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.
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.
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.
to noise ratio: Better than -100dB A-weighted (-94dB unweighted).
rates: Up to 48 kHz playback/record.
output sample rates: 32 kHz, 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz.
connectors: 2 stereo headphone/line out jacks, line in jack,
microphone in jack, 15 pin game/MIDI port, S/P-DIF optical out
connectors: CD in (MPC3), aux in (MPC3), TAD in (MPC3),
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).
support: Technical hotline, Internet web site and ftp.
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.)