I'm looking at buying a motherboard and nearly all of the ones that I've been considering generally have onboard 8 channel HD Audio. This obviously means 4 separate input ports (e.g. front speakers, rear speakers, central speaker, subwoofer).
The speaker system that I have at the moment is a fairly decent but old one. Consequently it only has one jack on it for traditional stereo connections.
I was wondering if I am going to loose some of the sound output and/or quality by not plugging in all four ports and if I am just how bad it will sound? I will upgrade the speakers at some point but can't afford to at the same time as upgrading most other PC hardware.
You'll loose 6 channels of sound. Mostly a concern if you play a lot of 3d games where you want to know if something is behind you. Other than that, it'll sound fine.
Thank you for the reply. I'll barely be playing any games whatsoever, its mainly music I'm interested in making sound decent and to a slightly lesser extent DVD's and videos (e.g. You Tube, AVI files etc).
Ok so am I right in thinking that what you are implying is that for instance, if I listen to a stereo audio track, as it's only contains 2 audio channels it won't make any difference if I plug 1 jack in or 4 jacks? If so then I think I finally get this multi-channel HD Audio thing. Whilst researching my PC build it has been the only technology I could seem to find barely any information at all about.
The PC should know how many jacks you've connected, but check your speaker settings are set to 2.0 (don't set it for 2.1 even if you have a sub, the receiver should handle that) and it'll mix everything for stereo.