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Sonic Vortex 2

"A3D is just starting to gain popularity with A3D 2.0 and their latest sound cards."

Today I will be reviewing VideoLogicís A3D 2.0 offering, the Sonic Vortex 2. Before I cover the review I would like to offer you my opinion on the A3D vs. EAX debate. Much has been said in the debate over whether A3D or EAX is better. In my point of view they are both great for games. In their own ways each extension adds better sound effects to games, which in turn allows developers to make them more realistic. What I am trying to say is, I love both of em. Without either of them think of how the sound in todayís games would be. If you have an old 16bit sound card lying around try plugging that in and playing Aliens vs. Predator. The sounds will be horrific compared to a SB Live! or a Vortex2 chipset card. These audio extensions are basically attempts by both companies to make their sound card better anyone elseís. EAX adds more effects and since Creative has a lot of marketing power will be supported by more games. A3Dís effects are more realistic than EAX but it has taken a while for games to support A3D. In fact A3D is just starting to gain popularity with A3D 2.0 and their latest sound cards. Look for A3D 3.0 to be a strong contender in the Audio Extension market and look for sound cards based on that chip to be very good.

Specs Ripped right off of VideoLogicís web page.
Minimum system requirements: Pentium 90 PC with a minimum of 16 MB RAM, running Windows 95/98/NT 4.0, with headphones or powered speakers.

Audio processor: Aureal Vortex2 AU8830 PCI audio processor featuring 92 stream DirectSound acceleration; A3D 2.0 with 76 channels (16 3D sources and 60 3D reflections); 320 voice wavetable (64 in hardware and 256 in software) with two independent 8 effect channels, DLS and DirectMusic support; separate AC 97 compliant codec; 18-bit D/A, A/D AC 97 stereo/quad codec.

Signal to noise ratio: Better than -100dB A-weighted (-94dB unweighted).

Sample rates: Up to 48 kHz playback/record.

S/P-DIF output sample rates: 32 kHz, 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz.

External connectors: 2 stereo headphone/line out jacks, line in jack, microphone in jack, 15 pin game/MIDI port, S/P-DIF optical out jack (Toslink).

Internal connectors: CD in (MPC3), aux in (MPC3), TAD in (MPC3), wavetable header.

Bus architecture: 32-bit PCI 2.1 local bus. Plug and Play compliant. Approvals: PC 99 compliant. FCC Class B certified for home or office use. Compliant with EMC directive (CE).

Technical support: Technical hotline, Internet web site and ftp.

Warranty: Five years.

High performance drivers: Microsoft Windows 95/98, DOS, Windows NT 4.0, DirectSound, DirectSound 3D, Aureal A3D v 2.0. EAX support will be added in future driver releases. (No wavetable, S/P-DIF or joystick support under Windows NT.)

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