To test the Asus HDAV 1.3 Slim I will be using the following methodology.
Gaming tests (FPS)
Blu Ray Playback (Region B UK Discs)
Music (digital out only)
Unfortunately due to the lack of analogue out, I could not perform the usual RightMark benchmarks. Any other 'real world' benchmarks regarding sound are so dependent on other factors I felt that it was not reliable to include them.
I feel it is very important to get the test setup correct when testing items such as a High Definition capable sound card. As such, the following setup will be used:
Intel Q6600 @ 3.3GHz
Abit IP35 Pro
8GB OCZ ReaperX PC6400 @ 1000MHz
MSI 8800 GTX
Lite-On SATA DVDRW (model LH-20A1S)
Seagate 7200.10 250GB HDD
Coolermaster Real Power Pro 1000w PSU
Asus HDAV 1.3 Slim
Belkin AV Home Cinema Surge Protector - 7 Socket
Dell 2407 WFP (QED QUNEX HDMI/DVI-P Cable 3MTR)
Yamaha DSP-AX863SE AV Amplifier
Mordaunt Short 906i Floorstanders (Bi-Amped, silver coated oxygen free copper)
Mordaunt Short 905i Centre Speaker (Bi-wired, silver coated oxygen free copper)
Mordaunt Short 905i Bipole Rears (300 strand oxygen free copper)
BK Electronics XLS200 DF (Mark Grant Canare LV775 10MTR)
Panasonic Viera TH-42PZ80B Plasma
Sennheiser HD555 Headphones
2 x Tacima CS929 6 Way Mains Conditioner
Chord Company Silver Plus HDMI Cable (1.5MTR)
QED Performance HDMI-P Cable (1MTR)
This setup will enable full 1080p signal to be passed to the plasma TV and a high def audio signal to be bitstreamed for processing by the AV Amplifier for maximum quality. It will also ensure that I get high quality sound from all of the the sources used in the PC.
The usual Asus driver software is supplied with the HDAV 1.3 Slim, but with the HDMI twist on it. As such, I will point you in the direction of a previous review
for a more in-detail look at the features. The differences with the HDAV 1.3 Slim is the HDMI features.
Here you select the channels , the PCM format and and HDMI format. For HD audio you need 8 channels, 192 KHz PCM and 7.1 out. Note that if you have this enabled and play stereo music, the stereo music will only output in 2 channel format, as it should do.
The Asus software is easy to use, responsive and fairly intuitive and I much prefer using it to the terrible X-Fi Creative software.
ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre
ArcSoft TotalMedia is also provided by Asus. This software enabled you to playback Blu Ray discs, including choosing the way you want to output the audio.
It's worth noting that Asus do not supply a version of the software that works properly with Vista SP2 in the box currently, but I believe will provide an update (to TotalMedia Theatre 3), and update the software included in the bundle at a later date.
After receiving the latest update from Asus, I managed to select the correct audio output that would give me HD Audio:
TotalMedia Theatre (3) is a nice bit of software and I had no issues using it with the sound card once Asus provided the update for me. It's good to hear Asus will provide users with an update and hopefully if you decide that the HDAV 1.3 Slim is for you, they will have updated the copy on the disc.