As a long time AVS fan, I feel it is time to give back; so I like to take a moment and write this up and let you all know about the just release; 1 week before plan; ATI 4850, (VisionTek).Purchase
After I read few posts in AVS and other forums, I can't believe that a day old GC can be on sale already. All you have to do is go to BB web site , print the weekly ad, go to your local BB grap the VisionTek 4850, run to cashier, show the coupon, take the plastic out from your wallet and you will walk away $150 4850; 25% off from $199 before tomorrow, 6/22 Saturday. It might extend but who know. The BB I went today only have 1 left on the floor...Installation
First, I need to let you know that VisionTek have 2 DVI/VGA adapters in the box
They should have 1 DVI/VGA and 1 DVI/HDMI. Since I used 3650 therefore I just use my ATI gray DVI/HDMI dongle and it works right away. If you don't have one and bought the box without the DVI/HDMI, you sure will not be too happy.
2nd - power, I did not read anything; I just use common sense, installed the 4850 and as soon as I started, it beep, beep and beep. It showed in the monitor that I need to connect the 4850 to PS. So I shut down the HTPC, connect the power cable from my PS to the end of the 4850 and start up. It starts right away. Please note that you have to have 450W PS in order to use 4850.
3rd - Driver, I looked at one of the thread in AVS and someone said that CCC 8.6 will work for 4850 but ATI did not update the content yet, therefore I downloaded 8.6 and installed that. But don't do that, I REPEAT DON'T DO THAT
, after I booted up, I noticed I don't have my native resolution; 1360X768 and no matter what I try, it is not there. I immediately Google around and I found out that there is a hot fix just released today and as soon as I installed below hot fix, you are good to go. Please note that it said hot fix but it is a FULL CCC driver so you DO NOT need the any other drivers from the box and/or ATI web site.http://support.ati.com/ics/support/d...asp?deptID=894
For XP user - please read http://support.ati.com/ics/support/d...estionID=30533
There are some people that they can't get 5.1 or 7.1 after installed above Hot fix driver. Someone find it and post it in this thread and other follow and able to get 5.1 or 7.1 right away. Please reboot.
Latest Realtek driver released 6/30/08: here
4th - other driver? I did not installed or use any other drivers such as Realtek and/or IDT. I just use above driver ONLY.
5th - Configuration - I only DID few steps and I am up and running now. First, all I did was choose my native resolution 1360X768 in CCC. 2nd, I went to Vista play back icon in task bar and select 5.1 speakers, check all the available rates and formats in playback device. That is all I did, nothing else and it plays all the sounds I want so far, iTune and PDVD8...Video performance
I am NOT a gamer, I use my HTPC for music and movies only. I had NVIDIA before and I have some troubles and switch it to HD2600 Pro couple years ago. Then I switched it to 3650 and today 4850. To me they all the same but 2600HD might use more CPU power; 3650 and 4850 use less. Other than that, I am sorry I can tell that there are any picture different that it is worth to describe here. If not for audio, I will stay 3650 for sure.Audio performance
First, I was wrong that I thought LPCM is not part of PAP stream and it should not down sampled. Apparently, I can use Vista to play around the output rate in order to get what I want to my receiver. Based on my understanding today, 4850 is most likely down sampling LPCM today. In order to get not down sampled the only way will be thru PAP to pre-amp.
In PDVD8 there are 2 options for me. First it's PCM and 2nd it's DTS/AC3 pass thru. When I use 3650, I have to choose AC3/DTS pass thru in order to get 5.1 sounds since if I choose LPCM, I will have only 2 channels LPCM and that is what we have inside 3650. But when I choose PCM with 4850 now, I have 5 channels coming in PCM, in receiver as MULTI and it shown 192kHZ, see below picture, but because I use Vista setting to output the highest rate. I think PDVD is down sampled now and Vista is up convert to 192kHZ.
Noise: To a HTPC user and an AV guy like me, it is pretty important. Not long ago before, before I bought my last 3650, Oh my... there is another 3650 made by another manufacture and that is crazy loud; I can hear that 4 to 5 feets away; if I stand next to my box, I feel it is a jet engine inside. I only had it for 48 hours and I took it out. This 4850 VisionTek is quiet and I have no problem with this, some might but again, it is a level that I am happy with.
