1. #1
    Omnipotent
    • Computer Specs
      • Motherboard or Laptop:
      • Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M
      • Chipset:
      • Intel Z77
      • CPU:
      • Intel Core i5 3570K
      • CPU Overclock Speed:
      • 4GHz
      • Memory:
      • 8GB
      • Memory Speed:
      • 1600MHz DDR3
      • Video Card(s):
      • AMD (Gigabyte) Radeon HD 7970
      • Video Card Speed:
      • 1.5GHz mem / 1GHz core
      • Hard Drive(s):
      • Samsung 830 256GB
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 8.1 Pro x64 with Media Center

    Joined
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Turku, Finland, Finland
    Posts
    33,459

    Comparison of integrated audio solutions & choice of Z77 mobo

    Figured this would fit the "motherboard"-category well enough.

    I didn't find any reviews comparing different integrated audio solutions, so user experiences are the only options really.

    I'm looking for Z77-motherboard with 130-160 budget, and 3 candinates so far popped up.

    Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M - mATX has enough slots for me, Asrock has had a lot of satisfied users last couple years.
    Gigabyte Z77 UD3H - Someone recommended it to be solid board and should receive BIOS updates steadily
    Gigabyte G1.Sniper 3M - mATX has enough slots for me, the integrated audio caught my eye (but don't really know crap about it)

    Of course, if you know any better mobos in the same price range, feel free to recommend

    The audio solutions:
    Asrock: Realtek ALC898 - I've had no problems with my ALC888, though of course 898 is different - I doubt it's any worse, though?
    UD3H: VIA VT2021 - Never heard of it, how does this compare?
    G1.Sniper 3M: Creative CA0113 (same as Recon3D) - sounds "too good to be integrated", but apparently it's really mostly software codec (even in the Recon3D cards), rather than hardware like X-Fi's are

    I doubt there's any mobos out there with real X-Fi audio? I know ASUS for example has their SupremeFX III on Gene V, but it's apparently Realtek chip + Creative software

  2. #2
    Junior Proxycon Emperor
    • Computer Specs
      • Motherboard or Laptop:
      • GA-Z68X-UD3P-B3
      • Motherboard BIOS:
      • UEFI Beta F
      • Chipset:
      • Intel Z68
      • CPU:
      • Intel i5 2500K
      • CPU Overclock Speed:
      • 4.4Ghz
      • CPU Cooler:
      • CM Hyper 212+
      • Memory:
      • 8GB Corsair XMS
      • Memory Speed:
      • 1866Mhz
      • Video Card(s):
      • Inno3D iChill GTX 970 OC
      • Video Card Speed:
      • 1088/1228/7010
      • Sound Card:
      • Soundblaster Z
      • PSU:
      • PCandP 610 Silencer
      • Hard Drive(s):
      • Samsung 840 Pro 128GB, 1TB WD Steam Drive, 1TB Seagate ST1000DX001 SSHD
      • Optical Drives:
      • DVD RW
      • Operating System:
      • Win 7 Ultimate SP1

    Joined
    Nov 2001
    Location
    UK, England.
    Posts
    12,368

    Re: Comparison of integrated audio solutions & choice of Z77 mobo

    Well from what i've read, the Recon3D is no better than the X-fi in terms of audio quality whilst gaming, although it may be slightly better for voip and similar. I remember seeing somewhere, that the X-fi and R3D chips are more similar than Creative have let on. The CA0113 is the software version of CA0132 (iirc,) which is the hardware accelerated R3D.

    I'd personally steer away from VIA. I have never had a good experience with any VIA board, even when they were good, they sucked equally as much.

    The Realtek ALC898 is a good integrated solution, nothing mind blowing and not a huge step over the 888, but functional enough. The CA0113 is going to give the best quality, but put a bit more strain on the CPU. Personally, i'd save up a little more and go for something like the Asus RoG Z77 boards that have SupremeFX III built-in, it's supposed to be very good and is apparently powered by X-fi tech. Always worth paying that bit more for a good mobo imo, along with the PSU, it's one of the most important components.
    Last edited by Chade; June 5, 2012 at 15:07.

  3. #3
    Omnipotent
    • Computer Specs
      • Motherboard or Laptop:
      • Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M
      • Chipset:
      • Intel Z77
      • CPU:
      • Intel Core i5 3570K
      • CPU Overclock Speed:
      • 4GHz
      • Memory:
      • 8GB
      • Memory Speed:
      • 1600MHz DDR3
      • Video Card(s):
      • AMD (Gigabyte) Radeon HD 7970
      • Video Card Speed:
      • 1.5GHz mem / 1GHz core
      • Hard Drive(s):
      • Samsung 830 256GB
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 8.1 Pro x64 with Media Center

    Joined
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Turku, Finland, Finland
    Posts
    33,459

    Re: Comparison of integrated audio solutions & choice of Z77 mobo

    The SupremeFX III is Realtek-based with Creative X-fi software stack.

