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Rear audio jacks on new motherboards

Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:46 am

So what's up with the trend for a lot of newer motherboards to have only 3 "multi-function" audio jacks on the back panel, instead of the usual 5 or 6 dedicated jacks? With this arrangement, if you want more than 2-channel output you need to sacrifice something else (line and/or mic in), and/or use the front jack for 2 of the channels.

I'm also willing to bet that controlling the port function modes is gonna be a PITA under Linux, unless it is controlled via a BIOS setting.

As an aside, I am also quite unhappy with another new trend, which is to not include descriptions of all of the BIOS settings in the downloadable PDF user manual. Looking at the available BIOS settings is part of my normal research procedure when deciding what motherboard to buy :evil:.
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Re: Rear audio jacks on new motherboards

Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:02 pm

I don't want to be mean, but I think that both of those boats sailed a long time ago. :(

People connect headsets to the front panel inputs most all the time, and it's been a long time (IME anyway) that manuals contained good descriptions of the BIOS settings.
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Re: Rear audio jacks on new motherboards

Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:14 pm

morphine wrote:
I don't want to be mean, but I think that both of those boats sailed a long time ago. :(

People connect headsets to the front panel inputs most all the time,

Yeah, I suppose...

I guess all of the most common use cases are still covered. It still irks me to limit flexibility that way, just to save a few cents on the additional 3 audio jacks.

And if you want surround out, you need to sacrifice analog line in. Arbitrary limitations piss me off.

morphine wrote:
and it's been a long time (IME anyway) that manuals contained good descriptions of the BIOS settings.

While this statement is factually correct (I'll agree that the descriptions haven't been good for a while now), several of the manuals I've downloaded recently didn't even have a list of the settings (let alone descriptions). I'm used to at least having what amounted to a list. I can go "OK, at least there's a toggle for that in the BIOS, hopefully they implemented it correctly"; and I can use Google to figure out what a setting supposedly does if the description doesn't make sense.
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Re: Rear audio jacks on new motherboards

Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:45 pm

Multichannel audio nowadays is mostly HDMI, no?

The only problem with that I can see is that audio-only HDMI gear is rare, and I suppose chances are higher to run into software issues.
 
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Re: Rear audio jacks on new motherboards

Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:25 pm

meerkt wrote:
Multichannel audio nowadays is mostly HDMI, no?

The only problem with that I can see is that audio-only HDMI gear is rare, and I suppose chances are higher to run into software issues.

Yeah, you may have a point there.

My rant has probably been colored somewhat by how I currently run the audio on my primary desktop. I run my headphones off the front/line out, and my 2.1 speakers off the side out. They're bridged internally (in software) to provide the "front" signal, but with different EQ applied to each to compensate for the shortcomings of my desktop speakers. So I'm probably in the 1% (or even the 0.1%) of use cases. :lol:

I still don't like when artificial limitations are imposed.
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Re: Rear audio jacks on new motherboards

Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:35 pm

It is a cost-cutting measure since analog audio is going away in customer-tier stuff. Multi-channel stuff is being throw towards HDMI and DP via an digital receiver. You can still find the old six-eight 3.5mm jack on motherboards but they tend to be only found on high-end tier stuff.
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Re: Rear audio jacks on new motherboards

Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:40 pm

Made me look on the back of my Asrock Z68 Extreme4 Gen3. I still had 5 jacks and an optical SPDIF (none of which I use in favour of a Xonar D1)
 
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Re: Rear audio jacks on new motherboards

Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:33 pm

TwistedKestrel wrote:
Made me look on the back of my Asrock Z68 Extreme4 Gen3. I still had 5 jacks and an optical SPDIF (none of which I use in favour of a Xonar D1)

So... the middle school "Made you look!" taunt applies here? :lol:
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Re: Rear audio jacks on new motherboards

Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:48 pm

TwistedKestrel wrote:
Made me look on the back of my Asrock Z68 Extreme4 Gen3. I still had 5 jacks and an optical SPDIF (none of which I use in favour of a Xonar D1)

Whereas I already had a D1 and only installed it when one of the Crab jacks on my Asus Z97 mobo came up dead. I could have RMA'd but, since I had the D1, I didn't see the point.
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Re: Rear audio jacks on new motherboards

Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:21 pm

If the Crab would beef up their headphone driver circuit to handle lower-efficiency cans, provide a few extra pins to facilitate grounding out the load side of the DC bypass caps to mitigate "thumps" during power up/down, and bump their recommended 100uF DC blocking cap on the headphone out to a 220uF or 440uF, they could probably eliminate most of the need for discrete soundcards and external headphone amps. Yes, purists and Realtek-haters will still buy high-end soundcards, DACs, and headphone amps... but in the grand scheme of things, they would probably be unnecessary for 99.9% of users.
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