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Do any AMD GPUs pass thorough 5.1 via HDMI?

Discussion in 'Audio, Video & Home Theater' started by Frag Maniac, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. VipZUK New Member

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    Windows output is PCM, as PCM is uncompressed audio.
    This is what my receiver shows, end of story.
    [​IMG]
  2. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    all i seem to be reading over and over in this thread, is confused information regarding old 5.1 standards (via SPDIF and coax) and HDMI.


    they're different. can people please get their information straight.



    if you want 5.1 over the old digital standards - you need dolby digital live, or DTS connect.

    If you want it over HDMI, you just need HDMI. thats it.


    if you want HDMI to the TV, and optical out to a receiver, then you need the old standards (DD/DTS C)


    If you're going to keep talking about what someone else has said - quote the information, and link to its source in full. it sounds like you've misinterpreted information. (again with old standards vs HDMI - early nvidia cards used SPDIF inputs, which meant the old DDL/DTS connect limits applied. modern hardware has no such limitation.)
  3. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    OK, sorry, but a slight change of direction here. Some good news, some bad. I'd forgotten my Palit GTS 250 1GB Green Edition does in fact have HDMI out. The reason I had not used it was I had PC speakers prior via analog out on my MB and no receiver. Plus my case is close to the HDMI port and my beefy Belkin Pure HDMI cable wouldn't fit in it.

    I just got done trimming a bit of rubber off the edge of the grip on the HDMI cable plug and got it to fit OK. I also installed the mini S/PDIF pass through cable that came with my GPU, which connects the S/PDIF out header on my MB to the S/PDIF in on my GPU.

    I have checked directions in the MB and GPU manuals, along with close up pics on the net, and I'm sure I have both installed correctly. The HDMI port/cable carries the video signal to my display no problem, but I'm seeing no Nvidia HDMI option in W7 sound panel.

    I've checked and there seems to commonly be problems with this ranging from no HDMI option to no sound even with an HDMI option, etc. I have checked my Nvidia install folder and it shows HD Audio having been installed. I also reinstalled driver 306.23 with a clean install just to make sure it is.

    I don't even see anything but Realtek HD Audio in Device Manager either. There's no other High Definition Audio devices shown anywhere. I'm kinda at a stand still not knowing what to try next. I also see no option for enabling HDMI audio in the NCP.

    I was hoping the worst of it would be possibly not being able to get ARC to work for anything but TV broadcasts with the current HDMI hookup I have, and I worried about adding input lag if I took the HDMI from the PC into the receiver vs the TV.

    First things first though. If I can't even get an HDMI option to show in the sound panel, I'll have to go back to using the optical cable, which btw, I DID unplug before doing all this. Any suggestions on how to get this working? Is this common with these older S/PDIF pass through GPUs? I wonder if S/PDIF pass through is only supported on older drivers, or just glitchy depending what MB/GPU combo you have.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  4. CJCerny

    CJCerny

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    OP, to answer your question, the answer is no. There aren't any ATI or Nvidia cards that do any kind of encoding of games to 5.1 DD. The HDMI connectors on them only serve as a passthrough for whatever the source is--for games, that would typically just be 2.0 PCM. If your only goal in life is to send games in true Dolby 5.1 digitally to a receiver, you need to buy a sound card that can do DD Live encoding and then connect that sound card to your receiver digitally.
  5. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    "Only goal in life", a bit harsh don't you think?

    We've already passed the point you're commenting on anyway. Read my last post, that's where I'm at now. If I can't get this working, hopefully I can at least get HDMI audio to work on the 660 Ti I'm considering.

    Ideally I'd like to get it running like Vip's is and forgo any lossy encoding. I DO have a Yamaha receiver, although maybe a lower end model than his. Right now it's a matter of getting my feet wet with this HDMI audio option stuff to gain a little confidence before I even decide on getting a better card that supports it.

    Hopefully it's just these older one's with a separate S/PDIF pass through that are finicky.
  6. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    those old cards had no HDMI. its using the SPDIF output of your motherboard - so output the sound via that, in windows.


    also, its SPDIF. so i repeat yet again - you will only get SPDIF signals. stereo PCM, or DD live/DTS connect (which depends on your soundcard, NOT the video card since you're using the soundcard as the audio source).
    Make sure you're got a compatible output method selected.


    also, not all of the older cards supported it, despite the hardware being there. i had 50/50 odds with that.


