X RAM support in Games

Discussion in 'PC Hardware, Software and Displays' started by sir doris, Dec 14, 2006.

  1. sir doris

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    Is there a list of games which utilise the XRam avaliable on the high end X-Fi cards or even better a recent review showing any performance delta between the std. X-Fi cards and those with XRam?

    Thanks

    Kristin
     
  2. willardjuice

    willardjuice super willyjuice
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    The games are Quake 4, BF2, and one other game (I forget which one). The difference is hardly noticeable (this coming from someone who owns the Elite Pro).

    I would just get the extreme music version if I were you (unless you have higher quality speakers and analog sound quality is imperative to you, then get an Elite Pro).
     
  3. sir doris

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    thanks for the reply :)

    Do you know if there are any more games in the pipeline that will support the XRam, do they have to use OpenAL?

    Cheers

    Kristin
     
  4. Rodéric

    Rodéric a.k.a. Ingenu
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    Now yes, since MS fucked up DirectSound in Vista.
    (So it's no if the game doesn't run on Vista)
     
  5. willardjuice

    willardjuice super willyjuice
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    Yeah that's another positive about the X-Fi, it will be the only card to have hardware acceleration in Vista for DirectSound3D (The Audigy series will still have hardware acceleration for OpenAL games).
     
  6. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    There is no DS3D in Vista. Creative is making a wrapper for DS3D to OpenAL translation. If it doesn't support the Audigy line it's because Creative is trying to get you to spend money. Audigy supports the majority of OpenAL and EAX features in hardware too.

    It is a bit perplexing to me that MS would just toss DS3D out like this.. Nearly every Windows game around since the arrival of DirectX uses DirectSound and almost as many use DS3D.
     
    #6 swaaye, Dec 16, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2006
  7. willardjuice

    willardjuice super willyjuice
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    I know how the OpenAL translation works. :roll:

    But there is still a DirectSound3D in Vista, it's just no longer at the kernel level. Microsoft moved DirectSound (and DirectSound3D) to a software level so any crashes that occur in DirectSound will not result in a BSOD (or crash the whole system). Removing DirectSound3D fully would result in majority of all games losing audio completely (right now only effects like EAX and hardware acceleration will be dropped in Vista without the OpenAL translation).

    They are not supporting the Audigy series right away because the Audigy series and the X-Fi series use different driver models. Since Creative is currently only working on one set at a time, they said similar drivers will probably come out for the Audigy series at a later time.
     
    #7 willardjuice, Dec 16, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2006
  8. Rainbow Man

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    Please explain to the technically fairly ignorant why moving directsound into user mode would preclude hardware acceleration.. Didn't MS do the same with direct3d also?


    Peace.
     
  9. BRiT

    BRiT Verified (╯°□°)╯
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    Yes, and both will get no hardware acceleration. This is due to decisions MS made on how to re-implement the audio portion. Here's all the details on Audio in Windows Vista.

    Fortunately, Creative has found a way to patch into Vista's audio stack and shunt everything through to their own layer that is friendly for hardware acceleration.
     
  10. Rainbow Man

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    Erm.. I guess either I'm not understanding what you mean or else you're sayign that all these 600+ USD vidcards we've amassed will now be worthless and gaming under vista will fall back to software rendering?


    Peace.
     
  11. Rodéric

    Rodéric a.k.a. Ingenu
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    SOUND Cards... yes.
    No more Audio Acceleration with DirectX, only with OpenAL.
     
  12. Gnerma

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    I believe any native OpenAL audio engine will "use" the X-RAM but not in a meaningful way. I personally own a fatality although only because I saw it for a price I couldn't pass up (130 USD). It's unfortunate but I doubt X-RAM will ever be in a useful amount of games. Creative putting it onto only high end cards will make sure of that. If their entire X-Fi lineup down to the low profile cards sported the 64mb chip it might be different.

    It seems to me that the PC gaming community is largely moving away from Creative and their continued EAX revisions. EAX4 has been around for years and I don't believe more than a handful of games have adopted it not to mention EAX5. It makes me wonder if Creative's long term "open for adoption then close for domination" strategy hasn't backfired. If you take a look at the steam survey it seems apparent that Creative is having trouble convincing the gaming community that they need add in sound boards. The vast majority of people are happy with their Realtek etc.

