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5870 to HDMI Amp to LCD TV - wil it work

Soldato
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I currently have my 360 and PS3 plugged into a Sony HT-SS1300 amp via HDMI and have a single HDMI cable from the amp running to a Bravia 32W4000 1080P 32" TV. The amp acts as a HDMI repeater and 1080p upscaler and carries the video to the TV over HDMI and outputs the audio directly to the 5.1 speakers as 5.1 dolby digital, except when watching Blu Ray movies on the PS3 - the amp can handle the decoded HD audio signal from the PS3 and pass it as LPCM.

Anyhow, I wish to use the amp/tv with my upcoming new PC build. Saves me buying another screen and speakers. The 5870 as I understand it outputs video and audio over HDMI. Can anyone comment on the quality of the audio ? Is there a dedicated sound chip on the card ? And will I be in for some severe handshaking problems if I try and plug the card directly into my amp. Works a treat for my consoles so hoping for same result for 5870.

Thanks
 
Soldato
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Audio with the 4 series cards was perfect; LPCM is basically uncompressed audio so sounds as good as the feed, and the equipment you're putting into it.

Handshaking issues...not really, just turn the tv/amp on before the pc and it'll work fine :)

My PCM toting 4870 replaced my soundcard to such an extent I was using profiles to continue using it as a soundcard when my TV was off, so just to the amp, and I sold my Xfi shortly later.

The only bug it had was it didnt like audio when playing a game in DX10 mode; but given these are now DX11 cards, I cant see the bug lasting forever (it was introduced around Cat 8.7)
 
Associate
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Anandtech covered it slightly in there review. They said it worked great.

I haven't tried it yet because I'm happy with my Prelude but if I ever get a Blu-Ray drive its definitely going to be used.
 
Soldato
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That's very re-assuring. Thanks a million.
So if I understand correctly - the 5870 is able to decode a HD audio stream and output it as lpcm, like the way a PS3 does. My amp can handle this. Or can the 5870 only bitstream the HD audio stream (undecoded so to speak), in which case I'm out of luck as my amp wont decode HD. I'm only asking this as I could probably ditch the PS3 as a BD player and use the PC instead.

As for motherboard audio - I guess I will just disable in bios/not install the onboard audio on my gigabyte ud5 mobo when it arrives.

The only question now is whether using a 32" LCD TV is going to be a pleasureable experience when browsing. I suspect the 1920x1080p res might be a bit low.

<edit>Just read the anand review...so you can scratch my question above. lpcm here I come</edit>
 
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Associate
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I've got a 5870 via HDMI into my Onkyo 605 Amp > Panasonic 42 Plasma, it is receiving Dolby Digital / DTS ok, sound quality seems fine and as far as i know it would just be digital pass through with no processing

But cant tell you re Blu Ray / HD codecs as i dont have a blu ray player on the PC.
If theres any test movie files that i can download with those codecs i'd be happy to try them out.

Do you still need something like PowerDVD to be able to take advantage of the 5870's bitstream ability ?
 
Soldato
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Yeah....don't even thing that version of PowerDVD has been released to the public yet according to reviews I have read.

Do you guys reckin a 32" 1080P LCD TV will be too low res for PC use ? The Sony I have has virtually no input lag, decent backlight for an LCD, so would definitely like to use it for gaming/new pc rig.
 
Soldato
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The 5870 will bitstream DD/DTS at current, you'll need to wait for the newer software for HD audio as you mention, its the software thats not ready now though, not a hardware issue, for bitstreaming, if you need to decode said audio though, the software will deal with that, and the 5870 will just pass it on so to speak.

How close would you be sitting to the TV and is it actually 1080p, or is it a 1366x768 1080i screen?

Oh, I can also confirm, apart from DX10 games at the moment, ATI 4/5 series cards can stream up to 7.1 channel output as LPCM, which is raw, uncompressed, digital audio, your AVR will decode it...basically you can use the card as a soundcard, it doesnt have to be outputting DD etc :D
 
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Soldato
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Cool. So no sound for DX games at all ? Could use the Asus X-Fi card then I suppose and an optical lead to my amp. (asusme re ii x58).

My TV is a Sony Bravia KDL 32W4000. It's 1080P and the W4000 series was very highly reviewed last year on HDTV test and is known for having the lowest input lag of any TV. Somewhere around 5ms, so beats most PC LCD's. It's got a pretty decent backlight and fairly even for a 32". Think it's a PVA panel. I am used to sitting 3 feet back with my PS3. But with the PC, I can shove it to back of desk. So say 2 feet back when browsing the web. Obviously a Dell U2410 which I am considering will give a finer picture over having a smaller dot pitch but scared off by all these pink/green tint problems people are experiencing. Dell screens are also known for heavy lag when using HDMI and problems with audio clipping when outputting to a 5.1 amp/speakers (but that's over optical from the Dell screen itself (passhthru), which I won't be using). Also the Sony has a full pixel mode so can do 1:1 mapping if needed. Would like to use the TV along with my Amp which isn't HD but does support 5.1 LPCM.
 
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