No more high end HDMI soundcards like the Asus HDAV? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 56 Old 01-14-2012, 10:30 AM - Thread Starter
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I notice the Xonar HDAV line is discontinued. I like using a stand alone card because they seem to have more robust features, settings, and general performance over onboard sound solutions. For example, my onboard Realtek ALC889 does not support Dolby Digital Live or DTS Interactive in which I absolutely need for gaming out to my home theater system. Funny thing is the specs of the Realtek ALC889 does state that it does support DDL and DTS Interactive but it's as they put it- "Optional Software". What the heck does that mean? The drivers will detect a motherboard where the manufacture either paid for the licensing or not and enable/disable it depending on that? Any way to hack/force DDL or DTS Interactive on the Realtek ALC889? I tried using a driver from a motherboard that stated DDL/DTS Interactive and the driver did install and work but those selections where still missing. Looking at Newegg I don't even see anymore HDMI soundcards? Is Asus going to come out with a next gen premium HDMI soundcard because all I see are old school style ones anymore...
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post #2 of 56 Old 01-14-2012, 11:22 AM
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For HDMI, Dolby Digital Live or DTS Interactive is a pointless feature. DDL or DTSI is necessary to send surround sound over S/PDIF which supports only stereo PCM, DD and DTS. HDMI supports multichannel LPCM, so surround sound does not need to be compressed to DD or DTS.

HDMI sound card is an obsolete product, that came when there was no graphics card supporting HD audio bitstreaming/PAP. Now every latest GPU supports HD audio bitstreaming...
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post #3 of 56 Old 01-14-2012, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
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That makes sense. I was under the impression that to use surround over digital from a game it had to be encoded on the fly. So I would just setup the control panel for say 5.1 and games with surround would automatically output PCM over HDMI? But then my only problem would be to lose quality sound over analog/headphones (I use headphones for net browsing/general PC use). I'm currently using a Xonar HDAV 1.3 and now wondering if it's just a redundant piece of hardware in my system. Analog output on the Xonar smoked all my last onboard sound chips - no comparison there but I haven't even tried with my latest Realtek ALC889. I doubt it would be any different than my last Realtek experience?

I have a GTX 560, will it bitstream HD audio from a Bluray like the Xonar will or will it only output PCM? I have TotalMedia Theatre 3 Asus version and Retail version.
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post #4 of 56 Old 01-14-2012, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emig5m View Post

That makes sense. I was under the impression that to use surround over digital from a game it had to be encoded on the fly. So I would just setup the control panel for say 5.1 and games with surround would automatically output PCM over HDMI? But then my only problem would be to lose quality sound over analog/headphones (I use headphones for net browsing/general PC use). I'm currently using a Xonar HDAV 1.3 and now wondering if it's just a redundant piece of hardware in my system. Analog output on the Xonar smoked all my last onboard sound chips - no comparison there but I haven't even tried with my latest Realtek ALC889. I doubt it would be any different than my last Realtek experience?

I have a GTX 560, will it bitstream HD audio from a Bluray like the Xonar will or will it only output PCM? I have TotalMedia Theatre 3 Asus version and Retail version.

To my knowledge, the GTX570 and above will not. The 560ti and below will. I don't have a clue why it is that way either.
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post #5 of 56 Old 01-14-2012, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmerfreak0 View Post

To my knowledge, the GTX570 and above will not. The 560ti and below will. I don't have a clue why it is that way either.

So just to play it safe, it would be wise to leave the Xonar HDAV in my system just for sake of my sound not being tied to a compatible or not videocard when I swap out/upgrade in the future? Seems weird why a higher end card wouldn't support it?
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post #6 of 56 Old 01-14-2012, 01:39 PM
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but what about jitter? is a graphics gaming card really ideal for digital sound transporting?
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post #7 of 56 Old 01-14-2012, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emig5m View Post

So just to play it safe, it would be wise to leave the Xonar HDAV in my system just for sake of my sound not being tied to a compatible or not videocard when I swap out/upgrade in the future? Seems weird why a higher end card wouldn't support it?

