[SOLVED] Audio capacitors on motherboard

sapins23

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Do the audio capacitors on a motherboard matter and can i see a difference between them? I saw one motherboard from ASrock have 2 of them and another one from Asus have 4. Do they make any difference?
 
Would something like Realtek ALC892 be a more noticeable/better upgrade from the ALC887 or is that low end as well?
And no im not really concerned about audio quality as im a regular PC user that plays video games occasionally and was just wondering if the 2v4 capacitors would have any significant difference between them and those audio cards seem pretty expensive so i doubt i'd be getting one
From what I've read before they'd sound essentially the same. One may have a few extra features that you might pick up on by looking at the board; something like SPD/IF outputs or TOS-Link. Entertainment audio users would be equally well served by either, but neither would do well for someone creating and/or producing broadcast quality content.

And an extra tidbit: neither are likely to drive hi-impedance headphones. Not really a problem for the typical gamer's headphones are the lo-z variety. But if you happen to have a favorite pair that are hi-z you'll not get very high volume sound and weak base until driving the output into a headphone amp.
 
As discrete passive components go, electrolytic capacitors aren't cheap so if a mfr includes 4 it's safe to assume the design of the audio section benefits or they wouldn't do it. You'd probably notice it with lower S/N ratio ratings in specs.

That said, look for the chipset being used. A top-of-stack audio chipset will have a lower S/N rating itself, and so will benefit from the better filtering a 4 capacitor design offers.

Sadly, too many times it's all for naught if the build isn't neat and well sorted. Poorly routed front panel audio cables, for instance, can often be the source of noise introduced to the audio signal.
 
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sapins23

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t's all for naught if the build isn't neat and well sorted. Poorly routed audio cables to the front panel, for instance, can often be the so
Electrolytic capacitors aren't cheap so if a mfr includes 4 it's safe to assume the design of the audio section benefits from it or they wouldn't do it. You'd probably notice it with lower S/N ratio ratings in specs.

That said, look for the chipset being used. A top-of-stack audio chipset will have a lower S/N rating itself, and so will benefit from the better filtering a 4 capacitor design offers.

Sadly, too many times it's all for naught if the build isn't neat and well sorted. Poorly routed front panel audio cables, for instance, can often be the source of noise introduced to the audio signal.
Well the Asus one with the 4 capacitors has H410 chipset (LGA1200) and the ASrock with only 2 is B460(LGA1200).
So if i went with the ASRock B460 with only 2 capacitors would i see a noticeable audio quality difference from the Asus with 4?
 
Well the Asus one with the 4 capacitors has H410 chipset (LGA1200) and the ASrock with only 2 is B460(LGA1200).
So if i went with the ASRock B460 with only 2 capacitors would i see a noticeable audio quality difference from the Asus with 4?
LOL...probably not! unless you're a 'golden ears' listener.

The difference in S/N rating would probably be something like 97db down vs 90db down. At those levels, 7db is incredibly small; you'd have to pump up the volume extremely hi with a powerful, and low noise, amplifier to hear it. But...if you do lots of listening of music with quiet passages it can contribute to something they call 'ear fatigue'. You just get tired of listening and don't really know why.

Also, the chipset you describe isn't the audio chipset; Realtek is the biggest mfr. of motherboard audio chipsets so I'd look for one of those on each boards spec list.. At least I don't think those are as I don't know if Intel implements an audio codec in their chipsets.
 
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sapins23

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LOL...probably not! unless you're a 'golden ears' listener.

The difference in S/N rating would probably be something like 97db down vs 90db down. At those levels, 7db is incredibly small; you'd have to pump up the volume extremely hi with a powerful, and low noise, amplifier to hear it. But...if you do lots of listening of music with quiet passages it can contribute to something they call 'ear fatigue'. You just get tired of listening and don't really know why.

Also, the chipset you describe isn't the audio chipset; Realtek is the biggest mfr. of motherboard audio chipsets so I'd look for one of those on each boards spec list.. At least I don't think those are...does Intel implement an audio codec in their chipsets? I don't know.
Ah ok so it doesnt matter that much.

Sorry i thought you meant the motherboard chipset....well i looked at the motherboard websites and they BOTH have the "Realtek ALC887 Audio Codec " . I believe thats what you meant with the chipset.
 
Ah ok so it doesnt matter that much.

Sorry i thought you meant the motherboard chipset....well i looked at the motherboard websites and they BOTH have the "Realtek ALC887 Audio Codec " . I believe thats what you meant with the chipset.
Yep, that's right. And those are both pretty low-end as far as Realtek's chipset line is concerned, I think with a 90db S/N rating IIRC. I wouldn't bother about the 4 vs 2 capacitor question as either one will be about the same in the end.

BTW...if you're concerned about higher quality audio I'd ignore everything about motherboard audio and get either a decent PCIe audio card that has a fully shielded audio section, or use an external DAC to feed your amplifiers. The reason for this is that nice clean -90db noise floor comeing out of the chipset is ruined by the high-EMI environment of the case, and even more so if front panel cables aren't routed just so. Full-on shielding of the analog section is the only solution, or better yet only taking it to analog outside the case with a DAC.
 

sapins23

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Yep, that's right. And those are both pretty low-end as far as Realtek's chipset line is concerned, I think with a 90db S/N rating IIRC. I wouldn't bother about the 4 vs 2 capacitor question as either one will be about the same in the end.

BTW...if you're concerned about higher quality audio I'd ignore everything about motherboard audio and get either a decent PCIe audio card that has a fully shielded audio section, or use an external DAC to feed your amplifiers. The reason for this is that nice clean -90db noise floor comeing out of the chipset is ruined by the high-EMI environment of the case, and even more so if front panel cables aren't routed just so. Full-on shielding of the analog section is the only solution, or better yet only taking it to analog outside the case with a DAC.
Would something like Realtek ALC892 be a more noticeable/better upgrade from the ALC887 or is that low end as well?
And no im not really concerned about audio quality as im a regular PC user that plays video games occasionally and was just wondering if the 2v4 capacitors would have any significant difference between them and those audio cards seem pretty expensive so i doubt i'd be getting one
 
Would something like Realtek ALC892 be a more noticeable/better upgrade from the ALC887 or is that low end as well?
And no im not really concerned about audio quality as im a regular PC user that plays video games occasionally and was just wondering if the 2v4 capacitors would have any significant difference between them and those audio cards seem pretty expensive so i doubt i'd be getting one
From what I've read before they'd sound essentially the same. One may have a few extra features that you might pick up on by looking at the board; something like SPD/IF outputs or TOS-Link. Entertainment audio users would be equally well served by either, but neither would do well for someone creating and/or producing broadcast quality content.

And an extra tidbit: neither are likely to drive hi-impedance headphones. Not really a problem for the typical gamer's headphones are the lo-z variety. But if you happen to have a favorite pair that are hi-z you'll not get very high volume sound and weak base until driving the output into a headphone amp.
 

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