I tested SoundBlaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro sound card on not the most powerful system that was configured as follows:
- Intel Pentium III 1000MHz CPU;
- Chaintech 6ATA4 mainboard (VIA Apollo Pro133A chipset);
- 512MB PC133 SDRAM from Hyundai;
- ATI RADEON 9700 PRO graphics card;
- Quantum Fireball AS40 HDD;
- Creative PC-DVD Encore 12x DVD-ROM;
- Creative Megaworks 510D speaker system;
- Windows XP Pro SP1.
To check out the performance drop experienced when we enable the sound, I ran Comanche 4 Demo and 3DMark03 (Sound Tests).
The diagram is indicative of the sound processor efficiency: it occupies very little system resources: the difference in fps between the two modes is negligible. When reviewing other Audigy models I saw practically the same picture. I think there is only one sound solution that can compete with the Audigy 2 in performance hit tests. It is the APU integrated into NVIDIA nForce2 chipset (see our article called Contemporary Integrated Sound Solutions: Storm is Coming).
The difference is noticeable in 3DMark03, especially in the test with 60 sounds.