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Windows 7: I want 5.1 in my games. Now for the bad part! I want S/PDIF :D

14 Dec 2013   #1

7 home premium 64 bit
 
 
I want 5.1 in my games. Now for the bad part! I want S/PDIF :D

I have run my computer s/pdif for a while now and for movies-blu rays it works great. Got DTS DD and everything else there is. However i have always had to play my games in stereo. Is there a way to convince or trick my games into playing there 5.1 through my stereo via S/PDIF?

I want to keep it S/PDIF because it sounds a lot better than all those 3.5mm cables coming out of the back of my mobo. There is probably a reason for that. Does it have somthing to do with it being uncompressed or what?

What do you guys think? I mostly play portal/portal2 as my sig shows but i also play some racing games like nfs and such.

What do you guys think. From what i have read so far i might be asking the impossible.

Thanks


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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14 Dec 2013   #2

Windows 7 Home premium
 
 

Most [but not all] PC games are natively stereo because most people do not hook their PCs up to multi-speaker sound systems. This is one of the few advantages a console game often has over the same game on PC. Consoles are made to be hooked up to home theater systems and console games usually include 5.1 sound encoding.

What you ask is not impossible though. In fact that is exactly what Dolby Digital ProLogic is. It takes a stereo signal and converts it into a 5.1 signal. It uses an algorithm to create a mock 5.1 effect from a stereo signal. It also picks up on artifacts from 5.1 encoding in a downgraded stereo signal [which PC games often have due to console development]. So Prologic and especially Prologic II often work especially well with games on PC. It will offer some directional sound, but it's still nowhere near as good as native 5.1 sound.

Some receivers have an 'All Channel Stereo' option that also uses all speakers with stereo sound. It's better than using two speakers, but more for room filling music than anything else. It's still simple stereo and not directional though.

If your receiver has HDMI inputs I suggest upgrading to a GPU with an HDMI out. They aren't that expensive and would make what you want to do easier to do as it bypasses the Soundcard and has higher quality output. The GeForce 8800 isn't great for someone looking for better audio output and to be honest Soundcards are kind of outdated. Most GPUs these days have integrated sound and Dolby Digital decoding, especially if they have HDMI outputs. So, if a 5.1 track is available you should be able to take advantage of it.

Contrary to what some might suggest, there is no real advantage to having a dedicated soundcard anymore. Modern GPUs can handle outputting sound without any drop in performance easily. Any difference in performance would be too minor for you to notice.

What you want is not impossible, but may require new hardware. There's no tweak or fix that's going to work though if that's what you're asking. The only solution is to have the proper hardware with the right features. Namely a GPU with an HDMI out, a 5.1 [or 7.1] receiver with HDMI input and output and Prologic II.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Dec 2013   #3

7 home premium 64 bit
 
 

Well i would upgrade my card but i would also need to upgrade the stereo as it was before hdmi. The card would be cheap compared to a new stereo lol Besides my mobo only has PCI-e 2.0 not 3 so i wouldant be able to take full advantage of say the new n videa 770ti lol. I do have hdmi but it is part of the mobo and once again my stereo doesn't support hdmi

I know portal has the option for up to 7.1 but cant use it. Well this is a bummer. What if i used my 3.5mm jacks on the back of my comp. I would have to set my stereo up to let the computer decode the audio instead.

My tv monitor does have HDMI and then a s/pdif output however it downgrades the audio to stereo anyway. Really no way to win without new hardware. The expense is pretty heavy for 2 vid games lol

Thanks
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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14 Dec 2013   #4

Windows 7 Home premium
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by computergeekguy View Post
Well i would upgrade my card but i would also need to upgrade the stereo as it was before hdmi. The card would be cheap compared to a new stereo lol Besides my mobo only has PCI-e 2.0 not 3 so i wouldant be able to take full advantage of say the new n videa 770ti lol. I do have hdmi but it is part of the mobo and once again my stereo doesn't support hdmi

I know portal has the option for up to 7.1 but cant use it. Well this is a bummer. What if i used my 3.5mm jacks on the back of my comp. I would have to set my stereo up to let the computer decode the audio instead.

