AC97

“Dear God,

“I am selling home PCs for $1500, and I would like to ensure that I will have installation, driver, compatability and operation issues, so that while I make only $50 markup on the hardware, I can ensure thousands of dollars per system of support and maintenance contracts.

“Hard drives and memory: people tend to know about. Video cards are what kids talk about in the school yard.

“So please, dear lord, invent a hardware concept that we can give a name to fool consumers into believing is a simple, standard piece of hardware. One that people won’t even realize is there. And yet one which there are thousands of different drivers for, versions and instances and revisions of the same hardware to make them all incompatible. And make it so that, to tell which is the right one, you need to get an electron microscope.”

Unfortunately it was God’s day off or he’d have declined. Instead, we got the AC97 sound chips.

Folks, when you buy your new computer, remember: AC97 is to sound what Splenda-substitute is to sweetners. In short, if you intend to plug speakers into your computer, buy a soundcard. Spend $15 on a soundblaster. That’s an instant saving of hair, trust me.

Incidentally – last year, maybe 2004, I bought an Abit AMD motherboard. I could not get the thing to run stable. When I finally went to the Abit website, they had a BIOS patch which fixed “numerous stability issues” – by disabling the AC97 chipset which was technically incompatible with AMD CPUs (something to do with the memory hole?). They dropped support for the line of motherboards within about 3-4 months.

7 Comments

I’ve been using onboard sound (ac97) for years without any problems, so :P.

You left off, don’t let your sound card get too old. Most of my performance issues went away with a new soundcard. It is more difficult to determine the bottleneck with hardware these days. Memory, CPU, v-card, monitor, network, ISP, OS, Soundcard, Motherboards with their built in components (some things should not be built into the MB), Disk Space, Disk Fragmentation. All of these can lead to game play degradation.

I’ve been in a constant upgrade my computer for 10+ years. The process has spawned off many still functioning computers. The oldest component in my current gaming computer was the sound card. A SB Audigy Z series, I think I bought it not long after I started playing WWII online. Either it couldn’t handle the tank turret moving sounds or it was flaking out from old age, It was my bottle neck. V-card is next up for replacement.

SB FTW!!!

But don’t get just any soundblaster. Stay far far far away from anything with “Live!” in the name.

Audigy 2 at least.

I measured performance on my rig using audiobench, and saw between 25-30% CPU utilization with my old SB Live! for 32 simultanious 3D sounds. Even worse than my onboard soundcard which used between 20-25% CPU (CMedia). My Audigy2 cost only about 4% for the same test.

So, my FPS went up-up-up-and-away after I changed to the Audigy.

“Either it couldn’t handle the tank turret moving sounds or it was flaking out from old age, It was my bottle neck. V-card is next up for replacement.”

You need to replace “turret moving sounds”, with “turret moving noise” Those sounds are the most grating thing I have ever heard in a Video game. The noise along with the loss of of your Icon in the UI (making it very hard to keep your turret faced correctly), Will run me off from this game all by them self.

What utility did you use to measure cpu usage when the computer is singing?

I would like to place it on my squad forums… they are getting me crazy with performace…

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