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         Gainward Hollywood@Home 7.1

Product :

 Sound Card

Manufacturer :


Reviewed by :

 Wayne Brooker

Price :

 £25 + Vat

Date :

 January 6th 2004.


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There can't be many people out there who haven't heard the name Gainward at some stage, though for most of you I'm guessing you immediately think of high spec graphics tweaked for maximum performance.

Gainward's GoldenSample range of graphics cards captured the imagination by taking the best graphics chips around and then overclocking them right out of the box. This, they claimed, was possible because of their unique relationship with NVIDIA which allowed them to hand select the very best GPUs from each batch produced.

After a fairly quiet latter half of 2003 by Gainward's standards, I was completely taken by surprise when they announced that they were introducing a new product, and that this new product was to be a 7.1 sound card!

After a while to come to terms with the very idea of a Gainward sound card, I pretty much convinced myself that the NVIDIA tie-in was certain to come into play and that what we were likely to see would be some kind of stand-alone SoundStorm product. I was wrong, and here's why!


  • Support speaker setup from 2-speaker stereo up to 7.1 surround sound.
  • 24-bit high fidelity resolution of extreme audio performance
  • Up to 96Khz analog audio playback in 8 channels
  • Up to 192Khz digital audio playback through optical S/PDIF
  • Optical digital output for MiniDisc recorders and portable digital devices
  • Plug and Play installation
  • Independent surround sound channel volume control
  • Support game surround sound APIs such as Sensaura, DirectSound
  • Microsoft Windows WDM drivers
  • PCI 2.2 interface


VIA Envy24HT-S PCI Multi-Channel Audio Controller

With the evolution of the Multimedia PC, audio has become one of the essential features of the personal computer. Whether gaming, playing DVDs, listening to MP3s, or talking to friends over the internet, audio interfaces provide the inputs and outputs for the complete
media experience.


  • Intel Pentium II 450 MHz or equivalent AMD CPU
  • Motherboard with Intel/VIA chipset
  • 128MB of RAM
  • One available PCI slot
  • Microsoft Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP operating system

The most immediate observation here is the total lack of any kind of EAX support. Love them or hate them, Creative have a fairly hefty chunk of the market sewn up with their impressive and improving EAX technology, and their purchase of Sensaura by Creative for a mere $6million back at the beginning of December 2003 leaves some obviously huge question marks over its future.

Let's look at the hardware!





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