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Gigabye Motherboard good souce? - Page 3

post #31 of 42

You can get functional, decent sound out of something as simple as a typical Realtek 889 through DirectSound on WMP, for any application you want from watching DVDs and YouTube, to listening to music and playing computer games.  Most people won't notice much difference between onboard audio vs. a $100 sound card.

 

You can't get anything close to decent playback on Skyrim, Battlefield 3, etc., using an IGP, unless you're happy with low res and detail turned down to low, and even then that only goes for Starcraft 2 and last-gen games.

 

The relative performance levels, in comparison to discrete components, is not remotely ballpark.  Onboard audio was horrific 10 years ago, but the gap's been narrowed significantly since then.

 

AMD A8-3850 Llano - IGP vs Discrete (performance is much better than Sandy Bridge IGP)

http://www.techspot.com/review/418-amd-a8-3850-apu/page12.html


Edited by Elysian - 11/22/11 at 1:12pm
post #32 of 42

Nvidia's Sound Storm on Nforce 2 was strictly speaking a DSP used for positional audio processing for games (acceleration).  It doesn't do anything for hi-fi.  It still needs a DAC and output stage.  And ultimately, the DAC and output stage is what determines (along with power supply) a lot of the fidelity aspect of sound.  An APU at best leaves bitperfect streams when not called for, and at worst forbids bitperfect streams and adds jitter depending on how it is implemented. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2410 View Post



why?

 

they both originated as separate components that were slowly added to the mb to save cost and the remit was be good enough but above be cheap.  when nvidia went out of their way to create a capable apu (soundstorm on the nforce 2) they ended up dropping it as mb makers didnt want it and wouldnt spend the money to implement it properly.  cheap has always been the order of the day for on board. 

 

im not saying on board always has to be crap but im saying unless the maker is screaming about how good the audio is on it then its likely to be a cheap afterthought.



 

post #33 of 42

As long as the board uses good quality components, it shouldn't matter which mobo you use- though I do like to get the UD/Milspec model of a board with high-end components just for peace of mind. Every onboard sound I've heard is pretty much the same.

post #34 of 42

You are right to say the perceived gap has been narrowed a lot.  However, that's based on a static gap which as a function of time from 10 years has widened tremendously.  Audio in general, internal, external, onboard or offboard has changed a lot the last 10 years.  What was the benchmark for PC audio 10 years ago is laughable by today's means with async and well implemented adaptive mode USB devices such as the DACPort series and the Music Streamer series, and the newest, and perhaps most amazing, the Audiophileo, all with <100 ps of jitter (well below audible). 

 

In the past 15 years or so, onboard sound has first seen improvements to midi synthesis, then a corresponding decrease in synthesis capabilities as CPU's became more powerful.  Then for a few years straight, its been about accelerated voices and streams and hardware based manipulation of multiple streams, then a corresponding decrease again as CPU's became dual and quad core, where audio processing can be assigned to idle cores/threads.  Then now, we are seeing the first real push towards onboard sound quality, although so far the attempts have been mostly superficial.  With the integration of higher SNR rated codecs and occasionally a dab of proper capacitors.  None so far addresses the major issues facing onboard sound, the signal contamination from electrical noise (via ground or whatever), the improper (for analog) use of capacitors and power regulation, a total lack of control towards oscillator crystals and frequencies (many can't even do 44.1 khz)....

 

So while I totally agree that onboard sound is sufficient for watching a movie, or some background music, or games or interactive content, it is only sufficient for tasks of those magnitudes.  This is head-fi after all, so in terms of actual fidelity, onboard is far far behind. 

 

And to note, the difference between a 400 dollar DAC/Amp like the DACPort I mentioned vs the best onboard sound is readily noticeable by all but the most ignorant head-fier.  One may not be able to describe in coherent and logical words the differences, but they are there as evidenced by some people I lent my equipment to, who immediately upon listening with fairly mediocre headphones pointed out that it sounds very different and certainly more smooth or fluid like (what we could call less-digital).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elysian View Post

You can get functional, decent sound out of something as simple as a typical Realtek 889 through DirectSound on WMP, for any application you want from watching DVDs and YouTube, to listening to music and playing computer games.  Most people won't notice much difference between onboard audio vs. a $100 sound card.

