Asking for advice on how to connect my current 3-monitor set-up to my receiver for 5.1 surround sound.
3x Dell U2311H monitors (each have 1x DVI and 1x DisplayPort inputs)
2x ATI Radeon 5850 graphics card Crossfire (each have 2x DVI, 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort outputs)
ASUS P6X58D-E LGA Motherboard - 1x Coaxial S/PDIF out, 1 x Optical S/PDIF out, 6 x Audio jacks
Sony STR-KS360 A/V receiver with:
- 3x Analog Audio Input(s)
- 1x Coaxial Audio Digital Input(s)
- 2x Optical Audio Input(s)
- 3x HDMI Inputs
- 1x HDMI Output
- 1x Digital Media Port (Input)
I'm using 2x DVI and 1x DisplayPort from 1 graphics card to connect to my 3 monitors for Eyefinity.
I thought it would be as simple as connecting the motherboard to the A/V receiver via a toslink optical digital cabe. I bought the cable only to find out that the motherboard lazily only outputs 2.1 via the optical and coaxial S/PDIF outputs.
Connecting my graphics card via HDMI to the A/V receiver gives me true 5.1 surround sound, but I loose my 3rd monitor display (that is connected to my PC via DVI).
I can't get the 3rd monitor to function even though it is still connected to the graphics card. Is there a way to make this work by changing any of the graphics card settings?
I run a similiar setup as yours using an Onkyo receiver with one 7950 (use to use a 5850). The reason the 3rd monitor doesnt function when you plug in the way you do is that on the 5850 you cant use Both DVI ports and the HDMI port at the same time. The HDMI port shares internally with one of the DVI ports (technically its one plug with two different heads on it). By going to your receiver using HDMI for your sound the card disables one of the DVI ports. You should be able to connect as follows from one card so you can leave crossfire enabled:
1.) 1x DVI connection directly to monitor
2.) 1x Displayport connection directly to monitor.
3.) 1x HDMI to your receiver then 1x HDMI to DVI Cable from receiver to monitor. (You have to use HDMI to carry the sound and video to the receiver, then an HDMI to DVI cable for carrying video to the monitor)
Also, its not a limit of your sound card carrying 2.1 over Optilink (it can do 5.1 dolby digital, dts etc..) its the limits of Optical cables. PC's for games use Uncompressed sound on independent channels for games (saves them from licensing dolby digital but you get just as good if not better quality since its uncompressed) BUT optical cables dont have the bandwith to carry all the necessary independent channels. Some sound cards have a workaround where they convert the uncompressed channels to DTS or something simliar but this isnt as good as simply leaving them uncompressed which HDMI does since it has more bandwith than Optical.
This suggestion would work if you have a receiver that supports independent audio channels being mixed into one. This seems to be a feature that is becoming more rare on receivers. Out of the 5 receivers I currently own, none of them support this. This is the only reason I bought my latest receiver, I wanted surround sound in my games so I went HDMI to circumvent the Optical cable limits and to not have to run 3 seperate wires. While looking at receivers I only came across one that had this feature.
Does the audio receiver have HDMI (or other video) output for video pass through?
I see that it lists one HDMI output, I would think you could just hook your monitor to that?
edit: Never mind, I see the problem , no HDMI in on the monitor. So rather than spending 80$ on an active adapter that may not work, I would just go for the sound card like you said. That way you keep things a lot simpler as well, since your audio isn't dependent on your current video cards.
Thanks a lot for the replies. I ended up purchasing a Refurbished Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium for $49.99. hooked it up with my AV Receiver via Optical and enabled DTS for sound and works pretty good. And oh man, didn't realize how having a soundcard does improve your sound significantly. was I missing out on crisp, room-shaking, detailed surround before this setup.