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  • Hercules Gamesurround Fortissimo II
  • Hercules Gamesurround Fortissimo II



    The benchmark kind of tells it all, lower CPU usage means more CPU cycles for important things like refresh rate and smooth game play.

    I'm quite partial to the Gamesurround Fortissimo II for a few reasons.

    The optical input and output plugs make are quite nice to have especially since they are built into the card. The only drawback is that not many computer sound systems support the optical connections yet.
    The Gamesurround Fortissimo II has support for all the major sound API's including SensauraTM, A3DTM and EAXTM. Overall the sound quality was a welcome change over what I got from the Sound Blaster Live!.
    Originally it was purchased for my previous computer which was a dual P3 450 on a BX chipset (Tyan Tiger 100). Sound response was very good on that system though after I upgraded to my current computer using a VIA chipset sound quality decreased to the point where I didn't really want to play games anymore, and for the avid gamer this is unacceptable.

    I'm not sure exactly why the Live! card had so many issues with VIA chipsets but after working in the tech sector for awhile you find that many companies build and test their products on Intel hardware rather than across the board. Kind of like some web developers that I've met but that is a different story.

    For what you get this card is pretty much flawless, I had a slight driver/program issue with a program called smonitor.exe after the installation, though after a reinstall of the hardware and drivers it seems to have gone away.

    Tip: If you are getting errors with the smonitor.exe file or wish to remove it from the system there are a couple of things you can do. What I would recommend is to download the Cirrus reference drivers for the CS6424, install them and reboot. Then reinstall the Hercules drivers and reboot. After doing so my smonitor.exe problems went away.
    I recently recieved another smonitor tip that states that you can rename smonitor.exe to something else to prevent it from loading. Of course to make this work you will need to remove all references to this file from the Hercules ini and inf files. The only drawback in doing this is if you screw up you can easily hose your system, so you have been warned.

    I would recommend this card for those who need a sound card upgrade and don't need the input/output features of the Game Theater XP. The Gamesurround Fortissimo II is also a good alternative to any Sound Blaster Live! flavor.