Vista hurts gaming performance?

Solar

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 16, 2005
Messages
228
I'm evaluating Vista and I'm trying to find out why Winamp is so jittery sometimes when it plays audio, I found this Channel 9 post on the subject:
http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=116347

I've read the 'The Cost of Vista' piece as well as done some research on the subject. I came up with this Creative:Asia knowledge base article on the changes to Vista as it relates to Audio performance.
via Google
even Creative says their drivers cannot be fully blamed for this issue:
Game Audio Issues
This results in bugs such as loss of EAX functionality in games to complete incompatibility, depending on how the game title was authored and how well the Microsoft DirectSound emulation code works. In addition, given this model any and all bugs that are exclusive to DirectSound games could not possibly be due to Creative audio drivers or any other IHV (Independent Hardware Vendors) audio drivers.


In response to the Channel 9 Video on Vista's Audio, I posted this at Channel 9 earlier today. In short it describes the issues that moving to a software based renderer is causing on my relatively modern system:

So if nobody is supposed to know this has changed, unless something goes wrong, then I have to say; something is wrong. Right now I'm watching this video, while evaluating vista, arguably my weak point might be my beta creative xi-fi drivers. Regardless, the audio is very choppy. The last time I experienced this issue was on my IBM T23 laptop while listening to music through Winamp. Then, it was related to the processor having to deal with continually having to process the audio stream and do other tasks at the same time (A 1ghz PIII processor can only handle so much). At the time the reason I supposed this was the culprit was because playback quality would decrease when CPU usage went up. For the most part I remedied the situation by increasing the directsound buffer in Winamp.

Fast forward six years and I find myself in the same situation, I feel like I'm on my T23 again. Stuttering audio is coming out of my PC. My experience with the previous situation was what gave me the idea that I might have a problem with the buffer in this situation as well. I hope my processor is not the problem as I have an Opteron 170. I also have 2gb of pc400 dual channel ram. So what is the problem? Creative and the beta drivers? Possibly. Or could it be the fact that processes that were once hardware based are now being handled by software? If anything I see this as a step backwards. Sure individual volume control is a great idea, but my system is now stuttering and running into what I believe are buffer issues as a result.

I'm also led to believe this is a buffer based issue because under the advanced tab in 'Speakers Properties,' when I change the default format of the sample rate to anything above 16bit DVD Quality, I get a serious impact on the quality of the sound, in Winamp. It sounds exactly like the stuttering I ran into years before. Also, when I change the default format while Winamp is playing, I run into this:

Error creating the DirectSound buffer.
Error code: 88780096

When I do the same thing in Windows Media Player, I get this:

An audio device was disconnected or reconfigured. Verify that the audio device is connected, and then try to play the item again.

An interesting thing, however, is that WMP is not affected by the stuttering issue when I select any setting in the Studio Quality range. I love WMP 11, it is awesome in XP. But for some reason, in Vista, it does not want to recognize 99% of the music I have in my monitored folders. I have to drag the folder into the player for it to recognize all my music. This defeats the purpose of the monitored folder, but thats another issue. I prefer to use Winamp.

I suppose my final question is, if the original audio stack in Windows was so bad, that they required a rewrite, why remove directsound capability, when it was working so smoothly in XP and previous iterations of Windows? Why move something that was hardware-based off of the hardware that was intended for that very purpose? My CPU was not meant to directly process sound, that is what my sound card is for (right?). I know OpenAL (owned by Creative) is out there (it's doing its thing on my PC right now) but its capabilities are far behind anything Creative's EAX was capable of. Again, why take a step backwards (in some respects) by only supporting OpenAL? If anything it's like going from WindowsXP to Windows 3.1, in terms of the features and level of support both by the original manufacturer but more importantly, the community at large. More games and media players support directsound and EAX as opposed to OpenAL. I do not have any concrete numbers on the fact, but I would be very surprised if the case is otherwise. Yet in solving one problem, which is rather cool and laudable; another, much larger one, has been created. If given the option, I think users should be able to choose between the new software sound layer and the older directsound method. To my understanding, the new software layer is intended to address problems not related to game sound quality and music player output using directsound, right? To be honest I do not care about how loud my system notifications are in relationship to other sounds on my computer. I want my hardware to do what I bought it to do, and right now that is not the case.

