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Old 02-29-2008, 04:27 AM   #1
Sylvanas
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

Well this afternoon I went through a reformat with the rig in my sig and I was having troubles with my *former* sound card's drivers (the Bluegears B-Enspirer) causing freezing upon installation (I think the drivers are still listed as 'BETA' on Bluegars site :/). Anyway, I decided to remove the card and just run it on the onboard audio and boy am I glad I did. The Realtek ALC888 audio on this board (MSI K9A2 Platinum- RD790FX chipset) is great! It's probably one of the *most* subjective things you can say however *I* can tell a difference with music. Now I am no audio professional or anything, I am just playing songs from my play list however there is a clear advantage with this Realtek chip over my previous soundcard. Realtek's drivers also seem alot more polished than Bluegears.

Additionally I am able to select a wider range of 'Effects' directly from my Logitech Z5500 control remote which include 'Stereo, Stereo X2 mode (6 channel audio, positional) DD PL2 Movie, DD PL2 Music. Onboard sound has come along way in my opinion- just throwing this out there and I wonder if anyone has a similar experience?
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Old 02-29-2008, 08:55 AM   #2
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

on realtek ALC888

I output directly to my Yamaha receiver via optical toslink. No problems with Dolby DTS, EAX games, etc.

Switches seamlessly between analog/digital sources (do have to adjust volume)
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Old 02-29-2008, 10:55 AM   #3
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

How's the audio quality compare to like an Audigy 2ZS card? I've got an ABit IP35-E coming Monday, wondering if I would notice a difference, good or bad, between the 2 cards.
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Old 02-29-2008, 10:58 AM   #4
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

Quote:
Originally posted by: Krakn3Dfx
How's the audio quality compare to like an Audigy 2ZS card? I've got an ABit IP35-E coming Monday, wondering if I would notice a difference, good or bad, between the 2 cards.
I think the specs are about the same as far as quality.
The 888 has more features in the chipset though than the audigy.
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Old 02-29-2008, 01:45 PM   #5
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

Quote:
Originally posted by: Modelworks
Quote:
Originally posted by: Krakn3Dfx
How's the audio quality compare to like an Audigy 2ZS card? I've got an ABit IP35-E coming Monday, wondering if I would notice a difference, good or bad, between the 2 cards.
I think the specs are about the same as far as quality.
The 888 has more features in the chipset though than the audigy.
Good to know, I'll have to leave out the Audigy when I install the new board and see what I think of the onboard sound for a few days.
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Old 03-01-2008, 08:01 PM   #6
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

Could you tell us how that goes? I am thinking about buying IP35 as well and I would like to know the results. Thanks.
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Old 03-02-2008, 01:10 AM   #7
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

My old rig had Audigy 2 ZS and my new one has ALC889A chip. As far as I can tell (I'm no audiophile), sound is better on the ALC889A than the old ZS. It is no wonder why Creative is having hard time selling their cards these days. The new HD audio chips are just that good. Definite improvement over the old AC97 chips.

And best of all, if using onboard HD audio chip, you don't need to put up with Creative's poor driver support. Though for this exact reason I chose Gigabyte's board with ACL889A as my new motherboard, it sports supposedly the latest and greatest Realtek HD audio chip. As comparison, the Asus would've come with an Analog Devices chip, to which you can't download drivers from anywhere else than motherboard manufacturer's site, as far as I know.
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Old 03-02-2008, 03:04 AM   #8
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

Good to hear people's positive feedback, I don't think I will ever be purchasing a sound card again if this trend continues.
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Old 03-02-2008, 07:12 AM   #9
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

Is this the same chip as on the GA-P35-DS3L?
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Old 03-02-2008, 11:57 AM   #10
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

Quote:
Originally posted by: BlueAcolyte
Is this the same chip as on the GA-P35-DS3L?
ALC888, yes

I have a DS3L and I can confirm the audio is very good. I really wouldn't see the use of an add-on sound card.
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Old 03-02-2008, 02:24 PM   #11
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

That's interesting to hear. Those of you who've had both onboard ALC889A and Audigy2 ZS, which speaker set were you guys using? Anyone with high-end speaker set like Klipsch Promedias or Logitech Z-5500s?

Thanks for the input guys. =)
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Old 03-02-2008, 03:47 PM   #12
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

Only thing I hate about it is there's no simple stereo "mirroring" to the rear channels in the Windows Vista drivers.

There's 2 ways you can get sound on all speakers with stereo sources:
1. Enable "Speaker Fill", which creates suround from stereo.
2. Use one of the "Environment" settings ("Room" for example, seems to be the best one).

PROBLEM: They both sound like crap!! How hard can it be to simply send the SAME stereo sound through the fronts and rears, it was like that in XP...
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Old 03-02-2008, 06:45 PM   #13
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

Quote:
Originally posted by: Spicedaddy
Only thing I hate about it is there's no simple stereo "mirroring" to the rear channels in the Windows Vista drivers.

