Fig 4. The C-Media 6-channel hardware audio controller.
Like the KK266, the KK266Plus features on-board hardware sound as well, although it features a slightly upgraded version. Sound support is provided courtesy of C-Media's CMI8738 PCI-6ch-MX controller. The new 6-channel controller expands upon the 4-channel controller used on the KK266 by adding support for 6 discrete channels (Left, Right, Center, SL, SR, and Sub), as well as digital output (optional). 6-channel output is achieved by using a standard add-on riser Iwill ships with the board, which allows use of the extra channels.
Fig 5. The standard sound riser provides multi-channel output.
Optionally, some boards will be shipping with a SuperAudio riser, which will feature S/PDIF and optical (TOSLINK) digital outputs and inputs as well.
All things considered, the C-Media part is excellent for light to moderate sound users, as it can easily replace more expensive sound cards. The C-Media part has proved to be a solid and well-performing solution in the past, and the accompanying drivers have been reliable, although we must admit that we still enjoy the comfort and safety of Creative Labs' drivers. Serious gamers and professionals, of course, may wish to stick to the SoundBlaster Live!s.
Fig 6. The board's 6/1/1 expansion slot configuration.
Rounding out the board's standard features is a 6/1/1 (PCI/ISA/AGP) expansion slot configuration. Those of you still clinging to a trusty ISA modem or network card will appreciate the last bit of legacy support. Three SDRAM DIMM slots are provided, and support up to 1.5 GB of SDRAM using 512 MB DIMMs.