    I did a mistake there earlier, the chip is infact CA0132, not CA0113, the CA0113 is Creatives own bus controller chip, so the chip is the very same as on Recon3D cards have.
    So should it be better?

    edit:
    Looks like I'm going to read http://forums.creative.com/showthrea...=697046&page=2 through and then do final decisions, almost went for the Asrock already, but I have around 6 hours to decide (that's when one sites 10% off deal ends :D )

    edit2:
    Looks like Asrock it is, the CA0132 is based on the lowend "X-Fi" CA0110 which is pretty much software with couple preprogrammed DSP-features.

    edit3:
    To clarify, even on the actual Recon3D cards it's the same CA0132, and hardware wise, X-Fi Titaniums beat the crap out of it.
    Last edited by Kaotika; June 5, 2012 at 16:19.

  4. #4
    Onion Emperor
    • Computer Specs
      • Motherboard or Laptop:
      • Asus Z87 Deluxe
      • Motherboard BIOS:
      • Latest Beta
      • Chipset:
      • Z87
      • CPU:
      • Intel Core i7 4770k
      • CPU Overclock Speed:
      • 4.5Ghz
      • CPU Cooler:
      • D-Tek FuZioN
      • Memory:
      • 2x4GB Patriot Viper Xtreme Division 2
      • Memory Speed:
      • 2400Mhz
      • Video Card(s):
      • nVidia (Zotac) GTX680
      • Video Card Speed:
      • 1300/1800
      • Sound Card:
      • On-board
      • PSU:
      • Silverstone 1000W
      • Hard Drive(s):
      • Kingston V200+ SATA6 120GB, Seagate 'Cuda 2TB SATA6
      • Optical Drives:
      • None
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 8.1 Pro

    Joined
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    21,597

    Re: Comparison of integrated audio solutions & choice of Z77 mobo

    I'm on vacations in Croatia and posting from my phone so I'm going to make it short.

    Asrock is good and so is the realtek audio. I'd say it's better than anything Creative has to offer. That Recon3D is no better than the XFI Fatality which is no better than the Audigy 2.

    Gigabyte boards are solid but have **** uefi/bios, Asus is better than Gigabyte but they always needs a few uefi/bios releases before they get their **** right, but right now I'd pick Asus over Gigabyte easy choice. But like I said you can't go wrong with Asrock.

    By the way if you're gonna go for the Ivy make sure you get a GOOD cooler for it. BTW you want a 3770K.

    Hope this helps. I'm off to a pub.

  5. #5
    Omnipotent
    • Computer Specs
      • Motherboard or Laptop:
      • Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M
      • Chipset:
      • Intel Z77
      • CPU:
      • Intel Core i5 3570K
      • CPU Overclock Speed:
      • 4GHz
      • Memory:
      • 8GB
      • Memory Speed:
      • 1600MHz DDR3
      • Video Card(s):
      • AMD (Gigabyte) Radeon HD 7970
      • Video Card Speed:
      • 1.5GHz mem / 1GHz core
      • Hard Drive(s):
      • Samsung 830 256GB
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 8.1 Pro x64 with Media Center

    Joined
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Turku, Finland, Finland
    Posts
    33,459

    Re: Comparison of integrated audio solutions & choice of Z77 mobo

    Quote Originally posted by QuadDamage View Post
    I'm on vacations in Croatia and posting from my phone so I'm going to make it short.

    Asrock is good and so is the realtek audio. I'd say it's better than anything Creative has to offer. That Recon3D is no better than the XFI Fatality which is no better than the Audigy 2.

    Gigabyte boards are solid but have **** uefi/bios, Asus is better than Gigabyte but they always needs a few uefi/bios releases before they get their **** right, but right now I'd pick Asus over Gigabyte easy choice. But like I said you can't go wrong with Asrock.

    By the way if you're gonna go for the Ivy make sure you get a GOOD cooler for it. BTW you want a 3770K.

    Hope this helps. I'm off to a pub.
    Cheers, I already made the order for Asrock, but confirmation always helps

    3770K sure would be nice, but also costs about 100€ more which I can't really afford. If I had the extra 100€, I'd use it for SSD before 3770K, too, tbh.

    I'm planning to use my old CM Hyper 212+ for starters, and keep the OC's quite low - after all, lowering my electricity bill was the biggest "reasoning" on the upgrade.
    Last edited by Kaotika; June 6, 2012 at 22:08.

  6. #6
    Omnipotent
    • Computer Specs
      • Motherboard or Laptop:
      • Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M
      • Chipset:
      • Intel Z77
      • CPU:
      • Intel Core i5 3570K
      • CPU Overclock Speed:
      • 4GHz
      • Memory:
      • 8GB
      • Memory Speed:
      • 1600MHz DDR3
      • Video Card(s):
      • AMD (Gigabyte) Radeon HD 7970
      • Video Card Speed:
      • 1.5GHz mem / 1GHz core
      • Hard Drive(s):
      • Samsung 830 256GB
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 8.1 Pro x64 with Media Center

    Joined
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Turku, Finland, Finland
    Posts
    33,459

    Re: Comparison of integrated audio solutions & choice of Z77 mobo

    Small update, I indeed went with the Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M, and a bit later found out that they're doing false advertising, and not just normal adverts but tell stores/importers/etc wrong information too.

