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HT Omega Claro 7.1 24-bit 192KHz HD Sound Card E-mail
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Written by Olin Coles   
Friday, 19 January 2007
Table of Contents: Page Index
HT Omega Claro 7.1 24-bit 192KHz HD Sound Card
Claro Features and Contents
Closer Look: Claro
HT Omega Software
Sound Card Testing
Conclusion and Rating

Sound Card Testing

Since hearing and sound sensitivity is subjective to the individual, I relied upon software to do my bidding. It has become necessary to distrust my own ears, since each and every manufacturer declares specific device features; such as support for particular APIs and extensions, specific number of hardware accelerated sound buffers. it has become impossible to check the presence and quality of features declared for any sound device or new drivers without special software. Therefore, a dedicated sound test is required to diagnose and test the feature implementation quality of specific sound system.

This is where I depend on the brilliant minds at RightMark to assist me in a subjective comparison. For testing sound cards, I depend on RightMark 3DSound (v2.3). This is an independent synthetic sound test for testing hardware features and quality of software support, specifically using the RightMark 3DSound: CPU Utilization test. All tests were run using the DirectSound test battery, and were configured with a frequency of 192,000 and 128 buffers.

It would be unfair to compare audio devices which promise very different features, so in my testing I decided to compare the HT Omega CLARO to its slightly older cousin, the Bgears b-Enspirer. Both devices utilize C-Media's CMI8788 Oxygen chipset, and both offer audio quality up to 24bit/192kHz over eight channels. The major difference between the two is in the construction and I/O interfaces.

Test System

Performance

Bluegears b-Enspirer DirectSound 2D CPU Usage
Bgears b-Enspirer DirectSound 2D CPU Usage

HT Omega CLARO DirectSound 2D CPU Usage

HT Omega CLARO DirectSound 2D CPU Usage

From the charts above, you can see that the HT Omega CLARO is clearly not the same card as the Bgears b-Enspirer. While sound output quality may be identical, the CPU usage is slightly different. The DirectSound 2D tests showed that the Bgears b-Enspirer peaked at 5% and dropped to as low as 2.5% CPU utilization, while the HT Omega CLARO peaked as high as 7.5% and dropped to 3.5% comparatively.

Bluegears b-Enspirer DirectSound 3D+EAX CPU Usage
Bgears b-Enspirer DirectSound 3D+EAX CPU Usage

HT Omega CLARO DirectSound 3D+EAX CPU Usage

HT Omega CLARO DirectSound 3D+EAX CPU Usage

Again, for the DirectSound 3D and EAX test you see that the HT Omega CLARO requires just a little more CPU then the Bgears b-Enspirer. In this test, the Bgears b-Enspirer peaked at 7% and dropped to as low as 2.5% CPU utilization, and the HT Omega CLARO peaked as high as 9% and dropped to 3.5%. These results certainly won't translate into any noticeable performance hit, but the numbers are there.

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