I ran the original CFS3.exe and the sound menu has no enable option for hardware audio. I also checked the release notes for the 3.1 patch and no mention of it there either. I did find this though
- Some algorithms for managing memory have been changed to reduce stutter.
Hmm. Imagine that. Stutter, all the way back to CFS3. Is there an echo in here?
(BTW this is not the only place I've seen this mentioned; also in this review, from back when: http://www.combatsim.com/memb123/htm/2002/11/cfs3-rev/ "I noticed some stutters here and there when around densely populated cities. These stutters were worse in the beta, but I didn't mention it because I thought they would get fixed by release. I guess they didn't, as this game has a tendency to bring my 1GHz Athlon, Radeon 8500 128, machine equipped with 768 megs of RAM to a crawl sometimes. I'm hoping its just my machine, but I don't really see these problems with other games. And yes, all my drivers are up to date within two weeks."
To be accurate, there hasn't been a 'cure' for the stutter yet, and I'm not convinced there will be (and that includes if AnKor does make Dx11 work, IMHO). I would be absolutely thrilled to be proven wrong about this, mind you.
Also, nice to have someone with actual industry experience (thanks, HarryH) give some insight to further debunk the ongoing myth about on-board sound. I think it's pretty well accepted that this hasn't been an issue for many years now, and it seems to be corroborated by experiences like Fullofit described. I build quite a few gaming machines for others, and I haven't put a sound card in one in decades, nor had any requests (or even an inquiry) about doing it.