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Analog Devices SoundMAX 2.0 Review

Analog Devices SoundMAX 2.0 Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: A few short years ago, the price of a PC sound card was considered to be a big portion of overall system cost. Until the days of the first ISA sound cards, wavetable MIDI synthesis was considered a high end feature as it required a sound card with dedicated on board memory and a digital signal processor capable of mixing and adding effects (chorus, reverb, mixing, etc.) to MIDI channels and voices.
 75% Rating:   
Filed under: Audio / Sound Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Analog Devices Mar 12 2001   P. Masrani  
Home > Reviews > Audio / Sound > Analog Devices SoundMAX 2.0

Features and Specs



The AD1885 works in conjunction with SoundMAX 2.0 drivers. The SoundMAX 2.0 drivers are the key difference between this product and to other AC97 solutions currently available. The only thing that seems to be missing from the above feature list is support for A3D 2.0. But since Aureal has ceased operation, very few games support this API.

The Test Bench

For our tests we used the following equipment:

· Intel Celeron 566 MHz
· Intel D810E2CA3 motherboard (Cayman 3)
· 128 MB SDRAM 133 MHz
· CNR SoundMAX 4 riser (2 x AD1881 CODECs)
· Labtec Xwave 6000 (Yamaha YMF744b) 4 channel sound card
· Orchid Nusound 3D PNP (Aureal Vortrex 1) 2 channel sound card
· Western Digital WD400BB 40GB hard drive
· NEC 5500A 8x/40x DVD ROM
· Windows 98SE, latest drivers for all devices
· Ziff Davis Audio Winbench 99 1.0 and Quake III v1.11


Our reference audio equipment consisted of:

· Pioneer A 405R Direct Energy MOS amplifier
· Pioneer CS 5030 floor speaker set
· Phillips SBC HP 600 studio reference headphones


SoundMAX 2.0 Performance

The above Quake III scores indicate that in gaming conditions where the video acceleration is the main bottleneck, the performance difference between SoundMAX 2.0 and other PCI sound cards is practically non existent. However, under circumstances where the processor itself is the bottleneck, scores on behalf of the SoundMAX 2.0 might be a bit lower than PCI based sound card scores.

The following table and charts, which are the results of Ziff Davis audio Winbench 99, clearly demonstrate that the SoundMAX 2.0 is about 1% (average) slower compared to other PCI competitors in DirectSound. This difference becomes even smaller with faster processors. In DirectSound3D SoundMAX 2.0 manages to outperform both PCI sound cards by a significant amount.

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Contents of Article: Analog Devices SoundMAX 2.0
 Pg 1.  Analog Devices SoundMAX 2.0 Review
 Pg 2.  — Features and Specs
 Pg 3.  Driver Screen shots

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