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Sound Blaster Xtrememusic vs ATI 5870 HDMI for 5.1 Computer

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I'm going to be hooking my receiver up to my computer soon and I was wondering which connection would be better for 5.1? Should I use digital coaxial from Sound Blaster or HDMI from the video card?



post #2 of 14

Digital is digital, I don't think there will be a difference between the two, as both of them carry bit data.

post #3 of 14

It depends if you have the technology that would require HDMI.  The Digital is Digital thing (which is often contested) would only apply if you have source data that is the same, and you are only passing DTS/DDL. (IE: Lossy surround sound)


If you are trying to pass lossless surround sound via digital, such as Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD from bluray disks/files, you'll need to go with HDMI and a receiver that can support those codecs aswell.

Edited by Hybrys - 7/3/10 at 3:16pm
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the responses... I didn't think it would make a difference except if the sound card does something to the signal before sending it but I guess I could set it to bit-matched.


The 5.1 will only really be for games and I don't think my receiver likes HDMI so I may just do the digi coax.


post #5 of 14

Using the video card for sound will be way easier. It outputs 5.1 pcm with hdmi and the optical will only output 2 channel stereo pcm unless you purchase the dolby digital live pack from creative. Also I've seen people complain of a bug that makes you computer shut down slowly. But you'll be missing out on the eax effects if your have games that use them.  Edit: I forgot to add that the video card is capable of playing back up to 24bit,192hz and you be able to play back dolby true hd and dts master audio.

Edited by pmc64 - 7/3/10 at 9:48pm
post #6 of 14

Just a related question to this though...


"But you'll be missing out on the eax effects if your have games that use them."


Gaming on Vista/ W7 doesn't allow EAX to work because of the new audio stack, so is there any benefit it all from using a soundcard (bar recording, which clearly a HDMI Output cannot do!) if the games you run (such as the source engine etc) don't have EAX support? Am I right in saying that because the audio is more software controlled (the windows audio stack) and not hardware controlled, you lose most/ all of the directionality the soundcard could add into the mix on Windows XP with stuff like the EAX effects in the control panel?



Edited by Gilly - 7/8/10 at 11:56pm
post #7 of 14

You can use alchemy to restore eax in directsound3d games and openal games will work normally. alchemy converts dirctsound3d to openal so it'll work again. source engine games should sound the same because they use miles sound system.

post #8 of 14

If you look at recent game releases barely any use EAX or even OpenAL any more, most developers are moving towards software solutions like rapture3d and miles. These don't need specific sound cards to work and many use open API's. Also means i don't have to bother toggling to game mode on my X-Fi prelude any more :)

post #9 of 14

ya it's been pretty dead since about 2007.  It would be so much easier just using the gpu for audio.

post #10 of 14

I guess the move to more cross platform development lends itself to software audio.


I don't think I have a single game installed that uses OpenAL actually, all I am playing at the moment is GTA4, Guild Wars (to help the GF) and Team Fortress 2. I don't think I would lose anything by using onboard sound, maybe slight FPS decrease, depending on what the soundcard is actually doing.


The main reason I was asking is it sounds like in my current situation, I could remove my X-fi, go for a HD5770 card running HDMI to a HT amp, and then just use the headphone out on that, should be equally as "low-fi" as I have now, just with different kit. WASAPI works for HDMI out too yes?

post #11 of 14

I think it works with everything but i'm not 100% sure.

post #12 of 14

I have a 5850 and I cannot use WASAPI through HDMI. I will get this error


"Unrecoverable playback error: Device invalidated (0x88890004)"

post #13 of 14

I have 5450 and WASAPI works through HDMI no problem. But i have correct E-EDID with all formats: compressed, LPCM, sample rates, bit depths etc. And i always have my AVR turned On and HDMI input choosen before OS (W7) boot up (or HDMI driver may loose connection or something like that).

post #14 of 14

Try downloading the newest drivers from AMD maybe?



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