There's 2 ways you can get sound on all speakers with stereo sources:
1. Enable "Speaker Fill", which creates suround from stereo.
2. Use one of the "Environment" settings ("Room" for example, seems to be the best one).

PROBLEM: They both sound like crap!! How hard can it be to simply send the SAME stereo sound through the fronts and rears, it was like that in XP...
As I said in my earlier posts I have full stereo through the rear speakers in Vista- all I have to do is change the 'effect' to 'StereoX2' (6 channel stereo) on my Logitech Z5500 console, and it sounds great! I guess it must be dependent on speakers- I am also using optical toslink if thats of any consequence.
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Old 03-02-2008, 09:42 PM   #14
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

your speakers are taking the stereo signal and sending it to the sides/rears... the sound card should be able to do it also, but it doesn't in Vista.

it's the simplest thing too, come on Realtek!
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Old 03-02-2008, 10:55 PM   #15
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

Realtek HD audio is amazing! Plus you can use FP audio on cases for headphones, which is way better than the hard to access headphone input on my Promedia 2.1.
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Old 03-02-2008, 11:23 PM   #16
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

Quote:
Originally posted by: hollowman
That's interesting to hear. Those of you who've had both onboard ALC889A and Audigy2 ZS, which speaker set were you guys using? Anyone with high-end speaker set like Klipsch Promedias or Logitech Z-5500s?

Thanks for the input guys. =)
I have Logitech Z-2200 2.1 THX.
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Old 03-03-2008, 01:38 AM   #17
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

ALC889a vs. ALC888 -- worth the extra cost?
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Old 03-03-2008, 03:56 AM   #18
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

Chances are that nobody has really compared those two with same speaker setup. However, you can find technical differences from this image; http://www.realtek.com.tw/imag...ec_Selection_Guide.jpg
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Old 03-03-2008, 11:06 PM   #19
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

Got my ABit IP35-E installed and left the Audigy 2ZS out. I gotta say, the sound in games like TF2 and the music in AudioSurf DO seem more crisp to me, maybe it's just my imagination, but the sounds seem fuller and louder. It was also nice to be able to hook the audio in and outs on the top of my CM690 directly into the HD audio port on the board.

Pretty amazed that onboard sound has made such progress, guess I'll e shelving the Audigy for the time being.
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Old 03-04-2008, 09:29 AM   #20
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

Good thread, thanks OP for bringing it up. I have the Logitech Z2200 2.1 THX and in the past, music just didn't sound good with onboard audio so I went with Audigy2 which sounded great, and then an X-Fi. I'd love to do without a soundcard though, and have been wondering how good current onboard is.

Wish I saw this post a few days ago, because I just ordered an ECS mATX mobo and it only has ALC662 :disgust:
Anybody know how that sounds?

I just noticed the MSI mATX have ALC888. Probably not worth it to change now with the return shipping & restocking fee.
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Old 03-10-2008, 11:44 PM   #21
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

What about cpu usage when using the onboard Realtek ALC888 audio? I've got a GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L board coming and am trying to decide whether to retire my Audigy 2zs card or not. Which has less cpu usage, the onboard audio or the Audigy card?
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Old 03-11-2008, 12:13 AM   #22
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

Onboard is going to have higher CPU utilization than any dedicated sound card, unless the dedicated card simply sucks either by hardware design or drivers. Onboard sound does not have hardware acceleration unlike dedicated sound cards, CPU does the work. However, onboard audio CPU usage won't make any difference to you unless you have a CPU that isn't going to cut it for gaming anyway. Even if you have the option, disable and keep 3D audio effects disabled with onboard sound codecs. They not only sound bad, but will also use significantly more CPU power.

If you want to play games with 3D audio effects, get an X-Fi. Otherwise you'll be perfectly fine with onboard HD-audio codecs.
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Old 03-11-2008, 12:21 AM   #23
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

I thought the ALC888 and 889A also have these 3D effects in games?
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Old 03-11-2008, 01:11 AM   #24
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

Quote:
Originally posted by: The Keeper
Onboard is going to have higher CPU utilization than any dedicated sound card, unless the dedicated card simply sucks either by hardware design or drivers. Onboard sound does not have hardware acceleration unlike dedicated sound cards, CPU does the work. However, onboard audio CPU usage won't make any difference to you unless you have a CPU that isn't going to cut it for gaming anyway. Even if you have the option, disable and keep 3D audio effects disabled with onboard sound codecs. They not only sound bad, but will also use significantly more CPU power.

If you want to play games with 3D audio effects, get an X-Fi. Otherwise you'll be perfectly fine with onboard HD-audio codecs.
It is my understanding that all the latest onboard audio solutions all have a minimum of EAX 2.0 (as all non Creative sound cards do) so audio in games is certainly not lackluster. I have not noticed any considerabe benefit in audio quality in games with higher spec EAX effects present on the latest X-FI's from playing Crysis/UT3 on my friends rig who has the same speaker setup.....it's subjective however I'm just noting my experiences.
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Old 03-11-2008, 02:00 AM   #25
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Default Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

Realtek ALC888 latest drivers ver R1.88 (March 5).
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