    As a clarification:

    With that nvidia card, you are using DVI (video card) and SPDIF (from your onboard) in the shape of a HDMI cable. you are not using true HDMI audio. This is not going to be anything similar to what you would get with a true HDMI audio capable video card (and i assume, HDMI capable receiver)
  7. VipZUK New Member

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    @ Frag Maniac

    While the fact that your nvidia card uses HDMI physically to transport the audio, this in practise is no different from using SPDIF from on-board sound as it just does a pass though from the motherboard SPDIF header. Any new graphics card that supports HDMI should allow for full HDMI audio functions but as always look for confirmation.

    @ CJCerny

    True the cards don't support DD/DTS encoding but this would be be a complete waste of time. Any current graphics product with recent HDMI spec will output audio as transparently as any analogue sound card when set appropriately.
  8. CJCerny

    CJCerny

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    Wasn't trying to be harsh. Was trying to point out that you won't be able to do you want even with a brand new video card with a perfectly working HDMI output. The HDMI output on a recently manufactured video card is only capable of outputting what it is handed by the software that is doing the handing. Games, when running under Win 7, don't have the ability to hand DD/DTS 5.1 to the HDMI output. Pre-recorded soundtracks like those on a DVD or Blu-ray disc will travel over the HDMI output, if the app you are using to play the disc is capable of passing that kind of soundtrack. Think of it as a dumb conduit that can't do anything but send what the app you are running tells it to send. Does that make sense?
  9. VipZUK New Member

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    Any recent game will look at the current configuration of the primary audio device and use it as appropriate, if the game supports 5.1 it will give 5.1 to the windows mixer. At this point HDMI, analogue etc have nothing to do with the output other than providing the game the knowledge of what default output is currently in use. At this point it is then up to the drivers to output this as configured to the external device. There is actually no different in output options between HDMI and analogue other than HDMI gets negotiated to what the receiver will support and limit options based on this.
  10. CJCerny

    CJCerny

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    That isn't quite right. A properly coded game does look at the Windows mixer. That doesn't mean a game is going to pass as 5.1 Dolby or DTS. It is going to pass it as 5.1 PCM. It takes hardware or software to turn PCM into Dolby or DTS. If the OP's receiver is fine with 5.1 PCM, then he should be happy, but if it is Dolby or DTS that he really wants/needs, then he is sunk.
  11. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    @Mussels,
    It DOES have an HDMI port anyway, and as I said it's currently working via at least video as I type this. Whether this particular card in this particular system hardware config can support it's S/PDIF pass through properly, now that's another question, and it may be driver punctuated as well. What worries me is I don't even see an Nvidia HDMI audio option in the W7 sound panel, and no one's offering any ideas on how to solve that in itself, so it's looking grim, at least for this card.

    I get the feeling you're saying there actually shouldn't be any Nvidia HDMI audio option showing with this type of card though, correct? Realtek S/PDIF Optical Output still shows as an option and is enabled. I was just assuming there'd have to be something to designate the actual physical connection from the PC to the display when using HDMI vs Optical.

    @Vip,
    OK, physically it's HDMI, but effectively a S/PDIF pass through. Sounds a lot like what Mussels just said. So you guys are saying I SHOULD still see Realtek Optical out as the one to use, vs Nvidia HDMI out? Does this mean provided I have the pass through mini cable connected properly my receiver should get audio?

    Haven't actually gone that far and tested audio yet, since I assumed there had to be an Nvidia HDMI out option showing. Should I leave the PC connected to the TV with the main out on the receiver hooked to the main in (ARC) port on the TV? Does ARC actually work for more than just TV broadcasts? I'd probably get less video input lag with it hooked this way.

    @CJ,
    How does one know if their receiver is PCM 5.1 capable? I have the Yamaha RX-V371. I may be getting a Pioneer Elite VSX-60 in a few months though.
  12. VipZUK New Member

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    I never mentioned anything about DD/DTS as this is not relevant in any way. Also I would think its impossible to find an HDMI receiver which support DD/DTS decoding but not PCM.

    In this case I would recommend sticking with realtek and forget trying to pass though via nvidia. The realtek is still actualy doing the work anyway when going through the graphics card, its simply an option to remove a cable requirement.
  13. CJCerny

    CJCerny

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    A newer receiver like the Yamaha RX-V371 should have no problem with 5.1 PCM. There were plenty of receivers early after Dolby Digital was intruduced that were only able to handle 2 channel PCM.
  14. VipZUK New Member

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    While this is very true, I doubt that they actually had HDMI inputs, only the typical SPDIF and analogue inputs. PCM is the raw base requirement for any HDMI audio and was designed for 7.1 from the start it, would only possibly apply to receivers not deserving of their name or rubbish AIO systems.

