Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

Discussion in 'Motherboards' started by Sylvanas, Feb 29, 2008.

  1. toadeater

    toadeater Senior member

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    Yes, but Realtek codecs don't have true 3D positional audio, and they have quite a few problems with audio occlusion when in EAX mode in some games.

    Anyway, according to the chart The Keeper posted, I guess the best on-board Realtek options are:

    1. 889
    2. 885
    3. 888

    You see, it's not as obvious as you expected! 885 is better than 888!
     
  2. Ghouler

    Ghouler Senior member

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    This is a good comparison of onboard codecs in terms of sound quality - GO STRAIGHT TO PAGE 10:
    http://translate.google.com/tr...de%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF-8
    (googlished from German)
    As for CPU hit I don't know about latest Realtek codecs...
    But in the past the hit could be above 10% compared to 1-3% with a sound card. And this is with just mp3 playback. I have not seen any comparisons between old onboard and HD Audio in terms of CPU hit. So my guess is there is no difference and onboard sound still causes extra load for CPU.

    See this:
    http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/...n-cpu-use-investigated

     
  3. The Keeper

    The Keeper Senior member

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    It's not minimum EAX 2.0 support, but maximum. Creative is not licensing EAX3 or 4 to 3rd parties unless they manufacture Creative's own chips. And even then they can only use the latest EAX APIs on Creative's own chips. One such example is Auzentech X-Fi. a card manufactured by Auzentech, but uses Creative's X-Fi chip.

    Not even the latest HD audio chip from Realtek supports anything newer than EAX2. If you've had an onboard audio and have had EAX effects enabled in games, disable them just for kicks and compare audio. If EAX3 or EAX4 mode works, chances are that the newer EAX calls are simply ignored.

    I don't know any onboard audio solution that can do 3D audio effects properly and sound good while doing so. This is similar to integrated graphics, while they claim to support many, if not most effects, the support or performance is poor compared to dedicated cards.

    In any case, let your ears be your judge. Enable 3D effects in games if you think they really do sound better than plain stereo. Just bear in mind that if you ever have audio issues, this is the most probable cause.

    With the release of Vista things have changed much. It is my understanding that EAX will be dying, slowly but still dying. In Vista Microsoft abandoned DirectSound3D, and thus EAX is not working. Creative goes around with this issue by providing a seperate software called Alchemy that translates EAX calls to OpenAL calls. What is a mystery to me is how well do onboard HD audio chips support OpenAL, if at all.
     
  4. SolidSnakeUS

    SolidSnakeUS Member

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    I guess this is something I was waiting for. Something that was as good or better than my Audigy 2 ZS. I have had that thing for over 4 years :laugh:.
     
  5. TC91

    TC91 Golden Member

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    with modern day dual core and multi core cpu's i doubt the cpu hit of an onboard sound is really much to worry about; good thread nonetheless, i should check if my realtek alc888 outperforms my live! that i reused from my old computer (ac'97 onboard). my laptop has the alc888s i believe (acer 5920) and the sound on it was pretty good on headphones, much better than i had expected for sure from onboard sound.
     
  6. postmortemIA

    postmortemIA Diamond Member

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    Realtek has more "features" and has better driver support? IS this some kind of joke? Realtek's stuff has been bottom end since forever. Those chips cost $2 in bulk.
     
  7. The Keeper

    The Keeper Senior member

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    Realtek has more features than what? Compared to old AC'97 codecs? Definitely yes. Compared to Audigy 2 or newer? No. If by "features" you actually were referring to sound quality, then yes it does beat Audigy 2 ZS.

    As far as driver support goes, Realtek beats Creative. Which for the record, is not difficult milestone to achieve.
     
  8. SorryImLate

    SorryImLate Senior member

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    How bout the newer Audigy SE compared to the ALC888

     
  9. LOUISSSSS

    LOUISSSSS Diamond Member

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    so the alc888 beats out the Audigy 2 ZS in sound quality???
    my speakers are M-Audio LX4
     
  10. LOUISSSSS

    LOUISSSSS Diamond Member

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    i decided to give my ALC889a a try! but first can someone direct me to where realtek hides their drives/software and what to use? i've used my audigy 2 for the past 3-4 years

    edit: is the latest WDM_R188.exe? (version R1.88)
     
  11. Sylvanas

    Sylvanas Diamond Member

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    Yep 1.88 are the latest- Tweakguides always has a heads up when new Realtek drivers are released (which is actually quite frequently).
     
