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I bought a laptop with a fairly decent sound card in it - I upgraded to have a sound card capable of 5.1 sound. However, the laptop itself only has the two standard sound ports - headphones (which are only stereo) and microphone. How can I actually make use of the 5.1 sound from the sound card if there are no ports for all these extra channels? Using an external sound card does make the whole upgrade kind of pointless, IMO.

EDIT: The laptop is a Dell Inspiron 1720. The sound card is (output from lspci):

00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 02)
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It definitely depends on the laptop - we'd need more information to be able to answer. Most likely the laptop has a combination optical/minijack port. You'll need an inexpensive cable and a receiver or speaker system capable of decoding the 5.1 audio. Most receivers sold within the last 5 years will have some sort of optical input.

For a more complete answer:

  • What's the laptop and sound card in question
  • What sort of speaker system are you attempting to use the laptop with?

If it is optical, here's the adaptor you'll probably need @ monoprice:

Mini Optical to Optical Adaptor

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