I missed this transition

Discussion in 'PC Hardware' started by hp, Jan 3, 2015.

  1. hp

    hp Guest

    Ok, when did video cards take over sound processing for PC's ?
    This did not register on my forebrain until several updates
    pounded in that 'Hay, my video drivers package has sound drivers

    What the hockey puck?

    OldGeek perplexed

    Ok, is there a way to return sound processing to the mommyboard??
    hp, Jan 3, 2015
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  2. hp

    Bill Guest

    I'm sure you can turn off the motherboard audio in the BIOS.
    It is a surprise to me to hear that video cards are doing audio
    processing, but I don't get out that much...
    Bill, Jan 3, 2015
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  3. hp

    Paul Guest

    It's been around for a while.

    On the Nvidia side, the first implementation used S'PDIF passthru.
    The video card had a two pin connector on the upper edge. You could
    take an adapter cable from a four pin motherboard header, and connect
    it to the video card. In that case, the controls and driver in the
    OS thought they were dealing with motherboard built-in audio. You
    would specify digital out over S'PDIF in your RealTek driver, and sound
    would come out of the HDMI monitor speakers.

    AMD did a "real" sound solution on their card. There was no plug on
    the top edge of the card. Basically the card appeared as some sort of
    bus to the OS, and on the video connector side, it would stream out the
    data bytes as digitsl audio (LPCM over HDMI). The weird part of
    that solution, is AMD/ATI did not write the driver for the hardware
    they added. Instead, it was a driver written by RealTek, which was
    bundled with the card.

    Later, both companies added the appropriate hardware, and the also
    started writing their own audio driver. That driver should be bundled
    with the video driver now. Probably to this day, not all possible
    audio formats are supported. The only thing you can bs sure of,
    is some number of channels of LPCM (uncompressed) audio over HDMI.
    Everything else is optional or costs somebody money
    for a license.

    The end result, is if you do a new build today, you get to see
    two audio devices in Device Manager. The motherboard HDAudio is
    one device. The video card build-in digital audio is the second
    device. And you have to be careful to switch to the one you want,
    before it'll work.

    It's even worse in Linux, as they chose not to use the same names/terminology
    for things. I wasted a whole freakin day doing experiments trying
    to figure out where the "What You hear" or "Stereo Mix" option went.
    That's important if you want to record the audio which is being played
    on the speakers. That happens to be called "Stereo Duplex Output" (as
    opposed to just "Stereo Output"). The Duplex is meant to imply that the
    signal being output, is also being digitized and sent back into
    the sound chip for recording purposes. And as far as I know, the video
    card audio subsystem is Output Only. I don't think it has any option
    for recording the played sound to a file. And even if you use the
    motherboard analog audio, the newer Windows OSes make it nearly
    impossible to figure out how to get Stereo Mix working again.
    They like the default to be, that it's turned off and hidden.

    And as an industry observation, sound sucks just as much as it
    did 20 years ago. It just sucks for different (DRM) reasons.

    Paul, Jan 3, 2015
  4. hp

    Flasherly Guest

    Logically it would seem to follow updates/transitions to include the
    interface, with video, and sound, 'conveniently' combined to one
    signal chain for an easier build-assembly setup;- nevermind 'The
    Industry' standards and definitions, (the stereotypical BestBuy
    computer bundle), for subsequent encodes, control thereof, as to what
    "approved" signals a supportive chipset entails.

    Still, that's mainstream. Now, what you want to do -- provided an
    interest, patience and willingness to delve into a technological maze
    of specs -- is to research the OpAmp scheme of things for available
    gear for tailoring, taking the sound system up into pro-summer
    qualifications;- mindful of a full deck of cards, where usually things
    can happen for those whom have that inclination. Computers and
    ballistics, neither would have lacked apparent presence to effect
    sending a man to the moon, nor is harnessing computer aides less than
    tantamount to what a "sound" entails in all its possibilities from a
    pro-audio platform.

    Trust me, I know. I've built one from a system able to compliment
    some newer options. Actually, may only be scratching the surface, at
    least until I get into a $300-an-hour, boutique studio environment to
    assess what's exactly defining what.

    Child play is all I'm saying - what video cards and their standardized
    sound means to a dedicated cadre of home studio users and gear
    available they've at their disposal. And, believe me, they're out
    there and very hardcore, fwiw. (Depending, a lot. A computer also has
    that stigma: It's a hole in the ground where you can go to throw away
    all your money.)
    Flasherly, Jan 3, 2015
  5. hp

    Yousuf Khan Guest

    It's still not really mainstream yet. It's available through a few mid-
    to high-end video cards, both from Nvidia and AMD. Ever since video
    cards started popping up with HDMI connectors, which have both video and
    audio components to them, the video cards have become audio cards too.
    You can still choose to send your sounds through the traditional
    motherboard sound system.

    Yousuf Khan
    Yousuf Khan, Jan 3, 2015
  6. But it also makes a certain amount of sense.

    Now "audio processing" is likely decoding MP3s or however the sound is
    encoded, along with decoding the video signal. There was a period (maybe
    it still happens?) where some video boards did that decoding in hardware.
    Now that the GPUs on video cards are so potent, it seems to make sense to
    download that sort of audio stuff to the video board.

    Michael Black, Jan 4, 2015
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