I missed this transition


H

hp

Ok, when did video cards take over sound processing for PC's ?
This did not register on my forebrain until several updates
pounded in that 'Hay, my video drivers package has sound drivers
too'.

What the hockey puck?

OldGeek perplexed

Ok, is there a way to return sound processing to the mommyboard??
 
B

Bill

hp said:
Ok, when did video cards take over sound processing for PC's ?
This did not register on my forebrain until several updates
pounded in that 'Hay, my video drivers package has sound drivers
too'.

What the hockey puck?

OldGeek perplexed

Ok, is there a way to return sound processing to the mommyboard??
I'm sure you can turn off the motherboard audio in the BIOS.
It is a surprise to me to hear that video cards are doing audio
processing, but I don't get out that much...
 
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P

Paul

hp said:
Ok, when did video cards take over sound processing for PC's ?
This did not register on my forebrain until several updates
pounded in that 'Hay, my video drivers package has sound drivers
too'.

What the hockey puck?

OldGeek perplexed

Ok, is there a way to return sound processing to the mommyboard??
It's been around for a while.

On the Nvidia side, the first implementation used S'PDIF passthru.
The video card had a two pin connector on the upper edge. You could
take an adapter cable from a four pin motherboard header, and connect
it to the video card. In that case, the controls and driver in the
OS thought they were dealing with motherboard built-in audio. You
would specify digital out over S'PDIF in your RealTek driver, and sound
would come out of the HDMI monitor speakers.

AMD did a "real" sound solution on their card. There was no plug on
the top edge of the card. Basically the card appeared as some sort of
bus to the OS, and on the video connector side, it would stream out the
data bytes as digitsl audio (LPCM over HDMI). The weird part of
that solution, is AMD/ATI did not write the driver for the hardware
they added. Instead, it was a driver written by RealTek, which was
bundled with the card.

Later, both companies added the appropriate hardware, and the also
started writing their own audio driver. That driver should be bundled
with the video driver now. Probably to this day, not all possible
audio formats are supported. The only thing you can bs sure of,
is some number of channels of LPCM (uncompressed) audio over HDMI.
Everything else is optional or costs somebody money
for a license.

The end result, is if you do a new build today, you get to see
two audio devices in Device Manager. The motherboard HDAudio is
one device. The video card build-in digital audio is the second
device. And you have to be careful to switch to the one you want,
before it'll work.

It's even worse in Linux, as they chose not to use the same names/terminology
for things. I wasted a whole freakin day doing experiments trying
to figure out where the "What You hear" or "Stereo Mix" option went.
That's important if you want to record the audio which is being played
on the speakers. That happens to be called "Stereo Duplex Output" (as
opposed to just "Stereo Output"). The Duplex is meant to imply that the
signal being output, is also being digitized and sent back into
the sound chip for recording purposes. And as far as I know, the video
card audio subsystem is Output Only. I don't think it has any option
for recording the played sound to a file. And even if you use the
motherboard analog audio, the newer Windows OSes make it nearly
impossible to figure out how to get Stereo Mix working again.
They like the default to be, that it's turned off and hidden.

And as an industry observation, sound sucks just as much as it
did 20 years ago. It just sucks for different (DRM) reasons.

Paul
 
F

Flasherly

Ok, when did video cards take over sound processing for PC's ?
This did not register on my forebrain until several updates
pounded in that 'Hay, my video drivers package has sound drivers
too'.

What the hockey puck?

OldGeek perplexed

Ok, is there a way to return sound processing to the mommyboard??
Logically it would seem to follow updates/transitions to include the
interface, with video, and sound, 'conveniently' combined to one
signal chain for an easier build-assembly setup;- nevermind 'The
Industry' standards and definitions, (the stereotypical BestBuy
computer bundle), for subsequent encodes, control thereof, as to what
"approved" signals a supportive chipset entails.

Still, that's mainstream. Now, what you want to do -- provided an
interest, patience and willingness to delve into a technological maze
of specs -- is to research the OpAmp scheme of things for available
gear for tailoring, taking the sound system up into pro-summer
qualifications;- mindful of a full deck of cards, where usually things
can happen for those whom have that inclination. Computers and
ballistics, neither would have lacked apparent presence to effect
sending a man to the moon, nor is harnessing computer aides less than
tantamount to what a "sound" entails in all its possibilities from a
pro-audio platform.

Trust me, I know. I've built one from a system able to compliment
some newer options. Actually, may only be scratching the surface, at
least until I get into a $300-an-hour, boutique studio environment to
assess what's exactly defining what.

Child play is all I'm saying - what video cards and their standardized
sound means to a dedicated cadre of home studio users and gear
available they've at their disposal. And, believe me, they're out
there and very hardcore, fwiw. (Depending, a lot. A computer also has
that stigma: It's a hole in the ground where you can go to throw away
all your money.)
 
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M

Michael Black

It's still not really mainstream yet. It's available through a few mid- to
high-end video cards, both from Nvidia and AMD. Ever since video cards
started popping up with HDMI connectors, which have both video and audio
components to them, the video cards have become audio cards too. You can
still choose to send your sounds through the traditional motherboard sound
system.
But it also makes a certain amount of sense.

Now "audio processing" is likely decoding MP3s or however the sound is
encoded, along with decoding the video signal. There was a period (maybe
it still happens?) where some video boards did that decoding in hardware.
Now that the GPUs on video cards are so potent, it seems to make sense to
download that sort of audio stuff to the video board.

Michael
 

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