Unless ArcSoft discontinues support, I wouldn't get rid of mine. Maybe not even then, except for the Slim.

There's alot of gaming audio discussion here: http://forums.guru3d.com/showthread.php?t=356394
and some of it includes the HDAV 1.3

Another poster uses the Xonar because it's more stable for bitstreaming than constantly using updated drivers that mess up HD audio and I'm starting to see his point with my AMD system.

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post #8 of 56 Old 01-14-2012, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eugle View Post

but what about jitter? is a graphics gaming card really ideal for digital sound transporting?

I doubt jitter is anything to worry about. Have there been any double blind tests showing jitter from a htpc is even audible by a real person? I did manage to find this which I've snipped from a wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compari...ital_recording
------ snip ------
In 1998, Benjamin and Gannon researched the audibility of jitter using listening tests (Dunn 2003:34). They found that the lowest level of jitter to be audible was around 10 ns (rms). This was on a 17 kHz sine wave test signal. With music, no listeners found jitter audible at levels lower than 20 ns. A paper by Ashihara et al. (2005) attempted to determine the detection thresholds for random jitter in music signals. Their method involved ABX listening tests. When discussing their results, the authors of the paper commented that:

'So far, actual jitter in consumer products seems to be too small to be detected at least for reproduction of music signals. It is not clear, however, if detection thresholds obtained in the present study would really represent the limit of auditory resolution or it would be limited by resolution of equipment. Distortions due to very small jitter may be smaller than distortions due to non-linear characteristics of loudspeakers.
------ /snip ------
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post #9 of 56 Old 01-14-2012, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
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I decided to try the Nvidia HD sound for shits and giggles, never tried it before, so I was curious about it. Bitstreaming HD audio didn't work with the Asus version of TMT3 or even multichannel PCM. Only the regular DD/DTS sound worked here. Going to uninstall the Asus TMT3 version and put my retail on and try.

One thing that really blew me away is that I have the original Xonar that didn't support 24p and never sent mine in for the firmware update because I didn't want to wait forever without having my sound card and also I didn't think I would need it. I googled my LG plasma and noticed it did support 24p playback so I said what the hell, I'll try it out. NOW I KNOW WHAT THE FUSS IS ALL ABOUT WITH 24hz MOVIE PLAYBACK! It's so freaking smooth, it's borderline soap opera effect, lol. Now I can really notice judder on video playback when not in 24hz mode! I mean, you'd think 24fps would be laggy or glitchy, but it's soooo liquidy smooth I don't think I could ever go back now! Info on my display reported 1080/24p and my Denon AVR also reported 1080p/24hz. It's unbelievable the difference... you'd have to see it in action to understand.

Anyway... games did surround over HDMI through the GTX560 so yeah, no more need for DDL or DTSi. One game I have a problem with but not sound related is a console port of MX vs ATV Reflex that the only way I could get it to look judder free (it's locked at 30fps) was to play it in 1080i (have no idea why using interlaced made it judder free just like 24hz on bluray/movie) but now no matter even if I set it to 1080i/30 like before when going through the Xonar, it always jumps to progressive and for some strange reason I lose video/menu overlay through my Denon...Weird.

But yea, 24hz movie playback... now I know what the fuss is all about! It's.... A major difference. Hopefully my regular retail version of TMT3 will allow me to bitstream HD audio or at least PCM output...

Now I have to figure out why Mx vs ATV Reflex has so much video judder when using progressive scan... Weird how it was so smooth just like using 24hz for movies when using interlaced but interlaced just wont stick when the game starts with the Xonar out of the way it switches to 1080/30p. Computers, gotta love em'... almost never does every single aspect of performance and compatibility work all at one time! Just when you think you got all the pieces of the puzzle put together you always introduce that one new problem.
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post #10 of 56 Old 01-14-2012, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't know about jitter with the sound but I was able to get bit perfect CD sound through the 560 GTX verified with a DTS surround WAV file (if you're not bitperfect for CD audio it will just play random static/digital noise). I think sound wise it's fine. Just the dedicated soundcard has many more features and driver adjustments.
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post #11 of 56 Old 01-14-2012, 06:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

...Now every latest GPU supports HD audio bitstreaming...

