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A Motherboard with usb dac's in mind

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by fluidz, Dec 6, 2013.
  1. suicidal_orange

    Wouldn't it be possible to use a DC-DC converter to drop the 12v supply to 5v with a noticeable improvement in noise rather than filtering the 5v?  My PC is noisy, I can hear my mouse and any scroll on a white webpage through a battery powered DAC and amp while using the USB connection (only during quiet parts of a song) so I'm trying to research these cards between Christmas obligations - progress is slow!
  2. ToddTheMetalGod

    I'm not sure to be honest. Perhaps the best solution would be to just get a higher quality power supply and motherboard? I've personally never had a problem with noise, but I'm into performance computers so I would just expect my components to have an inaudible amount. Back when I used to have an ASUS Xonar DGX (an unshielded PCI-E soundcard) I would get noise if I used my graphics card that was above it at 100%. No problems with USB DACs though. I've heard of many people on Head-Fi having the same problem with noise when scrolling, perhaps it's a grounding issue with your USB bus?
  3. suicidal_orange

    While not new my computer's not exactly budget stuff - a lightly overclocked 2700K in an Asus P8Z68-V running off a 400W Seasonic PSU. I use the onboard graphics and only one "real" HD so don't MOAR POWER! as the kids of today may think; the PSU can cope with full load which it rarely sees. 
    The noise happens at any time when I scroll a white background, even if there is no other load. If I have no headphones I can hear my actual monitor squeaking more (it has a constant PSU whine but was under warranty until Christmas - I'll be opening it up for some hot glue treatment soon) or if I have headphones it comes through them.  You make a good point about ground - I'll have to investigate what happens when turning the monitor off!  Thanks for the idea [​IMG] 
  4. chirawatf
    Has anyone tried GIGABYTE H81.AMP-UP motherboard?  Does it improof sonic quality to external DAC?
    This is a mainstream price motherboard with interesting features for audiophile...
    - USB DAC-UP takes advantage of an isolated power source that minimizes potential fluctuations, ensuring the best audio experience possible.
    - GIGABYTE USB DAC-UP also allows the port to be configured in BIOS for enthusiast system configurations which do not require USB power to the DAC.
    - Upgradable Onboard OP-Amp.
  5. jarrett
    ASUS has something like this on the Maximus VII Hero (Z97)
    This feature, along with a good power supply, is likely the best route to powering your usb dac. I can't see myself getting an external isolator-like power supply when this motherboard feature is an upgrade away [​IMG]
  6. leeperry
    I called Gigabyte in Holland a while ago and they said that this model wasn't for sale in the EU, I guess all manufacturers currently want to milk the cow and only offer low-noise USB outputs on their high-end mobos but most gamers and overclockers couldn't care less about this feature and I sure don't want to pay for a zillion phases CPU VR when I'll be running a cheap dual-core at stock speed.
    But anyway H81 comes with PCI-E 2.0 only IIRC and madVR does require 3.0 with AMD GPU's, oh well give it a few years and they'll all make up their mind providing low-noise USB on regular boards.
  7. gr8soundz
    This G1.Sniper B6 has pcie 3.0 along with the clean usb port for dac:
  8. plonter
    The "turn off power" feature is nice when using a self powered dac , although some dacs need the usb power for the usb receiver chip.  But for usb powered dacs I would still prefer a wyrd repowering and reclocking, which used audiophile quality parts and designed specifically for this purpose.
    If you have a wyrd than you don't need such motherboard..you are covered.
  9. gr8soundz
    True. Might be overkill, but I imagine using this feature alongside the Wryd or iFi Gemini to make for the cleanest signal.
    Site says the isolated usb is only up to 2x cleaner which is nowhere near the other solutions. Still, this could help solve some usb handshake issues I'm seeing posted due to too many pieces between the pc and external dac. Might work better with fewer parts in the usb chain if board output is cleaner.
    Also, found even more boards with the feature (seems gigabyte made quite a few; could be more out there I haven't found yet):
    First two are itx, last one is matx and has multiple usb ports for dacs vs 1 on the others (should suffice for the Gemini's dual usbs).
  10. prot
    What exactly does the asus board provide? Just a similarly clean usb port or also the option to disable usb power?
  11. gr8soundz
    Asus and MSI have clean 5V power across ALL rear usb ports on certain motherboards (Asus also cleans power to front usb header). Asus call it Truevolt while MSI has "USB Audio Power." Unlike Gigabyte, their usb power CANNOT be turned off in the bios.
    How clean that power is also depends on how clean your power supply's 5V rail is. I try to use fanless Seasonic units that separate 5V from the 12V and 3.3V rails. I also plan to use a Monster usb cable (got it cheap) as an inexpensive way to try and keep things clean to a DAC.
    I was about to order a Gigabyte board but wanted more than 1 clean usb port and already have an unused MSI Z87 board with their version. 
  12. prot
    Thx for the info. Was looking at the asus gene vii but the usb power off sounds like a great feature.
    Any idea if that board fits into a low profile streacom 5 case?
  13. gr8soundz
    I agree, the power off option is great if your dac has internal/external power.
    Not sure if the gene vii will fit. Heatsinks around the cpu would interfere with heat pipes if going fanless (I have a Streacom Evo 8 w/ Zotac itx).
    It might work using their thermal riser:
  14. gr8soundz
    I would caution using the streacom cases though.
    My Evo 8 has poor thermal performance even with a 35w i3 4130t. It gets close to 90c under load. None of my other builds (up to 45w) exceed 70c. I've also had a 2.5in drive fail due to heat (everything inside gets equally hot) and tested it with 5 drives before having to buy a large ssd (something I've never had to do before in my other fanless builds).
  15. prot
    According to streacom the riser does not fit into the 5 case. I was hoping it was possible to bend the pipes a bit.
    The termal issues should not be so big ... planning to use a very low power cpu and only use the build for AV tasks. But that's of course just theory .. and your exp doesnt sound encouraging

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