N.B. Here's what happened in order for me to finish writing this post:
I paused the video while it was minimized on my taskbar, as the WMP toolbar, so I could finish writing the rest of the first and second paragraph. I was ~18:36 into the video when I decided to start it up again. After a few minutes of what I would consider normal buffering, the video started to play...without audio. At the time I also had winamp open, so I tried to play the song I was listening to before I started the video... no dice. Winamp refused to output sound. What happened next was what I can only describe as a "genuine windows experience." Firefox, probably through my use of the Foxytunes plugin, froze. By this time I realized that I had no sound comming out of my PC. I closed WMP, Winamp, and Firefox (I took a screen shot of what I had been writing). Upon trying to close Firefox, after it was busy for a few minutes, I received this error (I like the new error dialogs by the way):

Problem signature:
Problem Event Name: AppHangXProcB1
Application Name: firefox.exe
Application Version: 1.8.20061.20418
Application Timestamp: 4574e7e3
Hang Signature: 9047
Hang Type: 32
Waiting on Application Name: winamp.exe
Waiting on Application Version: 5.2.0.473
OS Version: 6.0.6000.2.0.0.256.1
Locale ID: 1033
Additional Hang Signature 1: 205baa1b39d9b98ad8f4095165e02e11
Additional Hang Signature 2: fad6
Additional Hang Signature 3: dcb3d33a2b50e0211f39e701ce7e0868
Additional Hang Signature 4: 9047
Additional Hang Signature 5: 205baa1b39d9b98ad8f4095165e02e11
Additional Hang Signature 6: fad6
Additional Hang Signature 7: dcb3d33a2b50e0211f39e701ce7e0868

Like it says it was waiting on Winamp, but Winamp was not playing music and neither was WMP so I closed them. Long story short I got sound back by clicking the 'Configure' button on the 'Sound' control panel and testing the stereo setup. On the plus side I didn't have to restart, but then again, how many end users will be that deductive to try all these steps in figuring out why their computer will not make any noise? I'm going to make this post and finish watching the video. If anything is further explained, I'll update my post as necessary.

So if you've stayed with me, those of you who are using some form of Vista I'm curious to see if you all get the same type of degradation in the quality of sound output as a result of playing music in Vista, through a directsound based player. Like I said before, my CPU was not intended to be a sound processor thats why I have a sound card. Apparently Microsoft thinks otherwise.
 

LstBrunnenG

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jun 3, 2003
Messages
6,677
darkangel74 said:
Seems like good ole MS does care about pirates. So your saying all what that article is saying is lies? If the guy that wrote that article hasn't used Vista then wow he waisted a great deal of time fabacating all the info. And you are a expert in all things vista? Who said I haven't used Vista? Did I?
Yes. They care about people pirating their operating system. They only care about people pirating protected HD content, because the movie industry is forcing them to. If it weren't for that, no, they wouldn't care if you pirate HD video.
 

darkangel74

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 8, 2005
Messages
378
LstOfTheBrunnenG said:
Yes. They care about people pirating their operating system. They only care about people pirating protected HD content, because the movie industry is forcing them to. If it weren't for that, no, they wouldn't care if you pirate HD video.

"This revocation can have unforeseen carry-on costs. Windows' anti-piracy
component, WGA, is tied to system hardware components. Windows allows you to
make a small number of system hardware changes after which you need to renew
your Windows license (the exact details of what you can and can't get away
with changing has been the subject of much debate). If a particular piece of
hardware is deactivated (even just temporarily while waiting for an updated
driver to work around a content leak) and you swap in a different video card
or sound card to avoid the problem, you risk triggering Windows' anti-piracy
measures, landing you in even more hot water. If you're forced to swap out a
major system component like a motherboard, you've instantly failed WGA
validation. Revocation of any kind of motherboard-integrated device
(practically every motherboard has some form of onboard audio, and all of the
cheaper ones have integrated video) would appear to have a serious negative
interaction with Windows' anti-piracy measures."

Did you even read that? Putting aside pirate HD content, because of the anti priracy counter measures it can degrade and even disable legit services and hardware. Doesn't matter the hows and whys. Politics and how comes, it appears that Vista will shut down hardware if it thinks it to be not legit.
 

bbz_Ghost

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 4, 2006
Messages
3,548
Solar:

I do a lot of audio editing and playback using Sound Forge (mostly podcast edits, but I do some music audio loops also for background music/bumpers) and I haven't noticed any issues so far with Vista and audio. I'm currently running Vista Ultimate 64 and I've used Vista Ultimate 32 as well; no issues presented themselves during that time.

