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Microphone Month

Athlon/AMD and Aardvark DAW systems

Over the past couple of months we’ve fielded a lot of questions about compatibility of various computer cards with Athlon/AMD systems. A statistically significant number of those have been in relation to Aardvark systems, most likely because there have been some well known and publicized issues there. Predictably there is also quite a lot of confusion. The following is the scoop straight from our friends at Aardvark:

On Aardvark cards and Athlon compatibility – the issue is NOT with the Athlon CPU, it is with AMD PCI Bridge chipsets.

  1. Aardvark’s PC audio interfaces use Motorola DSP that adhere to the PCI 2.1 specification. They will work with any PC that adheres to the PCI 2.1 spec.

  2. An incompatibility was discovered when using Aardvark’s system with AMD’s PCI Bridge controller chips. These chips are typically used only in Athlon systems. Motorola claims that the AMD PCI Bridge controller chips do not comply with the PCI 2.1 spec. AMD disputes this. Neither party has done anything to resolve the issue.

    Therefore systems using AMD PCI Bridge Controller chips are incompatible with Aardvark’s product.

  3. Aardvark verified that an Athlon CPU in a system using a KX-133 VIA chipset (ASUS K-7rm motherboard) WORKS with Aardvark cards.

  4. Many Aardvark users have reported success using Athlon/VIA systems.

  5. Aardvark is not aware of any other compatibility problems having to do with Athlon CPUs.

  6. Aardvark is not aware of any other compatibility problems with any other PCI Bridge Chips from other manufacturers.

To sum up, systems with AMD PCI bridge chips (usually only Athlon machines) are incompatible with Aardvark cards. These are the only known systems that are incompatible with Aardvark soundcard interfaces.

To determine which PCI Bridge controller is used in your system, open the device manager panel and look at the list of system devices. The Processor to PCI Bridge controller should be listed under System Devices. The manufacturer’s name should be listed there.

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