Well thank you for the excellent explanations there. I would honestly say my hangup had more to deal with ignorance than anything else. I work in electronics for a living, and have been into audio for many years, but alas I grew up in the analog world.
Although I have been listening to SACD's for several years, and have a laymans understanding of it, digital will always be a second language to me. I was not aware that the audio was time sharing the same conductors as the the video during the blanking period. I just assumed that there were dedicated conductor lines for the audio to pass in HDMI cables. So now that I understand the audio is time sharing the same conductors, and I already know that DVI is basically on the same quality par as HDMI, I don't have that hang up anymore. I do appreciate the brief, but concise explanation there. It was just enough information to explain what was going on without making my head smoke.
So all that said, and after doing more case investigations, I have gone ahead and orderred the HIS 4650 with the factory installed Zalman heat pipe cooler as suggested by H8. I noticed the cooler does not extend completely down the opposite side of the card, and I am fairly certain it will clear the small low rise heatsink on my motherboard next to my pcie slot. As luck would have it the Zalman will sit immediately below a case fan that is venting out of the case, so the heat should be removed quickly as it rises off the heat sink. The memory clock is 200MHz faster than the Asus 4650 card as well, which is never a bad thing.
I am hopeful the problems creeping up with the audio in this series will be addressed in driver releases, and likely before I am fluent in setting up and using the full functionality of the card. I will post my opinions and experiences (and questions) as they arise.
Using the mind to look for reality is delusion. Using your senses to look for reality is awareness.