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I'm beginning to wonder if my board itself is bad (GF8200A). At first I thought my audio problems were heat related, but I doubt that at the moment.

In all situations I have tried (XP SP2/3 and Vista 32bit), my audio has pops in it, much like a very poorly recorded mp3. It occurs with both the HDMI audio and the onboard audio, whether I select 2 channel speakers or 7.1 channel speakers in the control panel. It also happens regardless of what format I am sending to my receiver, including PCM, multichannel PCM, DTS, or DD. I doubt it is a problem with the receiver, since it works fine when hooked up via HDMI to my cable box, or my current HTPC, which has onboard nvidia 630a.


The only time it didn't happen (at least in XP, didn't check it in vista), was on a fresh install of XP and without the installation of the nvidia graphics drivers. However, without the graphics drivers, HDMI audio doesn't work. So, I suppose it could very well be tied to the drivers, maybe they really are in that bad a shape. I haven't spent much time investigating the video capabilties, since I couldn't get audio to work properly.


However, here are some other observations I have made. HDMI audio behavior seemed fairly similar in both XP and Vista. The main difference as far as configuration was concerned is that vista allowed you to specify whether or not your speakers were full range or limited. It did also let you select whether certain speakers were absent (for example, you could setup a 7.1 channel system, but then select you didn't have side surrounds). However, making this change doesn't really make any practical difference, since in both XP and Vista, unless I selected a 7.1 channel configuration, all I would get via PCM was 2 channel. If I did select a 7.1 channel configuration, I would always get 7.1 channel PCM, regardless of the source on the computer. For example, just 2 channel sound would send 7.1 channels to the receiver, though I would only get sound out of 2 channels. So, if you have a 7.1 system, you would need to expand 5.1 out to 7.1 in software via PLIIx or something similar if you wanted 7.1. I'm pretty sure both PowerDVD and Nero can do this, it didn't seem like arcsoft had this option.


Getting multichannel PCM was pretty easy, I was able to get it to play in both the trial of Arcsoft (in XP anyway, not vista) and via a FLAC file in mplayer classic (of course, I had my popping).


Also, I'm almost certain my popping isn't performance related, since as I mentioned in happened in all audio formats, and even with the multichannel flac, CPU usage never got above 30%.


Others with the ECS board, did you ever notice this popping in the audio? If so, did you find a solution? I'll probably send it back in a few days unless some exciting solution comes out.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbMagFab /forum/post/13896649


And only one of the players (Nero) works for multichannel audio with HD video, right?


Yeah, it would be great if you could try TMT or PDVD, as that's what most people are using for ISO/full disc playback. Nero seems sketchy on a lot of platforms, at least with some formats (like getting offset colors and such).

TMT does not support 64-bit Vista yet.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cghebert /forum/post/13897214


I'm beginning to wonder if my board itself is bad (GF8200A).


Others with the ECS board, did you ever notice this popping in the audio? If so, did you find a solution? I'll probably send it back in a few days unless some exciting solution comes out.

No popping whatsoever here on mine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #824 ·
GeForce 8200's graphics does not work very well yet (at least in my system). I am sure that the driver and player updates will fix the problems eventually. Meanwhile I tried another route: a discrete graphics with the onboard HDMI audio. The result turned out to be extremely well. We can use a GeForce graphics card for better graphics performance and the GeForce 8200 HDMI audio for the perfect multi-channel LPCM sounds at the same time! This answers a question asked a long time ago in this thread in the affirmative.

Motivation


This approach has nothing to do with the current situation of not-so-good driver development. I don't think GeForce 8200 has enough post-processing power. So either


- Hybrid SLI (precisely "GeForce Boost", like 8200+8500=8600)

- or a discrete GPU + onboard HDMI audio

- or possibly Phenom


is necessary for the perfect post-processing. Hybrid SLI is not available yet (afaik) and only two cards (8400/8500) support it, whence the second approach. The third approach could be effective, but there is no proof of that (afaik).