    They advertise their all(?) Z77 mobos if not others too with this:
    Digi Power

    More Precise, More Efficient

    By adopting digital pulse-width modulation (PWM), the ASRock motherboard can provide CPU Vcore voltage more efficiently and smoothly. Compared to analog PWM, digital PWM can optimize the CPU power solution and provide a proper and stable Vcore for the processor.
    While in reality they use still analog PWM
    http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1700282
    http://sinhardware.com/index.php/vrm...vs-analog-pwms
    http://hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=...4&postcount=11

    I contacted the store about this, and while they did say it's uncomfortable position for them as every "official source" (their importer/supplier, manufacturer) tell it's digital, but they also could confirm themselves that it's really analog instead.
    They offered me a switch to ASUS Maximus V Gene, normally 70 more expensive than the Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M, for 40, but I at least for now decided to turn the offer down due all the hassle it would be to switch the motherboard, cooling and software.
    And I'm still pissed that I didn't get the combo-deal they offered before I purchased my i5-3570K+Asrock, they had the Maximus V Gene + i7-3770K for 100 more but I figured that i7 wouldn't be worth 100 for my use, and the mobo wouldn't offer me anything better, in fact worse connectivity if anything (less SATA ports without 3rd party chip in between)

  7. #7
    Senior Onion
    • Computer Specs
      • Motherboard or Laptop:
      • ASUS P8Z77-V Pro
      • Motherboard BIOS:
      • 2104, Latest Option ROMs
      • Chipset:
      • Intel Z77
      • CPU:
      • Intel Core i7 3770K
      • CPU Overclock Speed:
      • 4600Mhz @ 1.225v
      • CPU Cooler:
      • CM Hyper 212 EVO
      • Memory:
      • 16GB Corsair Vengeance
      • Memory Speed:
      • 2200Mhz @ 10-11-11-27 1T
      • Video Card(s):
      • EVGA GTX 780 Ti SC w/ ACX
      • Video Card Speed:
      • 1240/7500 w/ Skyn3t BIOS
      • Sound Card:
      • Xonar DGX w/ UNi Drivers
      • PSU:
      • Corsair Gold AX850
      • Hard Drive(s):
      • 256GB Samsung 830 SSD
      • Optical Drives:
      • LG WH12LS39 12x BD-RW
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 8.1 Pro Update 1

    Joined
    Feb 2007
    Location
    FutureMark Forums
    Posts
    3,772

    Re: Comparison of integrated audio solutions & choice of Z77 mobo

    Motherboards & thier build/BIOS qualities are very important for stability and a whole bunch of them have issues or may require you to wait until next BIOS update to work properly. I am sure some of them are excellent and it is possible you won't have any issues. Have you considered something with a really good rep and all positive reviews but different price.., like ASUS Sabertooth Z77? It has good onboard audio - Realtek ALC892. It is slightly less powerful than ALC889, but it has more features and is considered more advanced. You also want a future-proof motherboard with PCIe 3.0. Unless you plan on using Dolby Digital Live! 5.1 like I do, or you're an audiophile willing to drop $500+ on a set of speakers/headphones, you won't hear any difference. Onboard audio and CPUs have come a long way and with games & Windows Vista/7/8 dropping EAX support, there is even less difference between audio chips. I would stay away from VIA, go for either Realtek onboard, X-Fi/Xonar as PCIe cards, and nVidia as HDMI HDTV audio. Any onboard Creative or X-Fi/Xonar cards are either software (junk) or they must have hardware acceleration chips (I am not aware of any). I think onboard Realtek is higher quality than emulated Creative X-Fi/Xonar, You will hear less difference if you're using digital speakers/headset, and more difference in analogue mode (where X-Fi/Xonar PCIe would be winners).

    I advice to focus on other aspects of the motherboard when making the final decision. You would save yourself trouble by buying best motherboard in terms of quality, stability, and/or overclockability with average or even crappy onboard sound and save up for a good PCIe sound card than to have a motherboard with stability issues and great quality audio chip.

    Creative cards are the only ones providing hardware acceleration (Xonar cards do not). However, with today's CPUs, hardware acceleration makes little different in FPS. Also, Creative X-Fi Titanium PCIe sound cards now have PAX drivers that are superior to Creative's outdated drivers and make X-Fi PCIe cards even better choices.
    Last edited by Brat Gvidon; July 2, 2012 at 19:16.

  8. #8

    Re: Comparison of integrated audio solutions & choice of Z77 mobo

    Hi Brat. I am on the lookout for a fully-featured mATX board with Dolby Digital Live. Do you happen to know which, if any of the current crop of mATX boards incorporate DDL & possibly DTS Connect?
    Last edited by Diggerless; August 25, 2012 at 15:56.

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