HT Omega Claro Halo: HD Audio Support?

The HT Omega site says that the Halo supports the old AC'97 Standard for front audio:

"Advanced Front Panel Audio support: Enjoy headphone amplifier output on Front Panel Audio installed directly to your PC case. CLARO Halo provides Intel standard (AC97) Front Panel Audio pins for your case, which will automatically mute all analog outputs when you connect headphones to Front Panel Audio. But don't worry, there's also a jumper switch to disable this muting feature, should you need it. And users can always connect a second microphone without any reduction of input signal level."

Seeing how this is a high end card, it seems strange to me that this doesn't support the new superior HD Audio protocol. I am trying to figure out if it does or not because this would be a deal breaker for me. Thanks.
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  1. It does for the main connectors (AC97 doesn't support digital audio only analog), just not for front panel audio. To get that you need to pay an extra $50 for the XT version. Long story short, HT Omega makes some pretty feature lacking sound cards for the money and I don't recommend them at all.

    The Asus Xonar series is pretty amazing. This is all the card you could possibly want:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132014&cm_re=asus-_-29-132-014-_-Product

    Now only if I could get together the money to buy one and some Swan M200MKIIs!

    Edit: Oh and for a reference, my on board audio ($120 Biostar T5XE CFX+SLI motherboard) only supports HD audio from the front panel...
  2. I was hoping for a card with SPDIF input so I could hook up my T260HD to it and get some good sound as those speakers are awful.

    The XT doesn't add anything to the front panel. It is the same card with the add on card that only adds support for 7.1 analog output.
  3. Ah then try this:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132005

    Similar to the Essence, but without the headphone amp. Not sure how important that is to you, but that is the big thing with the Halo.
  4. In regards to the T260HD: If its anything like my T240HD (the 24" model), I do not believe Dolby Digital or DTS signals can be passed through using the SPDIF out. I tried that once in conjunction with an HDMI input to the moniter, and got only noise. PCM 2.0 worked fine, but not either 5.1 format. You might want to check that out when you get the chance...

    Also, I generally recommend the Xonar D2 ahead of the D2X; same exact card, just in PCI, and without the need to dig out a floppy power connector to boot.
  5. I just installed the cheaper Striker 7.1 and hooked up the HDAudio dongle from my Xigmatek Midgaurd case and it works fine.
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