 

You can't get anything close to decent playback on Skyrim, Battlefield 3, etc., using an IGP, unless you're happy with low res and detail turned down to low, and even then that only goes for Starcraft 2 and last-gen games.

 

The relative performance levels, in comparison to discrete components, is not remotely ballpark.  Onboard audio was horrific 10 years ago, but the gap's been narrowed significantly since then.

 

AMD A8-3850 Llano - IGP vs Discrete (performance is much better than Sandy Bridge IGP)

http://www.techspot.com/review/418-amd-a8-3850-apu/page12.html



 

post #35 of 42

From a functional user perspective, the electrical contamination/noise is the biggest con, IMO, which regularly surfaces on onboard implementations for analog out.  I build a few computers every year, and the issue still occasionally surfaces.  In my experience, it's either there and is incredibly noticeable, or I don't really hear it.  It even comes up with discrete sound cards.  I had the issue with a Xonar DG card in a Corsair D800 case, where I routed the DG to the front-panel via the Gigabyte HD Audio connection, and the static was very loud and prominent.  Meanwhile, it was to my ears, non-existent from the back of the card.

 

My primary rig's signal chain is a WaveLink HS into a Berkeley Alpha DAC (as well as experimenting with various ways of getting the signal into the Alpha before I got a WaveLink), so I'd say I'm regularly exposed to what the high and low-end of computer audio has to offer.  No, I haven't tried the SOtM tX-USB yet, but that and rubidium clocks are beyond my point of caring.

 

I think source is important, but for the needs of 95%+ of the population (and that includes HF), I really wouldn't recommend something that much beyond the quality of a gamma2 or equivalent device.  In my experience, diminishing returns kick in quickly, and as far as headphones go, it takes a Stax rig for me to appreciate the difference.  I've heard it's more evident on a top-tier speaker rig with proper room acoustics, but I'm not there yet.

 

I occupy a minority position where I shake my head at reading $5k+ source reviews that come off like a bad romance novel, but also am not happy with most sub-$500 retail offerings I've come across, and that includes the sound cards and opamp rolling regularly cited as amazing.  If I was making a recommendation to someone, I'd tell them to get a good enough $500-1000 DAC that punches above its weight class, and spend the rest of their budget in amps, tubes, and even a preamp as necessary.  Even then, I think, as long as noise isn't an issue, onboard audio or a cheap sound card is more than sufficient for the majority of people.  What a lot of folks consider fidelity is not really fidelity.

post #36 of 42

Absolutely agreed.  I have yet to build a gamma2, but am currently looking at other DIY sources and the ESS Sabre based ones look extremely promising but super expensive. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elysian View Post

From a functional user perspective, the electrical contamination/noise is the biggest con, IMO, which regularly surfaces on onboard implementations for analog out.  I build a few computers every year, and the issue still occasionally surfaces.  In my experience, it's either there and is incredibly noticeable, or I don't really hear it.  It even comes up with discrete sound cards.  I had the issue with a Xonar DG card in a Corsair D800 case, where I routed the DG to the front-panel via the Gigabyte HD Audio connection, and the static was very loud and prominent.  Meanwhile, it was to my ears, non-existent from the back of the card.

 

My primary rig's signal chain is a WaveLink HS into a Berkeley Alpha DAC (as well as experimenting with various ways of getting the signal into the Alpha before I got a WaveLink), so I'd say I'm regularly exposed to what the high and low-end of computer audio has to offer.  No, I haven't tried the SOtM tX-USB yet, but that and rubidium clocks are beyond my point of caring.

 

I think source is important, but for the needs of 95%+ of the population (and that includes HF), I really wouldn't recommend something that much beyond the quality of a gamma2 or equivalent device.  In my experience, diminishing returns kick in quickly, and as far as headphones go, it takes a Stax rig for me to appreciate the difference.  I've heard it's more evident on a top-tier speaker rig with proper room acoustics, but I'm not there yet.

 

I occupy a minority position where I shake my head at reading $5k+ source reviews that come off like a bad romance novel, but also am not happy with most sub-$500 retail offerings I've come across, and that includes the sound cards and opamp rolling regularly cited as amazing.  If I was making a recommendation to someone, I'd tell them to get a good enough $500-1000 DAC that punches above its weight class, and spend the rest of their budget in amps, tubes, and even a preamp as necessary.  Even then, I think, as long as noise isn't an issue, onboard audio or a cheap sound card is more than sufficient for the majority of people.  What a lot of folks consider fidelity is not really fidelity.



