HTPC Sound solution

Discussion in 'Home Theater PCs & Equipment' started by FrozenLiquidity, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. FrozenLiquidity

    FrozenLiquidity [H]ard|Gawd

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    So I've visited some of the links, browsed through several pages of history and haven't seen this question, even though I'm sure it's been asked before.

    I'm building a new HTPC for my folks, and am basing it off of the GA-MA78GM-S2H motherboard (with the built-in Radeon 3200 HD). Thing is, I'm going to throw my old 8800GT in there for the improved video performance in games.

    There's no external sound system, as they don't feel they need one, so they use the built in speakers on their 42in 1080p HDTV. This would be fine if they were going to be using the built-in 3200 HD which has HDMI out, however, with the 8800GT and only DVI out, this is a problem. The question is, is there any reasonable way to get the DVI signal from the 8800GT combined with the audio signal into a single HDMI signal to fulfill all of their A/V needs?

    Possible solutions I've come up with are as follows:
    • Use External Speakers
      I don't want to clutter their living room with additional speakers when they're completely content using the ones that are built-in to their HDTV. I will consider this if there is no other viable option.
    • Use a converter
      Something like this might work, however looking at the reviews and knowing that there are going to be complications with resolutions and EDID settings, this might end up being a waste of money.

    Is there any viable solution that I've missed, or that I'm overlooking that would accomplish the desired effect? Maybe a converter or cable that doesn't mess with EDID information? Maybe I've missed something, please let me know.
     
  2. StorageJoe

    StorageJoe Limp Gawd

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    Their TV should have an audio input on at least one of the HDMI ports for use with older devices that are DVI. In that case just run a DVI-HDMI cable for the video and a separate run for the sound. If their TV does not have this, then you're better off just ditching the 8800GT and using the onboard video and sound output from the HD3200.
     
  3. FrozenLiquidity

    FrozenLiquidity [H]ard|Gawd

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    This is a sound suggestion, I'll look into that and see if there is one available. Also, if there's a way to select an HDMI input and then select a different source for sound, that would work. I'll check tonight, but I haven't seen it before, so I don't hold high hopes for it.

    Thanks for the suggestion, though if it comes down to it, I'll put in some minimally obtrusive speakers in favor of ditching the 8800. I'm sure they'd be better than the built-ins anyway.
     
  4. Lebowski

    Lebowski 2[H]4U

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    What you need to ask yourself is are your parents going to play games on their HTPC? If the system has built in HDMI then why bother with an additional video card that they will never need?
     
  5. StorageJoe

    StorageJoe Limp Gawd

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    Exactly. I have an ASUS M3A78 Pro that has the same 780G chipset with the HD-3200. If you go into the bios and assign 512mb of ram to the onboard video and it works quite well.
     
  6. FrozenLiquidity

    FrozenLiquidity [H]ard|Gawd

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    My parents play games from time to time, yes. So does my brother, whom I'd expect will use it as well. Thanks for the input, the question still stands however.
     
  7. stevedave

    stevedave [H]ardness Supreme

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    I couldn't find a solution to this problem when I had it.....so I bought a sound system its very nice.
     
  8. FrozenLiquidity

    FrozenLiquidity [H]ard|Gawd

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    Good to know stevedave. I don't think I'd go over the top, but I have a system or two around that would probably put the built-in ones to shame. As long as they're not obtrusive it shouldn't be a huge problem.

    Perhaps another question that I have out of curiosity and perhaps a solution as well. If I put a 32 bit OS on it, and the board has 4 gb of ram, could I designate 1gb of the RAM for the onboard and have the 3gb that would go unused be available to the fullest extent of the OS? (Really, the issue is does the RAM get reserved before the OS gets to it, or after? Don't want vista 32 seeing only 3gb of memory, and then having the video card take 1 out of it, if I were to go that route). Which brings me to another possibility. I am not sure how feasible it is, but perhaps have *both* of them plugged into the HDTV and just one of the displays in the control panel disabled at a time. When HDTV is in normal use, watching blu-ray or DVDs, etc. They can use the HDMI input which is fueled by the Radeon and the 8800GT display is disabled. And when one goes to play a game, switch it to HDMI2, disable Radeon display, enable 8800GT display and you're good to go?

    Just something to mull over. As I said earlier guys, external speakers are a preferable solution to ditching the 8800GT. Thanks.
     
  9. SJetski71

    SJetski71 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    OP if you want a decent 3D improvement with the IGP then check out the GA-MA78GPM-DS2H, which is the same chipset but with 128megs of ram integrated for IGP. You could still thrown in the 8800 gt of course.

    Yea i know, i'm just complicating things :D

    Edit: Sure their TV doesn't have an optical input? Some TV's do, and having one might make your setup a little easier.

    Personally i feel that mixing "hardcore gaming" and htpc together complicates things way too much , all that extra software + heat, possible instability, and the cable/audio complications you're having. Just my 2c of course.
     
  10. FrozenLiquidity

    FrozenLiquidity [H]ard|Gawd

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    I'll be checking for that when I get home. Don't really use their HDTV much myself, so I don't know off the top of my head.

    Hehe. 8800GT is hardly what I would consider a "hardcore gaming" graphics option. But that's just me. ;)
     
  11. SJetski71

    SJetski71 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I'll def agree there, but if it's games that require an 8800gt or higher then it's probably considered a demanding game in the htpc world, and all the complications it can entail. Not a huge deal for the hardware enthusiast, but if you're their "tech support guy" that they call every time there's a problem then it may be worth considering.

    Of course i'm not referring to older Sims games, or quake3 or anything silly like that :D
     
  12. yamahaSHO

    yamahaSHO Limp Gawd

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    I personally wouldn't want an HTPC that wouldn't be able to game well. I have a 9600GT SC in one of my HTPC's and an 8800GT SSC in another. I have not encountered any issues with having a video card. In fact, they are what off loads HD material off of the CPU.