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SoundStorm2 makes a possible appearance on Sony's PlayStation 3

All long time, several companies individually challenged Creative Labs for the top spot in computer audio. A notable few came close to making quite an impact but unfortunately things are now once again dominated by Creative. NVIDIA's original SoundStorm released with the nForce2 chipset a few years ago was herald as a savior for PC audio. Delivering what it called Dolby Digital Live, NVIDIA's SoundStorm was able to encode a Dolby Digital 5.1 stream in real time from any source, and output it to your favorite multi-channel audio equipment.

Several users have wrote in to inform us that reports are indicating Sony may have revealed the source of the PlayStation 3's audio processing capabilities. According to slides that Sony showed off at the Game Developer's Conference that just past, NVIDIA's RSX processor designed to accelerate graphics for the PS3 is also providing hardware accelerated audio.

According to an article on The Tech Report, NVIDIA indicated to it that its next evolution after SoundStorm would be delivered in an untraditional manner. Many customers and analysts alike have been waiting for NVIDIA to produce a discrete audio chip for soundcard makers but so far this has not taken place. Jen-Hsun Huang, NVIDIA's CEO indicated that his company was looking at ways to evolve the graphics processing unit (GPU) to provide non-traditional  features -- he did not allude to the possibility of sound processing however.

Today, there are several sound products that offer Dolby Digital Live. Recent codecs from RealTek and C-Media all offer the option of  Dolby Digital 5.1 support. Unfortunately, these products rely on the host processor and so use a lot more system resources than dedicated audio processors such as Creative Labs' Audigy 2, or X-Fi.

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Sounds good
By Hippiekiller on 3/30/2006 7:17:56 PM , Rating: 3
I think it would be wonderful if we could purchase video cards that come with audio processing capabilities. If they kept current pricing structure that would be a huge value add for Nvidia.

RE: Sounds good
By The Cheeba on 3/30/2006 7:21:11 PM , Rating: 3
With new boards putting HDMI on the graphics card, I would not be surprised at all if new graphic cards are really "media" cards. You're already doing graphics, probably physics and you have the HDMI connector onboard for audio too.

RE: Sounds good
By Hippiekiller on 3/30/2006 7:25:14 PM , Rating: 2
If this turns out to be true, where does that leave Creative?

RE: Sounds good
By Scorpion on 3/30/2006 7:31:25 PM , Rating: 3
Hopefully in the Garabage Heap where they belong.

RE: Sounds good
By Wahsapa on 3/30/2006 10:47:34 PM , Rating: 3
a garbage heap of patents.

even if this pushes creative out of the audio card market(they are dying anyway if you all havnt noticed) they have a butt load of patents to sew people with.

RE: Sounds good
By tayhimself on 3/31/2006 12:19:29 AM , Rating: 4
they have a butt load of patents to sew people with.

Creative is going to start making quilts from humans? I knew they were evil, but this is a bit much...

RE: Sounds good
By DeathByDuke on 3/31/2006 6:16:35 AM , Rating: 2
quote of the week lmao

RE: Sounds good
By DigitalFreak on 3/31/2006 8:31:08 AM , Rating: 2
It puts the lotion on it's skin, or else it gets the hose again...

RE: Sounds good
By RyanVM on 3/30/2006 7:42:19 PM , Rating: 2
Purchased by nVidia :P

RE: Sounds good
By killerroach on 3/30/2006 8:01:15 PM , Rating: 2
As scary as that sounds... it makes some modicum of perverted sense. I'd be all in favor of it, to be honest.

RE: Sounds good
By shabby on 3/30/2006 8:31:42 PM , Rating: 2
Wouldnt you rather see creative die a slow and painful death?

RE: Sounds good
By Schadenfroh on 3/30/2006 11:36:13 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, but im afraid they own too many patents now and it would take far too long to die, they might win some of the lawsuits that are sure to come, best if nvidia bought them.

RE: Sounds good
By JBird7986 on 3/30/2006 8:19:14 PM , Rating: 2
Up a creek without a paddle.

RE: Sounds good
By Bluestealth on 3/30/2006 8:51:11 PM , Rating: 2
Still don't understand why everyone hates creative with a passion... someone mind explaining it?

RE: Sounds good
By bersl2 on 3/30/2006 9:16:04 PM , Rating: 5
For buying Aureal and locking up A3D for nobody's use, instead pushing their P.O.S., EAX.

However, they do have one redeeming feature in my eyes: they currently are coding improvements to OpenAL---you can even get the very latest code from CVS (check the bottom of ml). Nothing in this world is pure evil.

