Gtx 480 as primary sound card FTW.
I dont know how many of you have tried this but using the HDMI out on the 480 in to my hdmi receiver gives me bit perfect sound and surround as well with no sound card needed. SOunds awesome and WAY better than my old x-fi. I have not tried older games with it but every game I have tried has full surround support even if it is done in software. After benchmarking I see NO difference when the GPU is passing audio and even MSI gpu usage meter shows ZERO when I listen to audiophile level music in 5.1 at 96k/24-bit like the DVD audio of hotel califonia which is WAY more audio intensive that standard game sound. I saw a whooping 1-2% cpu utilization when playing back the most intensive audio files.
If you are a music lover and want pure sound without windows touching the audio use the HDMI out to your receiver and use foobar with the wasapi plugin. This allows the hdmi out to communicate directly with my harmon kardon AVR NO DRIVERS NEEDED.
The display on my harmon kardon changes depending on what game I play and what source material I listen to. Everything plays back in the bit rate it is encoded in with no issues at all. IF a game uses DTS for sound the receiver kicks in to DTS mode for instance. I have never heard better sound out of windows.
BTW, There is little or no info about this out on the web. At least I cant find any. You get no EQ for your games but really you should need one. I am one of those "I want to hear is as it was intended to be heard" so I dont use eq very much at all unless it is a crappy audio bootleg. Eq' ing of music can be done using Foobar with the wasapi plugin.
Intel i7 2600k @ 4.8ghz 1.35v, 1.40v full load
Cooler Master Hyper 212
Gigabyte 580 @945/2232
4 Gigs Ripjaw @ 1600
Antec (a good one) 650w
A Partridge in a pear tree.