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  1. #1
    May 2008

    onboard 5.1 sound card questions

    I am currently in the process of building a desktop that will use my HDTV as a monitor. I plan on using it for gaming as well as a home theater system.

    This is my problem. The audio. I want at least 5.1 surround sound because I have a 5.1 surround sound receiver set up at my apt. It is one of those cheap $100 5.1 surround sound receivers, with speakers, and with a Toslink S/PDIF input. I connect my XBOX and XBOX 360 through the Toslink input and they work and sound great. It's not necessary for me to have the most advanced, realistic, 3-d audio reproduction imagineable (so I don't care about the creative sound blaster cards), but I would like a nice 5.1 surround sound pc desktop to go with my current 5.1 receiver. In my opinion, the built in surround sound on the mobo should be good enough.

    Here are the mobo specs

    here is a pic of the mobo

    First Question:
    Is there anything else I need? I think I will need a coaxial to toslink convertor in order to use my 5.1 surround sound system, but I read some places where people say you need to install a "S/PDIF header" or something like that and install it in one of the PCI slots... I would think that since the mother board says that the onboard sound does surround sound then I wouldn't need anything else. But then again, maybe it does surround sound but not Dolby Digital Surround... I don't know .
    **remember i plan on using my pc as a home theater too**

    Second Question: *(sorry if this is a stupid question)*
    The onboard sound is 8.1. Is this compatible with 5.1. What i mean to say is will I be able to change a setting and tell the onboard sound card to do 5.1 surround and not 8.1, or will 3 channels of sound just not get played through speakers? Despite hours and hours of searching, I can't seem to find anywhere online where someone clarifies this .

    If buying a different mobo or buying a sound blaster sound card would solve my problems, here is the site where I am building my computer.

    All of the mobo's and sound blaster cards I can choose from are on that site. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. TIA

  2. #2
    Dec 2000
    Cape Cod, MA

    Re: onboard 5.1 sound card questions

    That motherboard does not have a digital out, although it does have a s/pdif header. This is so you can plug in a s/pdif port, and as you were told, this normally fits into a expansion slot.
    I would upgrade to this:
    Frankly, I am not impressed with ECS motherboards to begin with. They are a lower-tier manufacturer for certain. The Asus has excellent on-board video, and digital audio as well.
    And yep, you can use 5.1 just fine. In fact, there is almost no 7.1 or higher program material out there, only on Blu-Ray and HD-DVD.
    Welcome to the forums!

  3. #3
    May 2008

    Re: onboard 5.1 sound card questions

    Thanks for the welcome. I appreciate the quick response and your suggestion, but I really want to build a pc with a nVidia graphics card. So I don't plan on using the mobo's onboard graphics... only the mobo's onboard surround sound.

    From the website listed above this is the build that I am looking at

    CPU - AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core Processor 6000+ (3.0 GHz) AM2
    Basic Fan - Infinity Basic Fan extra cool heavy duty
    MOBO - ECS A770M-A Socket AM2+ AMD 770
    CASE - APEVIA X-QPACK2 Aluminum
    CASE FAN - ARCTIC COOLING Arcitic Fan 12L 120x120x38.5mm
    PSU - A-Power 500W 20+4-pin Dual Fan ATX PSU w/SATA
    RAM - Kingston DDR2-800 2GB
    HDD #1 - 500GB SATA2 7200rpm 16MB
    HDD #2 - 500GB SATA2 7200rpm 16MB
    Optical D - 20X LightScribe SATA DVD+/-RW
    Floppy D - 1.44MB floppy drive
    Video Crd - nVidia GeForce 8600GT 512MB 2-DVI/TV-out
    TV Tuner - Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 1800 MCE Kit 1128 w/MCE Remote
    Sound - onboard built-in sound card
    Card Rdr - 21-1 media card reader
    kybd&mice - Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop 4000 PS2/USB Mac/Win
    OS - Microsoft Windows XP Home w/ Service pack 2

    Everything I have selected I am happy with. The only thing I am trying to figure out right now is the audio. If I build the pc with the graphics card that you recommended
    then would I also have to change graphics cards? I guess I could tolerate an ATI graphics card, except I hear that the nVidia's are so much better.

    So now I'm looking at this Gigabyte mobo

    I think this will solve my problems with the 5.1 surround sound issue. Thanks for the heads-up with the ECS mobo's and any further suggestions would be appreciated.

  4. #4
    Oct 2007

    Re: onboard 5.1 sound card questions

    Seems like that shuold do the job for you. It lists in specs having the coax/optical spdif out and you can see them in the pics on newegg.
    The audio control panel will let you adjust anywhere from mono to the number of speakers that it suppports so 5.1 will/should be no problem.
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