7 Replies Latest reply on Jan 5, 2010 9:25 PM by mnswiftone

    How do I use the S/PDIF connector on an Intel Motherboard?


      After spending hours online searching and even talking briefly with an Intel representative at the local Channel conference - I cannot seem to find any information on how to use the 3-pin S/PDIF connector on my DG35EC motherboard.  Also in contemplating upgrading to a i7 DP55WB motherboard - and viewing that install manual - the same question/problem presents itself. I cannot find any information on how to use, diagram on how to build, or buy a hardware connection to use this connector.


      I have numerous customers including myself that are interested in connecting their system to a home audio system with an optical or coaxial digital connection.  I have seen some descriptions on the layout of the S/PDIF definition and references at times to hardware implementation needed as signal levels may not be the same - Intel documents state nothing other than 'pin assignments' - and I hate to guess how to implement this.


      The Intel representative seemed to understand my question and suggested a company where I could purchase hardware - but I could not find online the company he referenced.  I see many references to the Front Audio header, many cases with this connection - but no references to adding an optical or coaxial connection.


      Please - can someone provide hardware implementation references, links, or product I can use to connect the 5.1 Audio via optical or coaxial connections to home audio receivers. I am very knowledgable in electronics - so even a circuit diagram correct for use with the Intel S/PDIF connection would suffice.


      Thank you for any help,


        • 1. Re: How do I use the S/PDIF connector on an Intel Motherboard?

          ah good question. im affraid i dont really have a solution for you. i'd be curious to know how what the answer is though.

          i CAN say that the dp55wg works great for connecting optical/digital audio though.


          also what graphics card are you using.  this may just be a work around, but it you have one that can output hdmi you could always connect your computer to a home theater system that way.  i picked up a card the other day with hdmi out for 50 bucks.  if you're reciever doesnt support hdmi, check you're tv.  if it supports hdmi, you could connect you're computer to it, and then utilize the optical/digital audio out from you're tv.

          • 2. Re: How do I use the S/PDIF connector on an Intel Motherboard?

            Yes, there are work-arounds - could just buy a new audio card with a S/PDIF connector on it for $20... and that would solve the issue - though stupid since the audio on the motherboard already exists.  I have a Yamaha Surround Receiver with coaxial and optical inputs, no HDMI.


            THIS IS AN INTEL FLAW in my opinion - you guys reading this???

            More searching yesterday found that Giga-byte motherboards came with a S/PDIF optical and coaxial output for connecting the board to outputs on a card slot bracket with connectors.  ASUS also has a similar product with a mini-circuit board on a card slot bracket that plugs into their motherboard.


            I see exactly what I need advertised on eBay, sold out of Australia and Hong Kong that even advertises itself for Intel motherboards. Price, $16 with shipping, looked up cost on the ASUS one and it is $8.60 something; though it has S/PDIF In which Intel doesn't so not gonna work for me.


            Intel could also market this product for their users,... heck, even buy them from the same manufacturer I bet (that one showed the same pin-out connector plugs directly into Intel motherboards).


            This Intel motherboard (both my DG35EC and the newer dp55wg) advertise having a S/PDIF connector - yet Intel provides no information on how to use it directly, or where to obtain the necessary hardware to use it.

            I'm guessing a 120 ohm resistor and GAs LED and somehow connect to the optical cable; or maybe connect directly to a Toshiba TOTX173TOSLINK module ??? I have no idea for sure if this would work - or damage my motherboard - INTEL - Please respond!!!


            Maybe I should contact support directly as this seems to be a flaw/missing in their product documentation - just hoping some Intel person would read and offer info here... after all - so many people are gonna inquire about this with the increase usage of digital audio!



            • 3. Re: How do I use the S/PDIF connector on an Intel Motherboard?

              Did you go into the control panel and in Sounds click the S/PDIF or Optical only box ? Also click around in Sounds under properties and configuration for various adjustments such 5.1 & 7.1 and Sample Rate such as 24 bit / hz ... be sure to set the receiver for that particular digital in/out ... sometimes you also have to shutdown or reset the Receiver so it can acquire the digital input/output.

              • 4. Re: How do I use the S/PDIF connector on an Intel Motherboard?

                Hey Eddie - not even close... My post has nothing to do with software settings - I am NOT that far!!! I hope I get that far soon - listening to cheap computer plug-in speakers when I have a surround 5.1 audio system in the room is so cheap.


