Print 31 comment(s) - last by Lazarus Dark.. on Jun 6 at 6:37 PM

Asus Xonar HDAV1.3  (Source: Asus)

Asus Xonar HDAV1.3 Deluxe Expansion Card  (Source: Asus)
ASUS Xonar HDAV1.3 unveiled at Computex 2008

ASUS made another interesting product announcement at Computex 2008 today. The company gave a preview of its upcoming Xonar HDAV1.3 HDMI-ready sound card. The card is HDMI 1.3a compliant and offloads audio processing from high-definition video.

The Xonar HDAV1.3 can decode lossless audio formats from Blu-ray films including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio at 24-bit, 96-192 Khz. The card runs on a PCI Express x1 slot and can deliver up to 7.1 surround sound.

To reduce noise Asus uses analog audio with 120db signal-to-noise ratio with distortion as low as 0.0004% on all 7.1 channels. To handle the video portion of Blu-ray discs ASUS integrates a Splendid HD video processor that provides a clear image form Blu-ray titles without having to rely on the CPU of a computer.

This means that users of desktop systems that don’t have a discrete graphics card or a high-end CPU can enjoy Blu-ray movies and high definition sound by installing one card into their computers. The brain of the Xonar is the ASUS AV200 codec chip that features digital to analog convertors. This card is the first in the Xonar family to use opamp sockets to allow for solder-less modifications to customize sound to the individual's liking.

A deluxe version of the HDAV1.3 offers all the same features as the standard card plus adds a HDAV H6 surround channel expansion card. ASUS declined to comment on pricing and availability for the HDAV1.3. With ASUS’ low end Xonar card—the Xonar DX 5.0—retailing for $89 it’s a safe bet the HDAV1.3 will go for well over $100.

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By JonnyDough on 6/5/2008 7:00:11 AM , Rating: 3
I believe this is intended for people with old computers that want to turn it into a good HTPC with high def sound AND video, but currently lack both the required HDMI/HDCP vid card and a high def sound card. Take any combination of parts such as a cool running Sempron, a couple of 512mb slower DDR ram sticks, pair it with a weak onboard chipset and you still have yourself a quaint little HTPC/Blu-ray player if you buy this card.

Essentially, this takes an old computer and lets you turn it into a high def video player for cheap. The part that will cost you the most is still likely to be the Blu-Ray drive.

By phusg on 6/5/2008 7:37:55 AM , Rating: 1
Looks like it, but the only piece that doesn't fit that puzzle is the lack of PCI interface...

By ultimaone on 6/5/2008 6:56:37 PM , Rating: 2
its a pci-X interface....

By MrPickins on 6/6/2008 1:13:49 PM , Rating: 2
You mean PCI-E?

They are two very different things.

By rdeegvainl on 6/5/2008 7:50:17 AM , Rating: 2
The part that will cost you the most is still likely to be the Blu-Ray drive.

Depending on what you put in it. Item=N82E16827106225
(Just take out the space)

That is a 140$, so just as likely could be that you spend more on a cpu or something.

By JonnyDough on 6/5/2008 7:18:19 PM , Rating: 2
I was referring to a weaker computer you already own. Besides, it looks a though laptops and external GPU's may be the new fad. With 2TB drives coming out, I can't imagine that a laptop couldn't hold a decent amount of media...

Notebook HTPC anyone?

By MrPickins on 6/6/2008 1:16:32 PM , Rating: 2
The biggest laptop HD's I have seen are around 320GB, still too small for dedicated video storage.

By omnicronx on 6/5/2008 10:56:46 AM , Rating: 2
Why on earth would you think this would only attract people wishing to upgrade their old PC. I know countless people who have been waiting for a real HDMI audio solution. I can't tell you the hassles I have had getting Lossless codecs to output correctly through a videocard.

I can't wait to have a dedicated soundcard that takes care of the processing (decoding to lossless PCM takes a chunk of CPU cycles no matter what system you are running).

I would also bet that soundcards like this will open the door to allow 3rd party tools to output 7.1 lossless sound for any audio source(such as the 5.1 surround plugins that exist today for DD or DTS soundcards).

By phusg on 6/5/2008 12:23:25 PM , Rating: 1
Is this card worth the bother for people like me who still have to upgrade to a HDMI receiver? If I buy a half decent HDMI receiver surely that will support hardware decoding of all the new HD audio codecs? I'm assuming that a G45 motherboard will support audio output over HDMI too or is that a mistake?

By JonnyDough on 6/5/2008 5:06:55 PM , Rating: 2
I never said ONLY. I said it's intended for them. Why go out and build a whole new system when the one you have will work? Even $200 isn't too much for a high def video/audio solution I don't think. Individual cards would run you that much. Having it all in one in a small package is pretty sweet if you ask me.

I can't wait to have a dedicated soundcard that takes care of the processing (decoding to lossless PCM takes a chunk of CPU cycles no matter what system you are running).

They have that soon as other comments mentioned. It's from AMD/ATI in what they refer to as the 4x00 series video cards.

