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Disabling sound increases FPS?


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Ever since the demo was released I have tried pretty much everything to improve my framerate in the game, from .xml tweaking to basic video card overclock, but all of these hardly had any major performance gain, with 3-5 FPS gains at most.

When playing around with the Windows task manager to kill some processes and see if RAM usage was the problem, I accidentally shut down a process that caused my onboard sound (SoundMAX Integrated Digital Audio) to be disabled.

I only found out what happened later in-game, however, when I figured out I had no sound. On the other hand, I had a framerate boost of about 10 FPS.

I then rebooted my PC and manually disabled the sound card to make sure, and the same thing happened. :blink:

Question is... Is it normal to get such a FPS gain just by disabling the sound? If not, what can I do to get better performance without having to disable the sound?

I thought maybe the drivers were old, but I checked and they were the latest available.

Here are my specs and settings if it helps:

- ASUS P4V800D-X (SoundMAX Integrated Digital Audio, driver v5.12.1.5150)

- Pentium 4 3.00GHz 800FSB HT

- 1GB PC2700 RAM

- PowerColor X800GT 256MB DDR3 (PCIe)

Video and audio settings changes didn't do any significant difference in performance (although turning dynamic lights/shadows helped a bit). At medium settings, I get 18-28 FPS with the sound enabled, and 25-35 FPS with the sound disabled.

Any thoughts?

Edited by SAF_Night Scope
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Ive noticed this as well. The sound is extremely demanding on this game. I kinda feel that the sound is the main reason why all of us no matter what our setups are pretty much getting the same frame rate no matter what settings we use. I mean I get the exact same frame rate if I set all my settings to low..as I do if I set them all to max. There are only two things in this game that really affect my performance. Those are the Post Effects and sound. I put my sound in Software Mode on Medium and it gives me a large 15fps boost. It doesnt sound any different, I can still hear all the background sounds.

Its very strange. If I disable my sound all together Im getting close to a 20fps boost. Never in my long history of PC gaming has sound settings ever played this much of a role in my performance on a game.

Anyone else notice that TeamSpeak and Ventrillo, both screw up sometimes while playing GRAW? I was on TS with 3 other people earlier tonight and all of us was complaining about not being able to hear and our voices being muffled, sound cutting in and out on the coms. Its almost like there isnt enough bandwidth left for the sound. Ive noticed that when I put it in Software mode in the game. It seems to help TeamSpeak work better too.

AMD64 3200+

1GiG Ram

7600GT OC

Audigy 2 ZS

Edited by VeLocityChaos
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Ive noticed this as well. The sound is extremely demanding on this game. I kinda feel that the sound is the main reason why all of us no matter what our setups are pretty much getting the same frame rate no matter what settings we use. I mean I get the exact same frame rate if I set all my settings to low..as I do if I set them all to max. There are only two things in this game that really affect my performance. Those are the Post Effects and sound. I put my sound in Software Mode on Medium and it gives me a large 15fps boost. It doesnt sound any different, I can still hear all the background sounds.

Its very strange. If I disable my sound all together Im getting close to a 20fps boost. Never in my long history of PC gaming has sound settings ever played this much of a role in my performance on a game.

Anyone else notice that TeamSpeak and Ventrillo, both screw up sometimes while playing GRAW? I was on TS with 3 other people earlier tonight and all of us was complaining about not being able to hear and our voices being muffled, sound cutting in and out on the coms. Its almost like there isnt enough bandwidth left for the sound. Ive noticed that when I put it in Software mode in the game. It seems to help TeamSpeak work better too.

AMD64 3200+

1GiG Ram

7600GT OC

Audigy 2 ZS

I only have ventrilo problems when I'm hosting a server, which leads me to believe it's CPU related. Onboard sound requires CPU cycles for audio processing. PCI add-on cards (Audigy, X-FI) offload a lot of this processing, which is why people who do no use on-board sound see better frames.

Here's a great article describing it: http://www.twitchguru.com/2003/04/05/sound...dous_for_games/

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@ SAF_Night Scope

Well the way i see it is, it's a new updated engine? the game has got some special lighting tech there is a lot of information for gfx cards to deal with etc. I remember when farcry first came out i wanted all the settings to maximum, but my hardware could not handle it so i upgraded. It was the same with Battlefield 2. The thing is i personally want to see the game makers ...."the way it's ment to be seen" i like detail, i'm glad theres no AA: settings in GRAW because my rig would fold haha. I have overclocked my cpu plus my gfx card plus the memory to increase framerate. GRAW in game settings highest possible, dynamic lights etc resolution is 1024x768@60hz Maybe the upcoming patch will sort it out?. Onboard sound is probably dealt with by cpu? better to have a dedicated sound card, if possible try creative's hardware.

nf4 premium

4000+ sd now @2750mhz (gonna try for 2.8) that's GRAW recommended

2gbyte 3200

x1800xt 512mb @650/765

10k rpm sata hdd

x-fi extreme

530 psu

17" lcd dvi-d

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If you're on a tight budget you might want to consider this one or the retail version for a few bucks more. But they're very cheap so I don't know how much they would offload to the cpu.

But if you can manage it, this is a very good price for a very good sound card and would probably last you for years. I'm still using an Audigy 2. You could be sure that the Audigy 2 ZS is doing its share of the duties.

I'd be weary about buying something other than a Creative card unless budget is a concern. You might find that some dedicated cards still offload work on the cpu.

Edited by chiles4
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If you're on a tight budget you might want to consider this one or the retail version for a few bucks more. But they're very cheap so I don't know how much they would offload to the cpu.

But if you can manage it, this is a very good price for a very good sound card and would probably last you for years. I'm still using an Audigy 2. You could be sure that the Audigy 2 ZS is doing its share of the duties.

I'd be weary about buying something other than a Creative card unless budget is a concern. You might find that some dedicated cards still offload work on the cpu.

Thanks for the tips, chiles. I'll check them out.

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