                My situation:

                On my Intel DG35EC motherboard there is a 3-pin header described with nothing more than S/PDIF, VCC, and GND.

                I am in need of the hardware - everything from a 3-pin plug to the TOSLINK connector (or coaxial, but optical preferred).

                I see these for sale on eBay to buy from Australia or Hong Kong - and THAT is the Only places on the internet I can find them...  I have the skills to build my own though cannot understand WHY Intel does not provide or sell them as other motherboard manufacturers do.

                I do not like putting in links but maybe it will help Intel and others know what I am trying to find (Note: this link will go bad when the ad expires): http://cgi.ebay.com/Intel-Motherboard-Digital-RCA-S-PDIF-out-Audio-Cable_W0QQitemZ230319937545QQcmdZViewItemQQptZMotherboards?hash=item35a0235809

                I should not have to buy this from 1/2 way around the world - Intel should provide it, sell it, or provide a U.S. retailer source - I should NOT have to tell my customers 'Go buy it from eBay - IF it is still there for sale!'...


                What I am asking Intel support - or anyone here is -

                    Where can I find the best way to get from the motherboard 3-pin header to an optical connector??? Whether to buy or build - just want some direction...


                Should be a simple answer I would think.  I am sure it is a simple couple electronic part item, Intel designed the output - they should be able to tell us how to use it...

                • 5. Re: How do I use the S/PDIF connector on an Intel Motherboard?

                  Hello mnswiftone , I have the same problem, but even worst, I live in Brazil and if  you guys are having problem in finding this connector in USA, no change I can get if from here.

                  Intel really surprise me  putting on the box "5.1 surround sound, high definition" blah blah advetisement and when we buy it we dicover a little surprise: 5.1 for the gifted souls who could find a cheap connector that sell in no-where land. 
                  It is really absurd, and I'm not sure what to do, to buy a sound board when your mobo supposed to support 5.1 sound, makes no sense at all. 

                  • 6. Re: How do I use the S/PDIF connector on an Intel Motherboard?

                    Yeah, just opened the box on the DG41TY board and noticed a lack of RCA or TOSLINK S/PDIF connections also. Okay, maybe board real estate was at a premium, so the connectors weren't included on the board. No problem. Why didn't Intel provide a connector like the eBay offering mentioned earlier? Also there's no USB cable to connect to USB 1 or 2. Fortunately I had one left over from a previous purchase Intel P/N: C13667-001. Okay, times are tough and competition is fierce, every corner must be cut to get the price down. Couldn't Intel at least make these essential parts available as a kit or something at extra cost? The omission of any information on the 3-pin header, however is inexcusable. I can only guess that the 3-pin header Vcc is provided for the TOSLINK LED through a current limit resistor and the center pin connects to either the TOSLINK or the center pin of an RCA jack. ANY COMMENTS?

                    • 7. Re: How do I use the S/PDIF connector on an Intel Motherboard?

                      Your prompt inspired checking the More Like This links, one of which suggested looking at the Realtek Datasheets for the audio chip on the motherboard.

                      see http://communities.intel.com/message/75382#75382


                      After looking - course, my board has diff chip, a ALC888S audio codec chip, and the Realtek datasheet named ALC888S_DataSheet_1.2.pdf - provides 'Application circuits' showing that, unfortunately, there are additional parts needed to use the coaxial connection - a couple resistors and a couple capacitors. Just one capacitor needed for using a TOTX178 Optical transmitter.

                      This is of course assuming the 'S/PDIF-OUT' shown in the Datasheet is the connection to the motherboard itself - I would have to assume these components are not part of the motherboard as the S/PDIF-OUT line shown connects directly to the optical - but - goes through a capacitor and resistor for the coaxial - so these must be off the board components.

                      (These are shown on page 80 of the ALC888S_DataSheet_1.2.pdf file (page 72 of the datasheet inside pdf).)


                      So - a clue on how to do this - AGAIN - assumptions are made about the S/PDIF-OUT shown on datasheet being the same level / signal coming from the pin connector on the motherboard - WOULD BE SO NICE IF INTEL COULD CONFIRM THIS - HINT, HINT...


                      My solution was to GIVE UP and sell my Intel system.  I could have bought a newer video card with the S/PDIF cable - BUT - I do not have HD TV - where would I plug the HDMI cable (my Reciever does not have a HDMI input)???  Course - will probably have the same problem with a new motherboard... hmm, seems one motherboard manufacturer does sell the pin header to back slot cable/connector for their motherboard...