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Creative Labs, whose entry-level audio cards are losing competition to integrated audio solutions, is set to propose mainboard makers to integrate one of the company’s latest graphics processors – Audigy 2 – into mainboards. The move will provide additional revenue streams for Creative Technology and users will get relatively high-quality audio option for a very low price.

Microstar International (MSI) recently introduced its K8N Diamond Plus mainboard that is based on NVIDIA nForce4 SLI x16 core-logic that features Creative Labs SoundBlaster Audigy 2 SE audio chip. Additionally, Gigabyte Technology is set to introduce a mainboard with the same sound processor that will be available by Christmas, 2005, reports The Inquirer web-site. Earlier this year several mainboard makers already began to utilize Creative Technology’s specially-designed Live! 7.1 product to provide advanced audio.

The Sound Blaster Audigy 2 SE enables users with a breed of advanced sound technologies at a low cost, including such capabilities as EAX 4.0 ADVANCED HD and 3D positional audio for games. The Audigy 2 SE supports quality playback of 24-bit/192kHz content (including Advanced Resolution DVD-Audio). The new Sound Blaster Audigy 2 SE improves music quality by delivering audio clarity of 104dB SNR (sound/noise ratio).

While the audio processor itself does not add too much cost or complexity to already very feature-rich mainboards, quality of such sound solution may be lower than expected, as interferences on mainboards are truly rigorous. As a result of that, some mainboard makers install audio processors on specifically designed add-on cards, however, this adds cost and makes low-cost integrated audio solutions, which are considered to be good enough for typical tasks, more preferable to customers in budget.

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