Sound Cards in PowerMacs?

James Philp

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 5, 2005
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Oxford/London
Just wondering how prevalent it is to add a sound card to a powermac?
following from this thread, I understand that currently the CPU handles all sound-related tasks?

I was just wondering if there was someone out there who has added a dedicated sound card to a PowerMac, and what kind of results you have got, in terms of Audio Production, Games, etc.

I would imagine rendering 5.1 surround in a game is CPU heavy, and therefore the addition of a sound card may result in incresed frame rate?
If this is indeed so, would it not be good to ship Macs with soundcards installed? They are cheap, effective, and allow for proper 5.1 surround.

For example, Apple offer this on THEIR OWN website! - Kind of admits a problem!
 

ChrisFromCanada

macrumors 65816
May 3, 2004
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Hamilton, Ontario (CANADA)
James Philp said:
Just wondering how prevalent it is to add a sound card to a powermac?
following from this thread, I understand that currently the CPU handles all sound-related tasks?

I was just wondering if there was someone out there who has added a dedicated sound card to a PowerMac, and what kind of results you have got, in terms of Audio Production, Games, etc.

I would imagine rendering 5.1 surround in a game is CPU heavy, and therefore the addition of a sound card may result in incresed frame rate?
If this is indeed so, would it not be good to ship Macs with soundcards installed? They are cheap, effective, and allow for proper 5.1 surround.
The dual processors helps the audio rendering as they can render video on one processor and audio on another.

James Philp said:
For example, Apple offer this on THEIR OWN website! - Kind of admits a problem!
I think that audio card is mor for people who need other connections than optical.
 

James Philp

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 5, 2005
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Oxford/London
ChrisFromCanada said:
The dual processors helps the audio rendering as they can render video on one processor and audio on another.
Well surely then adding one will free up CPU?

ChrisFromCanada said:
I think that audio card is mor for people who need other connections than optical.
Oh really? Do G5's have 5.1 as standard? Do not quite a few Pro's master soundtracks on Macs that are in 5.1? Also, powermac g5's have a optical S/PDIF out. does this not allow for optical audio connections?
 

cpjakes

macrumors 6502
Aug 15, 2003
377
5
Buffalo, NY
Apple offers optical output on the new G5s - this will accomplish playback of Dolby Digital and DTS passthrough, not compression to these formats. When you connect this to a surround sound receiver, the receiver decodes the audio stream.

The soundcard posted does decode to analog outputs, so if you have a speaker set with six inputs, you use this card for that type of work. This card has no "power" aside from decoding. When you talk about physical Digital Signal Processing, you nead to be in the realm of cards by Digidesign for Pro Tools rigs that actually take strain off the CPU by doing a lot of work on the card instead.

cpjakes
 

James Philp

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 5, 2005
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Oxford/London
Interesting...

cpjakes said:
Apple offers optical output on the new G5s - this will accomplish playback of Dolby Digital and DTS passthrough, not compression to these formats. When you connect this to a surround sound receiver, the receiver decodes the audio stream.

The soundcard posted does decode to analog outputs, so if you have a speaker set with six inputs, you use this card for that type of work. This card has no "power" aside from decoding. When you talk about physical Digital Signal Processing, you nead to be in the realm of cards by Digidesign for Pro Tools rigs that actually take strain off the CPU by doing a lot of work on the card instead.

cpjakes
I only posted that card as an example that even apple offer external sound cards. Would the latter kind of card you mentioned take significant strain from the CPU? Enough to bump up frames rates?

Has anyone installed this kind of card? What have they experienced?
 

7on

macrumors 601
Nov 9, 2003
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Dress Rosa
Well, games don't function too well with a 2nd CPU. If I recall, someone with a G5 got a higher framerate running one processor instead of two in Doom3.
 

James Philp

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 5, 2005
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Oxford/London
So...

Has anyone actually installed a sound card in a PowerMac, and noticed an improvement in same speed or anything? Still would be intrigued to know!
 

cpjakes

macrumors 6502
Aug 15, 2003
377
5
Buffalo, NY
James Philp said:
I only posted that card as an example that even apple offer external sound cards. Would the latter kind of card you mentioned take significant strain from the CPU? Enough to bump up frames rates?

Has anyone installed this kind of card? What have they experienced?
These cards would have no effect on frame rates because they are not gaming cards, they're for audio. They process things like plug-ins and effects for audio workstations. Unless a game was doing real-time effects (which most do not) and the code was written to take advantage of it, these cards won't do anything either.

A majority of audio in games is either preset (as in the movies during play) or triggered individual audio files. The only processing there might be is the orientation of the sound based on action in the game, and that is not a whole lot of strain on the system.

cpjakes
 
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