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Recently picked up a "Mad Dog" 24bit Sound Card (uses the same chip as the Revo?) during the CompUSA rebate sale-enjoy its sound immensely both from the very basic PC speakers as well as from the Optical Out to my Yamaha receiver.

Now, I just purchased all the parts to build a new General use PC/HTPC and the mobo I selected (Shuttle AN35N) has built in Realtek ALC650 (and I found an optical/coax out bracket that should work with the header-can't believe the mobo people give you a feature without the accessory!). this wasn't why I bought this board, but it brought up a curious question or two-

1. The Mad Dog VIA "Envy 24" based card outputs 24 bit sound (and potentially DD 7.1), the Realtek outputs 18 bit and DD5.1. Now, since I'll be passing most of the sound via spdif, am I going to hear any difference? seems to me the only way to hear a difference would be through and Analog speaker system of some sort? since the raw stream is being processed by my Receiver (and its a 1998 Yamaha with DD5.1 only, no DTS-and its not getting replaced any time soon).

2. How much processor overhead does one of these "host" type Audio solutions carry? I should have more than enough power, processor wise, for DVD and MP3 playing with an Athlon XP 2400+, but I wonder if anyone with one of these onboard chips can comment on overall PC performance.

this forum prodded me to slowly add components (tuner/capture, spdif soundcard, DVD-ROM, etc) and to keep working on my output to the HLM507. Now that you've done this and its all working with one little IRQ sharing hiccup, I've decided I want more power, not just for Dscaler play, but also to speed up MPEG2 encodes of my DV movies-which take about 5 hours per hour of video on a pentium III-733.

So thanks everyone for causing me to spend more money!!!
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