I'm on a Core 2 Duo laptop at 1.66 (667 MHz FSB), 2GB of DDR2 533 MHz, and a 160GB SATA drive. I do all my audio work on this machine nowadays. I play some Quake on occassion (Quake 1, 2, and 3) and never noticed any sound problems with those games either. Was playing the Halo Trial edition a few days ago just to mess around, but since I've got an Intel GMA950 video chip serious hardcore gaming simply doesn't work.

I do use WinAMP 2.91 - I have no need for the bloat of the newer versions (even though there is a stripped down "Lite" version of 5 someplace on a backup DVD of mine), and I have it set for DirectSound output as opposed to the Waveout and still haven't noticed any sound issues or degradation. I use the MAD plugin for mp3 playback also which gives me higher quality mp3 playback than the default Nullsoft mp3 decoder - still no issues.

I've heard reports (no pun intended) of people having issues with some audio hardware, most notably Soundblaster hardware - but this seems to be the norm for Windows and Soundblaster cards, has been for years now. :)

Be nice to see if others do report issues or performance hits... I still say all this F.U.D. isn't doing much but damaging Vista before it's even outta the gate, but we'll see what happens.
 

LstBrunnenG

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jun 3, 2003
Messages
6,677
darkangel74 said:
The same paragraph over again
How does that excerpt change what I said? You will not run afoul of Vista's anti-piracy measures as long as you don't A) pirate the OS, or B) watch DRMed videos. The only other thing is that switching out hardware often can trip A) by accident. Fine. Either activate again over the internet, or make a five-minute phone call to MS about it. They've always been more than helpful with me.
 

jkr266

Gawd
Joined
Mar 30, 2001
Messages
638
darkangel74 said:
"This revocation can have unforeseen carry-on costs. Windows' anti-piracy
component, WGA, is tied to system hardware components. Windows allows you to
make a small number of system hardware changes after which you need to renew
your Windows license (the exact details of what you can and can't get away
with changing has been the subject of much debate). If a particular piece of
hardware is deactivated (even just temporarily while waiting for an updated
driver to work around a content leak) and you swap in a different video card
or sound card to avoid the problem, you risk triggering Windows' anti-piracy
measures, landing you in even more hot water. If you're forced to swap out a
major system component like a motherboard, you've instantly failed WGA
validation. Revocation of any kind of motherboard-integrated device
(practically every motherboard has some form of onboard audio, and all of the
cheaper ones have integrated video) would appear to have a serious negative
interaction with Windows' anti-piracy measures."

Did you even read that? Putting aside pirate HD content, because of the anti priracy counter measures it can degrade and even disable legit services and hardware. Doesn't matter the hows and whys. Politics and how comes, it appears that Vista will shut down hardware if it thinks it to be not legit.


you do realize thats the way windows activation has worked since xp was released right? there were some changes to the wording of the licsensing, but they also made it noticably more "difficult" to trip the activation.

On the sound qulaity issues i havent noticed anything in winamp, or powerdvd. i do know that alot of people are complining that soundblast drivers arent at anywhere near the quality of x-fi drivers in vista yet.

As for the creative comments you posted those have nothing to do with sound quality, they refer to vista's removal of hardware accelerated directsound. Which will cause alot of problems in the short, but in the long run will be better for games. openAl is a much better api for hardware sound, directsound never got the support from ms that it needed, so when WDDM 2.0 came along and required a significant rewrite ms decided to just drop it alltogether in favor of openal/custom solutions.You can still get hardware accelerated sound using openAl, EAX works just as well with openal as it does with dsound.
 

Phoenix86

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 28, 2002
Messages
6,653
darkangel74 said:
Grow up? You're the one coming off like the self righteous little prick not me, Unlike you, I don't know it all. So I can't answer the question. If you want to know ask the author. Just because I posted a news story I saw on digg and you don't agree with it, you jump down my throat and you're telling me to grow up. There are several other points the guy makes but yet you attack one. !!!!!!
If the author has no integrity I'm not really interested in reading any of their work.

