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Two questions:

  • With ATI video cards and HDMI, how much sound processing is handled my the video card itself?
  • Would a discrete sound card using the same HDMI setup have any noticeable effect on latency?

I have a HTPC running with my motherboard's onboard sound plus a Radeon 5670 for video. Everything works fine over HDMI. Woo. But I occasionally like to fiddle with music stuff like FruityLoops, or even plug a microphone in and let the kids go nuts. The sound latency in those cases is terrible, even if I get Asio-4-All working. Feels like a good 500ms delay. I'm pretty sure the delay isn't solely due to the audio running through my tv first since I've plugged in headphones to the PC directly and it was still bad.

The obvious solution is to get a discrete sound card that is less terrible, but due to getting all sound through my video card's HDMI I'm not sure it'd make a difference. Being an ATI card, there is no SPDIF cable connecting the onboard sound to the video card, so I'm not even sure the onboard sound is doing much.

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If you use the HDMI I think the sound will always be processed by the sound chip on the ATI card. If you get a discrete sound card (internal or USB) that supports ASIO and plug your headphones/speakers into it you should be able to reduce latency to a very low level. Something that comes with ASIO drivers. –  BJ292 Jul 4 '12 at 19:35

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