I’m in the process of piecing together an HTPC that will run Windows 7 Home Premium. I’d like to be able to connect the HTPC to my receiver via a single HDMI cable. Are there any videocards available that will send both video and TrueHD audio via an HDMI cable, or do I have to use the Asus Xonar HDAV 1.3 Slim that was reviewed in the November issue?
Ed, ATI’s Radeon HD 5000 series—at press time, that includes the 5750, 5770, 5850, 5870, and 5970—are the only graphics cards that include a protected audio path via HDMI, including support for Dolby TrueHD. Nvidia’s GTX 200 series will send audio over HDMI (via SPDIF), but doesn’t support a protected audio path. The good news is that the cheapest graphics card that has a protected audio path, the Radeon HD 5750, is about $150—only about $20 more than you’d have to put out for the Xonar HDAV 1.3 Slim, anyway.
ATI's Radeon HD 5000 series, like this Radeon HD 5770, are the only consumer graphics cards that currently offer protected HD audio, including 7.1-channel Dolby TrueHD, over HDMI.
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