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Old June 14, 2013, 12:54 PM
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Default SteamBox / HTPC GPU... Audio Questions

So I'm looking for a video card to round out my 'ultimate entertainment box'. It's use will be for XBMC and Steam gaming on the TV with an XBOX controller. (Anything from Awesomenauts to Tomb Raider) I could sort out on my own what card to pick up on sheer gaming performance. However, where it gets tricky for me is that I want to hook everything up to my receiver using only an HDMI cable. I have zero experience with the audio output through HDMI on any recent GPU's, and I'm hoping for some thoughts on the subject. Games need to be smooth, HD media needs to be flawless and audio needs to be clear.

IF audio through GPU is a terrible idea, then I do have options to output from the onboard. I'd just like to avoid that if possible.

Things to note:
- The display for this system is a 60Hz, 1080p 52" LG Plasma TV.
- Sound will be stereo only. I'm not a fan of surround as it's too flaky.
- I have a GTX670 in my main system that I'd be willing to move to the entertainment unit and replace with a higher end GPU if the 670 is a good choice for this. But I'm not really convinced that 1080p requires a 670.
- I have a 5770 that I pulled off my sale list that I plan on using temporarily until I find a more powerful card

System Specs:
Foxconn h67s ITX MB
i5 2500k w/h80i (Plan to OC maybe to 4Ghz or so)
8GB RAM
250GB SSD
Corsair TX750M PSU
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Old June 14, 2013, 01:52 PM
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All you have to do is make sure you're using the on-GPU audio driver and HDMI out from your card. AMD used to be better at it than nVidia a couple years ago, but I think both implement it well now.

And for 1080p a GTX670 is probably a bit overkill. I picked up a HD6870 for this purpose myself, just waiting for it to come.
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Old June 14, 2013, 05:33 PM
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There's no reason not to implement surround if you have the means for playback. A 670 is perfect if you are going to be playing games as well.

As SugarJ noted, nvidia videocards are fine for passing through multichannel audio now. Just be sure that your videocard is putting out 60hz (with your windows audio set to 5.1)via HDMI, mine defaults to 61 which was giving my Onkyo receiver fits.
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Old June 14, 2013, 06:09 PM
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Before you make any move WRT choosing a vid card do you have the ability to check out the quality of image from that 670 into your TV via HDMI cable? My recent experience(s) with two completely different systems (and monitors) have soured me on using any Nvidia card if I plan to connect via HDMI unless I can verify compatibility of the drivers with my display. (I don't believe ATI has the same issues).

edit: as far as audio goes... I doubt you'll have any issues especially since you are only concerned with a stereo output.
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Old June 14, 2013, 07:45 PM
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From my experiences, stereo just plain works through HDMI. Just remember to check the audio after updating the GPU driver, just in case Windows tries to assign your onboard as the default playback device. (Completely avoided if you disable the onboard sound of course.) I have issues with sleep mode or shutting off TV without shutting off the computer when I connect GPU -> HDMI -> Receiver (Denon) -> HDMI -> TV (LG) however. I lose video and sound as it seems the rx doesn't know what happened to it and fails to reset the connection. After either of those actions I usually have to unplug and re-plug the HDMI cable between the computer and receiver. (This is with Radeon 3650 and nVidia GTX 550 Ti.)
AMD drivers however complain about DVI->HDMI adaptors and disable the sound on my old Radeon 3650. (This is despite the sound working when the "Microsoft" drivers or open-source driver on Linux are installed.)

Isn't it impossible to overclock the CPU half of a 2500k on H67? (Unless the MFG pulled off some crazy BIOS trick)
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Old June 14, 2013, 10:26 PM
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Everyone forgets that using hdmi through your gpu means it decodes straight off the receiver.

if you are having audio issues look at the receiver.
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Old June 15, 2013, 06:53 AM
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I've found these settings work on ALC889 and receiver set to straight PCM through fiber port

along with NVidia audio installed for when plays through TV its Dolby 5.1 on the HDMI port
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Old June 15, 2013, 08:49 AM
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Thanks for the advise. I'll update after I get it all set up and play with the settings.
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Old June 15, 2013, 11:38 AM
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I was using a 670 FTW through a receiver to my Plasma for some time with no problems. It worked with 2.1, 5.1. I'd steer clear of the Radeon for this set up if anyone is considering it as I had major issues with my 5870 and HDMI Audio into a receiver (though it's possible they've fixed it since then.)

The only oddity I ever ran into is that sometimes when you turned the receiver off, Windows would change to another audio device as default and when you turned it back on it would still not recognize the receiver as 'on'. You can however turn the TV off and leave the receiver on with no issues.
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Old June 15, 2013, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeKnight View Post
I was using a 670 FTW through a receiver to my Plasma for some time with no problems. It worked with 2.1, 5.1. I'd steer clear of the Radeon for this set up if anyone is considering it as I had major issues with my 5870 and HDMI Audio into a receiver (though it's possible they've fixed it since then.)

The only oddity I ever ran into is that sometimes when you turned the receiver off, Windows would change to another audio device as default and when you turned it back on it would still not recognize the receiver as 'on'. You can however turn the TV off and leave the receiver on with no issues.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sswilson View Post
Before you make any move WRT choosing a vid card do you have the ability to check out the quality of image from that 670 into your TV via HDMI cable? My recent experience(s) with two completely different systems (and monitors) have soured me on using any Nvidia card if I plan to connect via HDMI unless I can verify compatibility of the drivers with my display. (I don't believe ATI has the same issues).

edit: as far as audio goes... I doubt you'll have any issues especially since you are only concerned with a stereo output.
The issues I ran into more than likely are related to whether or not a display is recognized by the drivers otherwise it defaults to an extremely poor display mode. Easiest way to know for sure is to hook up the 670 to the intended display... if colour is fine then you're good to go... if the colours look washed out then you might have to do a bit of research to see if there is a downloadable monitor profile / driver for your specific TV.
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