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Asus readies HDMI-enabled graphics cards

Red and green cards with HDMI spotted

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Computex 2006 Asus showed two graphics cards with HDMI connectors on its stand at Computex this week. The first was an ATI Radeon X1600 Pro-based low-profile card with an HDMI and D-sub connector - a similar design to the ones that Sapphire has shown in the past. However, the second card was based on an Nvidia GeFore 7600GT and featured S/PDIF input.

There have been some concerns about how to enable sound from a graphics card over the HDMI connector, as HDMI also supports a digital audio stream. Asus solved this by adding an optical S/PDIF connector to the rear of the graphics card. An optical S/PDIF cable is then used to connect the graphics card to your sound card's optical output port. This way the sound is transferred from the sound card to the graphics card and then sent out alongside with the video data.

However, there is still the issue of possible sync problems with the sound and the video and at this time it isn't clear if Asus has managed to work around this problem.

asus_hdmi_7600gt

Both cards supports HDCP content protection, and Asus also supplies an HDMI-to-DVI dongle so you can still use both cards with a DVI-enabled display. Asus also claimed that both cards are designed for Windows Vista.

A rather odd beast also made its appearance on the Asus stand: a dual ATI Radeon X1600 XT card, much like the dual 7800 GT card that Asus shipped in limited quantities. It wasn't clear if this was a real product or not as according to some sources it isn't possible as yet to fit two ATI GPUs on the same PCB in a CrossFire configuration. ®

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