My tv monitor does have HDMI and then a s/pdif output however it downgrades the audio to stereo anyway. Really no way to win without new hardware. The expense is pretty heavy for 2 vid games lol

Thanks
Yeah, it is kind of expensive for just two games. However, if it's any consolation, future-proofing. It's also the highest quality output for sound -and- video available, so movies and music will both sound and look better that way as well. So, don't think of it as 'just for two games'. It's easily justifiable if you look at it as higher quality audio and video for all PC applications. Just sayin.

Though, the PCIe 2.0 slot might be a bit of a roadblock in a few years. You might consider upgrading your MoBo. I understand finances might be an issue, but this is a project I'd personally do in stages and one piece at a time. I wouldn't even think of trying to buy it all at once and I'd look at it as a 6 month project, saving up, buying each component, and installing it when it was convenient for me to do so. I'd start with the MoBo and then get the other two depending on what kind of deal I could get on either one at the time.

You won't need a top of the line high end GPU. You can easily spend less than $150 and maybe even less than $100 and get something much better than what you have with HDMI out and far better specs.

Unless you're planning on eventually building a multi-gpu monster you don't need the most expensive MoBo either. Whatever the latest slot compatible with your CPU is and one PCIe slot is all you really need. Though, you either need to make sure you're buying a Mobo that's compatible with your current Ram, or plan on buying more. [No worries there, Ram can be had for dirt cheap.]

At any rate, even on PC most s/pdif outputs are stereo only. Even an optical out on most PC hardware is actually hardwired to be stereo only.

In fact, getting a soundcard with a 5.1 optical out on it is about as expensive as a new GPU with an HDMI out would cost anyway. On top of that, they often require that you purchase and download and install Dolby Digital decoder software at your own expense. Much in the same way as many Blu-ray drives require you to purchase and install 3rd party drivers to watch Blu-ray movies on them. An HDMI out GPU will also have the DD decoder software as part of the native firmware without the need to download or install anything beyond the basic drivers for the card.

Whenever you do decide to get around to it upgrading to HDMI on your receiver and GPU is not only the easiest option, but also the cheapest.

I didn't mention it earlier, but Prologic and PL II also have special encoding for some media. It's an even higher quality directional sound than simple conversion, but still not as good as DD 5.1.

Also, Portal sounds amazing in 7.1. I've got my PC hooked up to a passive 3D TV and a 7.1 surround sound system. There isn't really a whole lot of 7.1 media out there right now, mostly movies and even then only a few, but boy is it ever sweet when it's there.

If you ever do get a 7.1 receiver make sure it has Prologic II EX, which converts 5.1 and stereo to 7.1 output. Check into it whenever you upgrade, it's not as expensive as you think and you might even be able to find a 7.1 system for cheaper than a 5.1 system. I got mine on sale for around $200 on Newegg a couple of years ago.

Price hunt when shopping for hardware like that, you'll be surprised on how much of a deal you can get sometimes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Dec 2013   #5

7 home premium 64 bit
 
 

I agree this is the best option but once you get me going i go nuts with quality. I like YAMAHA sterio systems and they are very pricy. I would add cyberlink 13 to the list so i can watch all blu rays rather than be limited with cyberlink powerdvd9.

Video card im thinking ati 7770 Price $109
Yamaha 7.2 around $500
Cyberlink13 $100
new mobo that will work with card full atx $200
And a Job

Meanwhile i got 5.1 to work with the less desirable 3.5mm jacks in the back. I can switch in between the S/PDIF and 3.5's when i want to game / watch movie

But later on as i get some serious cash i might upgrade system slowly

P.s can anyone tell me were i could find an old ati 6970 or better yet the 5970? (I heard the 5970 had dual gpu) newegg wont sell them anymore
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Dec 2013   #6

Windows 7 Home premium
 
 

Ebay or Amazon is probably your best bet online. The cards you mentioned have long since been discontinued, so you're not going to find them new anywhere. You'll have to buy used if you want either of those cards and price varies. Probably around $250-$300 for a used 6970.

The 5970 is indeed a better card, but also harder to find and more expensive. Probably around $400 for a used one. I managed to find one 'new' one for $789 on Amazon.

Either card would be better than a 7770.

Despite the higher price a used 5970 is probably the best value. It will out perform even the 7970 GPU for around the same money, possibly even a little cheaper.

