I have a Windows 7 based HTPC using onboard ATI HD 4250 graphics for video and audio. Video wise, everything is great and there's plenty of power for media playback. However, my real gripe is the audio. I have the HTPC connected to a Yamaha AV receiver with the latest 5.1 audio codecs. A few times in the past I've been able to get 5.1 audio to work in Windows Media Center, but something always changes and it will only output to 2.1. To fix this, I have to go through a convoluted mess of uninstalling/reinstalling drivers in the exact perfect order to get 5.1 working again... temporarily.
I don't like this. I just want to plug it in and not worry about it. I'm looking for a cheap, reliable GPU that can carry 5.1 audio and video over HDMI hopefully without any bridge cables between the motherboard and GPU for audio. Do any of you have any recommendations? I'm a little hesitant to go with ATI again seeing as how many problems I've had with their software, but if it comes highly recommended I guess I'd want the best option. Again, my true concern is getting 5.1 surround working--this will not be driving any games except for the occasional emulator. I'd also like to keep rather affordable, meaning less than $50.
Thanks for the help, I'm just a little out of the loop as to what GPUs are currently good.