By Lazarus Dark on 6/6/2008 6:37:09 PM , Rating: 2
All of you are confused.
This thing still requires a half decent video card or processor. It does not decode any video formats, only audio. The video comes out of your vid card or mobo like normal, but then loops back into this Asus card. The Asus card then adds the 7.1 sound (in either decoded lpcm or in its original HD audio codec) to the signal and then outputs it again to go to your 7.1 hdmi receiver. This device is for adding 7.1 sound to the already existant hdmi signal coming out of your system (or dvi with an adapter). Additionally, according to Anandtech, you have to use the included Arcsoft media player, as currently PowerDVD and WinDVD do not support this card. Still, if no better solution exists by the time this comes out (namely a vid card fully capable of this), then I will buy it. I am currently waiting for a 7.1 digital solution for pc's before I will upgrade from my 5.1 reciever. I refuse to output analog sound from a computer.

World's first HDMI sound card
By Some1ne on 6/4/2008 6:02:45 PM , Rating: 1
And also the world's first soundcard to require active cooling, judging by the picture.

RE: World's first HDMI sound card
By 3ntreri on 6/4/2008 6:27:12 PM , Rating: 1
That's a passive heat spreader. Same one as the previous Xonar card

RE: World's first HDMI sound card
By BansheeX on 6/4/2008 7:09:58 PM , Rating: 5
You're both wrong. It's an EMI shield.

By Xenoterranos on 6/4/2008 7:17:05 PM , Rating: 5
That's no EMI shield, that a spa-

oh, nevermind. It's just a piece of decorative fluff.

Still a badass piece of tech though.

RE: World's first HDMI sound card
By cherrycoke on 6/4/2008 7:17:45 PM , Rating: 1
you are all wrong it is a flex capacitor (card from the future)

RE: World's first HDMI sound card
By Einy0 on 6/4/2008 8:28:44 PM , Rating: 3
u mean a flux capacitor?

RE: World's first HDMI sound card
By daftrok on 6/5/2008 3:31:59 AM , Rating: 1
Flux capacitor? How much more oxymoronic can you get?

This is good, but...
By VoodooChicken on 6/4/2008 5:59:06 PM , Rating: 3
For the HTPCs I'm currently building, I'm really more interested in low profile solutions for smaller/slimmer cases. I'm sure we'll eventually get down to wii size, but not today.

RE: This is good, but...
By Flunk on 6/4/2008 9:46:45 PM , Rating: 2
The Xonar DX 5.0 is a half-height card if that is what you are looking for.

RE: This is good, but...
By omnicronx on 6/5/2008 11:04:09 AM , Rating: 2
Thats an Analogue Soundcard, 3-4 audio cables is soooo 2004!

As the article clearly states this is the first HDMI card, the OP is correct in the fact he will have to wait for a low profile card.

Is this a good card?
By Alias1431 on 6/4/2008 10:39:54 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not that knowledgeable about sound cards. What are your impressions on the quality of this product?

RE: Is this a good card?
By omnicronx on 6/5/2008 11:15:46 AM , Rating: 2
To reduce noise Asus uses analog audio with 120db signal-to-noise ratio with distortion as low as 0.0004% on all 7.1 channels.
Lets just say, these specs make me drool.. 120SNR is really untouchable by analogue cards, and the THD is lower than any end-user soundcard I have ever seen, which is to be expected with an all digital solution. To put it into perspective, the best creative card, although analogue has an SNR of 116db and a THD of around 0.0008%. Best of all, is that these specs are constant throughout all 7 channels.

Too little too late?
By Varun on 6/4/2008 11:35:13 PM , Rating: 2
I am wondering if this product is worth it. By the sounds of it it will have a hefty price tag to go along with all of the super high quality analog components on the board. Personally I'd rather have a version that was less money, ditches all of the analog, and just contains the HDMI. That's all any new receiver will require, so why pay extra for things you don't need?

Also, there is a rumour the new ATI 4xx0 series will also do 7.1 HD Audio via HDMI, and if it can do bitstreaming via the protected audio path (PAP) then I would think this Asus card would be instantly obselete. However if it can not do PAP and/or bitstreaming then I for one will be purchasing this Asus card for my HTPC.

RE: Too little too late?
By FITCamaro on 6/5/2008 8:55:59 AM , Rating: 2
Assuming you get an ATI 4x00 series.

It's About Time
By phattyboombatty on 6/4/2008 5:56:08 PM , Rating: 3
I can't believe it's taken so long for a product like this to show up.

Asus FTW!
By UppityMatt on 6/5/2008 8:14:14 AM , Rating: 3
I would much rather buy a sound card from Asus then from Creative...Never again creative (not sure if Asus is paying any licensing fees to creative or not, but i would still rather purchase the card from Asus) Im pretty sure Asus will at least provide drivers to their customers!

I know of a similiar product
By Quiescent on 6/4/2008 6:24:19 PM , Rating: 2
Since I'm planning to produce music, I want to offset the load from my computer anyways, so DSP cards will do nicely for me.

HDMI Input/Output
By gevorg on 6/5/2008 1:36:31 AM , Rating: 2
So does it have a HDMI output only, or there is an input too?

By crystal clear on 6/5/2008 10:25:34 AM , Rating: 2
This sound card is good as a news item just like........

Remember the XG Station external graphics card for notebooks from ASUS.....

I wonder if it find its way to the market

By GodLovesPunk on 6/4/08, Rating: 0
"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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