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nforce2 APU or Realtek ALC650 or both

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April 6, 2003 4:19:56 PM

I read the recent article from tomshardware about the performance impact of different sound solutions. But I don't think I get it completely. I have Abit NF-S on the way. It has the MCP-T chipset and the Realtek ALC650. Which chip is it that governs the performance aspect of the sound in this case. Will it be slow like the results in the review indicates or will it benefit from the MCP-T chipset and require comparatably low CPU utilization?
Any input would be appreciated.

Stefan Axling aka Wonko
April 6, 2003 9:44:08 PM

The APU is the one governing the cpu utilization for the sound playback. The Soundstorm APU is a very nice one. The southbridge (the mcp-t) doesn't govern the sound playback, as far as I recall. The Soundstorm has it's own apu, so it gives the same performance as any other soundcard you'd plug into your computer, unlike some onboard sound solutions that use the CPU to emulate the APU.

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Onboard audio
April 7, 2003 9:33:28 PM

I'm still a little confused about all this!! Why the hell does the Mobo makers put AC97 chips on the bords, if they allready have a better one in there, in form of the N-force MCP-T?? I must admit, that I can't figure out what's so great about Soundstorm, here is what I just copied from ABIT's site:
Audio:
- 6-Channel AC 97 CODEC on board
- Professional digital audio interface supports 24-bit S/PDIF Out
- Supports real time AC-3 Encode by Soundstorm™ Technology

With the above in mind, what is the job of the AC97 chip? What is the job of the MCP-T? Is Soundstorm just a fancy name for the MCP-T chip? If not what is then the job of the Soundstorm APU??

I my self, is looking at the EPOX 8RDA+, becouse of it's good rep when it comes to overclocking, but at the same time I'd like to use the N-force sound MCP-T, but again here on this bord is that AC97 chip...

If some of the crew at THG reads this, then maybe this would be a nice add on to your previous artickles on the N-force2 bords: Say a little about what kind of soundchip is on the rewieved bords and if there is more then just 1 then tell a little bit about how it works and so forth!!

Thank's Kasper
Related resources
April 8, 2003 3:28:44 AM

Let's talk about how conventioanl on board sound works:
The ALC650 controller is only used as audio signal amplification and I/O aka DAC (Digital to Analog Convertor). Your audio signal doesn't process by the Realtek chip but your CPU, so larger system resource will be utilised. In SoundStorm is another story. MCP-T will communicate with the SoundStorm APU and all the audio signal job is handled by APU instead of CPU, so this APU is nothing different from a real sound card. But no matter how good this chip are it can't produce sound as it still need a DAC to work. So just think the AC97 controller is just an interface for your analog output, and yes, Realtek DAC only output analog signal. So, the greatest thing of SoundStorm is its ability to do real time Dolby Digital encoding when you connect them on digital or SPDIF which is much more superior then many sound card out there except some high end card. So, if you really want to fully utilise SoundStorm you better use digital connection but the analog also sounds great if you are not that audiophilic.

You never know how stupid you are until you have done something stupid enough for you to realize it.
<A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?id=22996" target="_new">My System Rig</A>
April 9, 2003 2:30:36 AM

HUGE "thank you" to TKH.

Realy great that you could cast a little light on this topic for me.

Well now that you mention it... I'm quiet a bit of a audio buf, but my "problem" is that my computer is quiet a distance from my Big screen and i don't feel like carying the whole rig (full of whater :)  back and forth. I tryed a wiere less conection, but the sound quality is realy not good at all, so now I use it only for the picture witch is quiet good. Anyway, Is it possible to find very long (around 9 meters) digital conector cabel out there? All i saw was around 1 meter!!

Well maybe all of the above belongs in another post, all I realy wanted was to say thanks to TKH.
Here by done...

Thank's Kasper
April 9, 2003 3:18:16 AM

Thanks for the great info guys. Okay, now I have a question: How can I tell which Nforce2 boards utilize the Soundstorm APU vs. the CPU for DSP? Does the "MCP-T" vs "MCP" tell me this or is there something else I need to look for?

thx.
April 9, 2003 8:54:30 AM

Shop around your local AV or home theater specialist retailer, longer digital audio cable should be available. I once saw 5m one but I believe there must be longer one.

You never know how stupid you are until you have done something stupid enough for you to realize it.
<A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?id=22996" target="_new">My System Rig</A>
April 9, 2003 9:04:55 AM

Mobo with SoundStorm must be under MCP-T category. One easiest way to find out whether the mobo uses SoundStorm or not is looking at the manufacturer website or the package. There should be a Dolby Digital logo or SoundStorm logo or something similar on them. Don't get confuse, mobo manufacturers will definitely tell you they use SoundStorm because this is one of the selling point. Those mobo states only 6ch audio are not using SoundStorm most of the time. If you really not sure about specific mobo you just post a question there will be fast answer.

You never know how stupid you are until you have done something stupid enough for you to realize it.
<A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?id=22996" target="_new">My System Rig</A>
April 9, 2003 10:49:49 AM

Thanks TKH you have made the matter clear to me now.
!