To enable DualStream64 you have
to install identical DDR DIMMs in pairs, in the correct slots. The colour coded DIMMs
make this pretty foolproof.
The PT880 reference board is not
just to show off the new Northbridge, but also demonstrate several other VIA chipsets that
are hitting the market now. Those technologies include VIAs Envy24
PT soundcard, and the new VT6120 Cicada
SimpliPHY Gigabit Network controller!
comes to onboard sound, PCstats has been critical of manufacturers for including low quality AC'97 software based codecs. Even I
can hear the difference between the CPU sapping
software codec and a hardware PCI based soundcard... Be it listening to your
MP3 collection or playing games, these inexpensive audio codecs cost us good sound quality,
released the new Envy24PT hardware soundcard to resolve these issues, and
hopefully grab a little of the market share from C-media. the Envy24PT chipset
is a 7.1-channel solution, which makes VIA one of the first, if not that,
to introduce a board level audio solution. With Creative recently releasing their Audigy 2 ZS, hopefully
more 7.1 speakers will be coming to market at lower prices too.
The VIA Envy24PT supports 24bit audio resolution with
96kHz sampling. This is right up there with the Creative Audigy 2
ZS in terms of audio quality.
On top of that, the audio controller also has support for Dolby
Digital EX and DTS ES - so the Envy24PT chip should definitely be
up to your home theatre/DVD needs.
Where many audio codecs (for example Realtek) use the host processor to process the
audio, the Envy24PT is a true hardware based solution. Thus, it drains very little
CPU resources from the processor which should mean better overall performance, seeing
that the system is taxed less.
To test the sound, I quickly dropped
in instrumental audio CD and listened for distortion with
the volume turned up. Even with the volume very high, the high pitched sounds were
still very sharp as the lows were also very clear. For my ears anyway, the
audio sounded every bit as good as an Audigy 2 soundcard - though this is very