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Best HTPC sound connection

Fuelrod

Senior member
Jul 12, 2000
369
0
76
I'm putting together my first HTPC / Steam box with a Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 motherboard, Core i5-2500K, Gigabyte Nvidia GTX 660, and 8 GB ram running Windows 7. I'm hooking up the PC via HDMI to an Onkyo 5.1 surround sound receiver that then goes to my tv. What will give me better audio / surround sound, the HDMI audio from the video card or should I run a separate cable from the optical S/PDIF out on the motherboard to the receiver? Is the onboard audio processing the audio stream and passing it to the video cards HDMI port or is the video card processing the sound? If anyone could explain how this works I would really appreciate it.
 

weez82

Senior member
Jan 6, 2011
315
0
71
Stick with the HDMI. Both optical and hdmi are digital but hdmi offers more surround sound options if your receiver can decode them and it's one cable vs two. It's just more convenient :)
 

LoveMachine

Senior member
May 8, 2012
491
3
81
Is the onboard audio processing the audio stream and passing it to the video cards HDMI port or is the video card processing the sound? If anyone could explain how this works I would really appreciate it.
When using HDMI, the video card just takes the audio stream from whatever source material you are using (e.g. an mkv movie file with DTS-HD, or a music FLAC file with 2 channel 48kHz 16bit audio) and pushes it directly and untouched to your AVR, which then converts it with its own DAC. The DAC in your AVR is likely much better than anything in your PC besides a high end dedicated soundcard. Optical does the same, but is limited to 5.1 DTS or somewhere there abouts, so you wouldn't be able to do any of the newer semi-lossless formats like DTS-HD MA or TrueHD used in movies, but music would be fine. If you can do HDMI, do it.
 

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