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View Full Version : Not sure what nForce2 board to get?


Dazz
03-12-03, 10:12 AM
I an't sure what board to get i've never bought any boards from the manufatures before so an't sure about going about to updating the BIOS i have been strictly ASUS but am thinking of changing, please post your opinions.

MSI K7N2-L
ABIT NF7 1.2
EPoX EP-8RDA

StealthHawk
03-12-03, 05:06 PM
quick question, do all these boards have nvidia Soundstorm?

Dazz
03-12-03, 05:24 PM
Nope Realtek, but i am thinking of getting the more expensive products with SATA & SS.

StealthHawk
03-12-03, 05:29 PM
Originally posted by Dazz
Nope Realtek, but i am thinking of getting the more expensive products with SATA & SS.

i know that Soundstorm does the Dolby Digital encoding, but does the Realtek codec have the same normal playback quality as boards with Soundstorm?

Dazz
03-12-03, 05:47 PM
No it doesn't support dolby encoding, but i am using analog speakers.

styles-T
03-12-03, 06:23 PM
I cant complain with my asus dlx. Its a great board so far..I havent had any problems straight out of the box..Also did 2 bios flashes with no problems.

Nutty
03-12-03, 06:41 PM
The abit _does_ use soundstorm, and does do dolby digital encoding.

Dazz
03-12-03, 06:58 PM
BUt would gamers even need dolby encoding?

volt
03-12-03, 07:13 PM
Gamers I doubt it.

Smokey
03-12-03, 08:08 PM
Originally posted by Dazz
BUt would gamers even need dolby encoding?

DoomIII if Im not mistaken?

woz_mann
03-12-03, 08:35 PM
the king of overclocking is the Epox 8RGA+. This is my recommendation

StealthHawk
03-12-03, 11:09 PM
Originally posted by Smokey
DoomIII if Im not mistaken?

why would it need to encode? shouldn't the audio already be encoded?

does Soundstorm make a difference for music quality over Realtek? or does Soundstorm only do DD and even boards with it just use Realtek for sound output? i know these questions have been answered before, but the information is just so damn obscure.

Neova
03-13-03, 01:50 AM
The encoder is useful for folks with optical outputs to their external DTS decoder and speaker setup, such as those found in many HTPC setups. It will use only 1 cable to get the sound source to a superior decoder and enable full surround sound for non DTS encoded sound streams, such as DS3D and EAX. Better resolution and full use of surround speaker setups can be hand this way.

If folks are using high end PC speakers with analog inputs, the encoder is not needed since the APU will DECODE all DS3D, EAX and DTS sounds to the proper speakers. For a full optical connection, you need the above to happen as the DTS decoder controls the positions of the sounds.


If you hookup any other sound card to an external DTS reciever via optical cables, and sent DS3D and EAX native sound streams to it, you won't get full sound surround sound since the decoder cannot tell where the sounds should go (it only decodes DTS, Dolby Pro-Logic, or PCM)

Doom 3's sound FX may be pre-encoded DTS so any decoder (even software) can handle the positional sounds for that game. Games that are not pre-encoded, such as todays game, will only get 2 channel output (ok, 2.1 with bass due to the crossover filtering the sound stream).

The Realtek chips are used only as DACs (to convert the sound source from digialto analog) and hence can limit the resolution of the output of the sounds to the speakers. They are also used for analog speaker setups only AFAIK. The optical output of the APU, AFAIK, do not contain DACs so the resolution of the output will be limited by the decoder you use, either built into a speaker setup or external decoder.

Note that encoding the sound stream also introduces a bit of latency , such as missed lipsyncing in movies, but reports by various others on the net says you won't notice this, even on high resouce using games such as UT2003.

I hope that helped a bit as I'm not good at explaining things with thoughts off the top of my head. It took me a while to understand all this but clarified the selling point of the encoder by Nvidia's APU. To me, this is a nice feature for those who could use it.

StealthHawk
03-13-03, 05:09 AM
so if i have only analogue speakers i only need the Realtek and not Soundstorm, right?

Dazz
03-13-03, 08:10 AM
Looks that way, i only just got the 5300 speakers for x-mas so an't really looking to upgrade just yet.

CaptNKILL
03-13-03, 03:34 PM
I wouldnt say that you DONT need the sound storm. Everything Ive read or heard says that if its not the sound storm chip, its simply an AC97 crap chip. Sound Storm supposedly rivals the Audigy and Audigy 2, while any other built in sound is most likely inferior to the Sound Blaster Live!.