Except the high end nvidia cards. Nvidia deserves to be kicked around quite a bit for this boneheaded decision. Their low end cards support HD audio bitstreaming, so obviously they know how to do it. They simply chose NOT to do it with their high end cards.

All 5000+ series ATI/AMD graphics can bitstream HD audio, and all Intel integrated graphics on Core i3/i5/i7 can do it, but only the low end nvidia cards can.

HD audio has become a commodity you get virtually for free. The only reason to get a high end audio card is if you want the analog outs.

Bazinga!

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post #12 of 56 Old 01-14-2012, 07:44 PM
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This table on the latest GeForce cards:
Core Model CUDA Core TMU ROP Memory PureVideo HD HD Audio
GF119 520 48 8 4 64 bit 5 Yes
GF108/GF118 430/530/440 96 16 8 128 bit 4 Yes
GF106/GF116 440 OEM/545/450/550 192 32 24 192 bit 4 Yes
GF104/GF114 460/560 384 64 32 256 bit 4 Yes
GF100/GF110 465/470/480/570/580 512 64 48 384 bit 4 No
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post #13 of 56 Old 01-14-2012, 08:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Installed my retail version of TMT3 and applied the latest update and HD bitstreaming instantly crashes the program. PCM output of HD audio dropped back to 2 channel even when audio properties where set correctly to 5.1 48kHz. Downloaded TMT5 trial and all is well with bitstreaming now. I'll probably use the promo code to get the 30% off and buy it. I like the new interface as well and finally TMT isn't disabling Aero. But $69.99 still seems a little steep for a buyer of the previous one. I think the update from a previous version should be a little cheaper.

But forget all that, I'm lovin' 24p playback more than HD audio, lol. I can't believe the difference it makes. You would think such a low framerate wouldn't be very smooth but it's sooo liquidity smooth you just have to see it in action to believe it, lol.

Fixed my problem with MX vs Atv by setting the game settings in Steam to 1920x1080x60p instead of 30i. That was too easy to fix, liquid smooth once again, heh, although there appeared to be less aliasing and texture flickering at 30i but it's good enough.

Going to keep the Xonar installed for now just to have good sound quality for headphones. Would have to install the Realtek anyway and rather just use the Xonar if it came down to having two sound devices installed.

I think it's ridiculous that the higher end nvidia cards don't support HD audio bitstreaming. So what if I wanted to upgrade from my 560 GTX I would lose HD bitstreaming? Lame. For the price of the upper end cards, they should support everything and come with a free copy of TMT5. I don't get it why the premium priced hardware wouldn't have what the cheaper ones have. Is there any explanation at all?

So I have the fastest nvidia card (560) that supports HD bitstreaming?
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post #14 of 56 Old 01-14-2012, 11:53 PM
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The reason is simple. GF100 (and its fully functional GF110) was the Fermi architecture released first, where HD audio bitstreaming/PAP was not implemented yet. GF104 was the first one that supported HD audio bitstreaming/PAP. Then followed GF106/108, then GF119.
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post #15 of 56 Old 01-15-2012, 01:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

The reason is simple. GF100 (and its fully functional GF110) was the Fermi architecture released first, where HD audio bitstreaming/PAP was not implemented yet. GF104 was the first one that supported HD audio bitstreaming/PAP. Then followed GF106/108, then GF119.