    @Frag Maniac, that AVR is a decent entry level one. You may want to upgrade your graphics card before a new AVR to get the most out of them.
  15. CJCerny

    CJCerny

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    The bottom line is that the OP is at the mercy of how each and every game is coded. If the game only wants to send 2 channel PCM across that HDMI cable no matter what the Windows mixer is set to, his only option is to do post-processing on it in the receiver. There isn't a "all games must pass DD 5.1" standard for the PC like there is for the PS3 or 360.
  16. VipZUK New Member

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    Yes that's very true, but think that's bit off topic as that is purely down to the game and API changes in Vista+. Windows does allow for speaker fill etc but I prefer all my audio native, stereo to be stereo and 5.1 to be 5.1 or if I really want to up mix I would go set windows to 2.0 and let AVR do the rest.
  17. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    Please then, tell me why no matter what audio source via PC, be it games, YouTube vids, anything, I get only PCM 2.1 when I run the receiver in "Straight" mode? I can then hit the "Movie" button and scroll through to "Action Game", "Role Playing Game", etc, but then it just goes from saying PCM 2.1 to "Pro Logic II Game 5.1".

    If I'm in Straight PCM 2.1 mode to begin with, then hit Surround Decode, it still reverts to a Pro Logic II 5.1 format. If you think this receiver is capable of 5.1 PCM, I'd sure as heck like to know how.

    BTW, I tried testing for audio with the HDMI cable connected to the TV, then with it connected to the receiver. I only get video if it's connected to the TV. I get no audio either way. Thus I hooked my optical cable back up.

    Sad to say I'm lacking confidence in whether even a 660 Ti would carry both audio and video over HDMI, with this OR an Elite receiver. Hopefully it's just these old S/PDIF pass through models being finicky or inept though.
  18. CJCerny

    CJCerny

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    Go to the Control Panel. Select the Sound option. Select the HDMI audio device. Click on Configure. How many speakers do you have configured?
  19. VipZUK New Member

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    Frag Maniac, you have got mixed up again. You get 2.0 PCM at best due to the limitations of SPDIF, you need you upgrade your graphics card to get true HDMI audio output and not like the initial Nvidia hacky SPDIF passthought like you currently have.
  20. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    If you're talking about the W7 vs Nvidia control panel, I already said several times I cannot get Nvidia HDMI Audio to even show up in the sound control panel, nor Device Manager for that matter.
  21. CJCerny

    CJCerny

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    The Windows mixer needs to be set to 5.1 speakers too. That doesn't mean your current set up will work, but that is one piece of the puzzle that needs to be in place.
  22. VipZUK New Member

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    You don't have a Nvidia sound card due to it simply doing a physical passthough from onboard sound.
  23. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    LOL, yeah Vip, I'll try to use that as a confidence booster and maybe go ahead and get the MSI 660 Ti PE OC I've been tempted by. I shouldn't let this hacky smacky crap spoil my opinion of HDMI on GPUs I guess. :laugh:

    Truth be told this old 250 I got for $70 over a year and a half ago has served me better than I thought it would. It's a measly 675MHz down-clocked green edition I've been running at slightly higher speeds than the highest factory OCed ones with no over-volting (isn't possible anyway without a mod) and no problems. Runs pretty cool too.

    Regardless of how it's doing that pass through and whether or whether not there should be any HDMI audio option showing, I sure as heck can't get any sound out of it, so not so sure it's passing anything through audio wise at this point. Well, it was worth a shot, even if I did hack up my cable a bit in the process.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  24. VipZUK New Member

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    Yip, Nvidia's 1st "HDMI Audio" was a joke, avoid like the plague :)

    Once you get proper HDMI audio everything becomes awesome, simple non fuss drivers, 24/96 @ 5.1 output. Just a note most games don't like Windows set to 5.1 @ 24/192 and will simply not output anything and dropping down to 5.1 24/96 fixes all that.
  25. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    LOL, I thought most of us gamers let go of the audiophile 192 temptation long ago. I did anyway. Do you notice the way the high end audio dealers at places like Magnolia look down at you when they ask what the intended use is? It's like that smug, you're not worthy glance of disapproval.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012

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