AudioTrak Prodigy 7.1 - Performance Benchmarks
I am very happy to introduce several game benchmarks. This is largely due to FRAPS 2.0, a frame-rate counter. There were several instances where an included benchmark for a game, Unreal2K3 for example, would turn up wildly different results from run to run. This non-repeatability caused several games to be crossed off the list. FRAPS 2.0 also avoids video card driver optimizations, guaranteeing accurate, honest results. On to the benchmarks!
You can get the test machine's configuration at the closing links section of the review. Drivers were updated to the current latest drivers at time of writing for the Prodigy, Revolution, and DMX 6-fire.
Audio WinBench99 is a very old benchmark at this point. Fortunately, it is the most repeatable of all the benchmarks for DirectSound. Let's take a look:
Audio WinBench99 %CPU Utilizaiton. Less is better.
Yes, the graph is a little overwhelming. The Prodigy is in red and red-stripe. The Creative Audigy2 and Audigy2 eX are, of course, in first place. The Prodigy sucks up about 5% with DirectSound, and about 10% with DirectSound3D. But, it does use less resources than its Envy24HT stable-mate, M-Audio's Revolution 7.1. What is odd is that the Sensaura3D mode actually used less CPU than the normal Prodigy 7.1 mode. It certainly didn't work that way in a few games we tested.
Halo, Tron 2.0
Frames Per Second, Hardware+EAX mode.
The performance in Halo is still above the 30FPS limit that the game imposes. Kicking in the Sensaura3D, which is reflected in the benchmark, resulted in about 4 frames per second loss,. This isn't bad, until you consider at near 40FPS, this is 10% of your framerate. The Prodigy does have less effect on framerate than its sibling, the M-Audio Revolution 7.1. This is an average of three runs.
Tron 2.0 is a stylish and innovative game where you're more likely to be seeing the quickload screen rather than the maps. FRAPS 2.0 was used to count the frames on the "Thorne's Internal Partition" map. An average of three runs were used to get these results.
Frames Per Second, TRON 2.0
Enabling hardware+EAX resulted in about 10 frame difference, again about 10% difference. There were some moments of chop where the FPS dropped to about 20. I'm sorry, we don't do pretty graphs.
The rather good RMAA 5.1 was used to collect detailed data about the audio performance of the Prodigy. It performs quite well.
The IM distortion is a little high. It is not as high as the Audigy2, but still a little worrisome. All other measurements are, "very good."
The Prodigy acquitted itself very well for a sound card that has no provisions for hardware acceleration of DirectSound3D audio streams. It certainly can't compete with Creative's Audigy2 line for 3D positional audio, but it is better than other Envy24HT based cards. It will eat up about 10% of your framerate in Sensaura3D mode, but it is less than the M-Audio Revolution. RMAA gave the Prodigy an overall score of "Very Good." It measured better than the Revolution and a normal Audigy2, but wasn't quite on the level of the Terratec DMX 6-fire or Audigy2 eX.