with very high quality speakers or headphones can produce noticeably better sound quality, but telling people that a sound card will give them a huge boost in gaming performance is completely false.
    There is an astounding amount of ridiculously inaccurate information in this post, because the author clearly hasn't compared performance with and without, and for that matter didn't get what I was getting at. You're not going to see a significant FPS boost, however you are going to see microstutters related to audio and calculating 3D audio go away because those interrupts go away.

    and for the record that setup I described is an actual one we've maxed out Crysis Warhead on at 1080p which is to say:
    Phenom II x4 955
    16GB DDR3
    Radeon HD 5770
    ASUS Xonar
    2TB WD Caviar Green Drive
    just.. For the record
    Last edited by Luke_Wolf; 01-29-2013 at 09:08 PM.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by archibald View Post
    If they are playing flash games on facebook, then they probably don't need a dedicated graphics card, or sandybridge graphics. I'm not referring to people that play games like Crysis and don't see why a dedicated sound card would be good, I'm talking about the "joe bloggs" user.

    For the record, I have a reasonably good dedicated sound card and some reasonably good speakers. I like the sound they make together. I noticed the difference from my onboard sound and my previous speakers. However, I spend (too many) hours per day listening to (losslessly compressed) music and playing games, so it makes enough of a difference to me to be worth the extra money.
    Well... Joe Bloggs is still listening to music and watching videos even if just on youtube, although more likely to his pirated collection, and even if not loseless there is benefit. I will however grant that the extra cost might not be worth it to him, although I personally have seen plenty of Joe Bloggs who are buying skullcandy headphones and such.

  5. #25
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    Are you sure it's not just placebo? MS hasn't allowed 3d sound accel since Vista, your card does not do it in hardware (fake emulation in drivers, says google), and to top it off this is a linux forum, where linux has never supported openal offload to any sound card AFAIK.

    So what remains to explain the microstutter is not less interrupts, but merely better quality drivers, if it's not placebo to begin with. The sound interrupts are the same regardless of the driver, as the game very likely submits the same-sized buffers. (Anyone who has separate audio paths raise your hand. Nobody? Thought so.)

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by curaga View Post
    Are you sure it's not just placebo? MS hasn't allowed 3d sound accel since Vista, your card does not do it in hardware (fake emulation in drivers, says google), and to top it off this is a linux forum, where linux has never supported openal offload to any sound card AFAIK.

    So what remains to explain the microstutter is not less interrupts, but merely better quality drivers, if it's not placebo to begin with. The sound interrupts are the same regardless of the driver, as the game very likely submits the same-sized buffers. (Anyone who has separate audio paths raise your hand. Nobody? Thought so.)
    I'm quite sure, and you can be sure by playing through the section that I highlighted in Crysis Warhead. Setting up the RAMdrive didn't fix that section, I know because getting to that point was a progressive thing where we upgraded the RAM and created the RAMdrive first and were testing out the extremely impressive difference in performance, although problem was it was still microstuttering on 3D audio, and then about a week later we got the soundcard and that section cleared out completely and microstuttering went down in general.

    Part of the reason for this is that a sound codec (which the integrated sound 'cards' are) are just that a codec that runs off the CPU, whereas a soundcard has a RISC CPU on the card itself, and sound is offloaded to it rather than the CPU you're running everything else on, now I'll grant you can also offload to other things but unless you're offloading to something that codec IS interrupting the CPU in order to work.

    and yes I realize I'm talking about Windows gaming in a linux forum, however I'm going after the people who think a soundcard doesn't do anything, and gaming is the most tangible because unlike a movie or a sound file I can point out microstutters that goes away and it's not subjective at all, and even though a sound card is objectively better as those who hear the difference will note it becomes a lot more subjective.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke_Wolf View Post
    Part of the reason for this is that a sound codec (which the integrated sound 'cards' are) are just that a codec that runs off the CPU, whereas a soundcard has a RISC CPU on the card itself, and sound is offloaded to it rather than the CPU you're running everything else on, now I'll grant you can also offload to other things but unless you're offloading to something that codec IS interrupting the CPU in order to work.
    Intel HDA compatible chips use DMA to transfer the data, just like your expensive discrete sound card.

    The things they don't do that your discrete soundcard probably does is 1. hardware mixing (but it's a known fact that software mixing (on the CPU) is usually better quality than the hardware mixing in discrete soundcards) and maybe 2. hardware decoding of surround channel info (but again: software on your CPU can probably do that in better quality).

    Now, it is true that some Intel HDA chips/implementations are notorious for their bad S/N ratio, but that is not because they follow that spec, but because they are placed in a bad spot on the motherboard, and/or because they are badly shielded. In any case, if you want high quality sound, you want the sound to leave your desktop/laptop case as digital data, and not analogue audio.

  8. #28
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    Great, in 3.9 the new code has been merged for all codecs: http://mailman.alsa-project.org/pipe...ry/058883.html

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