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Old 27th March 2007
Tizio Tizio is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Italy
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Tizio will become famous soon enough

Hardware acceleration is used to demand specific routines to dedicated processors to not load your computer CPU, in case of Audio acceleration, the audio is processed by to sound chip instead of the CPU, this will leave CPU more power to process other tasks (same applies to Graphics acceleration, instead of loading CPU cycles for the video rendering, it's all demanded to the GPU)
Sometimes this achieve also better results since the dedicated processor can handle this computation really faster (since it's dedicated to that purpose) and achieve even more powerful features (never heard of pixel shaders in video games? they are used to improve the video rendered scene, and all that instructions are handled by the dedicated GPU)

Disabling harware acceleration means that CPU cycles will be used to process the audio output, but anyway the CPU load for audio output is not so heavy ;)

Maybe your audio card is good enought and the problem lays in bad coded drivers... if newer driver exists for your card then update them (note that not always updating the drivers means to improve the performance of the device, especially with multi devices drivers)
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