AMD Maui: Ultimate HTPC Integration

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DEDICATED AUDIO AMPLIFIER

The amplifier module utilizes a DAE-3 chip by Intersil D2Audio. Its firmware can be updated just like the BIOS in a motherboard. An update sent over by AMD during the course of this review increased the audio output by about 6dB, and was also said to improve signal flow. It was a simple process that took just 15 seconds and it did not even require a reboot. The increased gain was immediately noticed, though the "improve signal flow" was more difficult to assess.

Here are more details about the card and the concept.


Power output is said to be 5 x 100W peak. This spec smells dubious. Peak as in 2 ms? The 93% efficiency is excellent; it identifies the amplier as a class-D, which uses power transistors in switching mode, similar to PC power supplies. For full details, here's the link to D2Audio's spec sheet (pdf).


This image from MSI shows the sound card which fits into a PCIe 4X slot.


Top view of amplifier board.


The trace side has many surface-mounted components.


Speaker leads get connected to a harness (only fits relatively small gauge bare wire) which plugs into the socket on the card.


Speaker polarity should be observed; the manual shows the terminal pattern, basically alternating + and - from the top down.



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