Also, some boards have sound storm but dont SAY sound storm on them. I think its got to do with licensing the name from Nvidia or something.

So, Id say read up on a board before you buy it.

Dazz
03-13-03, 04:35 PM
Well i was thinking of the Chaintech 7NJS ZENITH has nice features but has a C-media chip not sure what the hardware version is like as my board has a C-media chip also but it's software :eek: And there is the ABIT NF7-S board which uses the realtek chip but supports the sound storm codec.

CaptNKILL
03-13-03, 10:18 PM
"realtek chip but supports the sound storm codec"
I think thats the same thing...... the SoundStorm uses something from RealTek I believe....
hence the reason that it pays to read up (a lot) on a board before you get it.... you could either get an amazing onboard sound or total crap.... you have to be carefull

Neova
03-14-03, 02:20 AM
Originally posted by StealthHawk
so if i have only analogue speakers i only need the Realtek and not Soundstorm, right?

Yes and no.

You will use the realtek to do the digital to analog conversion to your speakers.

But, please correct me if I'm wrong, you also won't get any hardware assisted sound acceleration without the MCP-T. Basically, your CPU will do all the work as the MCP does not include an APU. The Realtek codec does not and will not do any audio processing work. It's just a convertor only.

Neova
03-14-03, 02:28 AM
Originally posted by CaptNKILL
I wouldnt say that you DONT need the sound storm. Everything Ive read or heard says that if its not the sound storm chip, its simply an AC97 crap chip. Sound Storm supposedly rivals the Audigy and Audigy 2, while any other built in sound is most likely inferior to the Sound Blaster Live!.

Also, some boards have sound storm but dont SAY sound storm on them. I think its got to do with licensing the name from Nvidia or something.

So, Id say read up on a board before you buy it.

Agreed here. The Shuttle SN41G2 is MCP-T equipped even though it does not list Sound Storm Certified.

I've had the opportunity to run side by side testing on the same speaker setup (Cambridge Soundworks Megaworks 2.1 - 4 years old and running strong) on both Sound Storm MCP-T with realtek DAC, C-Media onboard sound, SB Live Value and Audigy 1. To me, the MCP-T sounds phenomenal and warm, and was really close to the Audigy one in games and DVD movies.

The SB Live cannot match it. C-media is just pure trash with lots of CPU overhead when enabling many sound streams (such as SOF2). For integrated sound, the MCP-T is a great chip crippled by a cheap codec.

However, I've never had the opportunity to hear or test the MCP chip so I don't know how that stacks up.

If Nvidia really wanted to push a cheap but GREAT solution for HTPC folks, or audiophiles, they would swap the realtek codecs out and use Crystals DAC chips as found on the Audigy 2. Id pay an extra 10 bux for that.

Neova
03-14-03, 02:31 AM
Originally posted by Dazz
Well i was thinking of the Chaintech 7NJS ZENITH has nice features but has a C-media chip not sure what the hardware version is like as my board has a C-media chip also but it's software :eek: And there is the ABIT NF7-S board which uses the realtek chip but supports the sound storm codec.

I've read the Chaintech does not even use the APU at all and bypasses it using C-media's own (read: cheap integrated solution)on board chip for sound. I would bet it is similar to your current c-media setup and will eat up cycles during game play.

Abit's solution, if it has the MCP-T, does exactly as I had explained above. The Realtek chip is used only for the DAC. The APU is responsible for actual sound processing.

BTW: Dazz, I noticed you already have an Audigy 1. Go download the latest Audigy 2 drivers, unpack them with winrar to a temp folder, run the CTZAPP.EXE application and "update" your drivers.

I think you'll be surprised at what a real driver update can do for you. Be sure to keep your old drivers handy before you attemp this. Your creative labs applications won't work after this updated without some hassles.

If I were you, I would not buy a new MB just to get sound storm as your current sound card and Nvidia's APU are really close in terms of quality.

Dazz
03-14-03, 02:49 AM
Yeah already using Audigy 2 drivers dated 20-09-2002 version 5.12.1.283, that the lastest i have got havn't seen any newer ones yet :o it's full Audigy 2 CD with application and software :)

Woodelf
03-14-03, 11:15 PM
I think You'd be happy with the asus a7n8x deluxe.
Keep in mind though that half of them will only reach a FSB speed of around 190 (at this time) without modifications to the board.
Some were released with a faulty batch of batteries.

If you want good overclockability, go epox 8rda+.

Skip chaintech, poor audio, doesn't perform as well as it looks.

I heard that Abit was releasing an enhanced nf7 for overclocking,
it could even be the version You are referring to. Don't know.