Test Setup


- Athlon X2 4200+ 2.1GHz

- abit A-N78HD GeForce 8200 mATX motherboard

- DDR2-800 4GB

- ASUS GeForce 9600 GT graphics card (and the XFX GeForce 8500 GT card to make sure that the result is independent of a particular model)

- NVIDIA GeForce 175.16 driver

- NVIDIA nForce 780a/750a/730a/720a/710a/GeForce 8300/8200/8100 18.11 driver ("southbridge" driver)

- Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 32-bit

- PowerDVD 8 Ultra Build 1622 (and 7.3 Build 3730)

- Onkyo TX-SA606X receiver

Connection


- GeForce 9600 GT -> display via a DVI-HDMI adapter and a HDMI cable

- GeForce 8200 HDMI port -> Onkyo TX-SA606X HDMI IN 1 via a HDMI cable

- TX-SA606X is connected to a 7.1 channel speaker system. No display is connected.


Of course you can connect other devices (a DVD player, VCR etc.) to the receiver and the receiver's HDMI OUT can be connected to the display's another HDMI port. See the diagram below. Switching audio/video can be done by a single operation if you use a universal remote control, so that there should be no inconvenience in this setup apart from one extra HDMI cable.




Now the receiver is recognized as "Monitor 3" by Windows and as the display device "TX-SA606X" by NVIDIA Control Panel. That means Windows actually sends video signal to the receiver (the second half of the extended desktop) multiplexed with HDMI audio.



Receiver Configuration


In the receiver I selected the "Direct" listening mode.

Quote:
In this mode, audio from the input source is output directly with minimal processing, providing high-fidelity reproduction. All of the source’s audio channels are output as they are.
7.1 Channel HDMI Audio


7.1 channel HDMI audio works perfectly in the Sound dialog box > Configure Speakers ... > Test. Each time clicking a speaker, sound comes from the corresponding speaker and the receiver's LCD indicates "PCM MULTI CH HDMI". Well, this test is enough to prove the capability of 7.1 channel HDMI audio. No other HDMI solution in the PC can do this except for some Intel chipsets. BTW the side and the rear are reversed in this test. It's only in this test.




Here is a problem: you can't choose "5.1 Surround" in the Speaker Setup. That means Windows always sends 7.1 channel LPCM to the receiver whatever the source is and when you play 5.1 channel movies, you can't use Dolby PLIIx in the receiver. This is a NVIDIA HDMI Audio driver problem.

PowerDVD Configuration


In PowerDVD 8 > Configuration > Audio tab, I chose


- "Use HDMI" in Speaker environment

- "PCM output" in Output mode



BD Playback


I played Spider-Man 3 BD (Japanese edition) with PowerDVD 8 Ultra. The disc includes three audio tracks:


- LPCM 5.1 (English)

- Dolby Digital 5.1 (English) (a nice addition for S/PDIF users which the English version lacks)

- Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (Japanese)


I selected Japanese as the audio language (i.e. the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track). Then the receiver indicated multichannel LPCM and I got perfect 5.1 channel sounds from the speakers (in Japanese, of course). I tested the movie with PowerDVD 7.3 Ultra and the result was the same (apart from that PowerDVD 8 gave noticeably better sounds). I haven't tested 7.1 channel movies, but I am pretty sure I will get 7.1 channel LPCM sounds as well. Of course the picture quality is perfect (in my eyes) because it's GeForce 9600 GT!

This approach vs. Hybrid SLI (GeForce Boost)


Right now you can use only two cards (8400 GS, 8500 GT) for GeForce Boost, while you can use any GeForce card in this approach for better post-processing (and 3D performance). A downside is you have to use separate HDMI cables for video and audio.

GeForce 8200 vs. G35/G45.


Obviously being able to use a discrete graphics with GeForce 8200 is a great advantage over Intel G35/G45. Please read the article MultiMonitor Support and Windows Vista to understand why a discrete graphics card does not work with G35 HDMI audio simultaneously.

GeForce 8200 vs. ATI Radeon HD 4850


The upcoming HD 4850 is rumored to support multichannel LPCM HDMI audio and possibly HDMI 1.3 (TrueHD/DTS-HD MA bitstream). If HD 4850 does not support HDMI 1.3, then GeForce 8200 with a discrete graphics (or Hybrid SLI) is a better solution in flexibility (and HD 4850 ~ $200 is overkill for HTPC). Otherwise go with HD 4850.




