Hi All. This has probably been done to death, but I figured what the heck, I'll get the latest advice from people who know more than me....
I have a 3D HTPC that I built/modified over the past year with these specs:
Windows 7 64bit
ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 mobo
EVGA SuperClocked GeForce GTX 570
12GB G.SKILL ram
(2) SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB
SPDIF out from mobo to Denon AVR-1909 for audio
HDMI out from GTX570 to Acer H5360 for 3D using Nvidia 3DVision
TMT5 for iso 3D Bluray playback.
My Denon does great with the Bluray movies and TMT5 works perfectly. I would like to also do some gaming in 3D with surround sound. The video works great going directly from the GTX570 to the projector, but the game audio only outputs in stereo to the Denon. I just tried a X-Fi Titanium HD (probably overkill) using the optical out. When I activated either DDL or DTS-C for gaming, the inputs on the Denon would light up to show that 5.1 was seen on the inputs, but I got no sound. After 2 days of frustration with multiple installs, freezes, driver wipes, etc., I decided to return the card as there must be a conflict somewhere in my system (although I wiped clean every other possible audio driver).
So...any suggestions? Primarily something that can give me 5.1 audio for gaming without all the conflicts of the Creative card? Should I be looking for an HDMI audio card? Budget under $200.
Well, if you want a card for a HT system, its very hard to argue against the Auzentech Home Theatre HD. You get HDMI In/Out, Optical, and 7.1 Analog to choose from. Still, it is overkill if you don't need to have a combined Audio/Video HDMI output to a receiver of some kind...
-)HT Omega Striker [budget]
-)Auzentech Meridian 2G [All around price/performance]
-)HT Omega Claro XT [Best in class]
-)HT Omega Striker*
*There is no need to get a better card then this for use of the optical out, as the device at the other end handles the decoding. If you may use the analog outputs later, you can move up to another card, just ensure either DDL or DTS-C is supported on the card in question.
-)ASUS Essence ST
-)HT Omega Claro XT
*All these cards have a built in amp, so they favor headphone use. The Essence ST only supports Stereo analog output without the H6 card connected though.