The author makes wild ass claims to make his point, such as the hospital thing. See if he said "Vista will require XYZ to play DRM" that'd be reasonable. It does. However, they instead make a ridiculous scenario so they can have some punch to the "problem". OK, let's assume hospitals want DRM on their media. It's not unreasonable considering the laws regarding medical records. Hell it may be forced on them.

Now, given that want or need, why on earth would they use hardware that's not compatible?

Uhh...

Well...

THEY WOULDN'T. :eek:

They would get compatible equipment. In other words, to get NEW functionality, they may have to spend money on NEW equipment. Perfectly reasonable.

But no, let's assume they wouldn't, gee now we can say Vista will kill people.

Wild ass claim to get more hits on the article, and you bought it hook line and sinker.

Oh, one more thing, you keep wondering why people are "attacking you" (reality most people are attacking the article's point) why don't you just agree with the arguments that are being posted and write the article off as junk? If you don't agree with the points, make counter points. Sometimes you gotta think for yourself.
 

Solar

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 16, 2005
Messages
228
Solved the stuttering problem by switching plugins. I'm using waveOut output and now its smoother when selecting anything in the studio quality. But CPU usage is still higher than in windows XP, I guess the software is doing it's job :rolleyes: . On the subject of Creative driver's it seems like I'll be talking to a brick wall. I've followed some of the XP-based Xi-Fi stutter forums as well as a few forums looking into (and not receiving, the last I checked) firmware upgrades for the Zen Vision and so on. I do hope Creative would make another surround mixer panel for Vista. Some of you might not like it but it was so useful because Creative's solution was better than XP's native one. Now the tables are turned, and I'm tab hunting in the sound panels to get it to sound right on my headphones. I can't wait to hook up my 5.1's and try to configure my TXH settings, where are those options in Vista by the way?

Edit:
Perhaps I should hunt down my original CD for those things...
 

darkangel74

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 8, 2005
Messages
378
Phoenix86 said:
If the author has no integrity I'm not really interested in reading any of their work.

The author makes wild ass claims to make his point, such as the hospital thing. See if he said "Vista will require XYZ to play DRM" that'd be reasonable. It does. However, they instead make a ridiculous scenario so they can have some punch to the "problem". OK, let's assume hospitals want DRM on their media. It's not unreasonable considering the laws regarding medical records. Hell it may be forced on them.

Now, given that want or need, why on earth would they use hardware that's not compatible?

Uhh...

Well...

THEY WOULDN'T. :eek:

They would get compatible equipment. In other words, to get NEW functionality, they may have to spend money on NEW equipment. Perfectly reasonable.

But no, let's assume they wouldn't, gee now we can say Vista will kill people.

Wild ass claim to get more hits on the article, and you bought it hook line and sinker.

Oh, one more thing, you keep wondering why people are "attacking you" (reality most people are attacking the article's point) why don't you just agree with the arguments that are being posted and write the article off as junk? If you don't agree with the points, make counter points. Sometimes you gotta think for yourself.

I couldn't careless if someone was attacking me. I don't loose sleep over it. I just brought up the article, still don't know what FUD, means, have used windows since 3.1, I found it interesting, I have never stated my viewpoint on the matter because I don't have one. However it seems that people are quick to say that its all lies and you claim that I should think for my self. Sounds to me that someone's blinded by their own dogma, doesn't it.

I posed my post as a question. I have only used what the article said, never bringing my thought of it. How is what he said wild ass? Prove to me that they are false. Where are the counters to that article?. Where are the facts to counter it? Or are you making that conclusion on your own? Are you quick to jump to conclusion that I am full of it, but yet again I have never stated my opinion.
 

Phoenix86

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 28, 2002
Messages
6,653
darkangel74 said:
How is what he said wild ass? Prove to me that they are false. Where are the counters to that article?. Where are the facts to counter it?
Did you read my last post? There aren't facts to counter his point because it's hypothetical.

The proof is already posted.

A hospital isn't going to use incompatible hardware, end of story. Do you have any idea what kind of liability that would open them up to? Malpractice FTL.
 

Finn

Gawd
Joined
Sep 24, 2005
Messages
888
F.U.D. doesn't much apply to MS as it has no real competition. The question is about consumers wanting to keep their rights and use the hardware they already bought.
 
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