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    Will I miss out on gaming audio if I don't use X-Fi or similar?


    I'm working on connecting my gaming rig to my home cinema equipment for a better gaming experience. There's 15m cabling involved, and it won't be a permanent setup (the cable will run straight through the living room when I'm gaming), so for expenses and convenience I don't want to use more cables than necessary. My graphics card, Nvidia GTX480, seems to have an internal sound chip, and outputting sound via HDMI works seemingly fine. However, I do have a Creative X-Fi Platinum in my rig that I have used up till now (and will continue using when not connected to the home cinema).

    Will I miss out on sound effects or similar in games if I only use the HDMI cable for audio, instead of connecting the sound card to the receiver directly?

    I'm not worried about performance - with two GTX480's and an oveclocked i7 920, my gaming experience won't be notably affected by the performance drops. However, lack of sound effects may indeed have an impact on gaming experience. I expect to lose the EAX on older games, but newer games don't generally use EAX, right? Will I lose sound effects or similar in games using e.g. OpenAL if the sound processing is done by the graphics card, and not my dedicated sound card?

    To summarize: Will I in any way miss out on gaming audio experience if I do not use a dedicated soundcard like X-Fi?
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    To be sure (there seems to be problems with surround in some games, e.g. Mass Effect, if you don't have a dedicated sound card), and since my home theater system after all isn't exactly low-end, I purchased an Auzentech X-Fi Home Theater HD, which solves my problem: HDMI video from the graphics card to the sound card, and HDMI out from there with both video and proper sound.

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