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How do I tell if a motherboard supports 5.1 audio, and what exactly does that mean in terms of speakers?

justmerriwether
  • 72 months ago

I wasn't sure whether to post this in Motherboards or Speakers, but I figure it should be here cause the root of the question is about mobos.

You can skip this next paragraph if you don't care about needless background, and just want to get to the question.

I just ordered the first couple parts for my first ever build (spent a good several hours just hovering over the checkout button; I'm not used to spending so much at once) and am eagerly awaiting my MSI Radeon R9 280 and my Gigabyte GA 78LMT USB3.0 micro ATX motherboard. I'm planning to build into a Bitfenix Phenom M so I have something that won't take up too much room in what I expect to be a very tiny dorm this coming September and so I won't have too much trouble taking it home on break.

Anyway - I don't see anything in the specs about audio options in regards to 2.1 or 5.1 but I see people saying that that determines what sort of speakers and/or headphones one can use with said computer. I've only got a vague idea of what those numbers are actually indicating about the speakers, and I don't really know how the whole thing works. Could anybody elucidate the issue for me?

Comments

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

2.1 means 2 speakers (stereo) plus a subwoofer (which provides bass). 5.1 is 5 speakers (centre, left & right fronts, left & right rears) plus a subwoofer. 5.1 is the standard for surround sound, with 7.1 surround sound making a push recently. Chances are if you're having to ask, you've only got a stereo setup, but if you think you're gunna want a surround sound setup in the future, you'll need a motherboard or dedicated soundcard that supports 5.1 or more. As I understand it 7.1 support has because pretty much standard for mid-range motherboard these days (I'm in the middle of my own first build).

Hope this clears up some confusion.

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, friend. Makes sense. I don't actually have the mobo or any speakers yet. I'm asking so I know what kind to buy. SOmeone else said to check the manufacturer website so that should clear it up for me.

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

So the numbers indicate how many speakers and subwoofers there are. The first number (2, 5, or 7) tells you how many satellite speakers there are and the second one (1) tells you how many subwoofers there are. So a mobo that supports a 7.1 surround setup, will have many different outputs for all those different speakers, but a 5.1 or a 2.1 setup will only use 1 or 2 outputs.

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

Holy **** that makes so much sense. Thanks, lol.

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

How do I tell if a motherboard supports 5.1 audio...

Any decent mobo manufacturer will list specifications on their website.

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

Ah, that should've been a no brainer for me!

Checked gigabyte, found this:

"2/4/5.1/7.1-channel" and then a note to see the next spec which read:

"Support for S/PDIF Out"

So I assume that specifies the type of input it will take.

And now I know what all the numbers mean, so I know that my mobo will support surround! Haha, thanks for your help man,

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