RE: Sounds good
By Bluestealth on 3/30/2006 9:28:34 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I think someone at creative got poked in the ass, and woke up. I wish others would too :(

I have never bought a creative product for gaming though(just needed a card that sounded good and could game as well), maybe thats why I don't understand all the bitching? :)...
EAX isn't that bad but I hope that 5.0 at least has the ability to fade in-between speakers and not suddenly shift in-between room sound mappings like 4.0... total immersion killer.(Some EAX 1.0 games sounded great, have heard a lot of bad games though)
I am not sure why they are not using A3D, have they implemented any of its features? Is it locked up in a licensing mess with other vendors?
I was sad to see 3DFX go and a lot of its features die with NVidia, and the move away from OpenGL gaming... stupid DirectX lockin.

RE: Sounds good
By oTAL on 3/31/2006 2:17:35 PM , Rating: 2
At one point Creative was considering charging (money) for driver downloads... How evil is that?
I do not like this company in respect to computer hardware. Still, they make some very good mp3/media players.

RE: Sounds good
By stmok on 3/31/2006 10:24:14 AM , Rating: 2
Still don't understand why everyone hates creative with a passion... someone mind explaining it?

For me...

Back when 2 CPU desktop systems were rare, Hyperthreading and dual-core didn't exist, there lived a very serious problem with the SB Live range in Windows.

One of the major issues was that, if you had a dual CPU system (say a dual PIII, which I still use today), their Windows driver caused video playback and games to make "pop!" and "click" noises. The only work around was to turn off hardware acceleration, AND to put the card into a PCI slot where it didn't share IRQs with other devices. (And yes, it even caused benchmark apps like 3DMark2001 to make the same noises...Although, this was worse, as the "demo mode" skipped frames!)

A number of people complained...Creative did nothing. It was like talking to a brick wall. (Their tech support gave you the usual run-around with "download and install the latest drivers", etc...Nothing that actually works). The default SB Live driver in a default Win2k install worked perfected, but it didn't offer anything in terms of hardware acceleration. It was pretty basic and didn't offer much in options like the official SB Live driver solution.

When Hyperthreading on the P4 appeared...Creative then did something about it. (As HT caused the same issues as dual CPU systems). By then, the SB Audigy appeared, and SB Live owners were pretty much given a big "f*ck you. Go buy our new sound card...HA! HA! HA!". (Since SB Live driver support was promptly dropped to "encourage" people to buy a new card).

What's really odd is the Linux driver for SB Live had no issue with multiple CPUs. I'm running it fine now. No "pops" or "clicks" in games or video.

My only purchase after SB Live was a SB Audigy (budget OEM model). I was determined to spend as little as possible for Creative products when I needed a new sound card.

Since then, I've never bothered with any more Creative products.

I'm not much of an audio enthusiast or a gamer, so I don't mind all that much with using onboard solutions like those from Realtek. (ALC6xx or ALC8xx series).

It saves me money for something else. Like, for example, my "Conroe/Kentsfield Fund". :)

RE: Sounds good
By Bluestealth on 3/31/2006 11:27:11 AM , Rating: 2
I do know what your talking about here, but it wasnt just the Dual Processor setups, the SBlive HATED sharing IRQs, especially on VIA boards... my SBLive shorted itself out soon after being in my dual proc P3, so I ended up with this Audigy 2ZS :)

RE: Sounds good
By rupaniii on 3/30/2006 8:31:34 PM , Rating: 3
I'd say that was about correct. it'd offer a feature i'm not sure that ATi could match quite so quickly, and somewhat negate the issue that has suddenly come up of a physics processor.

RE: Sounds good
By Larrymon2000 on 3/30/2006 9:16:12 PM , Rating: 3
I always thought that creative made quality cards, especially with the X-Fi line. Of course, the fact that they have a monopoly probably aggravate's people's views of the company.

RE: Sounds good
By Wwhat on 3/30/2006 9:35:26 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't dolby 5.1 purposely not available on x-fi because of rights issues while in fact the board is more than capable? Seem a bit overpriced then for artificially crippled stuff or?

RE: Sounds good
By Wwhat on 3/30/2006 9:36:07 PM , Rating: 2
addendum: Live encoding to dolby I mean obviously

RE: Sounds good
By Bluestealth on 3/30/2006 9:40:07 PM , Rating: 2
Ummmmm X-Fi is a analog sound card, thats why it doesnt have DDL, why even buy an expensive card to use its digital outs? doesnt make sense.

RE: Sounds good
By Wwhat on 3/30/2006 9:46:30 PM , Rating: 2
For the onboard DSP to encode?

RE: Sounds good
By Bluestealth on 3/30/2006 9:52:12 PM , Rating: 2
What am I saying is that with the X-Fi you are paying for the high quality DACs, with a lower cost high quality digital card you are paying for the DSP... paying for the X-Fi makes no sense.

RE: Sounds good
By Aesir on 3/30/2006 11:02:36 PM , Rating: 4
Except for when you cosider the fact that the DAC on whatever you may be sending the digital signal to has nowhere near the same quality as an Audigy/X-Fi/etc card, therefore to yield the best sound quality you have to run analog connectors from your soundcard to your speakers/receiver/etc. I haven't heard that mentioned yet, must not be many audiophiles here...

