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3D Spotlight : Hardware : Videologic SonicVortex2 review


Videologic SonicVortex2 review
Posted by Thomas McGuire on November 2, 1999
Company: Videologic Systems     Product: SonicVortex 2 PCI

Videologic / Imagination Technologies is mostly known for their PowerVR series of graphics chips, however these guys do much more than just graphics cards including a variety of multimedia products such as the HomeC@m USB Camera, the Sirocco line of PC speakers and they also have the SonicVortex2 soundcard.

Based on Aureal's Vortex2 chip, the SonicVortex2 is aimed to the hardcore gamers that want the best 3D positional audio available thanks to the A3D 2.0 API, and although Vortex 2 soundcards have been available for a while now they are much cheaper than what they were at introduction so that every serious gamer can have one without spending the big bucks.

Installation, software, manual…

Installation was nice & easy. Opened up the case, removed my SoundBlaster Live, replaced it with the Sonic Vortex2 and connected the CD & speaker cables again. It was that simple. I was a bit surprised when physically comparing the 2 cards. The Sound Blaster Live looked better then the Vortex 2, which has a somewhat cheap look to it.

Booting up was fine; the card was detected as normal & the driver installation followed. Perfect, right? I was a little disappointed by the lack of options with the installation. The only option available was to install help/documentation files onto the hard drive. Other than that installation was a simple loading of the drivers & re-booting.

Bundled software included 3D Future beat, a demo of E-Jay & Jet-audio – a multimedia player, much like the Creative Playcenter, but with an unpleasant look to it (to me anyway). We’re not buying this card because of the software bundle, are we?

Downloading the latest drivers (complete) from A3D fixed some of grievances I had with the card. Like the game problems & the high CPU usage, which we’ve all heard about.

The manual, much like the software, contained the basics. Functional but nothing too detailed.

In comparison to my Sound Blaster Live, I found this product to be a bit on the thin side as concerns the little niceties. I was disappointed that there were no extra wires with this card to hook up peripherals. Quite an over-sight if you don’t already have any spare.

There’s one very important thing to bare in mind now however, the price. This card retails at an extremely cheap price, £64.99 maximum. The Sound Blaster Live is a lot more expensive than this. If you can do without a decent software bundle this is very appealing


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