I've been receiving emails asking about the SoundMax® drivers for the Windows Vista platforms. From a consumer standpoint, I understand fixed driver availability has been extremely confusing so I'm going to try and clear up some things, in a never-before tried FAQ-like format.
Has the handle leaking problem been resolved?
Yes. This problem was fixed back around May 7th.
Ok, where are the drivers then?
Whoa there hotshot. There's a process in place for driver packaging and distribution that you must understand. For a SoundMax driver package to be put together, collaboration between several companies must occur.
All parties involved, before anything can be released, must put all the components through extensive WHQL audio fidelity testing. This testing isn't done by Microsoft. It's too time consuming and can frankly be a huge pain in the ass when Microsoft's Rube Goldberg-inspired test kit falls apart. In this case, the testing is done by Analog Devices and Sonic Focus. Upon completion, a neat little report of the results is generated and sent to the Microsoft WHQL team that turns around and
generates digital certificates orders a sheet of "WHQL Certified" stickers for each company.
Upon receipt of the
digital certificates stickers, everything is put into a Blendtec™ blender and presto! A SoundMax driver package.
This package is then sent to the various motherboard manufacturers to sit on for about six months before posting on their FTPs/websites. In the event that this is deemed unacceptable, especially if the new driver package resolves issues reported by consumers, Sonic Focus will post the newer package on their support page.
ASUS just posted a new driver package... does it include the handle leakage fix?
No. The new drivers they posted, in a package labeled 'SoundMAXAudio_V610X6480_Vista.zip', still have the affected component that leaks handles.
How do I know if my drivers have this leaking issue -- the easy way, please?
Check the version of your SFFXSAPO.dll (32-bit) or SFSAPO64.dll (64-bit) file, located in the System32 directory. All versions below 22.214.171.124 are affected. Sorry.
What about this "new" package I downloaded from Sonic Focus' support page?
You mean the package that doesn't exist on their support page (anymore)? Due to a last-minute unrelated (to the handle leak) issue found during testing, the package was removed. If you downloaded this package, I'd suggest reverting back to the leaky drivers, simply because I don't know what's wrong with that package.
Ok wise guy, when will I get a stable set of drivers then?
Dates can change. That said, expect a set of basic drivers (or more news) hopefully by the end of next week. The more advanced driver set (i.e. the BlackHawk product) may take longer, so I wouldn't be surprised if we don't see those until early June.
Do I really have to wait that long?
Actually, no. Sonic Focus will put out a neat little tool that'll update the affected component shortly. This should hold us all over until the slipstreamed driver package is released.