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3D Spotlight : Hardware : Aureal Vortex2 SQ2500 Quad PCI review

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Aureal Vortex2 SQ2500 Quad PCI review
Posted by Adam Klein on February 15, 2000
Company: Aureal     Product: Vortex2 SQ2500 Quad PCI soundcard

Aureal has brought us some very good audio chips over the past couple of years. The first Vortex audio cards were a big hit and the Vortex 2 proved to be even better, but what makes them so great? The true 3D audio is what makes them special.

Other boards based on different chips may say they offer 3D audio, but that is not true 3D audio actually. These boards simply position the audio in space, while Aureal Vortex chips examine the geometry of a 3D world and reflects the audio accordingly.

This form of wavetracing is what makes the true 3D audio processing of the Vortex so great.  With my previous review of the Aureal Vortex SuperQuad (OEM distribution only – though first Aureal own soundcard in the market), I really liked the sound quality it gave me in 3D games, actually it was superior to the Sound Blaster Live in that area.

There was something about it that I really didn’t like though. That was the huge CPU utilization the card required to run both Aureal A3D API and just playing normal sound. I am very happy to say that the Aureal Vortex 2 SQ2500 has an improved design to combat this. The CPU utilization has gone way done and as a matter of fact, beats the Sound Blaster Live in CPU utilization when playing normal sound, more details in the next pages…

Installation and Drivers

Installation of the board was pretty easy since the amount of resources the board used was almost equal to that of the previous board in my system, the Sound Blaster Live. The drivers that came with the board worked really well and I didn’t have any problems with my Pentium 3 Coppermine CPU.

The Sound Blaster Live, on the other hard, required me to download Liveware! 3 again in order for it to work with my Coppermine. The drivers may be good for the Vortex, but there are things missing in them that were previously mentioned to be in them a long time ago. One of them being EAX support (Environmental Audio Support).

EAX is one of the driving forces behind Creative and their Sound Blaster Live line of cards. I hear that EAX support has been in beta for a long long time, but has failed to be seen as an official driver release. It is unknown as of yet if the soon to be released drivers will contain support for board EAX version 1 and EAX version 2, or just EAX version 1. If the support is only in EAX 1, then there will be a whole lot of EAX games that will not be supported by the driver.

 


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