As Pioneer technical engineer pointed our earlier, the power supply plays a critical role in the sound and picture quality. Add this to the list of grounding and shielding and the suppression of RF/EM emissions.
After deducing that video cards affect the sound quality, I auditioned the new Sapphire half-height AMD 7750 video card. The result were good but no cigar. I still noticed no one best sound configuration as I experimented with power conditioning and using a cheater plug (which lifts the third or green safety prong on the A/C line) for the HTPC.
So if the power supply in the Pioneer SC-61 is so important, then shouldn’t the video card power supply also be important? I decided to purchase another 28nm 7750 card, but this time full height to allow more room for optimized components. I then stumbled upon a special Asus technology called “Super Alloy Power”.
Super Alloy Power
• This alloy is highly-magnetic, heat-resistant and anti-corrosive to reduce power loss, enhance durability and achieve cooler operation. Super Alloy Power technology represents a milestone of ASUS research and development innovation, going beyond just finding the right metals. It also signifies a major accomplishment in overcoming the challenges of producing technology that can operate under extreme pressure and temperatures. ASUS Super Alloy Power is implemented on key components, including Super Alloy Chokes, Super Alloy Capacitors, Super Alloy MOS and the Super Hybrid Engine. These allow users to get the most out of their hardware with a 15% performance boost*, 2.5 times longer lifespan* and 35°C cooler operation*.
1. Unlike traditional chokes, Super Alloy Chokes run 35°C cooler* and eliminate buzzing noise under load.
2. Super Alloy Capacitors increase the card’s lifespan to 150,000 hours, which is 2.5 times longer* than traditional capacitors.
3. Super Alloy Capacitors and MOS increase the card’s maximum voltage threshold by 30%*.
4. Super Hybrid Engine technology acts as an intelligent power consumption optimizer, switching between high intensity and low intensity power profiles in real time for a 15% performance
What Asus does not mention is these metal cases provide excellent shielding from nearby interference.
Another improvement is AMD redesigned their graphics cared architecture this year along with the new 28nm die.
Upon powering up I tried some familiar audio tracks with Foobar2000 player. I immediately noticed the most natural sound quality with great distinction I’ve ever heard (remember the Pioneer is still not the weakest link and reveals all). Plug it with no tweaking: this is how gear is supposed to work!
As just one simple example cymbals are perfect etched and delineated. The sound quality is so clean i can easily crank the SC-61 until it runs out of steam. All limitations removed. Whew!
The picture quality was just as much a revelation with a noticeable increase in contrast, pop and 3D effect.
Not bad for a $110 upgrade. The Pioneer, JBL Studio and Asus Super Alloy is one hell of a combination.
I've enjoyed the challenge and will be rewarded the rest of my life, as i now know what is important.
Only took 30 years!
Two 7750's to choose from:
A 900MHz OC version:
Investigation reveals the 820MHz version V2 now also contains the Super Alloy components. With less heat this is better suited to home theater:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=14-121-633&SortField=0&SummaryType=0&Pagesize=100&PurchaseMark=&SelectedRating=-1&VideoOnlyMark=False&VendorMark=&IsFeedbackTab=true&Keywords=%28keywords%29&Page=1#scrollFullInfoEdited by HiFiFun - 9/8/12 at 7:06pm