Again before 4850 today, I used 3650 HDMI to my Onkyo 885 same as Integra 9.8 HDMI 1.3 loseless capable pre-amp. At that time, the audio is very nice but it is 2 channels LPCM only. With 4850, I have 8 channels LPCM instead of 2. With Vista, I use the highest format offer; as you see the picture below.Conclusion
I spent lot longer time to write this up than I spent to install and play around the 4850 since I bought it tonight. Therefore I only able to watched few scenes of different movies. Based on that I think that even $150 for a card that I will not able to take the advantage like most gamers can, I think it is too much and overkill for HTPC user like me. Unless it offers some big improvements that I am not notice tonight, I plan to watch few movies this weekend, then I plan to re-use my 3650 for video and use Asus or Azuentech HDMI sound card as soon as they release.
I have a question about TrueHD audio. Where should I look? This is an excellent post
and it will answer all the questions about this format.
One of forum member comment below in this thread and ever since I started this I have quite of bit PMs regarding this topic. So I hope with this comment, you guys will have a better picture now.
Some early posts in this thread were asking about whether the Audio is downsampled. It definitely will be as there is no software available that doesn't downsample HD Audio such as DTS-MA etc.
Software such as TMT and PDVD will soon be able to output unmolested audio but only on PAP enabled hardware. To my knowledge this card isn't PAP compliant and so will never support that functionality.
If full res audio is the main priority then the best bet is to wait for either the Asus or Auzentech solutions that should be available in the next month or so, both of which will also support Bitstreaming of DTS-MA and TrueHD etc..
Stay tuned and I will update more or less as soon as I have Asus or Azuentech HDMI sound card in my possession.
Please don't flush my PM and if you want me to test anything just let me know and I will try my best to help.
2nd impression after installed
Just finished a first BD after installed 4850 last night and using iTune listening 2 channels as I type this now. First, there are few people asking me what equipments do I have, please see below. Regarding the BD, it is excellent. Video again, I am sorry, I can't tell there is any different compare from 2600, 3650 and 4850 today. But audio, is definitely better, bass tighter and most noticeable improvement to me is discreet. All speakers are maybe 10 to 15% cleaner and every single drops of rain, birds singing..., I can hear much better and cleaner than before. 2 channels music listening is about the same. I guess it is same as my 3650 before. Will update more if I see and hear the different.
3rd impression after installed
Just finished watching Jumper BD with my new toy - 4850, all I want to say is wow wow wow!!! Sounds that I never thought it can be in my own room. It is SO SO SO reality like, LPCM just free up my system and bring me to another level; I feel I can fly now.
All I can say is I can't imagine and wait when PDVD not down sampled and I can truly 100% LPCM or PAP bit-stream to my pre-amp.
Bottom line is if you thinking to get another piece of audio gear to improve your system; save the $ and try LPCM first
4th and last impression after installed
Since installed 4850, I use nothing but 5.1 PCM via HDMI now. It sounds amazing not just BD but DVD too. Have a day off yesterday and watched 3 BDs and 1 DVD.
Watched "1408" DVD and it is unbelievable!!! Some sounds I really few it is a layer perhaps let me put it this way, it is very clear sound stages, (I can hear exactly where that audio notes are belong to in the sound stage) and it is not mixed/clear like before. Now, I can hear all the details that I never can hear before.
Hardware: ATI 4850, LG GGC-H20L, P4 3.2, D945, 4G RAM, 2X Fusion + 2X Hauppage.
Software: VMC Ultimate, AnyDVD HD, PDVD 8, Imgburn, Daemons Tools, MM PR7, HomeSeer, TrueImage, iTunes. 8X500G HDD for 310+ DVD + 90+ BD.
Setup: Onkyo Pro 885 Pre-Amp (Selling CBII, buying CBIII now), Krell KSA-200S + KAV-500 amp, Martin Logan Theater (C), Ascent (L&R), Script (R) and Depth Sub, PS Audio Power Premier Plant, MIT Shotgun S1 cables & HDMI 1.3b.