 

post #37 of 42

From looking at your source inventory, I think you'd like the gamma2, but I'd actually suggest you go straight to a Buffalo III if you don't mind doing chassis work!  I liked the Buffalo II I heard and felt it was more musical than my gamma2.  The gamma2 is pretty good about detail but it comes off as a bit clinical sounding to my ears (pairs better with solid state amps, IMO).  I know one or two people who do a fair bit of modding on their Buffalo DACs and seem to have fun doing it.

post #38 of 42

The Realtek 889 is actually a surprisingly good source. I A/B'ed it with an Asus Xonar STX, and while I could tell the difference (slighty better bass control on the Xonar), it was very subtle. The Realtek 889 is head and shoulders above any other onboard sound I've heard before.

post #39 of 42

The Realtek 889 is actually a surprisingly good source. I A/B'ed it with an Asus Xonar STX, and while I could tell the difference (slighty better bass control on the Xonar), it was very subtle. The Realtek 889 is head and shoulders above any other onboard sound I've heard before.

post #40 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Handy Ray View Post

Nvidia's Sound Storm on Nforce 2 was strictly speaking a DSP used for positional audio processing for games (acceleration).  It doesn't do anything for hi-fi.  It still needs a DAC and output stage.  And ultimately, the DAC and output stage is what determines (along with power supply) a lot of the fidelity aspect of sound.  An APU at best leaves bitperfect streams when not called for, and at worst forbids bitperfect streams and adds jitter depending on how it is implemented. 
 



 



 

i i realise they are not the same thing was my point was a big mainstreem manufacture went out spent a ton of money making something great and mobo makers were not interested.  they exist on razer thin margins and dont care about the quality of components that make no difference to most of their customers.

post #41 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ex0du5 View Post

The Realtek 889 is actually a surprisingly good source. I A/B'ed it with an Asus Xonar STX, and while I could tell the difference (slighty better bass control on the Xonar), it was very subtle. The Realtek 889 is head and shoulders above any other onboard sound I've heard before.


Yeap same here, compared Realtek HD ALC889A chip on a Gigabyte P55-UD5 which I have to ASUS D2 and X-Fi Titanium HD and it did well, mostly losing in bass response due to the nature of onboard sound having a lot weaker output but 889 is also an improvement here compared to its older chips though. So any1 who speaks on the behalf of Realtek onboard chip that they tried maybe 5 years ago should do a revisit to get up-to-date on how today's onboard chips sounds like cuz it's a quite huge improvement compared to what it used to be (I couldn't stand Realtek onboard on the comp I bought in 2005).

 

But while sound quality may not be that bad, the onboard chips still have a lot of problems with electrical noise (interference with HDD, mouse etc activity) that using another audio source avoids. 

 

I see new motherboards (Intel X79 chipset) being released now are using even Realtek ALC898 chips which I assume also the future P77 motherboards which may be my next upgrade when Ivy Bridge 22nm CPU releases early next year will also feature, these aren't even out on the Realtek website yet (well a couple of days ago when I checked) so wonder how good those are like.

 


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 11/24/11 at 6:25am
post #42 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post

Yeap same here, compared Realtek HD ALC889A chip on a Gigabyte P55-UD5 which I have to ASUS D2 and X-Fi Titanium HD and it did well, mostly losing in bass response due to the nature of onboard sound having a lot weaker output but 889 is also an improvement here compared to its older chips though. So any1 who speaks on the behalf of Realtek onboard chip that they tried maybe 5 years ago should do a revisit to get up-to-date on how today's onboard chips sounds like cuz it's a quite huge improvement compared to what it used to be (I couldn't stand Realtek onboard on the comp I bought in 2005).

 

But while sound quality may not be that bad, the onboard chips still have a lot of problems with electrical noise (interference with HDD, mouse etc activity) that using another audio source avoids. 


Completely agreed after making a number of PCs all with mobos using the 889.  On headphones that don't require a lot of power, I'm reasonably happy with the 889, and this is coming from someone who has refused to consider onboard audio for close to a decade.  Noise/interference issues haven't gone away completely.  I usually find that it's either not there or it's really prominent.

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