 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx /forum/post/13897618


- abit I-N78HD GeForce 8200 mATX motherboard

Did you mean the A-N78HD or is there another model that's not out yet?


This news may be the kick in the pants I need to get a new motherboard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #826 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by vladd /forum/post/13897662


Did you mean the A-N78HD or is there another model that's not out yet?


This news may be the kick in the pants I need to get a new motherboard.

Yes, it's "A". Corrected.


But I don't recommend abit A-N78HD. It never wakes up from S3 properly. USB keyboard is not recognized by Vista at start up very frequently (reconnect the USB connector fixes it). Hybrid SLI is not available in BIOS. I hope BIOS updates fix them soon. I still wait for MSI K9N2GM-FIH (late May) and GIGABYTE GA-M78UM-S2H (unknown release date).


Edited


The resume and USB problems were caused by my USB KVM switch. If I remove the KVM switch, everything works fine.
 

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Thanks, I was cursing Google and Live for not giving me any results with the "I". Then I remembered that Abit probably had a website.



Ah, thanks for the warning. Those are actually the two motherboards on which I was waiting.
 

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I got a couple of ECS GF8200A boards and one of had that audio problem, but it was fixed by a driver update.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cghebert View Post

I'm beginning to wonder if my board itself is bad (GF8200A).


Others with the ECS board, did you ever notice this popping in the audio? If so, did you find a solution? I'll probably send it back in a few days unless some exciting solution comes out.

The ECS GF8200A came out with a fix for the audio issues some are having, just download the audio driver fix from the site.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx /forum/post/13897618


GeForce 8200's graphics does not work very well yet (at least in my system). I am sure that the driver and player updates will fix the problems eventually. Meanwhile I tried another route: a discrete graphics with the onboard HDMI audio. The result turned out to be extremely well. We can use a GeForce graphics card for better graphics performance and the GeForce 8200 HDMI audio for the perfect multi-channel LPCM sounds at the same time! This answers a question asked a long time ago in this thread in the affirmative. This has nothing to do with Hybrid SLI. You should be able to expect a similar result in Hybrid SLI, but the graphics cards supported by Hybrid SLI are very limited (only four right now: 8400 GS, 8500 GT, 9800 GTX, 9800 GX2).

GeForce 8200 vs. ATI Radeon HD 4850


The upcoming HD 4850 is rumored to support multichannel LPCM HDMI audio and possibly HDMI 1.3 (TrueHD/DTS-HD MA bitstream). If HD 4850 does not support HDMI 1.3, then GeForce 8200 with a discrete graphics (or Hybrid SLI) is a better solution in flexibility. Otherwise go with HD 4850.

This sounds like great news. I will hold off until the new 4850 is out, so we know more about it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbMagFab /forum/post/13887378


Also note that Bahn Yuki is the only person to get the 8200 working. He has no idea why or how. There are a lot of talented people on this forum, and he's the only guy to get the 8200 sending multi-channel LPCM with HD video out of the 8200.


Take that for what it's worth. I know I'd wait until more than one person managed to get something working.

Thats not true. Mine is working 100% now.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by zzyckz /forum/post/13898058


I got a couple of ECS GF8200A boards and one of had that audio problem, but it was fixed by a driver update.




The ECS GF8200A came out with a fix for the audio issues some are having, just download the audio driver fix from the site.

That would be great, do you have a link for this? And exactly which driver did you update?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx /forum/post/13897667


Yes, it's "A". Corrected.


But I don't recommend abit A-N78HD. It never wakes up from S3 properly. USB keyboard is not recognized by Vista at start up very frequently (reconnect the USB connector fixes it). Hybrid SLI is not available in BIOS. I hope BIOS updates fix them soon. I still wait for MSI K9N2GM-FIH (late May) and GIGABYTE GA-M78UM-S2H (unknown release date).

