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34. Re: Midday Tech Bits Sep 30, 2011, 23:21 Jay
padlock wrote on Sep 30, 2011, 23:09:
Maybe I'm missing something here, but if using a digital connection(HDMI/Optical/Coax) why would a discrete soundcard be any better then on board? Either way, you're simply spitting out a bitstream.

I can understand why analog out might be better with a discrete soundcard, but aren't most people using digital connections now?

I don't know the whole history, but I think when they created the specs for optical/coax, 5.1 home theatre setups were rare, so these connections are only capable of stereo PCM bitstream. they can't carry too much data, so surround audio must be compressed using ac3 or dts to fit. If you have stereo setup, then great! It wouldn't matter. However, if you have surround setup, then the audio must be compressed in real-time. Most dedicated cards can do it, but most onboard can't. (if you play games that have surround audio that is - dvds already have compressed stream in form of dolby digital, dts or whatever)

edit: apparently HDMI can do surround in PCM, so that's good. Although it's still up to the drivers to decide what data gets put into which stream. If you have crappy drivers quality would suffer because the data is wrong, regardless of whether it's digital or analog.

This comment was edited on Oct 1, 2011, 00:04.
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