I currently have a media box hooked directly to my TV (DVI to HDMI) and optical S/PDIF to a 5.1 receiver.
The motherboard has onboard audio with an optical connector on it (Realtek ALC850 chipset). I figure that since I am just passing digital sound to my receiver, it really doesn't matter what D/A qualities are of the chipset and so there is no needfor a better soundcard (X-Fi, for example) since there would be absolutely no difference in the quality sent to the receiver.
So my question is, is there any benefit of going to a separate soundcard for this setup, in terms of audio quality? Or is the quality for this setup 1:1, since it is all digital?
The reason I ask is because I am kinda anal and want to ensure that there are no bottlenecks in this setup, in that nothing is degrading any potential quality there may be.
Simply put all you are sending thru your optical cable will be 0's & 1's...all BINARY baby! The sound quality will not be diminished due to no digital to analog conversion. So save a few bucks on buying another sound card and use your onboard S/PDIF