    Developers are often using too low bitrate lossy sound effects and utilizing hardware EAX/reverb less and less these days. I get the feeling that PC game sound is being pushed further into the corner with each passing year.
     
  13. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    Yeah, what's up with some of the awful audio compression in some games. I frequently hear quality similar to bad/low-birate MP3 swishing at the high end of the spectrum. Ick. And this is with games on 6 CDs or on DVDs. Inexcusable. Doom3 and UT2003/04 (OGG @ like 64kbps) are two examples that come to mind.

    I think what's really happening here is the placebo audio quality perception is losing its popularity. Hearing is nothing compared to vision. People naturally care less about the audio experience unless they've been forced to hear better options. And even then, they may still just not care (especially if it involves spending money). And PCs aren't really known as high quality audio platforms, unlike home theaters.

    The 3D audio phenomenon of the late '90s died off for several reasons, and Creative doesn't seem to be able to really provide really noticeable improvements or hype well enough. Also, back in the '90s, many people were using ISA cards. Moving to a SBLive! was one hell of an improvement over some generic ESS ISA card. Integrated audio is somewhat near SBLive quality these days (still a good bit behind tho).
     
    #13 swaaye, Dec 18, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2006
  14. willardjuice

    willardjuice super willyjuice
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    No because I am fairly sure Direct3D on Vista is still at a kernel level, meaning companies can still write drivers (almost like they normally have) adding hardware acceleration without any hacks. Whereas DirectSound is no longer at a kernel level (like it once was), and therefore companies cannot directly write drivers that have hardware acceleration (unless if they do what Creative is doing and intercept the DirectSound calls and map them to OpenAL calls).
     
  15. BRiT

    BRiT Verified (╯°□°)╯
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    I misread your first question as DirectSound and DirectSound3D (instead of Direct3D for Video).

    Yes. There will be no Hardware Audio Acceleration in Vista as it stands today. The only approved way to get hardware audio acceleration is for the game to use OpenAL. The other way to get hardware audio acceleration is being worked on as a work-around by Creative for their XiFi cards first and then rolled out to their older Audigy cards. In either case, the best solution requires one to use a Creative product.
     
  16. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    It is odd and annoying. But look at it this way: with everyone using software-powered audio devs can hopefully give everyone the same experience. And I think multi-core processors will be plenty for decent audio effects. Not remotely as efficient as a DSP though.
     
  17. willardjuice

    willardjuice super willyjuice
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    The audio effects are pretty bad as it is, taking a step back to software certainly is not going to help.
     
  18. Skrying

    Skrying S K R Y I N G
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    Hopefully it will push game developers to using OpenAL, would be a great move.
     
  19. Gnerma

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    We all hear quad core CPUs bashed for being "not needed" but at the same time we're seeing a rash of add in boards to do things usually done on a CPU. Sound cards are far from a new invention, but the X-Fi chip is far more of a "processor" than we've ever had on a sound board. We've also seen the Ageia phys-X cards and the bigfoot NIC. There was also talk a couple months back about an AI processor in development.

    So at least some people think that putting a bunch of extra cards with their own specialized processors and RAM into your gaming box is the way to give the PC more power. I'm not so sure though. Surely one core of a quad core CPU can do anything an X-Fi can, perhaps at much lower precision but good enough to be transparent. The same goes for physics, AI etc.

    Of course designing such an engine isn't easy, but would the resources you spend be more than what would sure be a nightmare of dealing with multiple add in board types, companies, cards & driver combinations? I doubt it. And it would just work since it would be pure software.
     
  20. Albuquerque

    Albuquerque Red-headed step child
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    No. Essentially all user interface stacks are now contained in user mode; this includes audio, video, network and all interface devices (keyboards, mice, joysticks, yokes, pedals, fingerprint scanners, security badge scanners, whatever.) This is what allows the Vista kernel to survive just about any driver crash you throw at it.

    The only things truly running at kernel level are the things that are core to the kernel's operation, such as memory management, non-removable drive management, plug-n-play core functions, BIOS / boot functions, HAL and priveleged system access passthru from signed user-mode driver hooks.

    Sorry for the OT...
     
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