  12. zorrt

    zorrt Member

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    So...ALC889 > audigy 2 value except for EAX? Maybe its time I pull that audigy 2 out of the case. Not like I use EAX (vista user) and I'm not gonna pay for alchemy and my speakers arent setup for surround. I just use the audigy because I paid $90 for it :(
     
  13. Sylvanas

    Sylvanas Diamond Member

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    Might aswell give it the toss mate, try out the onboard- the drivers have been very stable and unproblematic for me in Vista 64.
     
  14. LOUISSSSS

    LOUISSSSS Diamond Member

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    i just did the swtich from audigy 2 to ALC889 and the sound quality is more or less the same. maybe not better but something slightly "different" which ears usually like after a while of the same sound card.

    i did notice 2 problems tho:
    1. i hear lots of static when using my headphones connected to the front panel of my case. even when my windows sound is muted.
    2. i can't mute my speakers when my headphones are connected to the front panel. my audigy2 did this automatically.
     
  15. Synomenon

    Synomenon Diamond Member

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    There are settings in the Realtek HD Audio Manager to enable that feature where your speakers mute when headphones are connected. At least in my case there is. I'm using an Asus P5E-VM HDMI that has an ALC 883.

    I have these options when I go into Realtek HD Audio Manager.
     
  16. The Keeper

    The Keeper Senior member

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    Did you double check that you connected front panel headers correctly? Static is usually caused by another PCI device close to the onboard audio chip or poor connection of headers. Try backplate headers to see if static occurs.

    Also, if you left your Audigy in place. You may have to uninstall Creative's drivers and remove the Audigy to resolve possible problems.

    Like IsLNdbOi above says, Realtek Audio Manager has the setting but it should be enabled automatically. It is possible that the manager isn't detecting headphones if front headers are misplaced.
     
  17. LOUISSSSS

    LOUISSSSS Diamond Member

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    well theres only one cable that is used to connect the case front panel to the motherboard headers. it is similar in size to a USB front header. so thats all i connected. i uninstalled and removed all creative hardware/software. and there is no other pci device... except my video card about 1-2 inches away fromthe mb f_panel header
     
  18. postmortemIA

    postmortemIA Diamond Member

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    Perhaps it is a everlasting problem with every software audio card: any CPU activity introduces noise.

     
  19. Basilisk

    Basilisk Senior member

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    You're breaking my heart, as my new m/b -- not yet in its system -- has an ALC883... far inferior to the ALC889A. Wish these were socketed and interchangeable. Can't find a data-sheet on the 889a to see if it's pin/command identical so a mad-man could try micro-soldering in the 889A as a replacement. :p
     
  20. Basilisk

    Basilisk Senior member

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    d.p.... oops!
     
  21. LOUISSSSS

    LOUISSSSS Diamond Member

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    so yea if people have been keeping up witht his post i've uninstalled my audigy 2 last night and gave onboard a try. the sound quality isn't better, its "different." (when there was no static and things were going okay)

    in games: audigy 2 > ALC889. explosions and gunshots aren't as pronounced.
    in mp3's: audigy 2 > ALC889. STATIC at higher levels + some have had problems with high cpu usage (SUCH AS RUNNING FOLDING AT HOME)
    in .avi's / DVD's: didn't test enuogh to notice any difference

    *could not figure out how to mute speakers when headphones were connected with front panel. did not find any option to do that. when headphones were connected sound would be replicated from both headphones and speakers.
    speakers used: M-Audio LX4 2.1 system

    i will be going back to my audigy 2 right now.
     
  22. postmortemIA

    postmortemIA Diamond Member

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    good choice :)

    $100 of hardware >> $2 of hardware
     
  23. Modelworks

    Modelworks Lifer

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    Its an issue with poor motherboard design.
    The alc889 is not a software audio card.
    Software audio died in 2004.
    Rip ac97
     
  24. LOUISSSSS

    LOUISSSSS Diamond Member

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    yea but i was hoping to get rid of a few cables and clutter inside of my case. oh well back to basics
     
  25. Modelworks

    Modelworks Lifer

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    Microsoft chose Intel HD for vista.
    So anything that supports it works fine in vista.


    I think creative is just trying to stay afloat now.
    They realize that on board sound has gotten to the point that people can't justify 100.00 for a sound card.

    If I were them I would drop the consumer market and focus on the professional.


    A good read on where the games are going with 3d sound.
    Its going to all software based sound, only using the sound card/chipset for the dacs.
    http://www.gamasutra.com/view/...e_an_introduction_.php