by Rob Williams on August 15, 2005 in Sound Cards
Are you looking for a quality sound experience at a great price? We are looking at Chaintech’s AV-710 card, which is based on the proven Envy24 chipset. Does it have what it takes to compete with the big boys? Let’s check it out.
When I was in the market for a new sound card, I immediately thought about buying an Audigy 2 ZS. To my surprise, friends kept telling me to get a Chaintech AV-710 instead, which costs less than half of what the Audigy does. So, I picked one up, played around with it for a week, and this review is what I thought of it as a whole. Here first, is a quick blurb about Chaintech.
Chaintech, the fastest growing motherboard, graphic card, and IA manufacturer in the world! While global tech sales have steadily decreased over the past year, Chaintech has had an astonishing growth of 23% in second half over first half of 2002.
What makes Chaintech so distinguished? In the past 17 years, Chaintech has devoted to develop the most innovative and customer-oriented products based on our most professional and experienced R&D team. Pioneered by our R&D team, everyone in Chaintech faces the dynamic and exhilarating IT market with alertness and global view. We work based on the principle of keeping everything the most up-to-date.
Before we go any further, here you can check out the card specifics:
- New Multi-channel sound CHIP
- VIA ENVY 24PT
- PCI 2.2 I/F with bus mastering and burst modes
- 24-bit resolution audio format support
- Sampling rates up to 192KHz
- Supports Mic In / Line In / 4 Line outs & Digital Optical output
- 2 separate CD audio stereo inputs
- ACPI and PCI PMI support
- Windows WDM drivers
- Dimension:120mm x 106mm
For a sound card, one would not likely expect it to be delivered in such a large box, but Chaintech has done it! There is not many extras in there, but they definitely wanted the box to look good and informative. Once we tear it open, we unveil the card itself, a manual, CD-Rom and an optical cable.
Upon closer inspection of the card, we can see a lot of what the card has to offer. At the end of the card, we can see a Mic In, Line In, Line Out, Surround Out, Center/Bass, ALT Out and an S/PDIF Out. To the top right, we have the Aux In and CD In connectors.
The heart of the card is the Envy24 HT-S Chipset. The HT-S is capable of 24bit sound, with a 192kHz sampling rate. Here is what VIA has to say on their chipset:
The Envy24HT-S Audio Controller promises to bring 8-channel standards to the mainstream with Digital I/Os supporting 24-bit resolution/192KHz sampling rates, and analog I/Os support 20-bit/48KHz formats. The VIA Envy24HT-S also supports up to 8-channel outputs enabling support for the latest Dolby Digital EX and DTS ES DVD-Video soundtracks.
For you die-hard audio junkies, who likely already know all of this, here are the Envy24 HT-S’s specifications:
- Analog 20-bit/48KHz I/Os
- Digital I/Os supporting 24-bit/192KHz I/Os
- Bit-for-bit accurate transfers
- 3 synchronous IÂ²S / AC-link output data stream pairs
- 2 synchronous IÂ²S / AC-link input data stream pairs
- PCI 2.2 interface with bus mastering and burst modes
- Multi-channel AC-link supported alternatively
- Integrated S/PDIF transmitter with IEC958 line driver
- Digital loopback and stream routing mechanism
- Peak meters on all streams
- MPU-401 MIDI UART port
- ACPI and PCI PMI support
- IÂ²C subset interface peripherals control
- 16-pin, direct access GPIO port
- WindowsÂ® WDM drivers
- 24.576 and 22.5792 MHz crystal operation
- 3.3V operating supply (5V tolerant I/O)
- 128-Pin PQFP (14 x 20mm body)