If I'm not mistaken GTX550Ti (GF116) does not support HD audio bitstreaming
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post #16 of 56 Old 01-15-2012, 01:20 AM
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If I'm not mistaken GTX550Ti (GF116) does not support HD audio bitstreaming

You are mistaken.
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post #17 of 56 Old 01-15-2012, 02:31 AM
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post #18 of 56 Old 01-15-2012, 03:48 AM
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It is a fact confirmed by me and several others (e.g. ricabullah) that GeForce GTX 550 Ti supports HD audio bitstreaming. Several manufacturers also say GTX 550 Ti supports TrueHD/DTS-HD bitstreaming (e.g. Zotac, Club-3D, as well as many 550 Ti reviews; of course the feature is manufacturer-independent).
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post #19 of 56 Old 01-15-2012, 06:47 AM
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The problem with jitter right now is that quality of current consumer DACs and ADCs used in studios is not hight enough to allow us hear true hi rez audio.
But in future, who knows , maybe something revolutionary will come in terms of ADC/DACs. then, maybe things like XONAR HDAV may be very useful

There was a study that showed that real live orchestra has more resolution that a 44 khz sampling could theoretically reproduce.
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post #20 of 56 Old 01-15-2012, 01:26 PM
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Does HDAV 1.3/1.3 Slim produces smoother (more precise) 23,97/24 Hz content vs AMD/Nvidia video cards?
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post #21 of 56 Old 01-15-2012, 01:34 PM
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Not to me. It can be an issue as an added component in the video stream.

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post #22 of 56 Old 01-15-2012, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eugle View Post

The problem with jitter right now is that quality of current consumer DACs and ADCs used in studios is not hight enough to allow us hear true hi rez audio.
But in future, who knows , maybe something revolutionary will come in terms of ADC/DACs. then, maybe things like XONAR HDAV may be very useful

There was a study that showed that real live orchestra has more resolution that a 44 khz sampling could theoretically reproduce.

Just because the noise is produced it doesn't mean that it can be heard by human ear. Unless off course there is a double blind test that can verify.
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post #23 of 56 Old 01-16-2012, 04:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IcetomLT View Post

Does HDAV 1.3/1.3 Slim produces smoother (more precise) 23,97/24 Hz content vs AMD/Nvidia video cards?

The clock is defined by the video signal, which you have to pipe through the Xonar from your existing GPU.
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post #24 of 56 Old 07-09-2014, 02:57 AM
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These cards are still very much necessary. If you have a 3D monitor or high resolution monitor you cannot use HDMI through a receiver. The monitor needs to be connected directly to the GPU, and the sound card connected to a headless receiver via HDMI. You can supply the sound card a dummy HDMI input using an external VGA to HDMI adapter which generates a HDMI video signal.

You cannot connect the receiver to the GPU either since that causes a second monitor to be displayed in Windows and it causes lag and other problems.
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post #25 of 56 Old 07-09-2014, 03:26 AM
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If you want to send 3D (or 4K) video signal over HDMI 1.4a (or 2.0) to a 3D display and HD audio bitstreaming over HDMI 1.3 (or 1.4a) to a HDMI 1.3 (or 1.4a) AVR, then you don't need a discrete HDMI sound card. Any GeForce/Radeon Rx/Intel Graphics card is enough, one HDMI connected to the display, another HDMI to the AVR. DVI with a DVI-HDMI adapter and DP with a passive DP-HDMI adapter acts as a second HDMI port. Except that a HDMI 2.0 GPU has not been released yet.
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post #26 of 56 Old 07-09-2014, 03:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post
If you want to send 3D (or 4K) video signal over HDMI 1.4a (or 2.0) to a 3D display and HD audio bitstreaming over HDMI 1.3 (or 1.4a) to a HDMI 1.3 (or 1.4a) AVR, then you don't need a discrete HDMI sound card. Any GeForce/Radeon Rx/Intel Graphics card is enough, one HDMI connected to the display, another HDMI to the AVR. DVI with a DVI-HDMI adapter and DP with a passive DP-HDMI adapter acts as a second HDMI port. Except that a HDMI 2.0 GPU has not been released yet.
This results in an invisible second monitor in Windows which is unacceptable. It causes massive lag and flickering when alt-tabbing, windows open on the second monitor with no way to get to them etc. The audio device gets enabled and disabled when you switch on and off the receiver causing applications to crash. Each time you off the receiver while the PC is switched on it forgets the speaker configuration and reverts to 7.1.