Can I get your opinion on the Asus M3N78-EMH HDMI mobo that some users are currently using. I just bought this board, and was wondering why you weren't trying it. Also I still can't find anyone selling the mobo you're using (abit A-N78HD).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx /forum/post/13897618


GeForce 8200's graphics does not work very well yet (at least in my system). I am sure that the driver and player updates will fix the problems eventually. Meanwhile I tried another route: a discrete graphics with the onboard HDMI audio. The result turned out to be extremely well. We can use a GeForce graphics card for better graphics performance and the GeForce 8200 HDMI audio for the perfect multi-channel LPCM sounds at the same time! This answers a question asked a long time ago in this thread in the affirmative. This has nothing to do with Hybrid SLI. You should be able to expect a similar result in Hybrid SLI, but the graphics cards supported by Hybrid SLI are very limited (only four right now: 8400 GS, 8500 GT, 9800 GTX, 9800 GX2).

So does this mean you have two HDMI connections from your PC to your AVR - one for sound (from the MB), one for video (from the graphics card)?


I know Hybrid-SLI should eventually fix this, but it's nowhere on the horizon yet, is it?


If so, that's not viable for too long... most of us need every HDMI connection we've got available (I have 4 HDMI inputs, and already use them all).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbMagFab /forum/post/13899106


So does this mean you have two HDMI connections from your PC to your AVR - one for sound (from the MB), one for video (from the graphics card)?


I know Hybrid-SLI should eventually fix this, but it's nowhere on the horizon yet, is it?


If so, that's not viable for too long... most of us need every HDMI connection we've got available (I have 4 HDMI inputs, and already use them all).

I believe the idea is that you can plug in audio to your receiver and video directly to your display.


- GeForce 9600 GT -> LCD monitor via a DVI-HDMI adapter and a HDMI cable

- GeForce 8200 HDMI port -> Onkyo TX-SA606X HDMI IN 1 via a HDMI cable

- TX-SA606X is connected to a 7.1 channel speaker system. No display is connected.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cghebert /forum/post/13899233


I believe the idea is that you can plug in audio to your receiver and video directly to your display.


- GeForce 9600 GT -> LCD monitor via a DVI-HDMI adapter and a HDMI cable

- GeForce 8200 HDMI port -> Onkyo TX-SA606X HDMI IN 1 via a HDMI cable

- TX-SA606X is connected to a 7.1 channel speaker system. No display is connected.

That's not such a great idea, though. The point of an HDMI-capable AVR is to connect everything to the AVR, then have one cable from your AVR to the display. The AVR switching (AVR = audio video receiver) includes audio and video, not just audio. That's a big loss of functionality.


I don't want any cable going directly from a HTPC to the display. That defeats the whole purpose of HDMI switching in the AVR.


I sure hope they fix this board by the time they release the Intel version. I'd really like an upgrade from my G35 (which works great, but I want something new and need to set up a couple more HTPC's in my house).
 

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renethx - great report, I had been wondering about that same question.


A quick question for you. When you play the 5.1 PCM track, does your receiver see it as a 5.1 track or a 7.1 track? And I assume that your speakers are configured as a 7.1 setup from the control panel?


Thanks! (I guess that was two questions)
 

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Well, I just uninstalled all my nvidia drivers, and had clean audio through the onboard. Then I installed the 18.11 nforce and then 175.16 forceware, and the audio popping returned in both HDMI and onboard.


If I unplug the HDMI cable from the mobo, the popping stops in the onboard. But, it returns if I only have it plugged into the receiver (no video), or if I have it directly plugged into the TV (no receiver). So, I am definitely baffled.


The only other remote possibility (besides a bad board) I can think of is the BIOS? I updated to the latest BIOS on the website, and I don't remember checking the audio before doing this. I didn't think at the time to backup my old BIOS. Could someone with the old BIOS for the ECS board upload it so I could check this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #838 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by lakaw /forum/post/13898931


Can I get your opinion on the Asus M3N78-EMH HDMI mobo that some users are currently using. I just bought this board, and was wondering why you weren't trying it. Also I still can't find anyone selling the mobo you're using (abit A-N78HD).

I have no hands-on experience with the ASUS board, so I can't speak of it. Somehow I was able to get the abit board. There is no other reason for choosing abit.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cghebert /forum/post/13900241


Could someone with the old BIOS for the ECS board upload it so I could check this?

I'll check to make sure, but I believe I'm still using the original BIOS- I'll see about getting it to you tonight or tomorrow.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oildalemonkey /forum/post/13900360


I'll check to make sure, but I believe I'm still using the original BIOS- I'll see about getting it to you tonight or tomorrow.

Much appreciated.
 
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