Need passive 939 MB with good O/B sound

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Skye
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Need passive 939 MB with good O/B sound

Post by Skye » Wed Mar 15, 2006 7:38 pm

I'm kind of new at the quiet PC thing and I'm a little overwhelmed at the amount of choices for a MB.

I'm building a new rig that I will use mostly for heavy office tasks and some gaming (racing simulators). I also play lots of music through a pretty nice 4.1 Cambridge Sound Works system and would like to ditch my old soundblaster.

Am I right that I want the nForce 4 chipset for the best on board sound?

I'm planning on buying a 6600GT PCI-E card. Will it work with all of the nForce 4 (4x,sli,ultra,etc.) chipsets?

NeilBlanchard
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Post by NeilBlanchard » Wed Mar 15, 2006 7:54 pm

Hello & welcome to SPCR,

I'd look at the Gigabyte nForce4 motherboards, but there is a passive Asus and one from Abit, as well. I'm pretty sure that video card will work just fine.

The nForce chipset no longer includes their previous and excellent sound capability. :( Many mobo's use the Realtek sound, which will work pretty well -- just don't install their silly program; just let Windows install the drivers.
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Operandi
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Post by Operandi » Wed Mar 15, 2006 9:38 pm

The nForce4 dose not have the best onboard sound; far from it. All the AMD nForce4 boards are stuck using the AC97 codec. For the best onboard sound on the AMD side ATi has the best solutions.

Abit has the AT8, Asus has the A8R32-MVP, and MSI has the RD480 Neo2.

Regarding the graphics card; as long as it's a PCI-E 16x slot it will work, the chipset is irrelevant.

pony-tail
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Post by pony-tail » Thu Mar 16, 2006 1:20 am

The Asus Nforce 4 SLI boards haveissues with quite a few Power Supplies -
I have had not inconsiderable problems with a A8N-SLI premium (the one with the passive northbridge ) - the sound is ok but not HiFi - once you get the PSU issues sorted it is a wicked performer - get an Nforce4 ultra board unless you specificly want/need the SLI . The performance gains are minimal in real world scenarios and the issues are many , with SLI setups.
As for the ATI boards I have not seen or used one
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teknerd
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Post by teknerd » Thu Mar 16, 2006 2:08 am

honestly your best bet is an add on sound card. Onboard sound is pretty deficient on most motherboards except for some of the new intel based boards which have Hi-Def audio built in.
for 30 bucks or so you can get a fairly good midrange sound card that will be perfectly good for running your speakers.
If you really want to get the best sound though, just pick up a fairly nice DAC (Digital-Analog Convertor) and use the SPDIF outputs on the board (any modern board will have them) and then output the analog signal out of the DAC to your speakers (this is how mine are set up, my creative speakers have a digital decoder built in so i just use the coaxial out, it works great)
and yes, a 6600gt pci-e will work fine with any nforce 4 chipset. I personally am running one on an Asus A8n-SLI premium.
[img]http://tinyurl.com/rqlff[/img]
[size=75]Main Rig: X2-4200+ | XP-120 | A8N-SLI Premium | 2GB RAM | XFX 6600GT w/VF700 | 74GB Raptor & 320GB 3200JD | P180 | SmartPower II 500W | 2x Dell 1704FPV (Digital)
Media Center: Athlon XP-M 2500+ @ 2.2GHz | ALX800 w/92mm Panaflo | 1GB RAM | 40GB WD | SLK3000B | Modulated, Fan-Swapped 380S PSU
[/size]

Techno Pride
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Post by Techno Pride » Thu Mar 16, 2006 4:12 am

I believe some of the MSI nf4 boards come with a 24bit 7.1ch Soundblaster Live.
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stupid
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Post by stupid » Thu Mar 16, 2006 7:07 am

Techno Pride wrote:I believe some of the MSI nf4 boards come with a 24bit 7.1ch Soundblaster Live.
The problem though is that SB Live is only available on premium ATX motherboards for the moment.

Going for on-board sound means sacrificing a little bit of CPU performance depending on how fast your CPU is, and the quality may not be as high as a discrete sound card. For integrated sound, you may want to check out a MB based on the GeForce 6150 which is pair up with the nForce 430 chip. nForce 430 has a "high end" audio solution called "Azalia" which provides HD 3D audio.

In this review of the Asus A8N-VM CSM, audio eats up about 5% of the Sempron 64's performance. Naturally a faster CPU will have a lower percentage.

The Realtek ALC880 is the "Azalia" chip so you're not limited to just Geforce 6150 / nForce 430 motherboards. The MSI RS482M4-ILDuses this integrated audio solution.

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Post by Operandi » Thu Mar 16, 2006 8:16 am

stupid wrote:
Techno Pride wrote:I believe some of the MSI nf4 boards come with a 24bit 7.1ch Soundblaster Live.
Going for on-board sound means sacrificing a little bit of CPU performance depending on how fast your CPU is, and the quality may not be as high as a discrete sound card. For integrated sound, you may want to check out a MB based on the GeForce 6150 which is pair up with the nForce 430 chip. nForce 430 has a "high end" audio solution called "Azalia" which provides HD 3D audio.
I would completely forget nVidia at this point. All of the ATi chipsets for the Athlon use the HD Azalia codec, and most if not all of the boards are passively cooled. The nForce 430 is regarded as a low-end chipset with integrated video and only available in mATX.

autoboy
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Post by autoboy » Thu Mar 16, 2006 9:12 am

You should not buy a motherboard for the sound. Keep your soundblaster.

Skye
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Post by Skye » Thu Mar 16, 2006 9:16 am

Thanks very much everybody. It sounds lke the ATI chipset is what I want, though it makes sense to just use the digital out from the on board sound. My speakers have the digital in. The only reason I'm not using it right now is that I have a Hauppage tv/radio card that has analog out to the line in on my soundblaster. The soundblaster wouldn't convert the analog to digital out (which seems strange to me). Kind of off topic but does anyone know if the onboard sound chip would do that conversion?

moritz
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Post by moritz » Thu Mar 16, 2006 11:30 am

But aren't ATI chipsets undesirable for other reasons? I know they used to a have fairly big issues with USB storage performance. (Of course that doesn't matter if you don't use it...)
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Skye
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Post by Skye » Fri Mar 17, 2006 6:58 pm

I do my main backups to a usb drive so it sure matters. I would think they have fixed something like that by now. Anyone else?

Operandi
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Post by Operandi » Fri Mar 17, 2006 11:30 pm

The poor USB performance was an issue with the ATi south bridge. Most of if not all of the higher-end boards use a ULI solution for the south bridge so that takes care of the USB issue. Ironically ULI was just recently purchased by nvidia.

Skye
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Post by Skye » Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:19 pm

I bought the MSI RD480 Neo2. The sound is great! Noticeably better than my old Soundblaster, which is a good thing since my video card takes up 2 slots, leaving only one slot for my Hauppage capture card. You would think that MSI would make the master PCI-E slot the one that's alone, away from the other PCI slots...

Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for the info.

I love the boards!

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