Anyways, its not so much that Creative makes lousy cards, on the contrary, they make excellent cards, its just their software stinks, an opinion of many that actually work inside of Creative. Although to get a man's card, you have to pick up an E-MU (which is also Creative, actually).

I really hope that Sony squeaks some high resolution audio capabilities into the PS3, no matter how they do it. Last I checked it had inferior audio processing to a 50$ Wal Mart DVD player.

RE: Sounds good
By Bluestealth on 3/30/2006 11:25:47 PM , Rating: 2
Hehe I understand what your saying, and I am currently using the 7.1 input on my reciever from my Audigy 2 ZS, sounds great, I have no intention of going to DDL or DDTS, why would I want to compress the sound again?

RE: Sounds good
By tayhimself on 3/31/2006 12:24:06 AM , Rating: 2
ying, and I am currently using the 7.1 input on my reciever from my Audigy 2 ZS, sounds great, I have no intention of going to DDL or DDTS, why would I want to compress the sound again?

As the poster above mentioned....
- poor DAC's on PC audio cards
- audio noise on PC audio cards from being inside a PC
- convert stereo to 5.1

DDL isnt terribly good sounding for audio but DTS live ups the bitrate a bit *nyuk nyuk* so it should sound better.

RE: Sounds good
By casket on 3/31/2006 1:24:31 PM , Rating: 2
Sounstorm was kind of a scam....
Nvidia never made a chip... just software drivers.
I've got the Nforce2.... I think it's a Realtek Chip on it.

RE: Sounds good
By oTAL on 3/31/2006 2:23:54 PM , Rating: 2
Another person who should check facts efore posting... The realtek chip is most probably the codec. The APU (which was the big deal) is inside the southbridge.

The Real Reason
By double007seven on 3/31/2006 9:55:14 AM , Rating: 2
So the real reason for the PS3 delay comes out...Sony has yet to confirm an audio chipset maker! Come on SONY! Now it wasn't that hard to admit was it?

Nvidia RSX for the audio.....interesting
By Blackraven on 3/31/2006 10:39:10 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, didn't know graphic cards can run audio as well.

I just hope that as they introduce this new piece of tech, it won't mean that it would make anymore delays in the PS3.

Anyways, I just hope that this technology would improve the PS3 even more (or at least a bit)

So...It lives
By hwhacker on 3/31/2006 12:04:59 PM , Rating: 2
If this is true, this indeed does bode well for those that thought soundstorm would be reintroduced as part of Nvidia's gpus.

I seem to recall Nvidia making hinting statements it would be back in "a way we didn't expect" and that it was going to be worked on after the release of the next chipset...although this was several months ago I don't know if that meant the IGP chipset that were released recently, the AM2/Conroe NF4's, or the next new chipset.

Regardless, soundstorm will be it on-board, stand-alone, or on a gfx card at some point...probably next year. Surely this does point to the possibility of the later option, or even the former if it could be intergrated into a IGP solution. Interesting indeed. I know i'd buy it. I again say I miss my SS on my NF2. Much better than these realtec codecs.

By Eris23007 on 3/31/2006 3:09:24 PM , Rating: 2
The types of instructions necessary for audio processing and those necessary for video processing are similar (though not necessarily the same) - usually single-instruction, multiple-data (SIMD) instructions such as those in SSE.

The most significant of these instructions is, generally speaking, Multiply-Accumulate (or MAC), where you take two numbers, multiply them together, and add them to what already exists in the accumulation register (which is double the precision of the two source registers).

By Alphafox78 on 3/31/2006 1:52:23 PM , Rating: 2
DDL on a C-Media based card does NOT use the host processor for this function as as been proved by many benchmarks. there is no noticeable difference running in DDL vs non DDL on the host cpu utilization.

To anyone who has never heard a DDL sound card, it is honestly breath taking, it is so immersive. Compared to EAX it is so much better.

If you think DDL sucks, then do you think DVD audio sucks since its all encoded in DD...???

RE: C-Media
By marscay on 4/2/2006 6:31:52 PM , Rating: 2
DDL sound cards are the most overated pieces of garbage.

I've got a mystique DDL card sitting in the cupboard and my expensive Elite Pro X-Fi in my gaming box.

I run analog into my HT amp with the ELite Pro for playing music and i can tell you that the DDL cards sounds like complete ass next to the elite pro. Of course the elite pro model isn't cheap as it uses the same DAC's & opamps as the professional Emu range but it's a great card for music and also of course gaming.

People who rave about DDL quality usually run them into $20 speakers and are probably the same ppl who think Bose is high end lol. The drivers blow and gaming compatibility is poor.....ppl whine about creative drivers ....grab a DDL card and enjoy the BSOD show.

So you can run 1 cable out into your amp etc ...i'd rather far superior sound thanks.

By SunAngel on 3/30/06, Rating: -1
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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