Home Theater PC Connections--Motherboard to Amp or to Pre-Amp ?


E

epsalant

I am planning on building a home theater PC and am wondering how to
hook the motherboard up to my home stereo system. I will be using a
GIGABYTE GA-EX38-DS4 LGA 775 motherboard which has 8 channel audio
outputs as well as an digital optical output.

Would I be better off hooking up the digital (toslink) output to my
pre-amplifier or sending the appropriate channels directly to the
amplifier ?

Thanks for your thoughts,
Evan


MOBO GIGABYTE GA-EX38-DS4 LGA 775 $206
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz $209
case Moneual 932T Home Theater $457
Video Card Nvidia 8800GT $209
Vista Windows $99
Power Supply Zalman ZM500-HP High-Efficiency Power Supply with
Heatpipe $135
G.SKILL 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit
Desktop Memory
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD4000AAKS 400GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA
3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $95
SAMSUNG Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X
DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 20X
DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe - OEM $29
LITE-ON Black SATA Blu-ray DVD-ROM Drive Model DH-4O1S-08 - Retail
$140Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 1800 MCE Kit 1128 NTSC/ATSC/QAM/FM TV Tuner
Card w/MCE Remote - Retail $99
 
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P

Paul

I am planning on building a home theater PC and am wondering how to
hook the motherboard up to my home stereo system. I will be using a
GIGABYTE GA-EX38-DS4 LGA 775 motherboard which has 8 channel audio
outputs as well as an digital optical output.

Would I be better off hooking up the digital (toslink) output to my
pre-amplifier or sending the appropriate channels directly to the
amplifier ?

Thanks for your thoughts,
Evan


MOBO GIGABYTE GA-EX38-DS4 LGA 775 $206
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz $209
case Moneual 932T Home Theater $457
Video Card Nvidia 8800GT $209
Vista Windows $99
Power Supply Zalman ZM500-HP High-Efficiency Power Supply with
Heatpipe $135
G.SKILL 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit
Desktop Memory
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD4000AAKS 400GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA
3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $95
SAMSUNG Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X
DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 20X
DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe - OEM $29
LITE-ON Black SATA Blu-ray DVD-ROM Drive Model DH-4O1S-08 - Retail
$140Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 1800 MCE Kit 1128 NTSC/ATSC/QAM/FM TV Tuner
Card w/MCE Remote - Retail $99

That would depend on the performance of the digital to analog converters
in each piece of equipment, and their noise floor etc.

The analog output on the motherboard, may not have a very good noise floor.

You'd have to compare specs on the preamp or the amp, to see which
one was better.

SPDIF/TOSLINK inherently carry two channels. Sending AC3 encoded content
over the link, in those two channels, gives 5.1 capability. You need a
source of AC3, to get to use 5.1. A movie player application, and a DVD
as a movie source, is one way to get 5.1 (the movie player just copies
the AC3 track to the digital output).

If you use the analog outputs of your motherboard, then you're not dependent
on the whims of AC3. But to drive 5.1 content, you still need the basic
channels of information to drive it. On some sound devices, there are
options to "virtualize" the output, say taking a stereo source, and
creating the other channels based on that source.

You can easily do your own experiments, and conclude quickly what is the
best option. That is how I decided I liked my separate sound card,
rather than my built-in motherboard sound, with a few experiments.

Paul
 

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