It's completely unusable. A HDMI sound card creates a virtual Speakers device which behaves like an analog sound card without any of the above problems.
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post #27 of 56 Old 07-09-2014, 03:40 AM
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Then a utility like UltraMon should be helpful. Moving a window that happened to open in a secondary display (i.e. AVR) to the main display is instant. Or even you can disable the secondary desktop at all so that programs will never open there (audio still works).

In this forum the method I mentioned is popular (check "FAQ for the 3D HTPC" sticky thread, where there are lots of discussions of this topic) and I haven't seen complaints like yours.

Last edited by renethx; 07-09-2014 at 03:45 AM.
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post #28 of 56 Old 07-09-2014, 03:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post
Then a utility like UltraMon should be helpful. Moving a window that happened to open in a secondary display (i.e. AVR) to the main display is instant. Or even you can disable the secondary display at all (audio still works).

In this forum the method I mentioned is popular and I haven't seen complaints like yous.
Ultramon only helps move invisible windows to the primary monitor. You CANNOT disable the dummy monitor completely or the nVidia HDMI Audio device gets disabled and the sound stops. All the other problems are very much present. There is lag and flickering when alt-tabbing from games. With a single monitor alt-tabbing from games is instantaneous with zero flickering. The audio device gets disabled and apps crash while playing audio if you switch off the AVR in between. The speaker config gets reset from 5.1 to 7.1 if you switch on and off the AVR after the computer is already started. Each time I boot my computer it also forgets the refresh rate on my 120Hz monitor. It gets reset to 60 Hz matching the AVR. With single monitor it stays at 120 Hz after rebooting.

No matter what, an invisible monitor is a substandard solution. I have zero tolerance for such issues after spending $10000 on a PC. Even if the AVR and GPU supports HDMI 2.0, I will not use GPU -> AVR -> monitor because it introduces lag.

Because of this I bought an AVR with multi-channel analog inputs and used my Sound Blaster Zx. Then I found out that Audyssey MultEQ doesn't work on analog inputs.

Last edited by KurianOfBorg; 07-09-2014 at 03:55 AM.
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post #29 of 56 Old 07-09-2014, 04:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KurianOfBorg View Post
You CANNOT disable the dummy monitor completely or the nVidia HDMI Audio device gets disabled and the sound stops.
Hmm, I have to say this is incorrect. Make sure both "ignore this monitor" and "ignore enabled monitors" check boxes are checked. Then the secondary display is still there (so audio works), but program windows will NEVER open in the secondary desktop (and they can never be dragged there).

For simple 3D/4K video playback with an older AVR, a single graphics card with dual HDMI is just enough. There is no video playback problem at all (may be some in gaming, I have no idea on this topic of HTPC gaming). Buying this discontinued product (a used one for $400 , Slim is $150, Auzen X-Fi HomeTheater HD, how much?) for this purpose is a perfect waste of money.
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post #30 of 56 Old 07-09-2014, 04:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post
Hmm, I have to say this is incorrect. Make sure both "ignore this monitor" and "ignore enabled monitors" check boxes are checked. Then the secondary display is still there (so audio works), but program windows will NEVER open in the secondary desktop (and they can never be dragged there).

For simple 3D/4K video playback with an older AVR, a single graphics card with dual HDMI is just enough. There is no video playback problem at all (may be some in gaming, I have no idea on this topic of HTPC gaming). Buying this discontinued product (a used one for $400 , Slim is $150, Auzen X-Fi HomeTheater HD, how much?) for this purpose is a perfect waste of money.
I don't want the second monitor there in Windows AT ALL. The mere presence of it causes all the problems I mentioned above.

I already have a Auzentech HTHD but I removed it because the drivers are broken on Windows 8.1 and it keeps reverting to stereo mode instead of 7.1. Also with GPU HDMI audio you don't get OpenAL, EFX, balanced microphone input, etc. The only reason I have an AVR is because there are no more high end analog amplifiers with Audyssey room correction. Otherwise I would just use the analog output from my now useless Sound Blaster Zx.

Last edited by KurianOfBorg; 07-09-2014 at 04:55 AM.
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