Though, the 6970 is also not a bad card at all. The 7970 is a better card than it is, but also a lot more expensive even used. The most bang for the buck is still the 5970 though, but as I said, it's going to cost a bit and is more difficult to find.

If on a budget I'd stick with the 7770. It's a good workhorse card and will play any game on the market, not at maxed out settings, but it'll run anything at decent settings and most things at high settings at least. Only high performance games like Crysis, Skyrim, or other really new and extra shiny titles will need to have the settings toned down a bit.

If you're willing to put out the cash and effort of digging one up, you can't go wrong with the 5970. It's an uber card, but has a pricetag to reflect it as well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Dec 2013   #7

 
 

As a former 5970 owner - avoid it all costs. It has raw FPS and that's about it.

Drivers were always bad for it, it micro stutters like nobodies business and is just a generally nasty card. It's the only video card I have ever hated and I've had a few. While the FPS scores are nice, ignore the benchmarks - they don't mention the choppy game play.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Dec 2013   #8

7 home premium 64 bit
 
 

Im thinking of going with the higher end 7000 series cards. I heard they will work with the pcie 2.0 but take wont be able to hit maximum speed. Does anyone actually hit the maximum speed of 2.0?

v2.0: 8 GB/s for the whole slot 500 MB/s per lane

v3.0: 15.75 GB/s for the whole slot 985 MB/s per lane.

Can anyone actually use those speeds? Does even crisis 3 even on max settings DX11 even come close to that?

Thanks
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Dec 2013   #9

 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by computergeekguy View Post

v3.0: 15.75 GB/s for the whole slot 985 MB/s per lane.

Can anyone actually use those speeds?
Not yet.

At a resolution of 1920x1080 the difference between 2.0 and 3.0 is literally 0-2FPS

At surround/Eyefinity resolutions (5760x1080) it's only 2-5FPS if that.


Basically you won't notice any performance loss running a PCIe 3.0 7xxx/GTX series card at PCIe 2.0 speeds
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Dec 2013   #10

Windows 7 Home premium
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by smarteyeball View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by computergeekguy View Post

v3.0: 15.75 GB/s for the whole slot 985 MB/s per lane.

Can anyone actually use those speeds?
Not yet.

At a resolution of 1920x1080 the difference between 2.0 and 3.0 is literally 0-2FPS

At surround/Eyefinity resolutions (5760x1080) it's only 2-5FPS if that.


Basically you won't notice any performance loss running a PCIe 3.0 7xxx/GTX series card at PCIe 2.0 speeds
This. PCIe 3.0 is basically only future proofing and has only a slight advantage currently if you're only using a single card. It's better to have 3.0 if possible, but 2.0 should be fine.

There is a slightly noticable performance advantage with a 3.0 slot when running Xfire or SLi, maybe 5-10 fps. PCIe 3.0 is optimized better for multi-gpu setups and that's the only situation where there is currently any advantage of one over the other. Not a huge one, and it's really only noticeable in extremely effects intensive games like Max Payne 3, Crysis 3, or an extremely heavily Modded Skyrim.

You'd really need more than one very high end card to see any difference anyway. Something like a 680 or 7970 or better kind of high end.

My last PC had two PCIe 2.0 and I used the same two 7970s I have xfired on my current Mobo. There was a noticeable jump in FPS from 2.0 to 3.0 when using dual cards. I was also using the same CPU and Ram for a short time before I upgraded them to my current hardware. I have another 7970 now as well, but I'm only running two of them at the moment as just the two of them is overkill for anything currently available anyway.

Also, 3.0 PCIe slots usually have more space between them than PCIe 2.0 slots in my experience, meaning larger cards are more likely to fit.

As was mentioned a single card performs pretty much exactly the same as it did on my old setup in any situation regardless of what game I'm playing. So unless you're planning on going multi-GPU with very high end GPUs or larger than normal cards there's no real reason to upgrade to 3.0 unless you want to future proof for several years to come. PCIe 3.0 slots are pretty much made for future proofing and very high end multi-GPU setup rigs.

I'm not sure if a single multi-GPU card would see any performance advantage or not. Could go either way I guess.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 I want 5.1 in my games. Now for the bad part! I want S/PDIF :D




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